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This year’s National Album Day ‘Artist Champions’ reveal their album inspirations

National Album Day is set to return on Saturday 12 October and today, National Album Day ‘Artist Champions’ Lewis Capaldi, Elbow, Mahalia and Mark Ronson each reveal the ten albums that have influenced them most.

Albums by the likes of Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder, Oasis, Billie Eilish, Kanye West, Amy Winehouse, Adele, Kate Bush, Lauryn Hill, Bjork and David Bowie are featured in these lists. Arctic Monkeys‘ debut ‘Whatever People Say I Am That’s What I’m Not’ features in both Lewis Capaldi and Mahalia’s lists, and Beastie Boys ‘Check Your Head’ are included in both Mark Ronson’s and Elbow’s lists.

Six album choices from each artist champion are included in an exclusive touring Network Rail exhibition as part of the celebrations leading up to National Album Day. ‘The Sounds of…’ exhibition visits Glasgow, Manchester, Birmingham and London this month and next (see dates below), and features the artist champion choices along with picks from a local music critic and record store from each region. The exhibition will also feature each region’s best-selling albums of the millennium.

Lewis Capaldi (Artist Champion for Scotland)
1. The Maccabees – Given to the Wild*
2. Bill Withers – As I Am*
3. Bob Dylan – Bringing It All Back Home*
4. Fleetwood Mac – Rumours*
5. Kanye West – Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy*
6. Kings of Leon – Aha Shake Heartbreak*
7. Oasis – What’s the Story (Morning Glory)
8. Paolo Nutini – Caustic Love
9. Arctic Monkeys – Whatever People Say I Am That’s What I’m Not
10.  The Beatles – Abbey Road

*featured in ‘The Sounds of Scotland’ along with choices from local music critic Fiona Shepherd and Love Music Glasgow

Lewis Capaldi said “Absolutely buzzing to be part of National Album Day! Unreal to have finally released my debut album this year and find out that not everyone hates it! On the whole, I’m very proud of it, although I won’t lie there’s probably a few stinkers on there, but I’m only human. Hope you don’t hate it but if you do don’t worry, it’s only my life’s work.”

Elbow (Artist Champion for the North)
1. Spiritualized – Ladies and Gentlemen – We Are Floating in Space*
2. Public Enemy – Fear of a Black Planet*
3. Kate Bush – Hounds of Love*
4. Bjork – Vespertine*
5. David Bowie – Hunky Dory*
6. Joni Mitchell – For The Roses*
7. Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here
8. Sly & The Family Stone – There’s a  Riot Goin’ On
9. Beastie Boys – Check Your Head
10.  Talk Talk – Laughing Stock

*featured in ‘The Sounds of the North’ along with choices from local music critic John Robb and Piccadilly Records

Elbow said: “Some artists see the album as a collection of short stories, we see the album as a novel.  Songs are often included or omitted on account of the balance of the overall record rather than on their individual merits.  We looked forward to our B-sides album from the day we wrote our first B-side and we had its title, ‘Dead in the Boot’, very soon after we titled the first album ‘Asleep in the Back’. 

“In the way that my dad measured time by what car he was driving and not by age of any of his 7 children, we all measure what has happened to us in our adult life by what point we were at on what album. Each of the albums is the memory of a million decisions made together over many years, but you can boil the whole thing down to one single question that we ask each other every single day “What do you want to hear next?” To suggest the album is under threat because of playlists is to suggest that movies will disappear on account of television, they are two completely different things.”

Mahalia: (Artist Champion for the Midlands)
1. Billie Eilish – When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?*
2. Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago*
3. Corinne Bailey Rae – Corinne Bailey Rae*
4. Elli Ingram – Love You Really*
5. Amy Winehouse – Frank*
6. Lauryn Hill – The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill*
7. Adele – 19
8.  Frank Ocean – Blond
9.  Daniel Caesar – Freudian
10. Arctic Monkeys – Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not

*featured in ‘The Sounds of the Midlands’ along with choices from local music critic Lyle Bignon and Diskery Records

Mahalia said: “I’ve been an ‘album girl’ ever since I was a kid. I’ve always been more interested in a 40 minute listen over a 4 minute one. I think it came from the way my parents used to play music around the house and put on different albums at dinner when I really got into listening to full projects whilst eating together and talking about our days. I found it comforting then and I still do now.

“I see myself as an ‘album artist, which in my world means timeless music that you don’t skip past. I want to make whole pieces of work that other little girls like me find comfort in listening to; a 40 to 60 minute dreamland where they can be away from the world. That’s why I’m supporting National Album Day. Streaming has changed everything. I want the kids younger than me to feel about albums how I did.”

Mark Ronson: (Artist Champion for London & the South)
1. Pete Rock and CL Smooth – Mecca and the Soul Brother*
2. Gang Starr – Daily Operation*
3. Steely Dan – Aja*
4. Stevie Wonder – Songs in the Key of Life*
5. A Tribe Called Quest – Midnight Marauders*
6. The Brand New Heavies – The Brand New Heavies*
7. Beastie Boys – Check Your Head
8. The Meters – Look-Kay Py Py
9. Hall & Oates – Big Bam Boom
10.  Average White Band – AWB

* featured in ‘The Sounds of London & the South’ along with choices from music critic Roisin O’Connor and Resident Records

Mark Ronson said: “The other day I was feeling down, wandering through Brooklyn with no direction home, and I happened across the WFMU record fair. I spent A LOT of my 20’s in record fairs but hadn’t been to one in a while. Instantly the sight of all the records, mostly in bins, some tacked onto make-shift cardboard dividers, lifted my entire mood. The infinite possibility of stumbling across some random 60’s psych record or a rare soul record I had never heard of felt so invigorating. All the dealers with their crazy, wildly nerdy knowledge. This community of people who existed around this one thing – the album. I was so happy to be a part of that.

“To care so much about one thing. The album has brought me pure joy since I was old enough to remember. I don’t think it will ever stop doing that.”

The general public will be able to visit the exhibition for free at the following Network Rail stations:
Manchester Piccadilly: 19th-30th September
Birmingham New Street: 30th September-9th October
London’s London Bridge: 9th-19th October

For more information about National Album Day please go to www.nationalalbumday.co.uk or @AlbumDayUK.

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