The first single I remember hearing is ‘These boots are made for walking’ by Nancy Sinatra, my mum played it most days. Listening to it today, I wonder what the lyrics meant to my mum. It brings back memories of us singing and dancing round the front room.
The first single I was given? ‘Liquidator’ by Harry J All Stars. I don’t know why this was such an important record for me. I guess it was because I loved the rhythm and the silly dance that seemed to go with it. My Aunt Mary bought it for me one Saturday. I think it was a form of bribery, she was supposed to be looking after me and instead had taken me out, late at night, for a drive around town in an open top MGB. I was small enough to slip into the back and it was the thrill of my life, so there was no way I would ever have squealed. I promised never to tell my parents and have indeed kept that promise.
The first box set of albums I listened to was something by Trini Lopez, I don’t know the name, mum played them all the time. My favourites were Lemon Tree and If I had a Hammer. I would dance with my mum or any visiting auntie. I loved to singalong and because the albums all seemed to have been recorded in concert, it was like having loads of happy people in the house.
I did my homework to Deep Purple’s Black Night – it probably explains my terrible performance at school!
Favourite Top of the Pops band and song? TRex Get it On in 1971.
The first pop star I stalked, was David Cassidy . He was staying at the Churchill hotel in Central London, it’s the only time I’ve been hose-piped out of anywhere. I tried to get into the hotel through the car park, to get his autograph! I can honestly say it wasn’t the music! It was 1973, but it feels like it was yesterday. My parents never knew I made my way into London where I met a friend and stood outside the hotel screaming and crying for David to look down. However, I am fickle, because the year before I remember now that I actually stalked the Jackson Five, same hotel, same MO except I didn’t try to get in through the car park, I just stood outside waiting for one of the Five to look out and wave.
On writing this and looking up dates I realise that David Cassidy died in 2017 – I guess it wasn’t big news in the Falkland Islands.
The first album I purchased is hard to remember but I am pretty sure it was something by Leonard Cohen. His music did something to me which I find difficult to explain, but even now when I hear So Long Marianne, I am transported back to my 15 year old self. I am mesmerised by this song. His music helped me through a very uncomfortable puberty when I sometimes wanted to detach parts of my body.
My first slow dance with a boy was to Roberta Flack’s ‘Killing me softly.’ Swaying with a lovely, polite chap whose name I don’t know and who I never saw again but remember every time the song is played.
‘Summer the First Time’ by Bobby Goldsboro was my melancholic heartbreak song and I played it over and over after being stood up.
In 1978 I went to live in Paris and, for the first time in my life I was without music. The family I was living with were not music lovers and it was way before portable devices. On a weekend when the family were away I noticed a record player to the side of the living room and there were two albums. For the better part of a year I played the same two albums every chance I could, which was mostly when the family visited relatives in the country. What were the albums? Well, beggars cannot be choosers: Best of the Bee Gees. I had hoped for Saturday night fever but it was their earlier works. The second album was the most amazing classical work which introduced me to Pachelbel’s Canon in D Minor. I don’t know which recording.
My favourite dance song was Back to life by Soul II Soul which I played every evening for about a year after it came out. It’s the only album I remember playing for about a decade. I was busy working and didn’t have time for music or entertainment.
Then I took a sabbatical in 1992. I travelled with a group of people around South America. Six countries, all very different and very exciting. I bought myself a portable cassette player and on my first night sleeping out in the rainforest in a hammock, I was terrified. I put a sheet over my head, to stop crawly things from dropping into my mouth, and my earphones in to drown out the rainforest noises. As I lay in my hammock I thought about my life as an adventurer and decided that I had probably pushed myself to my limits and that I would leave the forest the next day. As I listened to music I started to calm down, I am indebted to George Benson.
Day two was a breeze and I managed the dug out canoe, the machete-hole digging for a toilet and listening to the beautiful if sometimes scary sounds of the forest. Throughout the trip, I searched for local music. The worst was Peru but the best was Brazil where I found Olodum in Salvador Bahia. On the same trip, I was camping in Argentina and it was my turn to do the cooking so with my cook partners we went to a huge supermarket. As we were walking around they were getting more excited by the quality of the music played on the loud speakers. I was a bit non-plussed, I’d never heard of the band, which stunned my cook mates. It turns out I quite like U2.
One of my first concerts was Jacques Loussier – a rather lovely young man thought I would like the music and indeed I still play it when I can.
Lots of music have filled my life with joy, things like the Magic Flute particularly the Maria Callas recording and yes I used to try to singalong. Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata, Simon and Garfunkel, and then later Paul Simon, The Mamas and Papas, The Moody Blues, and Hot Chocolate, Santana, Stevie Wonder, Bill Withers, Yousso’n’Dour, Beautiful South, Texas, Nora Jones, Alicia Keyes, KD Lang, India Aria, Luther Vandross, Marvin Gaye, The Supremes, Lang Lang, YoYo Ma, Pavarotti, Bjork and of course The Beach Boys.
When I first started my business I often worked from home. It can be a lonely experience until you are joined by Whitney Houston singing I Will Always Love You. Now, it’s not the words that mattered but the fact that I could throw myself into singing-a-long with Whitney including trying to hit the high notes. I am playing that song as I write and even now I want to join in but my voice isn’t going to hit those high notes any more!
Sailing holidays are always accompanied by music and in 1998 I sailed around the Grenadines with friends who introduced me to The Eagles and in particular the Hell Freezes Over album which I still love and play when I want to have a singalong or do a bit of air guitar playing. Hotel California always seems to encourage this type of behaviour in most people.
The first CD we both agreed to buy was ‘Raising Sand’. We heard it at our friend’s house. This was a significant milestone in our relationship. Our tastes in music differ greatly; John loves the Boss and I can’t stand Bruce. So, when we found we both liked a whole CD we had to own it.
Music we love to listen to now includes Jason Isbell and we are grateful for a friend from the Falkland Islands, who introduced us to Little Desk concerts.
I now love Rag’n’Bone Man he make me want to sway and singalong.
So, I guess you can take the girl out of the country but you can’t take the country out of the girl. I love music that I can singalong to.
All of my favourite music is either singalongs, dance-a-longs or just plain beautiful. I know that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so I expect that readers may have given up before reaching this point. If you got this far, do message me and tell me about your favourite music is and what it means to you.