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Black Stone Cherry's Chris Robertson: The 10 Songs That Changed My Life

Black Stone Cherry mainman Chris Robertson flicks through his record collection, pulling out classics from Lynyrd Skynyrd, Bob Marley and more...

Black Stone Cherry's Chris Robertson: The 10 Songs That Changed My Life
Photo:
Mike Rodway

Black Stone Cherry frontman Chris Robertson takes us through the songs that shaped him: from his Southern rock roots to the singer that changed his thought process...

The first song I remember hearing…

Lynyrd Skynyrd – That Smell (1977)

“I’ve been around music my whole life; my dad played guitar and my grandfather played guitar. I remember being around four years old, riding around in an old green Chevrolet pick-up truck with my dad, hearing That Smell and thinking, ‘What is that?’ That’s my first musical memory of being floored by music.”

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The song that reminds me of school…

The Kentucky Headhunters – My Daddy Was A Milkman (1989)

“John Fred (Young, Black Stone Cherry drummer) and I were friends before I even knew that his dad was in The Kentucky Headhunters. We met in kindergarten, and hit it off immediately – we were the kids who both liked neon crayons! Being from this area (Edmonton, Kentucky), you can’t help but have a love for The Kentucky Headhunters. When I hear this, it takes me back to being a kid.”

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The song that made me want to play rock’n’roll…

Mountain – Mississippi Queen (1970)

“I remember going through a stack of my dad’s vinyl records when I had just started playing guitar, and I dropped the needle on this record. As soon as that guitar came in I was like, okay, I’m done – I’m playing rock’n’roll for the rest of my life!”

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The first song that I performed live…

Eric Clapton – Cocaine (1977)

“This is gonna sound awful, but I played Cocaine with my dad in one of his bands (laughs). They would play a lot of 70s rock era stuff. My dad would be like, ‘We’re gonna get my 14-year-old boy up here to play a song!’ And it would be Cocaine. I’ve never even done a hard drug in my life!”

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The first song of mine I heard on the radio…

Black Stone Cherry – Lonely Train (2006)

“We were in a taxi on the road in Sweden in 2007, and this came on the radio. We were like, oh my god, we’re in a foreign country, they’re talking a foreign language on the radio and the next thing you hear is my Edmonton Kentucky ass singing ‘Big train rolling down the line…’. It was unreal.”

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The song I chill out to…

Bob Marley – Three Little Birds (1977)

“I went through a complete nervous breakdown almost ten years ago now. Bob Marley was somebody I discovered through that, that completely saved me, and changed my whole thought process. I’ve got the lyrics of this tattooed on the top of my hand.”

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The song that was the most difficult to write…

Black Stone Cherry – When Angels Learn To Fly (2020)

“When Angels Learn To Fly on the new record was a difficult one because it’s head-on talking about what it was like dealing with losing my mother-in-law last year. It’s one of those really emotional ones.”

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The song that makes me want to party…

AC/DC – Thunderstruck (1990)

“The way that song starts, man. We play it as the opening music to our show sometimes, because when people hear it, they know things are about to get awesome.”

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The song I’d like to be remembered for…

Black Stone Cherry – Peace Is Free (2008)

“Every night when we’d play that song, I’d get the entire crowd to raise their hands and hold the person’s hand next to them. To be able to take a song and turn it into a moment where people unite, a song about being kind to one another, is just amazing to me.”

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The song I want played at my funeral…

Tuesday's Gone – Lynyrd Skynyrd (1976)

“I would go with the live version from One More From The Road. I have a huge record collection and I admire studio work, but there is just something about being a live musician, and hearing musicians play live. The piano break is amazing in this version. In my opinion, this is the greatest song ever written.”

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