Five Records That Changed My Life, Part 38: Naoko Yamano

Naoko Yamano is the lead vocalist and guitarist for the cult Japanese rock band Shonen Knife. She founded the garage rock trio in Osaka in 1981. Roppongi Rocks boss Stefan Nilsson checked in with Naoko to find out what five records helped form her as an artist.

The Beatles “The Beatles” (aka “White Album”) (1968)

“When I bought this album, some 10 years had passed since the release. But their music was very sharp for me. I recently started to enjoy playing piano again after a few decades and I like to play ‘Martha My Dear’.”

Buzzcocks “Love Bites” (1978)

“I liked ‘new wave’ music in the late 70s when I was a teenager. I especially liked bands that had a pop sense. Their pop melody lines are great for me. It is a pity that Pete Shelley passed away while still young. I wanted to hear more songs.”

Pilot “Second Flight” (1975)

“I started to listen to Pilot enthusiastically only in the 21st century. I regret that I didn’t know them very much when I was young. I’m attracted by their sweet pop songs. I hope I can write songs like them.”

Ramones “Ramones” (1976)

“When I was a high-school student, I first heard their music on the radio. I was very inspired by their music especially the speedy pop songs and Joey’s voice. Almost 20 years later, we got an opportunity to support their farewell show in Osaka in 1995. Then we had a chance to play with Marky Ramone, Joey Ramone and CJ Ramone at separate opportunities in the US. I even wrote a song called ‘Ramones Forever’ on our album ‘Fun! Fun! Fun!’ (2007). We also released a Ramones covers album, ‘Osaka Ramones’, in 2011. Touring with CJ Ramone was fantastic. I have a lot of good memories with Ramones.”

Judas Priest “British Steel” (1980)

“I like 1970s British hard rock music. Judas Priest is my favourite band. Their shows are very fun and the music is excellent. I love their spirit of entertaining people. I learned a lot from them.”