I still have a record player and occasionally play from my vast collection of LP’s. I can’t bear to part with them, even though I no longer have the patience to play the hundreds of singles I’ve collected over the years. My children are fascinated and it feels strange to think this is an antique to them.
When they were younger they often asked me to play a record to show their friends, like it was some cool ancient custom. Funnily enough, it didn’t make me feel old – it made me feel privileged to show them something that was a great part of my childhood.
Music Plays a Part
Music played a great part in my growing up, as it has done, and still does for many of us. It goes hand in hand with some of our most significant memories. I still love the cackle of the stylus upon the vinyl, and the cover was as important as the delights it contained. CD’s just don’t cut it for me and downloads are – well what are they? You can’t hold a download of Elvis to your chest as lay in your bedroom listening to ‘Love Me Tender’, while you dream about that boy you fancy. Downloads are a non-entity that moves through cyber space to your device. There’s no fun in just picking the best songs and leaving the rest either. With an LP you got them all and you had your favourites, but sometimes grew to love the others – you lose that with digital. The magic is lost and not coveted in the same way.
Going back to Elvis – I remember the red Dansette-type record player I had in my bedroom and every time I played ‘Love Me Tender’, my sister would talk over it, so I’d get up and start it again. This went on over and over until she got fed up and finally left me to dream about my boy.
Every penny of my pocket money went on records. My tastes were, and still are, very eclectic. During a certain period of my teenage years, I would drive my mother potty by blasting my three favourites at the time – Barbra Streisand, Santana and 1812 Overture. She would say Babs screeched, Santana gave her a headache and the Overture a load of cannon shots.
An Affinity with Pop Stars
I’ve always been a lover of Ms Streisand and was so lucky to see her in concert some 22 years ago, just after my eldest was born. I could only afford a seat right at the back, but as soon as the orchestra struck, myself and the lady next to me were in tears, let alone when Barbra came out onto the stage. I’ve never been so emotional at a concert, not even when I saw Michael Jackson at Wembley. I was more fascinated with him, but with Barbra Streisand, not only were her concerts very rare, she had a song for every poignant moment of my growing up – the sad stuff, the heartache and the moving on. I felt she understood me and knew what I was going through. Most of us find this kind of infinity with different artists, that’s why music is such an intrinsic part of our lives.
I also remember the impact on my life when Elvis died. I was in mourning, I wore black to College. I used to watch all his films as well as love his music. Artists like Elvis, The Beatles and other icons of my era will be remembered for a very long time, but how many of today’s stars will still be around in one decade, let alone someone’s lifetime?
We Learn From Our Parents
While my parents weren’t keen on my music choices, I liked theirs. I would say I’m a 60s girl after listening to my Mum’s favourites. If you ever want to get me on the dance floor, just play Mony Mony and you won’t be able to stop me. Those were the days of proper dancing.
My Dad was more into Country, Glen Campbell and Roger Whittaker and I have some fun memories of our holidays with him singing to The Wurzels and I still know the words to Combine Harvester! I don’t mind admitting I like Country and had a boyfriend who took me to a country club. It’s catchy and toe-tapping and the modern country is even better. I have Dolly Parton, Crystal Gale, Kenny Rogers and Leann Rimes in my collection and I’m a big fan of Nashville on TV. Country is not all yee-ha, like some people imagine and every song tells a story. I do find that a lot of modern lyrics are nonsense these days and the focus is just on a catchy chorus.
As I write this, the memories are flooding back – being 15 and dancing with the hunky French exchange student at youth club to Rose Royce and Love Don’t Live Here Anymore. The Chef at our regular steak house, who used to mouth the words of Abba songs at me as I swooned over my steak and Tracey Chapman – Something Inside So Strong – during my marriage break-up, followed by Celine’s Power of Love, as I later married the man of my dreams, in a South African vineyard.
Memories that are mostly boy-related, I know, but then life is about finding your perfect partner and music will always go hand in hand with love.
What are your musical memories?
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