Hugh Laurie: What's on My iPod -- an EW exclusive

Hugh-Laurie

Image Credit: Peter Kramer/NBC/AP Images

Hugh Laurie has the blues — specifically, a whole album full of it: The Golden Globe-winning star of House, now coming up on its eighth season, recently ventured into music for the first time on record.

His debut, Let Them Talk, which was released Stateside last week (it came out in May in his native U.K.), opens a window on his longtime passion for the genre, and Laurie opened it further by telling EW about the songs and albums that inspire him daily.

WHAT’S ON MY IPOD
by Hugh Laurie

There is a lot on my iPod. Playing non-stop, top to bottom, I suspect it would easily outlive me. It doesn’t smoke, of course. But then I don’t shuffle.

I also don’t do playlists. I began to feel decadent, surrounding myself only with Favorites. Like a Maharajah who never eats a bad fig — how can you know how good figs are? Playlists give me the feeling that I’m driving into a cul-de-sac, while an album is actually going somewhere.

Bruch’s Violin Concerto in G Minor: I offer this partly to make you think I have hidden depths, and partly because it is exquisite and forms the basis of a balanced diet. I listen to it often, but never as background music. I will put it on and lie on the floor. It is absurdly romantic.

Keith Jarrett’s Koln Concert has never been far from my ears since I first heard it. He was touched by something that day. And yet, the recording very nearly didn’t happen. On the night, Jarrett was tired, in pain, fed up, and the piano provided by the promoter was sub-standard. So this might be an example of Kenneth Clark’s dictum – that no one ever had a good idea in a big room. If Jarrett had been fit and well, the piano had been a peach, the stars had twinkled – maybe this recording wouldn’t have transcended the way it still does, 30 years later.

Any album by Dr John can start and finish my day. He is my religious observance. His solo album, Dr John Plays Mac Rebennack is about as lovely as a thing could be. I studied it for years and taught myself to play the whole thing, note for note. That sounds musically stalkerish, because it is. I make no apology.

Jon Cleary - I will play one of his albums pretty much every day. A beast of a piano player, and a beautiful singer, his band (the Absolute Monster Gentlemen) can definitely funk it, assuming you have something that needs to be funked. And which of us doesn’t? His live album, Mo Hippa, is a corker.

Adrian Duke is in a similar mold to Cleary, but he has a looser, friendlier style. Live in New Orleans is a blast. His singing is great but completely unintelligible, which is fine with me. It relieves me of the duty to listen to lyrics, which I do only because I know I should. Lyrics are better as musical sounds than bearers of meaning. Meaning is for novelists.

For EW.com:
Pearl Jam’s drunken MTV debacle: Cameron Crowe looks back — an EW Exclusive
Simon Cowell’s five songs you shouldn’t sing on ‘X-Factor”
On the Billboard charts: George Strait, Lil Wayne, The Beatles post big numbers

Comments (26 total) Add your comment
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  • slick willie

    eric clapton, is that you?

    • james

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  • maggie

    Hugh Laurie is talented and witty. I love that he tries so many different things-comedy, drama, music, writing, directing- out of the love of creativity, rather than ego.

    • abadstroller

      HL is my kind of guy (sighhhhh)….

  • fancypants

    He speaks so well. It’s a nice break from all the vapid bromides other celebs frequently and mindlessly spew.

  • lilian

    I know it’s such a cliche, but I do love him…

    • Nurrum

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  • Rebecca E

    Damn, Hugh Laurie has serious taste. That Keith Jarrett recording is genius.

  • kristin

    Hugh Laurie is such an amazing guy, so talented, so intelligent and so sexy!

  • DRG

    Bertie Wooster has interesting musical tastes.

  • PorkPie The Sailor

    What? He doesn’t have any justin beaver on his ipod?

  • Jane Finlayson

    I love the fact that through loving Hugh’s talent I have learnt to appreciate so many more talented artists!

    • xinyuActor

      this is what we do ;)

  • Ben

    “Lyrics are better as musical sounds than bearers of meaning. Meaning is for novelists.”


    What a stupid thing to say.

    • Action Kate

      Hugh Laurie IS a novelist… he wrote the funny, intelligent spy novel “The Gun Seller.” So he can say that. Also, since he’s a jazz/blues fan, he appreciates the kind of music where the words are more of a tone poem than a message — Ella Fitzgerald scatting, for example. Hugh Laurie rarely says something outright stupid if it’s not in the script. ;)

  • walt

    Oh wow. ” an exclusive! “.

    • Ana

      Karin,I hope you made it home safely. Thank you for pontsig Nothing Pink on your website. I am sure it is nowhere near the top of that mountain of books you have ahead of you, but when you finally get to it, I hope you enjoy the read. Both NCTE and ALAN were amazing experiences for me. If I judge by your facial expressions in the photos on your blog, you had a fine time yourself.Best to you and yours. Happy Thanksgiving, Mark HardyPS-In the photo of you, Lauren Myracle, and Jennifer Lynn Barnes, the fourth person is Shana Norris, author of Something to Blog About.

  • PN

    I think he prefers listening to the entire albums, start to finish without all that shuffling so common on Ipods.

  • PN

    Hugh Laurie needs to trim his fingernails more. They’re a little too long in that ad promoting his TV show House for the new fall season where he’s in handcuffs. They have a shiny, glossy look with the nail length, but they’re still too long.

  • tresorparis

    Thanks for interesting blog post. You guys are always provide information that it makes it impossible not to want to buy your next product ;I cant wait to see what you guys come up with based on all your research and data that you gather.

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