The Independent Echo speaks to Korda Marshall just weeks before David Bowie passes away.
As such, we can reassure you that Marshall’s pie-eyed tribute to his teenage icon below isn’t a requiem or eulogy – it’s simply a celebration of the way in which Ziggy Stardust, both musically and practically, kickstarted a hugely successful career in A&R.
We get on to the topic of Bowie after TIE asks Korda to compile his Life’s Playlist: the 15 tracks that have most changed his life across all ages.
Korda’s never been one for doing things in the most obvious manner, and this was no different.
Instead of one 15-track list, he supplied us two, divided into a duo of categories: The songs that are his personal favourites, and those that are career highlights – or, as he alternatively puts it, ‘songs that kept us afloat’.
You can listen to all 30 tracks below, but we asked Korda to describe what was extra special about just five: David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust, Lou Reed’s Perfect Day, Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, The Who’s My Generation (Live At Leeds) and The Clash’s London Calling.
As you can read in our recent Independent Echo interview, Korda’s professional life has taken him from RCA to Infectious (Mk.1), Mushroom, Warner Bros, Infectious (Mk.2) and now the fast-growing new BMG – where he’s working with the likes of Jack Savoretti, The Charlatans, DMA’s and hotly-tipped new rockers Dead.
Along the way he’s worked with artists from Take That to Alt-J, Ash, Muse, The Temper Trap, Garbage, The Darkness and many more besides.
But it all started on a hot summer’s night at Earl’s Court in 1972, when Ziggy took the stage – and a new world of possibilities opened up…
David Bowie, Ziggy Stardust (1972)
I was 12 years old in 1972. I’d just bought Alice Cooper’s Killer album.
I had an older sister who had a boyfriend and he brought round Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars LP.
I heard it, and about a week after that I saw Bowie on Top Of The Pops, the famous performance when he did Starman, and leant over and kissed [Mick Ronson]. I remember my parents being completely outraged.
At school the next day somebody turned up with big blond hair and make-up. I bought the Ziggy Stardust album and then saw him at Earls Court in the summer of ’72. I just fell in love with the whole thing.
Bowie woke up so much in me. He was this amazing mix of androgyny, culture, drugs, sex, colour, violence…
It’s because of Bowie that I discovered the music industry.
It was that song, this record, that made me realise there was someone who managed Bowie, and a record company in RCA – the power behind the scenes. The music industry. It was an epiphany.
When I was 14, I thought: ‘That’s the business I want to be in.’
And that’s all because of Ziggy Stardust.
Lou Reed, Perfect Day (1972)
When my first child, Summer, was born, I put Perfect Day on a loop on a cassette.
We started playing it at about 10am and she was born in mid-afternoon.
Perfect Day will always be the soundtrack to the birth of Summer Dawn Jasmine Marshall – who’s now at CAA, of course.
I first heard Perfect Day when I found out that Bowie produced Lou Reed and that Mick Ronson did all the arrangements.
Then I found out Lou Reed wrote Walk On The Wild Side in Wimbledon and recorded it in Trident Studios. So this one was Bowie’s fault too!
For me the whole album [Transformer] opened up a world of musicality, songwriting and London – even though the songs were all about New York.
Queen – Bohemian Rhapsody (1975)
I moved from West London to Cornwall in 1973. I’d just seen David Bowie play the last ever Ziggy Stardust show at Hammersmith Odeon in the May, and then we moved in the June.
The bus ride from the house in the village to my school took about 40 minutes. We used to listen to the radio on the way there and the way back.
It was on that bus I heard Seven Seas Of Rye – the very first single on the very first Queen album.
I bought the first album and fell in love with Queen. I used to get the night train to London to see gigs and I saw Queen support Mott The Hoople at Hammersmith Odeon. Another epiphany.
At this time, because I didn’t have any cash, I started a market garden at home, growing vegetables that we’d sell to the local greengrocer. Out of that I created some capital. My first venture!
Everyone at school wanted to go and see gigs but there were never any [nearby]. I rang up Plymouth Guildhall and worked out I could buy 35 tickets for Queen, then hire a bus and sell a ticket bundle to make money.
As Bohemian Rhapsody came out, I took everyone from school up to the gig and I got in real trouble for it. But I didn’t stop.
I used to use the local coach company for the travel and became a mini-promoter.
I took quite a healthy margin – enough for me to buy two or three albums every week and buy the NME, Melody Maker and Sounds.
The Who, My Generation (Live At Leeds) (1970)
It’s always been The Who, The Stones and The Clash for me – not so much The Beatles or The Sex Pistols.
I discovered The Who during that transitional time down in Cornwall.
I bought The Who Live At Leeds (1974) – with the 11-minute version of My Generation where they play a bit of Tommy during the segue. I learned to play the drums to that track, and I soon realised how clever Keith Moon was and how bad I was. [Korda’s music business career started as a drummer in bands such as Zerra One.]
I went to see The Who at Charlton Football Club, which was also Bad Company’s first ever gig, when I was 14.
It was amazing. I’ve seen The Who something like 50 times now.
The Clash, London Calling (1979)
I was 16 in 1976. I remember kids coming to school with earrings and safety pins holding their T-shirts together, thinking: ‘What the fuck is this?’
Then I went up to Richmond to stay with some mates and really discovered what punk rock was.
That first Clash album, I remember seeing Tommy Gun on the TV – that show filmed in Manchester with Tony Wilson. I was thinking, ‘What is THIS?!’
And again, I remember my dad saying: ‘Turn that DOWN!’
I saw The Clash at the Lyceum two or three times… I must have seen The Clash 30 times overall.
I banked with The Midland Bank just because I used to see Joe Strummer in there on Portobello Road. If it’s good enough for Joe it’s good enough for me!
I learned a lot about culture and life the Joe Strummer way. If there was ever an example of enhanced energy, it was The Clash – the finest rock and roll band in the world.
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