In our new series, we invite music lovers to share the songs that have soundtracked their lives. This week, we speak to Scott Maclachlan, a head honcho at Warner Music Australasia.
Sorrow, Tears and Blood - Fela Kuti (1977)
Generally, I can't deal with long songs. It's like, get to the point. I'm commercially minded. I've lived by the mantra, "Don't bore us, get to the chorus". But I love this song in its entirety. I never get bored with it. It's beautifully constructed, it's got this amazing groove and this edgy, political vibe. It's often a Saturday morning thing, always on vinyl. I feel like it's a get-up-and-go song. Fela is one cool cat.
Racing in the Street - Bruce Springsteen (1978)
The man is God-like. I was a latecomer to Springsteen - I've only seen him live twice. At the first, I got a speeding ticket on the way there because I was late. It put me in a bad mood so I didn't love that gig. The second time, I felt like I was having a spiritual experience. It was a section of the show where things went to a different plane. It's that connection he has with his audience. I don't know how he does it and does it so well. There's one guy up there, a stadium of people, and he's connecting with everyone. You think, how do you do that? This is also the song I want to be played at my funeral.
What Difference Does it Make? - The Smiths (1984)
This was the first song that really connected with me. I remember seeing this on Top of the Pops in the UK and wondering what the hell I was watching. The Smiths were the first concert I went to. I got there early and was three from the front, 10 feet from Morrissey. I had this bromance, adoring thing for Morrissey at that time. He evoked that from you, and it was a celebration, just a life-changing show. Rather worryingly it was the last time they ever played. No one knew it was their last show. They disbanded the next year. I was very thankful to have seen them.
I am the Resurrection - The Stone Roses (1989)
This is from one of the best debut albums ever produced. I was at university when I saw them at Glasgow Green when they put a wooden floor in a big circus tent. We went in, and they just ambled on, Mani picked up his guitar, and they started with the bass line from I Wanna Be Adored, and the whole place erupted and sung the bass line back. I remember the floor jumping. It was a sea of people. This song summed up everything about the time and feeling in the UK during that period.
The Poem - Bobby Konders (1995)
It starts with a poem, which I think is quite deep for a house record. Then it just kind of creeps in with this old-school jazz flute that is all over the shop. It's just a very evocative song. It's haunting but it's pretty. It isn't all bosh bosh bosh.
Groove Armada - Superstylin' (2001)
I worked at a record label called Jive, then the biggest independent in the world. They'd signed Backstreet Boys, NSYNC, Britney Spears. When I was there I signed Groove Armada. I loved Andy and Tom, I loved that first record and signed them on the basis of that. They'd hire a cottage, set their thing up, and make a record in a week. They produced this song. I had to argue with them to call it Superstylin'. They played it to me, that bass line came in, and I was like, "That's a hit, that's a smash". It's an A&R manager's dream when they go, "I've got this song." and you go, "Oh my god". I have been to more than 100 Groove Armada gigs and, without fail, when the bass drops it always goes off. It still sounds great today.
Royals - Lorde (2013)
I went to Golden Age Studio. Ella was sitting on the side of the sofa, Joel was in his chair ready to play. Joel said, "We've got three songs to play you." He plays this song Bravado, which I loved. I was like, "That's amazing." Then he plays Million Dollar Bills, a great little track, nice, never going to be a single. Joel, sitting in his chair, looks at me almost ashen-faced. He goes, "No man, you've gotta hear the next one." I don't know at that stage if Ella knew what she had written, but Joel definitely did. It was a lightning-bolt moment. It gives me goosebumps just thinking about it. I was like, "That is a global hit, I've never been more sure about anything in my career."
It was just perfect. There isn't anything wrong with that song. It was so smart and so confrontational. For me, it was like, "You've painted a masterpiece." I don't think we ever thought it would go as big as it did. Someone reminded me the other day, it had been No. 1 for nine weeks in America. That's unheard of. She's so talented, she's got so much to go, but that's a legacy song.
- As told to Chris Schulz