23rd October 2018
The music that shaped me – Mike Wilton
The Standard Lamps frontman picks the records that helped define his musical journey
If you’ve ever listened to or seen The Standard Lamps perform live, you’ll know that their raw energy and retro sound is heavily influenced by the rock and roll and blues of decades gone by. From the old-fashioned sensibilities of You Don’t Listen to Your Records Anymore, to the searing opening notes of fan favourite The Harmonica Song, there’s a nostalgic quality to their music that’s unmistakable.
For songwriter, guitarist and lead singer Mike Wilton, that’s exactly the idea. As a self-confessed lover of vinyl and LPs, Mike’s knowledge of and passion for the bands and artists that preceded him knows no bounds. He’s an expert when it comes to great music, and the craft of capturing that same spirit in his own work, albeit with a distinctly new spin and fresh take.
So, when we asked him to list the top five albums that have influenced his musical career, there was no shortage of iconic options to choose from. You can hear it all, both in the Lamps and Mike’s more recent solo venture: The Britpop legacy of Oasis, the stadium-filling anthems of The Who – it’s all there in the speakers and onstage, in an assorted jukebox of cult classics and legendary collections.
“These aren’t my favourite albums, but they certainly shaped me as a musician growing up,” he says. Well, one thing’s for sure – they were a hell of an introduction to the world of music…
The Who – Live at Leeds (1970)
I’d heard loads of live albums before, but they all seemed a bit dull until I found this when I was around 14 years old (albeit the six-track 1970 version). Once I heard the intro to Young Man Blues, I knew exactly the kind of style and sound of guitar I wanted to play, and how I wanted a band to sound. I don’t think I’ll ever hear a live album this good, and supporting The Who at Leeds with The Standard Lamps last year was the most amazing experience, which I’ll never forget.
The Beatles – Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)
I loved The Beatles from a very young age, and this was the first album I can remember feeling confused and scared by – looking back, in a good way. I’ve always loved the magical circus, variety show feel of it. Like or hate The Beatles, you’ve got to admit that they were never, ever normal. I marvel at every little aspect of this album, and own about nine different copies of it. The latest stereo remix is amazing, and is recommended to anyone who has only heard the original stereo mix.
Oasis – (What’s the Story) Morning Glory? (1995)
When I bought this album, I found that I could play all the songs by ear, without looking at a chord book. It was an instant ‘play and singalong’ album, and I liked every song on it, just like I loved The Beatles’ albums. Oasis opened me up to loads of great guitar groups from that time, which influenced my guitar playing a lot growing up. The great thing is that I’ve been fortunate enough to meet and play with a few heroes from the Britpop era, including Mark Morriss from The Bluetones.
Miles Davis – Kind of Blue (1959)
Not my favourite album of Miles’, but it takes me back to a time when I was starting to listen to different music other than rock, pop and blues. I’d seen a list of the greatest albums ever made, and Kind of Blue was on it. I found that I really enjoyed the album, as it wasn’t that different from blues music, really. This led me to try more challenging albums like In a Silent Way and Bitches Brew. I like challenging music, but prefer those who progress into it, rather than steer away.
Love – Forever Changes (1967)
This is the first time I can remember an album ‘growing on me’. I bought a copy from Our Price in Eastbourne in 2000 (another one in the ‘greatest albums’ list). I took it home and wasn’t sure at first, but by the fifth listen, it all sank in. Everything about it is odd, but extremely beautiful and powerful. It was also the first time I really heard the lyrics in an album, and I loved the bit at the end of the tunes that skips, so it sounds like the CD or record is broken!
Don’t miss Mike at some of his upcoming shows! You can catch him at the following gigs:
26/11/18 – The Joiners, Southampton (supporting Tom Williams)
20/12/18 – The Forum, Tunbridge Wells (full band show)