Remember the old days, when the only way you had of owning a song was to go and buy the bloody thing? Or hovering over the Pause & Record buttons on your knackered old tape recorder when the Top 40 was on a Sunday evening? Cursing when you accidentally taped even the briefest snippet of Bruno Brookes?
In those days, to get your own bona fide authentic copy of a record involved an afternoon of tramping into town to the nearest Woolworths or WH Smith only to find it wasn’t in The Top 40 yet/anymore so they didn’t keep copies, followed by an early afternoon of you trying to stride confidently yet coolly into the local independent record store to try and source the song that would quench that thirst, scratch that itch, or whatever euphemism you care to subscribe to.
The other day I was watching High Fidelity. If you’ve never seen it then what are you doing here? Go and watch it. Right now! Then come back. I’ll be asking questions to check.
Anyway, for those enlightened souls amongst you, you know that bit when the recently dumped John Cusack decides to rearrange his vinyl collection into chronological order, the chronology being when he bought them, not when they were released, so that each choice would prompt a memory? Well, suddenly that seemed like rather a fun idea. And that’s why I’m here.
A little background for you. As I write this, I am 45 years old. There is no escaping the fact that I am now middle-aged, and that’s fine (No, really!) I tell you this simply as a marker of what’s to come; I came into ownership of my first ever record in 1978 (details to follow), which would make me 8 or maybe 9 at the most. There’s over 30 years of record buying there to cover, and that’s a lot of stuff. Some might say, a lot of crap, and I can’t deny there’s some howlers in there, particularly early on. Much of the early stuff…well let’s just say it won’t be troubling the 6music playlist anytime soon.
I wish I could say that I only ever bought or liked uber-cool records (anyone who does say that is a fricking liar in my book), that I sprang forth from my mother’s womb, cut the umbilical cord and dashed off to buy the latest groovy tune from “Cool Records ‘R’ Us”. But I didn’t. I bought some right old tosh, early doors. And late doors too, truth be told. I’ll leave you to decide which fall into this category.
Ever heard that phrase “What doesn’t break you makes you stronger”? That’s what your record collection is, right there. Well, mine is, anyway. You’ll see.
So, what we have here is a musical journey, from boy to man, to slightly older man, to miserable old bugger. I plan to be as honest as possible, to introduce you to some stuff you’ve never heard before, or reintroduce you to some things you’ve forgotten about (probably with good reason), and to have some laughs along the way. Who could ask for anything more? (as someone I can’t be arsed to Google once said)
But first, some ground rules:
1) The starting point is when I began to buy pop records of my own accord. If I started any earlier than that, this would start with a glut of Basil Brush, Wurzels and The Barron Knights (not on the same album, though wow! I’d pay to hear that!!), and you’d be clicking the delete button faster than I could say “No, wait, there is some good stuff, honestly…!!”
2) I must have made a conscious decision to own a copy of the single or album in question. So, only songs which I physically paid money for, or coerced someone to buy for me, (or, on occasion, stole) or was given because someone thought I’d like it (even if I didn’t) will be included
3) Unlike your standard mixtape (or playlist as I believe you young ‘uns call them these days) there will be repetition of artistes. But not too much. Hopefully.
4) If there’s a story behind the purchase, I’ll spill the beans, no matter how embarrassing. Anyone who knows me will confirm I have no qualms about embarrassing myself in public, and I guess this is the biggest public arena going (if anyone ever reads it)
5) There’s no such thing as a “guilty pleasure”. Yes, one’s musical taste evolves, to allow more sophisticated songs to be dropped onto the palate. But the songs we loved when we were younger, as our tastes changed, are important, and, moreover, never leave us. It’s the foundation, the breeze blocks on which our current musical tastes are founded. The stuff we may find cheesy now, we thought was the best thing in the frigging world when we were growing up and, like it or not, we still have a soft spot for now. So, drop the word “guilty” – when we hear a song from our youth that we loved enough to part with our hard-earned pocket money to own, it’s a pleasure, pure and simple, and always is, As soon as we owned it, a bond was created, and that bond, my friends, like it or not, will never die.
6) I might deviate every now and then. You’ll thank me for that.
Finally, the usual disclaimers: The intention of this site is simply to introduce you to or remind you of records from the dim and distant past. If you like the songs, go buy ’em – the link to do so is (often) there.. If you wish to have any mp3 link removed, please contact me via the Comments function and I’ll be more than happy to take down the link. Once I’ve worked out how to.
Oh, one more thing. I wouldn’t be doing this at all were it not for the incredible help and inspiration of Jim over at The Vinyl Villain. Thanks and much love.
Ok, I’ve waffled on for quite long enough. Let’s get cracking. Happy dancing and cringing!