Nikki Sixx looked back at how British musicians have influenced his career, naming Queen, Marc Bolan, Elton John and David Bowie.

In a recent interview with Classic Rock – where he also noted his appreciation for Black Sabbath, Wings and fellow Americans Black Oak Arkansas – the Motley Crue bassist reflected on an era where artists were more dangerous. “When did everybody get so fucking safe?” Sixx said.

“My friends say to me, ‘You know, Nikki, not everyone in a band has to look like a rock star.’ … I’m like, ‘Why the fuck not? The artists I loved would blow your mind and change your life’.”

He went on to list some of the songs that made the biggest impact on him, starting with Queen’s 1974 track “Ogre Battle.” “It was the most mind-blowing moment for me, because of how it mixed the coolest, hardest rock riffs and the most extreme, beautiful melodies,” he said. “Brian May once told me that Freddie Mercury wrote that guitar riff, which I didn’t know. It’s hard as shit to play! But when you really study Queen’s music, you get such an incredible education in the art of songwriting.”

Hailing T. Rex’s 1971 album Electric Warrior, he enthused: “What a cool-looking album! There was Marc Bolan with his guitar and this huge Marshall stack just looking like the coolest rock star on earth. You’d be getting excited even being you dropped the needle, and then it was just wow!”

Sixx chose John as another influence, noting that "he was a bit controversial at times, which appealed to rock guys like me and Axl [Rose], but he also connected with a bigger demographic because his songwriting skills were just undeniable.” He also explained his admiration for Bowie’s 1974 LP Diamond Dogs. “When I listened to Bowie on headphones, it was like theatre for the mind,” he said. “Diamond Dogs is the ultimate Bowie record for me, everything you’d want from your favorite rock star is right there.”

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