Playlist – Harper Simon’s “New York records” inc Television, Velvet Underground, Miles Davis


A New Yorker of birth, Harper Simon is hardwired into the city’s folklore. Not only was his dad’s duo, a certain Paul Simon, written the odd song about the city, but on his just released new album Division Street (1 April) the singer-songwriter has tapped up one of the Big Apple’s coolest musical ambassadors, The StrokesNikolai Fraiture to help on bass. To celebrate he’s created us a Playlist featuring his favourite hometown tunes. “This is a very hard list to compile,” he admits. “My ten favourite New York records. Gee, where to begin? I guess with an acknowledgement of all the great Be Bop and all the great Doo Wop. The Folk Scene. The Brill Building writers. The Punk Rockers and B-boys. No Wavers and Avant Garde composers. James Brown at the Apollo. Shangri Las. New York Dolls. Blondie, Talking Heads and Patti Smith at CBGB’s. Glenn Gould at Carnegie Hall. All the great Latin stuff up in Harlem and the Bronx. Beastie Boys and Public Enemy. The Strokes and Yeah Yeah Yeahs. The Cotton Club! Can you imagine? I salute you all!” Here’s who actually made the cut…

Miles Davis – All Blues
“From Kind Of Blue. One of the greatest albums of all time. Indisputable. Recorded at Columbia Studios on 30th street.”

The Velvet Underground – Rock & Roll
“From their last album Loaded. Other obvious choices from Lou Reed: Waiting For The Man and Walk On The Wild Side.”

Television – Venus
Broadway looked so medieval/ It seemed to flap, like little pages/ I fell sideways laughing/ With a friend from many stages. Very psychedelic.”

Simon & Garfunkel – The Boxer
“The biggest New York act of all time! Gotta have it!”

The Ramones – Blitzkrieg Bop
“Shout out to Queens!”

The Lovin’ Spoonful – Summer In The City
“A real New York band. Engineered by the great Roy Halee who also co-produced all the S&G stuff and lots more.”

Grandmaster Flash – The Message
“It would be crazy to not include some Hip Hop. New York invented it!”

Richard Hell And The Voidoids – Rock N Roll Club
Partner, don’t you pull no gun/ Down at the rock and roll club/ We just gonna have some fun/ Down at the rock and roll club/ Sweetheart, would you buy me one/ Down at the rock and roll club.”

The Rolling Stones – Shattered
What a mess, this town’s in tatters/ I’ve been shattered/ My brain’s been battered/ Splattered all over Manhattan. London boys make such a great New York record they get to be on this list.”

The Flamingos – I Only Have Eyes For You
“Timeless. Beautiful. Doo Wop. Still can’t get over the reverb. The mind boggles!”

For more head to Harpersimon.com. Plus if you want more Big Apple, check out The Virgins’ “Favourite music moments in New York movies” Playlist.