The Album That Changed Everything

Jimi Hendrix ‘Smash Hits’

Some of our past interviewees reveal the iconic albums that have inspired and influenced them the most over the years


Brandi Carlile
The Story (Columbia, 2007)

“I was 21 when I discovered The Story.
I was at college and I had just had my heart broken for the first time and that album just became this kind of anthem for me. Up until that point in my life I had never really found a female artist that I loved and connected with. It was typically male-driven rock bands and then I discovered Brandi and I remember thinking, ‘I want to be like her. I want to have a powerful voice and songs that make you feel strong.’ That record changed the way that I wrote songs and played music.”


Public Image Ltd
Metal Box (Virgin/Island Records, 1979)

“I hadn’t heard the first album but I’d heard people say it wasn’t a patch on the Sex Pistols, which intrigued me. I heard Careering and Poptones and it struck me as a whole new approach to making music. It was no longer about chord progressions, verses and choruses. Coupled with that, John Lydon’s lyrics are phenomenal and so is Keith Levene’s guitar and Jah Wobble’s bass. It’s the ideal band scenario where the sum of the parts is just overreaching what they could be on their own.”


OK Computer (Parlophone/Capitol, 1997)

“I was 17 or 18 years old when that came out and I went on my gap year to SouthAfrica. I had a crappy, little, mono-speaker tape machine that I’d bought out there, and OK Computer on cassette. I remember spending a lot of time getting drunk, smoking dope and completely falling in love with the record. It felt like something that hadn’t really come along in my lifetime: a new record that was so unbelievably, beautifully written and profound. It’s just so creatively clever and I would listen to that record on repeat.”


The Jimi Hendrix Experience
Smash Hits (Reprise, 1969)

“The very first thing would have been Jimi Hendrix when I was 15. I discovered him and, for some reason, I just really connected with the songwriting and the lyrics. It would have been a compilation cassette that my mum gave me. One of the effects it definitely had was making me think, ‘That doesn’t need to be done again.’ I looked at every other music I came to after that from the point of thinking, ‘That person did that really fucking good, there’s no reason to try to do that.’ That’s why I don’t really solo over the songs.”


The Who
Quadrophenia (Track/MCA, 1973)

“I’m going to go with Quadrophenia. I remember living in London and getting on the tube with my Walkman and feeling like Jimmy. The whole story of youth culture, working in the mailroom and being young in London – that really changed me and influenced some of my songwriting at the time. There are themes that run throughout the album and The Who were using technology like arpeggiators and synths which you wouldn’t really associate with a rock band. It’s a proper album.”


Outside Broadcast (Nikko Records, 1993)

“In my teenage years, I was a bit of a U2 obsessive and there was this album that I just hammered in my bedroom. It was actually an official bootleg from their Zoo TV tour. At the time, they had this Irish journalist, music-lover character called BP Fallon who would DJ, then record the show and interview people. So he got great live performances, like studio quality. They just seemed, as a band, to be on fire then and it was so full of improvisation, fierceness and soulfulness, I just loved it.”

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