Music Makes My World Go Around

My love of modern pop music dates back to my childhood. I have a very vague recollection of going to see the film ‘Hard Day’s Night’ at the cinema, which would have been about 1964, I was only 5 then hence why I say vague. I was born ‘across the water’ in Bebington, which is the other side of the River Mersey from Liverpool, where the Beatles thing all sort of exploded during my childhood, although I don’t remember much about them apart from their appearances on TV.

The first album I can recall buying was by Simon and Garfunkel, although I’m not sure why I bought it, may be it was to impress a girl I knew at the time!  Anyway my musical interest sort of laid dormant for a couple of years or so. Then a friend of mine introduced me to the guitar, he was in a band and I went along to see them play a few times. I bought my own guitar and tried to learn how to play it, not very well I may add.

One of the first guitar pieces my friend Peter tried to teach me was the lead guitar from a Steely Dan track off of their album ‘Can’t Buy a Thrill’ called ‘Reelin’ in the Years’ which I feel I’m doing now! I literally tied up my fingers in knots learning that one track. I can just about remember how to play some of it still, but not at the speed required!

Oh I wish I had access to You Tube back then:

Anyway I digress.

I got to quite like Steely Dan, their music seemed to appeal to my taste, the lyrics never made a lot of sense, but that was by the by. I bought their albums all through the 1970’s on LP and enjoyed every one. I was listening to the best session musicians in the business, may be I should have started with something that was less of a challenge, but it was the tuneful guitar that appealed to me. It wasn’t just a loud noise if you listened for long enough you could hear and isolate each player’s contribution.

My love of Steely Dan caused me to expand my list of artists and there was rarely a weekend when I wasn’t hanging out in some of the back room second-hand record shops in Birkenhead or the music stores in Liverpool, which included a small and new shop called ‘Virgin Records’. They somehow seemed to have LP’s cheaper than the normal stores I went to. What I didn’t know at the time was they imported the LP’s from other countries avoiding tax on them and so they were always cheaper in there.

I recall buying Supertramp – Crime of the Century in Virgin Records and noticing when I got home that the sleeve notes where in Spanish, which I couldn’t read, but I wasn’t worried I loved the music on that album. Listening to a crackly LP track trying to make out what the train announcer says on ‘Ruby’ which I never managed until I got the album on CD years later!

My collection slowly grew, I also started to go and see bands live in Liverpool when I was about 14 or 15, dashing back down through the city when the concert had finished to catch the last boat across to Birkenhead. I enjoyed the listening to bands playing live and seeing how the concerts where technically organised.

As I approached 16 I was still not sure what I wanted to do for a career, but radio or electronics engineering looked interesting, so at 16 I left home to get a job as a trainee radio technician in Milton Keynes. My record collection was initially left at home until I moved to different accommodation and then it joined me again and started it’s growth again.

Move on a few years to about 1985 and the music CD had hit the scenes and the players had become affordable. I had by this time got about 200 LPs in my record collection. I would have loved to have just replaced them all over night with CD versions, but I couldn’t afford to do that and also not all my LP’s where available on CD at that point in time.

So I started going through my collection picking out the albums I really liked gradually replacing them with CD’s. By this time I had also got a better hi-fi system to listen to my music as well. I still had my guitar but I wasn’t playing it as often by this time, I got more enjoyment from listening to professional players.

It wasn’t however until the advent of iTunes that I started to notice that what I was listening to on a regular basis had started to form a pattern. So I retraced my steps and started to look at the release dates of some of my favourite albums. And here they are:

  • Can’t Buy a Thrill – Steely Dan – 1972
  • Exile on Main Street – Rolling Stones – 1972
  • Dark Side of the Moon – Pink Floyd – 1973
  • Sheet Music – 10cc – 1973
  • Selling England by the Pound – Genesis – 1973
  • Buckingham Nicks – Buckingham Nicks – 1973
  • Band on the Run – Wings – 1973
  • Tubular Bells – Mike Oldfield – 1973
  • Countdown to Ecstasy – Steely Dan – 1973
  • Goodbye Yellow Brick Road – Elton John – 1973
  • Sheer Heart Attack– Queen – 1974
  • Pretzel Logic – Steely Dan – 1974
  • The Impossible Dream – The Sensational Alex Harvey Band – 1974
  • Crime of the Century – Supertramp – 1974
  • Fleetwood Mac – Fleetwood Mac – 1975
  • The Best of the Dobbie Brothers – Dobbie Brothers – 1976
  • Aja – Steely Dan – 1977
  • Rumours – Fleetwood Mac – 1977

Yes you have by now spotted the large concentration of albums from 1973!  As I moved in to the 1980’s, so my musical taste did expand beyond the later albums of some of these groups and singers, but not all of them. But I attribute these albums as being the foundations of my taste in music.

Music plays quite a big part of my life; I must listen to more hours of music in a day than I watch TV in a week these days.  You can follow what I’m listening to on my Last.FM account. http://www.last.fm/user/Temps-Perdu

You will find this post also on The Zeitgeist of Zoe as part of the Philofaxy All Stars Tour

1 comment to Music Makes My World Go Around

  • Andy Walmsley

    Steve-if I remember correctly I first came across Steely Dan when some of their album tracks (I don’t recall which ones) where played by Derek Jewell who at the time had a programme on Radio 3 – the only programme on that station that played pop/rock music to my knowledge, though I forget the title of it. Also where I first heard Billy Joel.
    I see you also like Sheryl Crowe. First heard her on Radio 1’s Saturday Sequence when Johnnie Walker played tracks from Tuesday Night Music Club. I bought the CD is Chesterfield of all places – I just happened to be killing time before a meeting, I lived in Beverley at the time. Andy

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