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From Patti Smith to The Beach Boys: Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore shares his favourite songs of all time


When we go through the back catalogue of Sonic Youth, you can easily trace the moments of inspiration that defined the group and clearly influenced the artists around them and those yet to become artists. That said, now we have a definitive list of Sonic Youth frontman Thurston Moore’s favourite songs ever and it’s a belting collection, so we can see how he got there.

The playlist has a variety of different songs and genres from punk to glam-rock, hardcore to 1960s classics, Moore has it all in his record collection, and he’s given us a taste of that classic collection here. It’s one of the best things to cure the coronavirus lockdown boredom. It showcases the myriad of influences that turned into Sonic Youth, the no-wave sound and the love the singer shares for music.

Paying homage to classic artists such as Jimi Hendrix, The Beach Boys, and Lou Reed while still giving space for his early ‘90s contemporaries Nirvana, Mudhoney and Dinosaur Jr.—Moore also finds room for some of the in-between as Public Image Ltd., Black Flag, and David Bowie all make an appearance.

It’s a playlist that goes a long way to sum up Moore’s own sound. While there are moments of blissful pop and soulful refrain, most selections are feverish and furious, deliberately doused in experimentation and altogether antagonistic. It’s a dream combination and the same cocktail that made Moore and Sonic Youth so potent.

When asked about the best record he himself has ever made by The Fly, he answered: “With Sonic Youth early on it would be the Confusion Is Sex LP and laterThe Eternal LP, which is the last one we recorded. Solo, possibly Demolished Thoughts. With noise, improv freaks probably the Last Notes LP with Joe McPhee and Bill Nace.”

We can all live in hope that Moore and the rest of Sonic Youth will finally end their indefinite hiatus that started in 2011. While Moore and bassist Kim Gordon’s relationship ended with the band, it hasn’t stopped Moore continuing work on his solo work.

Until the time that Moore and the band can get it together, we will just listen to this playlist. On repeat. As we delve into Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore and his favourite 38 songs.

Thurston Moore’s favourite songs ever:

  • Tapper Zukie – ‘Man Ah Warrior’
  • Patti Smith – ‘Godspeed’
  • Teenage Jesus & the Jerks – ‘Orphans’
  • Mars – ‘3E’
  • Public Image LTD – ‘Public Image’
  • The Slits – ‘Love Und Romance’
  • The Raincoats – ‘In Love’
  • Captain Beefheart – ‘Electricity’
  • Alice Cooper – ‘Is It My Body?’
  • T. Rex – ‘Children of the Revolution’
  • Archie Shepp – ‘Blasé’
  • Billie Holiday – ‘Gloomy Sunday’
  • Nirvana – ‘Dive’
  • Mudhoney – ‘In ‘N Out of Grace’
  • Dinosaur Jr. – ‘Little Fury Things’
  • Jackson C. Frank – ‘Blues Run the Game’
  • Bush Tetras – ‘Too Many Creeps’
  • The Germs – ‘Caught in My Eye’
  • Boredoms – ‘Born to Anal’
  • Lou Reed – ‘Satellite of Love’
  • Beach Boys – ‘Hang On to Your Ego’
  • David Bowie – ‘Five Years’
  • Sparks – ‘Equator’
  • Siouxsie & the Banshees – ‘Hong Kong Garden’
  • The Damned – ‘New Rose’
  • The Mentally Ill – ‘Gacy’s Place’
  • Minor Threat – ‘Out of Step’
  • Black Flag – ‘I’ve Got To Run’
  • The Untouchables – ‘Nic Fit’
  • Iron Cross – ‘Fight Em All’
  • The Faith – ‘It’s Time’
  • Void – ‘My Rules’
  • Negative Approach – ‘Nothing’
  • Youth Brigade – ‘It’s About Time We Had a Change’
  • State of Alert – ‘Gonna Haveta Fight’
  • Anne Briggs – ‘Go Your Way’
  • The Fugs – ‘Crystal Liaison’
  • Jimi Hendrix – ‘Freedom’