I’ve set myself a little challenge. I’ve been inspired by a couple of music memes I’ve seen where people post about songs they like or dislike as well as a nasty little bout of writers block.
I’ve decided to select songs that have had significance to me during my 49 years on the planet. However rather than taking about the songs themselves, I’ve opted to write about what the songs mean in terms of my life at and around that point in time.
Some of it may get a little personal – I apologise for that in advance – but I think it is difficult to talk about such songs without letting go of some feelings.
Anyway, I have made two lists of 31 songs – the first list is pure pop – the second is pure rock.
And looking at that list, I feel quite old. I can imagine younger readers saying “Never heard of it.” or “Who?”
I shall press on regardless and start with the pop songs and maybe later in the year move onto the rock songs.
For the next 31 days I shall endeavour to complete this self-imposed task.
I hope you tag along for the ride, dear reader.
Please feel free let me know what you think - and also whether you like the songs.
Day 1 – The Beach Boys – Good Vibrations
I am very opinionated about music. Regular readers may have guessed this already.
Many people think this is a flaw but fail to realise that it is a passion of mine. I can quite literally change my mood when listening to music. If I’m depressed I put on a song that raises my mood.
My dad was the same – I think I must take after him in that respect. Obviously his taste in music was wildly different from mine and as a kid we clashed a lot over the music I liked, particularly as I started standing up to him and declaring my independence as I grew up.
My dad didn’t like Good Vibrations.
I was probably about three or four years old when it was released in 1966. At that time my parents owned a radiogram, a record player and radio built into a shiny wooden cabinet. I guess it must have been the height of technical sophistication and the envy of all who saw it. Today however, it would be regarded as a cumbersome monstrosity occupying valuable space or, perhaps to antique lovers, a valuable heirloom.
Of course I was forced to join my dad when he listened to his record collection. I had to endure the big band sound, jazz, rock and roll, country and western and a variety of crooners. He mostly played Glenn Miller, Lonnie Donegan and rock and roll rebels like Jerry Lee Lewis, Fats Domino and Little Richard.
My dad tried to brainwash me even at that early age. My mum liked to listen to the radio and often had it on as background while she was working in the house and looking after me and to be honest, although she didn’t mean to force the issue, the music she listened to became my favourite. It was she who steered me into the direction I would follow ultimately.
Back in 1966 my mum’s time was therefore spent juggling two kids and housework as well as being pregnant with my second sister. The radio was a source of comfort for her while my dad worked shifts in the factory, alternating between 1400 to 2200 and 0600 to 1400 – not very sociable hours at all are they?
It meant that my mum was stuck all alone with a very annoying three year old (me) and a screaming and demanding one year old (my sister).
The one good thing I guess is that when dad was working it gave her a chance to listen to the radio stations that she liked. And she enjoyed modern music – my dad didn’t. In fact, the first time I went to the cinema was to see a music film; Help! starring the Beatles. I was far too young to remember it, apart from one scene where one of the Fab Four was caught in some kind of contraption – and it scared me half to death and I think for a while my mum regretted taking me.
Still, at least she managed to see the Beatles, which was a good thing for her. My dad never knew what all the fuss was about and would never have gone to the pictures to see a film starring the Fab Four.
Good Vibrations was on the radio a lot and I can distinctly remember hearing it. For some reason it appealed to the four year old Plastic Mancunian, probably because it was a little odd. My mum says I actually tried to sing it but at that age I had no clue what the song was about. I just mumbled to the chorus and my attempts to say the word “vibrations” during these impromptu infant karaoke sessions were probably quite amusing enough for my mum to laugh at.
All of my dad’s attempts to get me to like his music failed – if only he had liked Good Vibrations. To him, the Beach Boys were the antithesis of his musical taste and he wasn’t impressed that I ignored Buddy Holly and Little Richard even though he played them so much that I knew all of the songs off by heart by the age of ten.
I guess that was a small victory for him.