16 November 2023


British people of my generation grew up on music. It nourished us. We followed the ups and downs of the weekly hit parades quite religiously, keeping a close eye on albums as well as singles. We were born after World War II and witnessed a society that was transitioning from old-fashioned austerity and propriety into a modern world that had colour, greater flexibility and also a world in which the young had some clout. We could dream of a better future, hopefully devoid of war.

We had money to buy singles and if we saved enough we might even buy albums. Most of us can remember the very first records we bought. My first single was "Return to Sender" by Elvis Presley (December 1962) and amongst the next few were  "Scarlet O'Hara" by Jet Harris and Tony Meehan (April 1963), "Hurdy Gurdy Man" by Donovan Leitch (May 1968)  "Both Sides Now" by Judy Collins (October 1968) and "Albatross" by Fleetwood Mac (November 1968). I know there were others from '63 to '68 but these were the first singles that sprang to my mind after all these years.

My first album, which was jointly owned with my three brothers was "With The Beatles" (November 1963). We played it over and over and I swear that even today I know nearly all of the lyrics from that record by heart:-

There were bells on a hill
But I never heard them ringing
No, I never heard them at all
'Til there was you

There were birds in the sky
But I never saw them winging
No, I never saw them at all
'Til there was you

Later I had an evening  paper round and sometimes worked on local farms to earn a few bob so I had more money to spend on albums. I bought the first four albums by Fairport Convention - an English band that zigzagged between traditional folk music and the growing transatlantic singer-songwriter movement . I also bought several of Bob Dylan's early albums but my favourites were "John Wesley Harding" and "Nashville Skyline" and of course there was Leonard Cohen and his genius compatriot - Joni Mitchell:-

Richard got married to a figure skater
And he bought her a dish washer and a coffee percolator
And he drinks at home now most nights with the TV on
And all the house lights left up bright

Since my teenage years, music has never been able to touch me as it did back then. I didn't just listen to music, I absorbed it entirely. Ultimately, it was the lyrics that fed and sometimes overwhelmed me. Every word mattered, every pause. It became a kind of life raft that I gripped on to in order to survive and make it through to adulthood. Never before nor since.
"Unhalfbricking" by Fairport Convention


  1. My first two records were Proper At The Gates Of Dawn by Pink Floyd, and Wellington's Victory/1812 Overture - I was a bit schizophrenic between rock and classical!

    1. Autocorrect strikes again - should be Piper At The Gates Of Dawn

  2. We lived at the time that music was directed towards kids. We've forgotten many of the groups we liked. I like you tube because I can find the oldies.

  3. I remember my dad being a fan of Elvis and telling us The Beatles were stupid. we didn't listen to him, we preferred to listen to The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Gene Pitney, even The Monkees and several other groups. I don't remember the first record I ever bought.

  4. I thought I had heard of every Beatles album, but that's a new one for me. I know the song lyrics though.

  5. I think young people are just as passionate about music as we were. By the time LPs disappeared, I had a decent number but aside from perhaps two or three, most were a disappointment. I should have just bought singles, which I often did anyway.

  6. What is it about teenagers and music, I wonder? We were the same - music was what we breathed, ate and drank every day. It was of vital importance to know where our favourite groups were in the charts at any given time, and any spare money we had was spent on records.
    Singles were almost like a currency for us - we thought in terms of singles, like when you were given 10 DM by your grandma, you instantly thought it would buy you two singles.
    When my sister and our two closest friends (also sisters whose terraced house shared the middle wall with ours) were offered a mini job at school, we eagerly took it, and each of us got 50 DM for a day's work - 200 DM seemed a fortune, and we invested it ALL in records, mostly albums and 12" versions of songs we loved.
    At that time, even the sleeve art was an integral part of the music for us, as were the outfits and hairstyles of our favourite groups (we're talking 1980s here).

    1. Since the dawn of man, it's the beat, the rhythm, think of the drumming of tribes as the people's danced around fires, it calls to the blood, to the hormones of teenagers, to the mating urge, thus ensuring the proliferation of the human species.

    2. That is an explanation I have never thought of, River, but it certainly makes sense in evolutionary-biological terms. Only it didn‘t work in my case - neither of my husbands or any of my boyfriends I met through music or at a dance/in a disco, and I have deliberately not contributed to the proliferation of our species.

  7. I've still got all my LPs and singles expect some of them are worth quite a bit now I really must get round to getting them valued.

  8. I seem to remember that the first record I bought was Cathy's Clown, by the Everly Brothers..... from Woolworths in Leicester. Just checked, it came out in 1960!

  9. I remember the excitement of rushing to the record shop to buy that record single by one of my favourite bands: Duchess by The Stranglers in particular comes to mind . I also remember the adrenaline and excitement going to see a band live. I even had tears of joy running down my face when I saw Kansas play. I still go to Rock Festivals and reminisce with other oldie Prog Rock punters about the bands. One punter said he had seen Jethro Tull 257. I have only seen them 5 times. I would love to have seen Sandy Denny. Great music post.

  10. My first album was in the early 1970's Donny Osmonds first album.

  11. Same here of course. Every generation has its music but until my last breath I will say that we had the best. It was a complete confluence of so many different things that allowed us all to listen to such a vast variety of styles and talents and influences and groups and individuals. My god but we were lucky! And we were all so thirsty for it. We drank it up, we gulped it down, from the Beach Boys to Jimi Hendrix, from Bob Dylan to B.B. King. I could go on for days but I won't. I'll just say I am so grateful. Music saved my life over and over and over again.

  12. *London Soho, 1956 AI Enhanced Documentary Full Colour & Sound.*

    I watched this YouTube film last night, reflecting that Elvis released
    his second album in 1956 ; the Beatles were seven years in the future.

    John Lennon said that before Elvis there was nothing ; he forgot about
    Gospel, Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday, Blues, bottleneck, Bluegrass,
    Tin Pan Alley, Charlie Parker, John Coltrane, Count Basie, Duke Ellington,
    Hoagy Carmichael, Blind Lemon Jeffries & Woody Guthrie etc. etc.

    In 1962 (age eleven) I had a pal whose young mother played Fools Rush In,
    Can't Help Falling in Love and A Fool Such As I.
    She was crazy about Elvis.

    I am sorry that music does not touch you in the same way.
    *Mirga Grazinyte-Tyla. Going for the Impossible : 1/4.*

    This Lithuanian conductor made the cover story of Gramophone magazine
    in 2020.
    Mirza could convert the world to classical music.

  13. The first album I ever got was "Ricky Sings Again" by Ricky Nelson. It was a Christmas gift from my brother. During Christmas day, I accidentally sat on it and broke off a little piece of the first track. I was so sad. But I kept it and played all of the other songs and still have that album even tho I don't have a record player anymore.

  14. I think most of us feel the same about the music of our youth, YP. It's a reminder of a time when we were carefree, could follows trends of the day, and for most of us, without any real worries or "life" getting in the way.

  15. My first album was Elvis' first one. My dad did not appreciate rock 'n' roll and some months later took me to a live performance by Louis Armstrong and his All-Stars. That piqued an interest in jazz. Since then I've been bi-musical (???) between jazz and rock and folk and later in life much content with classical. Of course I was familiar with the latter because of piano lessons I took as a lad. There's a lot to hear in the musical world. (But no rap, thank you.)

  16. I listened to many of these albums myself in high school and college. I always identified more with singer-songwriters than the flashy electro-synth pop of the '80s. I came to Fairport Convention quite late, though -- they weren't on the radio in the states, at least not when I was growing up, and I never came across their albums in the used record stores. I knew Sandy Denny's solo work (mainly through Judy Collins) but it took me a while to find Fairport.

  17. Music has always played an important part in my life. Even now it can often cure my emotional ills. Lyrics are okay, but it's really all about the instrumental parts for me. I don't think I'll ever get rid of my vinyl albums.

  18. I had books rather than records although I did collect a few
    Born free from Matt monroe was my favourite


Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.

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