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Danny Trejo: 10 albums that changed my life

Danny Trejo
(Image credit: Estevan Oriol/Getty Images)

Even if you don’t know Danny Trejo’s name, you’ll know his face - and his tattoos. The American actor made his name playing menacing heavies in such films as From Dusk Til Dawn, Con Air and Machete, but unlike many of his peers he knows the subject well – he spent much of the late 50s and 60s in and out of prison. But he also happens to be a music fan whose tastes span jazz, R&B and metal, as the 10 records that changed his life prove. Though if you don’t agree with them, we wouldn’t recommend arguing…

The first album I bought was…

Frank Sinatra – Frank Sinatra’s Greatest Hits (1968)

“Oh god, you’re going way back! I hate to admit it but it was one by Ol’ Blue Eyes, Frank Sinatra. I didn’t listen to a lot of actual albums back then, just a lot of radio.”

My favourite album artwork is…

Mary Wells – Mary Wells (1965)

“Oh, I hate to even say but there’s this girl – Mary Wells – and on the album cover she is just beautiful. It’s kind of R’n’B, you gotta listen to it. She’s great.”

The album I wish I’d made is…

The Beatles – Abbey Road (1969)

“I’d have to say The Beatles… what’s that album? Abbey Road! It’s awesome. When I went to England I walked down Abbey Road. I had to do it! One of my favourite Beatles songs is Hey Jude. I heard it in prison. When it started playing, it got quiet. It never gets quiet in prison at night, but it went dead silent! Then it gets to the part where he’s going [sings] ‘Hey Judy, Judy, Judy, Judy!’, and the whole place just went crazy! We were banging on the walls singing and all of the toilets got broken!”

The album I break the speed limit to is…

Various – The Best Of Bluegrass: 18 Band Favourites

“Any Bluegrass country music is good for me. When you listen to that you can’t help but clean stuff fast or drive real fast.”

The best album to have sex to is…

Barry White – Barry White’s Greatest Hits (1975)

“I mean, man, if you can’t get her pants off to Barry White then you’ve got big trouble. It’s an old classic and it might be a standard thing but it works for me. Oh yes, sir!”

The album that reminds me of school is…

Chuck Berry – The Anthology (2000)

“Oh man! I’m trying to think of a song. It would be something by Chuck Berry! [Sings] ’Up in the mornin’ and out to school/The teacher is teachin’ the Golden Rule/American history and practical math/You studyin’ hard and hopin’ to pass…’ Yeah! I remember that one!”

No one will believe I own a copy of…

Billy Idol – Devil’s Playground (2005)

“OK, but you gotta promise you won’t laugh! ha ha! [Sings] ‘I don’t care if it rains or freezes/As long as I’ve got my plastic Jesus!’ Right now my staff are all looking at me like, ‘Oh god!’ but I don’t care, I love that song. Who was that? Billy Idol!”

A kid comes up and asks me what metal is. I hand him a copy of…

Suicidal Tendencies – Join The Army (1987)

“Let me see now… Suicidal Tendencies were pretty cool. I liked the 80s stuff, so Suicidal Tendencies, Metallica… and my son’s band! They play that kind of style. They went out on tour and they called it The Dead Reagan tour! Ha ha ha!”

The album I want played at my funeral is…

Louis Prima – The Golden Hits (1966)

“There’s an album… I forget the name of the album now but it’s by Louis Prima and Keely Smith and it’s got [sings] ‘I’m just a gigolo, and everywhere I go/People know the part I’m playing…’ I’d have that played at my funeral! Ha ha ha!”

The album that takes me home is…

Julio Iglesias – A Flor De Piel (1974)

“Well that’s a real interesting question, because I guess it would have to be something that my Mom used to play. That always takes me back to my Mexican heritage. I guess Julio Iglesias or something.”

Stephen Hill

Since blagging his way onto the Hammer team a decade ago, Stephen has written countless features and reviews for the magazine, usually specialising in punk, hardcore and 90s metal, and still holds out the faint hope of one day getting his beloved U2 into the pages of the mag. He also regularly spouts his opinions on the Metal Hammer Podcast.