Sunday, June 17, 2007

I Remember Nostalgia

I've always been interested in the charts...the music charts that is.

At school in the early 60's I'd listen to the new weekly singles chart with all the giddy excitement that a pre-teen could acceptably muster as a Catholic in an all boy's boarding school without needing to go to confession the next day.

Rivalries were common, of course, and we all had our favourite groups or soloists who we would defend to the hilt - even if their current release would've made Stock, Aitken and Waterman blush. The main split was between those who bought Beatles records and those who favoured The Stones.

I didn't like either and it says everything about my lifetime musical tastes that my first bought single was "Mirror, Mirror" by Pinkerton's Assorted Colours. Hey it's not often you get to hear an electric auto harp on a song ! You could keep your Beatles and Stones.

That started me along the exciting, flower powered, substance sniffing, hotel room trashing, rock and roll world of......middle of the road music ! I graduated to heavies like Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich, Rolf Harris and Peter Sarstedt with a dangerous dash of locals like Val Doonican and The Bachelors thrown in for good measure. Heady days indeed.

Like every teen in the UK, I'd watch Top Of The Pops and from my viewing point in 60's N. Ireland, the glamour of the show was a million miles away on another planet. Planet London in fact but it might as well have been Planet Mars.

Over the decades we aged together and I watched and listened to fashion fads and musical styles come and go. Through it all, even though I may not have liked much of the music, I felt that by watching the show and keeping an active interest in the weekly charts, I was somehow still 'with it' and 'hip' even though my use of both those phrases clearly showed I wasn't either and that, in fact, I'd long since lost touch with musical reality.

Throughout the 80's and 90's I was able to name most of the songs played on Radio 1 and could even name many of the DJ's. Still I'd check the charts and although the names were becoming more and more bizarre to me, I stuck with it and could hold my own in music related conversations.

My own tastes were still very much down the middle of that same road with artistes like Elton John, ELO, Queen, Moody Blues, Rod Stewart, Celine Dion, Madonna (early years only) and Picketywitch.

Ok, maybe not the last one.

As we moved into the new century, I found it harder and harder to enjoy, or even understand , much of the music in the charts and regressed more and more to the decade I knew most about and 'felt 'comfortable in......the 60's. Thank God for Oldies radio stations and then, with the combination of the internet and mp3 downloads, I was able to collect every single I ever wanted from that decade..........even that one by Pinkerton's Assorted Colours. The circle was complete.

These days I admit I've lost the plot completely, so to speak. It started long before TOTP's came to an historic end but even that event seemed to mirror my capitulation to modern musical tastes. I read the singles and album charts now and again but don't know 99% of the artists. I want my groups to have names starting with 'The'. It also seems to me that there are no solo artistes anymore as evidenced by the proliferation of the abbreviation 'ft' (as with the current number one "Umbrella" by Rihanna ft Jay-Z). What's that all about, as Peter Kay would say ? It's a whole new world and one that mystifies me now.

In conversations with younger people I might say I like the Arctic Monkeys and Kaiser Chiefs even if I'm not too sure if the first are some sort of ice bound simian primates and the other are a little known tribe of lederhosen wearing Germanic Indians. I just cannot admit to being musically backward.

But I am. I'm a musical dinosaur, liking my music over easy and expecting my groups to have a lead singer, a couple of guitarists and a drummer.

And so imagine my surprise when I looked at the current album charts and saw that 7 of the Top 10 were what I'd classify as 'oldies but goldies'. The top 3 were The Travelling Wilburys, Bon Jovi and The Police. No.5 was Genesis, No.6 was Hank Marvin (what's the betting he'll be emailing Cliff, packing his bags in some Perth suburb and jetting back to become the darling of the chat show circuit), No.9 was The Who and closing out the Top 10 wass Paul (Bus Pass) McCartney.

Can you imagine the combined age of that lot !! Cream rises to the top and all that.

For a while I had thoughts of a new lease of musical life. I might have started looking at the charts again on a regular basis. I might have tuned in to MTV or VH1 now and then. Who knows, I might even have moved back to Radio 1 and abandoned Terry, Ken, Steve and Chris for a while.

Had the musical world come round to my way of thinking ?

Had the great British paying public risen up as one and decided to give the oldies another chance ?

Sadly no. The charts simply reflect the fact that today is 17th June. Father's Day. Nuff said.

I'm off to play "Mirror, Mirror", have a good old wallow and be there with Terry in the morning.


Chris James said...

I feel your pain. all of the top songs on the US Billboard charts are by interchangable hip-hop artists, emo dorks, and R&B singers that pop up, have their moment, and then politely fade away.

The newest album I've bought was Green Day's American Idiot and it is about 2 years old.

Daphne said...

Good to see Peter Sarstedt again, though. Though possibly not good to see his moustache. I remember when I first heard it - I was in bed ill with flu and I really liked the song.

skooldays said...

great nostalgic comments
Will swap links if you wish

we have a group that is all about nostalgic photos in conjunction with the
Skooldays Nostalgic website

My nostalgic blog:
Skooldays Nostalgic Blog

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