From Bruce Springsteen to Kate Bush: The Killers’ Brandon Flowers listed his favourite songs of all time
The Killers’ headline performance at Glastonbury Festival in 2019 cemented the band’s status as one of the biggest guitar bands of the 21st Century. While rolling through their extensive back catalogue, the group also made sure to pay homage to some of their heroes throughout their set, who helped them become a band of such significance today.
That set saw Brandon Flowers and the band welcome Pet Shop Boys on stage, as well as the one and only Johnny Marr from The Smiths. The cameos provide a small inclination into the world of frontman Flowers and the music he loves. With The Killers, the frontman has released six-studio albums that have all topped the UK album charts and two solo albums. The Killers are unequivocally one of the world’s biggest bands and have much more in their arsenal than the somewhat dreaded hit ‘Mr Brightside’.
Flowers’ career has seen him shift between sounds, which has helped keep The Killers relevant for so long. “I’ve struggled with an identity sometimes; I don’t know what exactly I am. I love so many types of music, and I don’t want to commit to going down one road,” Flowers once explained.
In 2012, the singer opened up to EW and shared details about some of the records that remind him of different eras of his life, an insight that provides a fascinating glimpse at the man he was before The Killers began selling out stadiums all over the globe. His list of favourite records is eclectic, to say the least, and explains why Flowers has dipped his toes in waters from Americana on Sam’s Town, synth-pop to full-throttle driving rock.
Flowers is a proud Nevada man and, whenever he’s away on the road, there’s always one record that can bring him back home — even if his body may be on the other side of the world. That song in question is ‘Peaceful Easy Loving’ by The Eagles. Flowers lovingly explained: “I love the desert, so there are a few people for me who’ve captured that specific area, like the Eagles and Fleetwood Mac and even Jackson Browne sometimes.”
He added: “I’ll hear that stuff, and I’m just there. But if I had to say one specifically, it’d be this one. I hear it and it’s like — I don’t know, I can just see the sun going down in Las Vegas.”
However, the song that perhaps holds the most significant weight of significance to Flowers is ‘Just What I Needed’ by The Cars, a number which he says single-handedly changed his life. “There are probably so many, but I go back to Nephi again, because you’re so influenced when you’re 12 or 13,” the singer maintained before adding, “I mean, there wasn’t even a stoplight in this town, and it was such a big contrast because, you know, I was from Las Vegas.
“But that song was just so cool to me, and it had such a big impact. It made that town more tolerable, and it made that town cooler, and it didn’t matter. It was really profound.”
When asked to name the most sentimental Bruce Springsteen song, picking a Boss favourite was light work for the frontman for personal reasons. “I gotta say ‘Thunder Road.’ I got to go on stage with the E Street Band and do the song in France,” Flowers recalled. “So that’s always going to be something I always associate with the Boss, and it’s something I cherish. So that’s the one.”
The Killers frontman then revealed that the first-ever song he performed in public was Oasis’ iconic ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’. “I worked at a French restaurant in Las Vegas,” he recalled. “It was in the Aladdin Hotel and Casino, and now it’s called Planet Hollywood—and we had a Christmas party at a Thai restaurant, and they had karaoke set up. That was actually the only time I’ve ever done karaoke.” Moving on, Flowers then stated that he has to get the tissues out to have an old fashioned cry whenever he listens to ‘This Woman’s Work’ by Kate Bush which still manages to hit him on such an emotional level every time he listens to the track.
“It’s one of those most powerful pieces of music that I’ve encountered,” Flowers dotingly stated. “It was in [the 1988 John Hughes movie] She’s Having a Baby when I was little, and even then I knew, like, I really like this song. And now that I’m older, it just sticks with me. It’s perfect.”