My love of music goes back to, well, before I can remember really. My mother was a Beatles fan and also like Rod Stewart, so they are the earliest tunes I can really remember hearing, but not necessarily listening to. The Beatles are ok, Rod is ok, but not exactly my taste.
My brother [4 yrs older than myself] is the first person of my generation that I can think back and define a musical taste to. I was born of the free love/glam rock/prog rock days and essentially I am still living there musically. My first ever purchase of a single, on vinyl, was Blockbuster, by The Sweet. Still love the track and to some extent the group and its music. I can look back with a fondness to those days, Gary Glitter aside.
My bro was very much rock lover, until he found religion in his teens and his music turned to gospel rock and the like. But Pink Floyd were always playing in his bedroom when I was still at home. My sister was more middle of the road and liked a lot of different music. She is like the musical nomad, always flitting from one thing to another, but one of the first albums I recall her playing was the iconic Hotel California. I am sure there was earlier tastes than that, but I dont know what they were.
This was my bro’s favourite at the time.
My tastes never changed much in those early years. I listened to T-Rex, Sweet, Slade, all the groups of that elk and era. It wasn’t until the advent of the first punk bands really hit the scene that I got into my own tastes that were not passed on to me like handmedowns. I guess you could say The Sex Pistols stirred my imagination. Sid [RIP] was the main man and I did my level best to resemble him, not only in looks but in mannerisms as well. His version of My Way, was and will always be my reminder of those teenage years of drink, drugs and prison cells. Love him [them] or loathe him [them] he [they] made an impact. I ended up with the nickname Sid and have that tattoed on my arm to this day. If I had a formative years hero, he was it. Just like me, a rebel without a clue, but enjoying every minute of it.
I saw and listened to a lot of punk and even joined a punk band and did a few gigs. I was the cool [ish] bass player and enjoyed everything about playing and being on stage. I played up to the image and they loved me for it. I really was that pug ugly, lol, but it was fun, exciting and dangerous, especially when those skinheads would gatecrash. We had a few nights inside, blood and beer soaked and lappedit up. In some ways, we were our own heroes and were looked up to by the ones watching.
I never got into The Stranglers. It wasn’t until later that I began to appreciate how damned good they were. I loved siouxie and the banshees, their earlier stuff was off the wall.
I liked the weird stuff, the weirder the better for me. Mainstream punk soon lost its appeal on the back of Mods [see The Jam] and new wave and the romantics. Blondie started out as a punk band [the image was there] but soon found a sound that suited them better. I loved their early stuff and Parralell Lines will go down as one of the greatest albums. That launched them into hyperspace and of course they went on to be a huge success and still pack them in today. Devo were crazy, Ian Dury was a punk poet, a little like John Cooper Clark.
I was like a cork floating on flotsam in the early 80’s. I liked bits and pieces of this and that, but nothing that really influenced me in any way. I liked ska music, the beat was different to anything I knew before and that was refreshing. Madness, The Specials and a few nameless others were flavour of the day and whilst they were good, they were not original ska music. That came from the 50’s and 60’s and was raw. This is what I mean,
Thats a good example of early ska music that some more discerning avectionados will know or recognise. Madness were just a bunch of ordinary lads out for a laugh, like we all were in the bleak days of the early 80’s. They bought some much needed relief from the recession hit days and gave us a reason to smile. You have to laugh at this, or you should,
That kind of kept me going for a little bit, but my taste was changing after the heady days of punk. I was finding rock music for the first time. Bands like AC/DC, Rainbow, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, were all considered old and hippy [ish] but something there struck a chord with me and it was something I could get into. The hair grew longer, the jeans more patches than fabric and patchouli oil followed me everywhere I went. I could identify with rock music, the rhythm and beat got me up on my feet and I was a headbanger, not a nodding headbanger, I was full tilt, up, down, round and round, diagonals, you name it, any direction you like, I could do it. Its a pride thing, if its worth doing, its worth doing well. There was also the mandatory air guitar. If you have never played air guitar, man, you aint lived!! For all die hard rock fans, the air guitar is an essential part of the setup. I think everyone has played a tennis racket at some time in their lives. Last years winner of the Air Guitar World Championships,
So its a toss up really who is my favourite band right now. It was U2. I love their early stuff, but Zoo TV just turned me off and although I still listen and enjoy their music, its not to the level it once was. I think it was Rainbow who really got me started in the rock scene. I saw them live at the very first Monsters of Rock outdoor concert at Castle Donnington racetrack way back in 1980. That really got me into rock music although that came later. This concert showed me what music is all about really,
I think from those days forward, my musical journey has expanded somewhat to incorporate more diversity. I enjoy blues now, especially Rhythm and Blues. Cream, Eric Clapton, BB King, John Lee Hooker, Creedence Clearwater Revival, etc etc. Older stuff really. Todays music scene seems pretty boring with all the R&B stuff. The indie scene is ok, but not what it was.
I have been fortunate enough to attend many live music events in the UK down the years. I have been to Glastonbury, before it became famous. It was more a fringe event back then, more about spirituality and drugs than the music, but still fun. I have been to Reading Festival, Knebworth, Monsters of Rock, The Albert Hall, the NEC at Birmingham, DeMontford Hall, Leicester, Rock City, Nottingham, Earls Court, London, Wembley, London, Elland Road, Leeds, St James Park, Newcastle, all major venues in their day. Its been a privelege to see some of the greats. I am sad Inever got to see Pink Floyd, but Pulse [recording of their live event in 1995] probably plays more than any other on this machine as I love it and never tire of hearing it. Sam Brown did a tremendous job on the backing vocals, along with, Claudia Fontaine and Durga McBroom. Great Gig in the Sky is just an awesome display of vocal control from all three singers and is spine tinglingly good to this day. RIP Richard Wright [Keyboards].
Anyone who hasn’t seen Eric Clapton, then do so, before its too late. I really enjoyed his version of Robert Johnsons recordings, but seeing him play live is just something else. His energy is amazing and his fret work is just indesribable. There are not many who can compete with his vocal ability combined with his guitar playing. His unplugged sessions were groundbreaking and enjoyed the world over. I was at this UK leg of the tour and it is still one of the best I have been too.
I also listen to some classical music when the mood takes me. It calms me these days I find and is not as boring as some people would claim. I was fortunate to get a couple of free tickets to a Classical Spectacular at the Metro Arena and it was a great night. We both enjoyed ourselves more than we dreamed we would and really want to go to another one if possible. This is a trailer of what you could expect, its patriotic, but plays many overtures etc from different composers,
So what comes next on my musical journey? I dont really know. I have playlists galore across many internet sites and I listen to them constantly. My favourite right now is a Rock Classics playlist that is just what it says it is really, just a whole host of songs that I love to listen to.
So I think I started writing this about 11am, its now 10pm, so its about time I wrapped it up. I hope you enjoy my musical journey through the years and find something amongst it all to make you smile and maybe a song you like along the way.