Dizzy Reed: the 10 Records That Changed My Life

Dizzy Reed

Twenty-seven years later, Guns N’ Roses keys man Dizzy Reed can’t say for sure which of the band’s legendary Use Your Illusion albums he prefers (“To be honest, I’d have to look to remember which songs are on which one”). But when it comes to the classic records that fired his imagination as an upcoming musician, he’s full of opinions.

“I’ve got my list ready,” he tells us, “although ten albums is not enough…”

Dizzy Reed’s debut solo album, Rock ‘N’ Roll Ain’t Easy, is out now on Golden Robot Records.

Booker T. & The M.G.’s – Soul Limbo (1968)

“I was eight years old. My grandmother lived in the apartment above us, and she taught me to play organ. She played a song one night and said, ‘Why don’t you try it?’ When I played it back, she knew I had talent, and she kinda nurtured that. Then I started getting into pop and rock music. My dad had a big record collection, and one of those records was Soul Limbo. He put that on one day and I said, ‘Aha! That’s the same instrument that I know how to play. I know how to play rock music now!’ That was the turning point in my life, when I discovered I could play in a band. I didn’t want to work nine-to-five. My whole life – since I was ten – I’ve been in a band. By the time we were twelve, we were playing for money. I don’t know much else.”

Queen – News Of The World (1977)

“An amazing record. It just swept me up, man. It all began with the album cover, then We Will Rock You, We Are The Champions, the whole thing. It’s an adventure, man. It was everything that a rock record should be, and I wanted to go along on that adventure. I just wanted to go on that ride. My favourite member of Queen? I’d say Brian May, for sure.”

The Who – Who’s Next (1971)

“I probably heard Who’s Next at junior high school, but I still listen to it now. It was actually my brother’s copy. But then my dad got it also, and you could see the grooves on Baba O’Riley were worn out, because he listened to it over and over. The work that Pete Townshend put on that record – and all the experimentation he did with the keyboards – it’s a masterpiece, man, just perfect. The whole band came together so perfectly on that record, and you realised that with just one of those guys missing, there’s no Who. At that point, anyway. Eventually, they overcame that.”

Led Zeppelin – Physical Graffiti (1975)

“That was definitely a headphones record for me, after smoking a joint, late at night. I loved Trampled Underfoot. And Into The Light, that’s amazing. But just the entire thing, y’know? There was a sense of ‘What song shall I explore now?’ – and there were so many to choose from, going off in so many different directions. There’s a lot of John Paul Jones’s keyboard stuff on there that just changed the way I felt about everything. Physical Graffiti had that mystique that Zeppelin invented. They were untouchable, they were amazing, and it all shone through on that record.”

The Clash – London Calling (1979)

“The first thing was the cover. I’m like, ‘OK, that’s cool’. And then, it was something that my band could play. We couldn’t play Journey. We couldn’t play Emerson, Lake & Palmer. Nothing against those bands – I love them too – but we couldn’t duplicate that. I couldn’t sing that or do the keyboard stuff. But we could play The Clash. We could do that. So this was my introduction to punk-rock. And I got it, at that point. I was like, ‘OK, punk-rock makes sense now’. It worked. It offered a new direction.”

Metallica – Kill ’Em All (1983)

“I was out of high school, and I was starting to get into metal. Kill ’Em All was the fucking heaviest thing I’d ever heard at that point in time. And it still holds up. It still sounds heavy. Have I told the guys in Metallica what that record means to me? Nah, they can read it here. I don’t need to stroke their egos any more [laughs].”

W.A.S.P. – W.A.S.P. (1984)

“There was a magic to that first W.A.S.P. record. Y’know, it was just evil enough. It was just heavy enough. The lyrics were cool and the melodies were great. I hadn’t heard anything that sonically big at that time. But it also said to me that there was something happening out in LA, and I needed to get out there, as soon as I could.”

Hanoi Rocks – Two Steps From The Move (1984)

“Both of those records made me want to go to Los Angeles. That’s why I moved out there. Everything was cool after that. When I heard those songs – fuck, man. They were a throwback, but they were new. It was just done so well. Hanoi Rocks had a look, they had a vibe, and I just wanted to be a part of it. And I’m still living in LA now, thirty-something years later.”

Lynyrd Skynyrd – One More From The Road (1976)

“That was the hardest-working band ever – and it shows on that record. It was inspirational from the very get-go. They had the greatest piano player in rock [Billy Powell] and also I had grown up playing those songs. That record was summertime, it was wintertime, it was everything.”

The Rolling Stones – Exile On Main Street, Sticky Fingers and Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out! (1972/1971/1970)

“I’m lumping them all together! The Stones are my number-one. Hands down, those records had the biggest influence on me, as far as how I play, what I listen to, how I write songs, how it made me want to be in a rock band. Everything. Exile On Main Street is a masterpiece. Sticky Fingers was the first record I started to understand and could play stuff off. Get Yer Ya-Ya’s Out!, I bought by accident, and it was them doing stripped-down versions of the big studio productions. I just played it for my bandmates and I said, ‘Look, we can play these songs now’. Of all these records, those changed my life the most.”

Dizzy Reed’s debut solo album, Rock ‘N’ Roll Ain’t Easy, is out now on Golden Robot Records.

Interview: Keith Richards and Charlie Watts on The Rolling Stones In Exile