Terry Reid: 10 Records That Changed My Life

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(Image: © Michael Putland / Getty Images)

"Terry still sings like a legend," says Aerosmith's Joe Perry of the English-born, California-dwelling singer Terry Reid. "They used to call him superlungs, and you can hear why.” 

Terry Reid has been around the block and back, then been around again just for fun. From supporting the Rolling Stones as a 15-year-old, to becoming famous as the man who turned down the chance to join Led Zeppelin (the real story is a little more complicated than that), to actually turning down Deep Purple, he's a man with rock'n'roll blood running thick through his veins. Even Aretha Franklin called him England's finest, and 1973's solo album The River proved her right. An alternate version was released last year.

Earlier this year he sang on four tracks on Perry's album Sweetzerland Manifesto, an album that also featured  Cheap Trick's Robin Zander and the New York Dolls' David Johansen. 

These are the 10 Records That Changed Terry Reid's Life.

Tommy Steele - Singing The Blues

"This was the first record that really changed my life. He did a song called Singing The Blues, which really got me going. It was written by Marty Robbins, which I didn't realise until years later. When Tommy got on that roll and became a big star, I thought he was something else. I loved his attitude. He always had a smile on his face." 

Jim Reeves - He'll Have To Go

"I always loved Jim Reeves. I sing Jim Reeves songs now (my voice was a little too high back then!). He'll Have To Go was a great record." 

The Rolling Stones - The Rolling Stones

"It was their first record, with I Want To Make Love To You on it. I loved that. When I started in London, we went to do our first demos at Regent Sound in Denmark Street. I'll never forget it - every time I walk by there I chuckle – because it's where the Stones did that record. All it was was a little corridor, with some stairs on the left, and an office area in the back with a two-track. And that's where they recorded it! It talked to Keith about it later, and he just laughed and said, "it was a bit cramped in there!"

The Beatles - Please Please Me

"The first time I ever heard the Beatles it put me on the edge. It was something else. Who were these guys? Half of the songs were covers of things you couldn't buy in England at the time. They had a cache of material that we simply couldn't get our hands on. You could go to HMV on Oxford Street and listen to things, but you only ever heard the things the American market was able to release in England." 

Dusty Springfield - A Girl Called Dusty

"I always loved Dusty Springfield records. She was the English counterpart of a lot of American singers, and when I was thinking about getting into singing I went out and bought a lot of Dusty records. We ended up doing a few gigs together, and she could tell jokes better than any guy I knew. She was something else. When I told her I had all her records she freaked out on me, saying, "what would you do that for?" She was fantastic. I idolised her" 

Otis Redding - Complete & Unbelievable: The Otis Redding Dictionary of Soul

"All us English singers who were 'shouters' were Otis Redding fans. Anyone who doesn't like pets, children or Otis Redding I won't talk to! He was the quintessential spearhead of what you couldn't do as a singer. Everybody tried: from Frankie Miller to Rod Stewart, we were all die-hard Otis fans. And if Try A Little Tenderness didn't get you, nothing would. Anything he did was gold." 

Miles Davis - Sketches Of Spain

"Around this time [the mid-60s] I was really starting to understand jazz themes based on classical themes, and I got into Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie. It's a beautiful thing: such a great expression of Spain and the conquistador and the whole reality of Spanish history. I sill listen to it, although my neighbours aren't so keen!"

Keith Richards - Talk Is Cheap

"I still play the hell out of this record. I love it. Over the years I've got to know Keith, and that's been a real privilege. What a funny guy! It's an amazing sounding album. He designed the guitar sound so well, and he's one of the few people I know who makes solo albums that sound nothing like the group he's in. It's a real step away, and that's hard!"

Don Henley - The End Of The Innocence

"I've lived over here [in California] a long time, and I knew The Eagles when they were putting the band together. But there was one particular album that came out after The Eagles that was great, and that's Don Henley's solo album, The End Of The Innocence. I was around when they did a lot of those things, and boy, the painstaking lengths they went to. It was when digital was just starting to be reliable, but the sound is impeccable."

The Beatles - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

"This was so influential when it came out. Nobody could quite believe their ears. I think you'll find little bits of Sgt. Pepper is every band that record now. You've even got a mellotron you can play on your phone now. It was a magical album. It changed all the rules, and it changed them all for evermore. I can put it on and just laugh my head off at the things they got away with. And I don't care who you are, you've got to be very brave to do that. God bless them. They stood for something, and they pulled it off." 

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