Growing up in the late ’50s/early ’60s, popular music as presented on the BBC Light programme was pleasant – Perry Como, Rosemary Clooney, Michael Holliday, Matt Monro and many others of their ilk.
Then, sitting in my Dad’s Zodiac outside Warburton the grocers in Wilmslow in 1962, listening to Jack Jackson’s record programme, my ears were pinned back by firstly Nut Rocker by Bee Bumble and the Stingers, and the Love Me Do by a new Liverpool group called the Beatles. What an awakening!!
Wow – real music which grabbed the attention, and so life moved on…
When starting senior school at 13 and a half, I found all my classmates (bar one) was into pop music, and they all had their favourites, with the Beatles and the Rolling Stones being top of most people’s lists. I liked the Beatles (who didn’t), but the Stones never did it for me – middle-class lads trying to be cool and their music had a strangely weedy sound to me (although in time a couple of their singles were quite good, and I even bought their Aftermath album in 1966). But I was persevering, trying to find my sound, until….
In late summer ’64, the Kinks released You Really Got Me – ground-breaking and super cool – I was hooked. I bought each single and album as they were released. Yes, the Kinks were my group, and I was loud and proud about it – and one of only a few at school who went in that direction, which made them even cooler. And when the Kinks’ Ray Davies started his social comment phase – Sunny Afternoon, Dedicated Follower of Fashion, Plastic Man, Village Green etc – my joy was complete.
But I wasn’t immune to the delights of other ’60s stars – and they’ve all stayed with me ever since – Paul Simon, the Zombies, Procol Harum, The Beach Boys to name a few – and I’ve kept the original vinyl albums as well as supplementing these with digital versions.
As the years have gone by, it’s been great to hear how they’ve all been able to keep producing new music intermittently, in their own inimitable styles, and on occasion, I’ve been able to catch ‘live’ performances with up-to-date stage sound techniques to support them – albeit Ray Davies solo, and the other groups with inevitable changes of personnel. I’ll come down on the side of the Zombies as currently being the best of the bunch ‘live’ as at 2021, with Rod Argent and Colin Blunstone still fronting, and I’m looking forward to their worldwide ‘live’ concert this September direct from Abbey Road studios, where their timeless Odyssey and Oracle album was recorded in 1968.
I could go on and on about popular music over the last 60 years, and maybe I shall in a post to come…