From Bob Dylan to David Bowie: Carl Barat picked 15 songs that influenced The Libertines
When The Libertines burst on to the scene in the early 2000s, they were a much-welcomed tonic from the age of rock star demise, a time when Coldplay flourished as the brightest new band in Britain. Carl Barat, along with Pete Doherty, Gary Powell and Johnny Hassell were here to shake up the system and have a constant right royal knees-up in the process.
Angsty teens finally had a British band who they could relate to from this side of the Atlantic. Britpop had died and what was left in its wake was a dreary mess. Their debut album, Up the Bracket, was released in 2002 amidst a furore of rap metal and under the shadow of Oasis, Blur and the rest. The formative genre had sold its soul to the devil the moment Noel Gallagher posed with Tony Blair and claimed Cool Britannia was a new way. Its sense of disregard for the economic boom was summed up by The Libertines and their leading front men—and best friends—Carl Barat and Peter Doherty who used poetic justice as a reason to explore the exponential wisdom of destroying yourself.
When The Libertines were flying high as the most exciting band in Britain, Barat took part in the compilation series Under The Influence. The series saw him open up about his inspirations, as well as featuring the likes of Paul Weller, Paul Heaton, Ian Brown, Morrissey and Super Furry Animals. For the series, each artist picked out a selection of songs which influenced the artist they developed into.
One admission that Barat made was David Bowie’s ‘Oh You Pretty Things’ and, in 2017, he spoke alongside Vampire Weekend’s Rostam and Goldie at an event all about Bowie, in which he gushed: “I loved Bowie, Bowie had balls. I used to be terrified of wearing leather jackets and having long hair back in the ’90s, for fear of getting a kick in. But, Bowie would walk around London looking like a mental patient.
“He wasn’t hard looking either and he brazenly crossed the lines of gender, at a time when he really did risk a kick in for doing so, and he aced it, kick in free – a true hero and leader figure for all of us drop-outs and misfits, to follow. David Bowie had been an integral part of my life in many ways. I’ve known his music and engaged with it on a personal level, ever since I can remember, as far back as being a toddler, in fact.”
He continued: “I have hazy memories of long car journeys, strapped in the child’s seat, my sister and I listening to my parent’s mixtapes, when we’d brace ourselves waiting for Scary Monsters to come on, upon which we’d be thrilled and terrified in equal manner.”
Mick Jones from The Clash was the man at the helm of the production desk for The Libertines’ first two albums and he owes a lot to the iconic punk outfit. It should come as no surprise that The Clash feature in his list of influences, with Barat including ‘Remote Control’ in his list of compilations.
Paul Weller is an artist that Carl Barat has worked alongside in the years since this list was published, which must have been a dream come true for The Libertines frontman who included The Jam’s political anthem ‘Eton Rifles’ on his list of influences. Barat’s list of influences predominantly pulls from British bands that paved the path for The Libertines to succeed and it paints a succinct picture of the kind of music, as well as attitude which was encapsulated within Up The Bracket.
Take a look, below!
15 songs that influenced Carl Barat from The Libertines: