I blame #EltonJohnLewis

I blame EltonJohnLewis for this. I’ve been thinking about my interest in music ever since I was whizzed backwards through my lifestory by this Christmas advert. Of course, by the time it was 1963, I had a very definite taste in popular music but this had developed slowly over many years. Grandma had a very definite interest in music. We had a piano at home, although I never remember it being played. I was supposed to learn to play but it never quite happened! We did have a gramophone though; one of the wind-up types with needles you had to change regularly. These things were so far removed from the way we listen to music now that I suppose most people won’t be able to even imagine what it was like. The records (no, they weren’t ,”discs”) were made of shellac; hard and eminently breakable! Our record collection consisted mainly of selections from musical films and shows. My favourite was “Annie Get Your Gun”. I was taken to see this by my dad, when I was very small. I’m not sure whether this was a show at The Alhambra theatre in Bradford or the 1950 film. I’ve recently bought (and downloaded) the soundtrack and find I can sing along with almost every song! I can also join in with the theme tune of “Desert Island Discs”, another of my favourites. I’m embarrassed to say that my cousin and I created a “dance experience” to this tune, which we imposed on any visitor who would stand still. Grandma loved Mario Lanza and Richard Tauber, so I was treated to their records too. There was a lot of singing along together, especially grandma and I. Anyway, over the years, our collection progressed to include some popular music. The records were still made of shellac when my mother stepped out of the shop with a record by Tommy Steele, whose title was “Butterfingers”. It smashed to pieces! Around this time, vinyl records started to appear in the shops. They required new equipment and we bought a small record player come radio which would play the new 45rpm singles and then the 33rpm LPs. (I should say that we had already upgraded our windup gramophone to an electric one). Our favourites included Adam Faith, Harry Belafonte, Nina and Frederik and Pat Boone. I don’t quite remember when the changeover came but, by 1963, I had moved on to bands that I liked, rather than the singers that we all liked. As 6th formers, we were allowed to bring records to play in the hall at lunchtime. The Beatles were being played more and more and, as has been the way teenage girls for many a year, we began to obsess over them. At the start, Paul was my favourite but, as time went on and I began to realise that he was a bit more edgy, John took over. As 1964 dawned and I turned 17, I was given my first vinyl LP. “Please Please Me”, with a song especially for me, “She Was Just Seventeen”. The era of songs your elders don’t like was really beginning.

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