The Album That Changed Everything

Beastie Boys ‘Hello Nasty’ album cover

Charles Esten, Andy McCluskey, Gabriella Cilmi, Guy Chambers, Philip Frobos and Gordon Haskell reveal the seminal albums that inspired them


Bruce Springsteen
Born To Run (Columbia, 1975)

“I used to sit as a kid at the piano and I would go lift the needle and replace it onto songs like Jungleland, Thunder Road or Born To Run itself. All these songs were very operatic in their way and it opened up some ideas of what a song could be and the type of story it could tell – meanwhile, it could rock at the same time. There’s a lot there. Looking back on Thunder Road, you could not convince me that it is not a country song. ‘The screen door slams, Mary’s dress waves,’ come on man, that’s as country as it gets.”


Radio-Activity (Kling Klang/EMI/Capitol, 1975)

“That album proved that you could make music out of all sorts of things. It’s a bit like a conceptual artist who make things out of found objects. Why is a Geiger counter music? Why are various radio channels repeating the news bulletins music? Because Kraftwerk said it was. It was very liberating and really opened our eyes. As well as the fact that they wrote great melodies. It’s no secret that our first single, Electricity was just a fast, punky, naïve version of us trying to copy their song Radioactivity.”


Van Morrison
Astral Weeks (Warner Bros, 1968)

“A guitarist that I work with played me Astral Weeks on our tour bus when I was younger. We were someone in the English countryside and it’s just a magical album that transports you somewhere else. The title track is one of my favourite songs and I got that feeling the whole through, with songs like The Way Young Lovers Do. It’s very special to me. You could hear the musicians almost coming up with it as they went along. It’s almost like a live record without it actually being a live record.”


The Beatles
Revolver (Parlophone/Capitol, 1966)

“That was the first album that I really listened to and studied the songs. It blew my mind, and it still does today. Every song is brilliant, even Yellow Submarine. It’s perfect, the production, the vocals, the lyrics, the music, the band, the way they play. It’s a perfect work of art. You’re very much aware of their presence when you walk through the door at Abbey Road, they made that studio world famous and there are still instruments lying around which they used – it’s cool, what more can you say.”


Beastie Boys
Hello Nasty (Capitol, 1998)

“My friends and I would listen to it all the time and play Nintendo 64. In addition to being a good soundtrack to pre-teen life, it eventually changed how I perceived contemporary musicians. The Beastie Boys are record nerds who spent countless hours learning and digging through record bins, and when you hear cool loops, huge drum production sounds or stand-up jazz bass on their albums it’s because they’re playing them! Their many influences and origins are overflowing…”


Marvin Gaye
What’s Going On (Tamla, 1971)

“No hesitation, it would be Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On. It’s one of those albums that has never dated. He was asking the questions and I like to think that I am supplying the answers, eventually, if I’m allowed to. I love every single thing about that album and what a great singer he was. It means something, it’s crying out and saying ‘Stop it, you bastards.’ If you see something wrong then you should shout about it because your silence is taken as consent, and Marvin Gaye would not be silent.”

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