music-is-my-life-bwI love how I met David. It’s a long story. It involves a stateside soccer club…and the World Cup in South Africa. If you want the full story I’ll buy you a beer and we’ll chat.

I am very happy that I met David. Here’s part of his musical journey. Thanks for sharing this with us…the rest is all David.

My Life in Music

I was brought up with music playing around the house – normally ‘Ole Blue Eyes’ or Nat King Cole (my Mum’s choice) or Louis Armstrong / Count Basie / Glenn Miller (Dad’s) ……. Interspersed with South Pacific and occasional classical music. Jazz was a big influence on them and I’ve come to appreciate it more now, than I did then. I think my lifelong interest in lyrics started when I listened to Frank’s “One for the Road”. This means more to me every time I hear it.

Having an sister older than me by 7 years and a brother 6 years older, I was suddenly introduced in ’63 to the Beatles, as Roz went through the screaming and the “I Love George” phase ….. I remember her going to see them in Southampton and coming back with her hair messed up and mascara running from the tears! The single “She Loves You” was played an awful lot, but I was immediately taken (when I could sneak it onto the stereo with no-one around) with the B-side “I’ll Get You” – it just seemed such a great song. Lennon with his heartfelt lyrics, I believe.

The Beatles, The Stones, The Animals, The Kinks …… They all appeared on the weekly BBC programme “Top of the Pops” which (somehow) we managed to watch despite my Dad sitting there grumbling about the “layabouts” with their long hair and raucous music. I was smitten by the variety and the sheer talent on show. So much great music and I’d hardly started my journey.

In 1964, at the grand old age of 9, I purchased my very first ’45 – “Paperback Writer” with money from my paper round. 6 shillings and 8 pence (about 38p in “new” money …..) – coincidentally the same as I received for hauling a huge bag of newspapers about 4 miles 6 days a week at 6 am ……. But it was worth it! Once again, I was taken by the “B” side which was a Lennon song “You Can’t Do That”. I thought this was better than the “A” side – and have (mainly) preferred John’s songs since then. The Beatles would always be a huge influence on my musical taste.

That same year, the charts appeared to be dominated by “House of the Rising Sun” by the Animals. An amazing song which started me with my love of the Blues. It was years later that I realised that it was an old American standard and had been around for many years. At the time, it just seemed like a breath of fresh air amongst the bland ballads

In 1966 my music tastes suddenly got a kick away from “basic” pop, when my brother bought home an album by a (then) relatively unknown duo called “Simon and Garfunkel”. It was “Sounds of Silence” and I listened to it in absolute awe – writing down the lyrics and trying to understand some of them. The song which resonated the most (I was desperately in love with a girl in my class, but she didn’t even know my name!) was “Kathy’s Song”, but the one I played the most then was “Richard Cory”. To my young mind, I couldn’t understand why a man who had it all would go home and “put a bullet in his head” … also that the man singing the song would still rather be Richard Cory than live in poverty …….

Very unusual for a kid growing up in relative comfort in England in 1966.

That year was a great year for music – a hot (from what I remember) summer (with England winning the World Cup – soccer for you folks across the pond) captivated by the Kinks (Sunny Afternoon), Spencer Davis (Keep on Running) and always by the Beatles and the Stones (my father seriously hated Mick Jagger!)

Then at the end of the year, my brother (little does he know what an influence he turned out to be on my musical tastes!) turned up with another Simon and Garfunkel album “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme” – another one for me to listen to incessantly. I couldn’t get the lyrics of “A Simple Desultory Philippic (Or How I Was Robert McNamara’d into Submission)” no matter how I tried (took me years to fully understand that one!), but “For Emily (Wherever I May Find Her)” was my favourite (I named my daughter Emily in tribute to this and a certain Pink Floyd song!), plus “Poem on an Underground Wall” had me hooked from the first play.

Moving into 1967 – the year (of course) of Sergeant Pepper), “All You Need Is Love”, “Magical Mystery Tour” and Jimi …….. Oh Jimi – where did you come from?
“Hey Joe” and “Purple Haze” were stand-out tracks for me from that year, though I was also digging (I WAS 12 you know) the Who, Cat Stevens, “Itchycoo Park” by the Small Faces (though when I worked out the line about “feeding the ducks with a bun” it rather lost some of its magic), Procul Harum’s Whiter Shade of Pale and, of course, “Waterloo Sunset” by the Kinks, possibly THE greatest song Ray Davies ever wrote ….
Has there ever been a better year for popular music? Discuss ….

That year saw the birth of Radio 1 on the BBC, caused by the increasingly popular pirate radio stations such as Caroline, London, North Sea International (I think that one came later though) which we listened to on home-made crystal radio sets and an earpiece. These played fantastic music 24/7 and many a great song was heard. Radio 1 started by playing “Flowers in the Rain” by the Move and that song always conjours up memories to me of that first day of listening.

Then, in 1968, my brother did it again ………… another album (I couldn’t afford LPs and I didn’t have my own stereo to play them on). “Fleetwood Mac” – the debut album by Peter Green’s band. Oh my …… Slide Guitar, Blues … I was smitten …….. So many stand-out tracks. I still listen to many of those songs even today. They haven’t aged in my opinion.

As well as that, 1968 had “The White Album”, “Mrs Robinson”, “Hey Jude”, The Hollies, Love Affair, Jeanne C Riley … so many songs for a young mind to be inspired …… AND I went to Germany on a school trip. Staying with my host family, I went down with a heavy cold which necessitated staying indoors for 3 days with only a small turntable and some records. One of those was a German released single by the Fab Four. “Rock and Roll Music” on one side and “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” on the other. I must have nearly worn it out. I hadn’t heard it before and I absolutely loved it …… It’s still one of my absolute favourites of all time ……

And, yes, this is not the original, but what is there not to like about Tom Petty (playing “my” 12 string – another story), Jeff Lynne, Dhani Harrison, Steve Winwood and a blistering solo by the sadly missed Prince …….
On my return, I decided I must get the album on which that was. I asked around and one of my slightly older (and, obviously, more hip) friends told me about the White Album, so I started saving up ……..

Damn, I was lucky growing up with this music ……

1969 – I had finally saved enough to buy an LP. But which one? I knew it had to be a Beatles album and I wanted the White Album, but, it was just after the summer and on September 27, a new Beatles album came out. So, I had to get that one ……”Abbey Road”.
Initially, I must admit, a bit of a disappointment. It was so different from what I was used to (having only heard the singles and “While My Guitar …”), but, eventually, I warmed to it. Still not my favourite (that’s “Revolver”) and Side 2 is wonderful, though. I’ve since gone back and bought the others – as I always knew I would.

And then …… then ….. a friend at school turned up with an album called “Led Zeppelin II”. Oh my word – don’t think I’d heard anything like it. So different from almost anything I’d heard – I had liked the guitar sound of Peter Green, George, but, I was unprepared for this.
This was Rock, with a capital “R” and I loved it! With it’s roots firmly in the Blues, Robert Plant’s amazing vocals and the tightest rhythm section I’d ever heard. Incredible.

And it started this teenager on his love of rock, blues and many, many other forms of music, ranging from basic 12 bar to symphonic rock and, yes, even classical …….

This my add
David was driving. Glad nothing happened. You can hear us putting the windows up…yeah like that was going to do anything.

First photo was us. Thanks again for hosting us David.

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