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The music that inspired The Fall: When Mark E. Smith picked his favourite albums and artists of all time


At a time when millions of people around the world are forced to remain home amid strict social distancing measures, we’re dipping back into the Far Out archives to soundtrack your lockdown.

The Fall, the unrelenting post-punk band born in 1976, grew notorious thanks to their legendary, one of a kind leader, the late Mark E. Smith who sacked more members over the years then he had cigarettes. “It’s a bit like a football team. Every so often you have to get rid of the centre-forward,” he once explained of the band’s sliding doors policy.

The band, who underwent numerous different stylistic makeovers during their prolific 40-year active period, only kept one solid and consistent section of the group; Mark E. Smith. Smith, who formed the band after attending a Sex Pistols gig in Manchester in 1976, remained its leader for 42 years in which demonstrated his uncompromising nature by hiring and firing over 60 band members as well as being an integral part of 30 albums. “When I was 18, the vision was to make music that didn’t exist, because everything else was so unsatisfactory,” he once said.

Smith, the snarling leader of the Manchester group, was a marauding presence on the music scene for over 40 years before he sadly passed away in late January 2018. Not only did he achieve his goal of creating music that didn’t exist, but he also ripped up the alternative music scene in his own destructive way without a care in the world.

“The thing with me. I can’t stick musicians,” he once said, offering a glimpse into the life of The Fall. “I’ve thought about this. I can’t stand them, and being stuck in a studio with them I think that’s my strength I can hear what they can’t.”

He added: “Being in The Fall isn’t like being in another group. It isn’t a holiday. A lot of musicians are really hard to deal with. They aren’t as smart as me.”

While Smith and the group were always only ever going to produce material that felt appropriate to them, their fans and their surroundings, the enigmatic lead singer was never shy to let his feelings known. Taking part in an NME feature entitled ‘Portrait of the Artist as a Consumer’ in 1981, Smith proved that there were some things he did enjoy in life and curated a list of his favourite writers, comedians, books, films, and musicians.

Below, explore a section of Smith’s favourite bands, artists and albums.

Mark E. Smith’s favourite music:

  • Take No Prisoners – Lou Reed
  • Peter Hammill
  • Johnny Cash
  • The Panther Burns
  • God Save the Queen – The Sex Pistols
  • Raw and Alive – The Seeds
  • Pebbles Vol. 3 – Various
  • 16 Greatest Truck Driver Hits cassette
  • Radio City – Philip Johnson (cassette)
  • Der Plan
  • Alternative TV
  • Land of the Homo Jews and Hank Williams Was Queer, live – Fear (L.A. Group)
  • We’re Only In It for the Money – Mothers of Invention