Music and Me: Part One
I have always had a natural leaning towards music as I’m sure a lot of people do. My parents recalled to me many times over the years how as a baby, I would wake them up in the middle of the night not with crying but with singing, or at least the equivalent of a six month old baby singing.
I was born in 1983 and had the good fortune (or misfortune whichever way you want to look at it) of being an eighties child.
My childhood musical experiences were naturally influenced by my parents. From them my early years consisted of listening to, as well as dancing along to, Elvis Presley, (as well as watching his numerous musical films which I never thought were as bad as other people obviously did) and Michael Jackson. There were also many other obscure musicians and artists that my parent’s vinyl collection held.
I distinctly remember every Christmas, while decorating our Christmas tree, my parents would continuously play Foster and Allen’s Christmas Collection (See below). I also clearly remember bopping along to The Wombles Christmas Party with such classics as ‘Wombling Merry Christmas’.
This may explain my peculiar taste in music as well as the weird and wonderful songs I like to cover when performing live.
To give you a little taste of my musical memories here is a list of the top ten songs I remember from my childhood growing up in the eighties, though not necessarily in the order of which ones I preferred. This list is heavily influenced by father and my sisters. Some I don’t even like but they remind me of my youth anyway:
A very odd mix of musicians and songs and I’m sure you are now saying to yourself either “Wow, I remember that song” or “What the f##k?”.
For the ones you haven’t heard I suggest you go onto YouTube now and look those tracks up. I think you will be pleasantly surprised by some of them.
I could probably write another twenty but these in particular remind me of growing up in eighties Britain. I’m sure my older brothers and sisters remember the music of the eighties very differently.
My eldest sister, who seven years older than me, in particular was a fan of Madonna, who we have all heard of and whose flesh we once lusted after but now feel slightly repulsed by, but she also introduced me to the aforementioned A-ha, as well as other eighties groups like Big Fun and Bananarama.
My older brother wasn’t much interested in music as I recall until the nineties arrived and he introduced me to gangtsa rap which I will speak about in a later post called ‘Music and Me Part Two: The Nineties’.
My other sister, eighteen months my senior, was an avid fan of Jason Donovan, Kylie Minogue and Sonia, the sort of bubble gum pop that always seemed to represent us at the Eurovision song contest which Sonia came close to winning in 1993 with ‘Better The Devil You Know’.
I mentioned earlier in this post about Elvis Presley musicals. Musicals were the other influence in my early days. Not just Elvis Presley musicals of course. There was ‘Seven Brides for Seven Brothers’ (1954) starring the late, great Howard Keel. Then there was the 1964 film ‘The Unsinkable Molly Brown’ starring Carrie Fisher’s mother Debbie Reynolds as well as Harve Presnell singing “Colorado my hhhhhoooommmmeeeee!!!!!!” at the top of his lungs which was probably the most memorable part of the film for me.
And of course there was Grease starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t seen this film. Actually I don’t know anyone who hasn’t memorized this film word for word. Those of you who now are saying “Well I haven’t” in an indignant tone are either lying or simply haven’t lived.
My school friends and I insisted on trying to gel our hair in the fifties duck tail style with a fancy little curl in the centre of our forehead but it never seemed to work mostly due to my hair being of an uncontrollably curly nature. We also couldn’t afford leather jackets so we had to make do with whatever “cool” jackets we could find. I managed to find a tracksuit top with an eagle on the back which to my seven year old self was pretty cool.
An ex-girlfriend of mine who’s eighteen months older than me was a fan of New Kids on the Block. I know they had some success in England because I remember seeing a poster in our house but I’m unsure which sister it belonged to. I also remember their ‘You Got It (the Right Stuff)’ (1988) and ‘Hangin’’ Tough’ (1989) singles but apart from me over hearing those tracks on the radio or muffled behind my sister’s closed door I have no further recollection of New Kids on the Block.
I would like to know what your memories of eighties music are. Do they differ from mine? Do you even remember the same songs that I remember? I am very interested in hearing from you.