The Album That Changed Everything

Radiohead ‘Kid A’ album cover

Some of our favourite past Songwriting interviewees reveal the seminal albums that have inspired them the most over the years


The Velvet Underground
The Velvet Underground & Nico (Verve, 1967)

“I was 15 or something when I first heard The Velvet Underground & Nico at a friend’s house, and I couldn’t believe a record like that existed, it just seemed so perfect to me, the instrumentation on it. It was like, ‘Wow this is just the best thing that exists.’ A record like that I will always love. But I don’t think there’s anything that I’ve really loved, musically, that I then unlove. Like, ‘Oh I don’t care for that any more.’ One of the first albums that I had was Kick by INXS and I still really like, Michael Hutchence was an amazing frontman. I also had Iron Maiden’s Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son.”

Read the full interview with Isobel Campbell


Kid A (Parlophone/Capitol, 2000)

Kid A by Radiohead made an explosion in my brain. I can remember the first time I heard the first song, it was like the music plugged directly into my feelings. I had never been able to connect anything to these certain feelings that I couldn’t describe, but somehow this music connected with that perfectly. It’s hard to put into words but it was like taking this drug and you have a moment that’s impossible to explain. It’s like the music understands you in a way that nothing in life has been able to do before. It just feels like an epiphany and you chase that feeling in your own music.”


Laurie Spiegel
The Expanding Universe (Philo, 1980)

“I still remember vividly the first time I heard the first song off of the record, Patchwork, and how everything in my mind snapped into focus. I just couldn’t pay attention to anything else. There is a clarity in the synthesizer sounds, a twisting evolution of slow changes that forces me to listen closely. I had it on almost exclusively for a whole year, and it still holds surprises for me and provides intense inspiration in my songwriting. I loved it with such intensity, it gave me the courage to embrace the supernatural beauty in subtle changes in drones and repetition in my own music.”


Sonic Youth
NYC Ghosts & Flowers (Geffen, 2000)

“I was finishing high school when this came out. I’d seen them on The Simpsons and saw them do Sunday from 1,000 Leaves on TV. That made me think maybe they weren’t too weird for me. NYC Ghosts & Flowers was so weird, but I listened to it and came to love it. It was the first record of theirs I’d heard all the way through. There’s so much nice stuff, as well as far-out stuff. It made me realize what was possible in terms of a ‘song’. Around this time they were referencing Burroughs and Ginsberg a lot: members of an old underground who were dying. It filled me with a sense of responsibility.”


The Smiths
Hatful Of Hollow (Rough Trade Records, 1984)

“I needed some new inspiration and, I can’t remember why, but I got really into The Smiths and was obsessed with listening to Hatful Of Hollow. I remember I was driving up and down a lot from London to Sussex, spending a lot of time in the car, just listening to that CD, over and over again. It really reinvigorated my love of melodic music, especially discovering a band that everyone worshipped – they were such an iconic band. I often found I didn’t ‘get’ the cool bands and didn’t belong in the club, but then when I heard that I was like, ‘Yeah, I totally get it!’”

Read how Tim wrote Keane’s ‘Is It Any Wonder?’ > >


Bob Dylan
Blonde On Blonde (Columbia, 1966)

“There’s more than one, but the first one that comes to mind is Bob Dylan Blonde On Blonde. I was seeing a band, I think I was about 14 years old, and the bass player in the band was just excellent. We got talking in his room and he played me this new Bob Dylan album – particularly a song called Memphis Blues – and I fell in love with Bob Dylan. He affected everything. I was the person sitting in the basement with the incense burning, reciting his lyrics. So he affected me, big time. I should think [he was one of the reasons I got into poetry].”

Find this and more songwriting features, artist interviews, news, tips, reviews and gear in Songwriting Magazine Winter 2019

There are no comments

Add yours

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Songwriting Magazine