Pop Riffs: The first and last albums bought by The Bathers' singer Chris Thompson

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The Independent Culture
Aladdin Sane

David Bowie

I had been buying a lot of naff singles by Suzy Quatro and Mud who are best forgotten, minor Glam bands your parents liked. I was in grave danger of being led astray by not very good popular groups. Bowie was in a different league. He was a dangerous figure, my parents hated his records and by comparison the other Glam bands were bland. The first thing that intrigued me about was its artwork on the gatefold sleeve. Bowie was in strange make-up. He had a Z across his face, and appeared to have no wedding tackle. I didn't understand the concept of airbrushing. And when people said Bowie was from a spaceship, I was only nine years old and I half-believed it. Every song on the album is fantastic. It has brilliant lyrics. He is always light years ahead of the opposition and never frightened to try new styles. He led me to Lou Reed and the Velvet Underground, Iggy Pop and he was even a bit of a godfather to punks.


Nina Simone

She's probably my favourite singer. I just love her voice, and how she is not stuck in any one style. This album is quite typical, with a variety of styles. It has blues, jazz and gospel and reggae - bizarre, yet somehow it works. I have a nice memory of being in a grotty flat in Elephant and Castle a couple of years back, and a track on this album with the chorus "everything must change". This is a whole album in its original form, which is nice and unusual for Nina Simone records. Her voice is absolutely stunning, it has an amazing richness, and some of the things she does with melody are very inventive. There are two voices that are comparable these days, and those are Lauryn Hill and Macy Gray who have really great voices.

The Bathers album `Pandemonia' is out now on Wrasse Records