Monday, October 10, 2011
1980: There's promise in the air
My dad has never been into music. While he can do a good Adam Faith impression, has a soft spot for Midnight In Moscow and skiffle, and the Fifties certainly didn't pass him by, musically the Sixties were a total blank.
When I think of the waste! I could have been the son of Roger Daltrey or Keith Richards, but he wasn't interested. He was working in Fleet Street at that time, and while the Sixties were busy swinging all around him, Dad wasn't swayed by hippie chicks into growing his hair and wearing powder blue hipsters. No Peter Sellers in I Love You Alice B Toklas here. He kept his Don Draper look well into the Seventies. How often do I wake up and hope against hope that when I pull back the curtain it's 1966 or 1969? Just about every day. He was there. And he missed it.
Mum was the big music fan, but there were no singles in our house, just albums, and the ones we did have from the Sixties included Manotvani, The Sound Of Music and Motown Chartbusters.
Okay, the latter is great, but it wasn't until the Seventies that album-buying really took off in our house. As the decade progressed we were drowning in a sea of Carpenters albums, bits of Elton, Creedence, Dionne Warwick, Seventies Sinatra, Catherine Howe, Demis Roussos, Neil Diamond, Carole King, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye (Grapevine is mum's favourite song of all time), the odd compilation like K-Tel's Feelings (first sighting of Kiki Dee's Amoureuse) Don't Walk! Boogie! and Midnight Hustle, and of course no home was complete without a Top Of The Pops comp or the Hot Hits series, the ones with women in bit of sporting gear and little else.
I became made on music at the tail end of '76 and drank it all in. Dad was indulgent and in '77 my pocket money rose from 50p to 60p as that was the price of a single, so I could buy one a week. The first one I bought: We're All Alone by Rita Coolidge. Dad would patiently wait outside the record shop while I bought Baker Street or Belfast or Hotel California, but he never really commented. He wasn't a fan.
One day he casually remarked that he'd heard Magic by Olivia Newton-John on the radio and thought it was, and I quote, 'fabulous'. But that's kind of where it ended. In Bahrain in the Eighties, were the only radion station was a music station and you couldn't help but get songs stuck in your brain, pluse the hundreds of dirt cheap pirate cassette shops that were everywhere meant we soon had a house full of Barry Manilow, Lionel Richie, Eighties Dionne, the Bee Gees and other parent-friendly combos of the era. If you were lucky, you could squeeze the Marine Girls on during a dinner party and no one would notice.
But was it the song or ONJ dad found fabulous? Hmmm.... Hands off dad, she was my pin-up first.