On 3rd May 2004, DMC Records release the album Under The Influence - Bob Geldof - A collection of musical influences and inspirations. Bob has chosen 19 tracks featuring David Bowie, The Who, Bob Dylan, The Kinks, Small Faces, The Four Tops, Leonard Cohen, Roxy Music, Kris Kristofferson, Velvet Underground and New York Dolls. Here Bob tells us what was behind his choice of tracks.
On the day the revolution arrived, and like Dylan, the Geldof family went electric. My father reluctantly, but with care, eased the old chrome articulated needle arm and its cast iron turn table out of its stand-alone, windup walnut cabinet, with the adjustable wooden sound baffles and removed it to his shed where it lies still because, "You never know when you might need it". He's still there, it's still there and amazingly we never did need it again.
Finally, my sister could play her Cliff 45's and the Shadows 33 and I would never again wind up the Webb Pierce 78 and it's story of ramblin' Bob (obviously me) and his low life tale of women, gambling and jails.
"I'm in the jailhouse now" and it's proto-rock boogie-woogie meets country was wound and wound until its heavy brittle shellack grooves were ground down to flat planes of static. Wires trailed out from the hole where the winder had been and pluged into the back of the wireless that now at last clearly played the sound of the world outside Ireland.
Yeah, Cliff was really cool for a second and never more so than on the never played secret, young, beautiful and fuck-off "b"sides. "Apron Strings" (mega drums 'n' guitar) was on some sisters pleasing anodyne "a" side that I couldn't be bothered remembering or listening to. It's never been said but without Cliff and The Shads, there's no English pop business. As George said "No Shadows, no Beatles", wow.
The overture of "Oklahoma" needs to be played very loudly in the car some beautiful summers day, screaming up the outside lane, (preferably top down), conducting recklessly with one hand and beaming manically with the sheer, utter joy of its music. Breathtaking optimism from some of the cleverest and wittiest songs ever written. Beautiful music, especially for a sad little boy.
I wanted to BE Dr. Feelgood. Not Lee or Wilko, I mean the entire band. All of them. The unit. In the dismal musical days of '74 and '75 that forced the Boomtown Rats into being, we talked of how music needed to MEAN something again. To be fundamental, passionate, dancable, vital, about... US. The I heard the Feelgoods. The great lyrics, the stripped-bare passion, unvarnished aggression, and the threatening, manic look and I was exhilarated but pissed off that we hadn't done it. So we did. "All Through The City" is everything I've described on four tracks in a Canvey basement.
Like everyone doing this series of compilations I didn't know where to start. You can do 20 of these things and still not run out of stuff that made your very existence explicable and bearable. I could have done the blues one my first love. Could have done the cool, cred, underground, obscure one, the forgotten genius one etc. I went for the pop one. The in-car comp that I'd play on some 80 minute journey and each track would make me happier in direct proportion to every inch travelled. Like music has done in my life.