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A Condensed History Pt. 1

A Condensed History Pt. 1

As discussed in The Start of a Music Blog, this is Pt. 1 of a condensed history of my love of music as a fan. It covers the very early, formative years.

1960 – 1970

The First Chord

Who can say when I first heard music? It was probably the rhythmic swoosh-glug heard in the womb as my hearing developed. There would have been sounds though not necessarily music throughout my growth from baby in the womb, to young child. Although I have no recollection of it. Music would have been played although I wouldn’t have known it as music, I’m sure.

I wasn’t brought up in a household of piano-playing or violin-practice, nor was I schooled in an instrument of any kind. I remember having my hearing tested with a tuning fork at primary school distinctly, in a hall, with all the other children. That tuning fork was probably my introduction to music at school – at least it was in tune. The schools I attended, like many of that period of time in the late 1960’s, appeared to me to favour proteges and grew them and that, closed club of alumni/Illuminati, developed to take on the mantle of ‘Music’.

Faint Beginnings

If I think back, it’s as though through a fog with cotton wool-stuffed ears. Faint thoughts, sounds and lyrics echo

  • “Kicking down the cobbled stones… Feeling groovy”
  • “Ring of fire…”
  • “Hey there, Georgie Girl…”
  • “Little white bull…”
  • “My name is Sue…”
  • “Hey, Hey, we’re the Monkees…”

I must have heard these on the radio. These snippets of lyrics are all I recall but distinctly recall. However, I can’t say that they helped shape my musical taste directly. I have more recently discovered and found an appreciation of Johnny Cash but there is no burning desire, compelling me to play this early music.

There would have been Rock & Roll playing. Not as the raw, breaking phenomenon of the 1950’s but the matured, decade later sound of ‘classics’. It was evolving. I felt I was kept away from popular music as an undesirable influence at a young age. There was acceptable music and unacceptable music.


I suppose the next thing I remember with any clarity was a Radiogram – a deep, low wooden sideboard, with speakers flanking either side. Deep within its body once the heavy wooden lid was lifted, a sprung record player and receiver. It had rich tones and a heavy quality. I remember laying on the floor, on my stomach with my head equidistant between the speakers, at that sweet spot where stereo separation occurs. This was Hi Fi! I don’t remember the make

(This is the nearest I could find, as I remember it)

At this time, I remember listening to a combination of Jim Reeves, Andy Williams or Herb Alpert and His Tijuana Brass or Engelbert Humperdink. Of Herb Alpert, I particularly remember rich, colourful album colours and the A&M Records logo with the trumpet. This music was infectious, however it was the only music I knew, had been exposed to. This was my parents’ music, their collection.

Next, it was the radio once again, listening to the Radiogram, head firmly planted between the speakers but also listening to Radio Luxembourg on a small radio, in bed under the covers, crackling static, sounds phasing in and out…
I have vague memories of

  • “Lazy Sunday afternoon…”

This song drifted in and out of my mind. I didn’t know who it was by at the time (I now know it was Small Faces). It was colloquial, quirky and quintessentially English.

At Home and Abroad

As I think of it now, I’m yanked back to another time and on to another place. That place is Spain and the music is by Ronald Y Donald and

  • “Couac Couac”

I was abroad for the first time, this song of ducks singing was everywhere and my parents bought the single as a curiosity (not their usual fare, it must have been the holiday vibe). I heard it played, back at home in England. It was brought out when people visited as a novelty but that novelty soon faded.

Floating in the Ether

All this strangeness of disparate tunes and barely defined genres was floating about in the ether, crossing the airwaves, being picked up and then cast adrift. Some flotsam, some jetsam. Little did I know that below the surface of this ill defined sea was an alternate world of sounds, bubbling like magma from some subterranean fault. It just hadn’t burst through into my life yet.

As I write this, I understand full well that very few memories possess perfect recall, least of all mine. Time twists back on itself or detaches and sits adrift with recourse only to itself in certain cases. However, I think this is a good thing. What is important is that which is remembered. That which is remembered is distilled, creating a potent draft. Chronology is important but strict chronology is for archivists and strict chronology, although it can be easily checked, may miss something. Those missed things, in the end may be the essence of the thing. I hope to capture some of the essence. I make no apology for flitting between sounds. It’s in my nature…

Here ends A Condensed History Pt. 1

The next post – A Condensed History Pt. 2

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Published in Hi Fi Stereo History Rock & Roll


  1. […] what has been happening since I’ve been writing A Condensed History? Well, quite a lot. I’ve discovered some new music […]

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