So there is this thing going around Facebook asking you to list your “15 albums that you have heard that will always stick with you”. Ok I thought, that sounds like fun. So I looked through my iTunes library and picked out 15. But when I looked at it I wasn’t happy. First of all not all the albums I own are on my iTunes. I still have some on cassette tape that I’ve never bothered to digitalise. Secondly there are some albums that I have heard, but don’t own. Thirdly I wasn’t sure of the task – it’s not your favourite albums, or most influential, but ones that have stuck with you. Well I have heard many albums that have stuck with me for being awful but I don’t want to list all them. I think most of the albums that have really stuck with me are probably ones I’m least likely to continue to listen to and own now.
Like the ones that my parents used to play when I was wee. We grew up on a diet of The Corries, The Dubliners, other Scottish and Irish folk music and if my dad got to choose – Runrig. Now it wasn’t what I would have chosen to listen to when I was 8 or any age really, but nevertheless it became ingrained in me and was the start of my musical education.
Another major influence was this old record player and collection of records that was at my gran’s house, although I think they may have come from my other grandad’s. There was stuff by The Drifters / The Shadows (Hank Marvin’s guitar = awesome), Bobby Darin (Dream Lover) and many others that I can’t even remember now. It was all late 50s / early 60s rock ‘n’ roll and even though I was listening to them in the late 80s it was the first time I’d heard that kind of music and I thought it was great. Later when I studied music in school and we covered walking bass etc I knew all about it and my classmates (not for the first time) thought I was some kind of freak. I probably was. How many 9 year olds listen to Hank Marvin? Anyways I don’t own any of these records, and in any case they were singles, but they’ve got to count in my list of music that has stuck with me.
At school I had to contend with different influences – my friends were all into Kylie (when she first appeared) and Jason Donovan (same goes) and New Kids on the Block and I had to suffer listening to them when I really wasn’t interested. Then at secondary school it was all boy bands (guess what – Take That the first time round!) or mindnumbing dance music . So again I listened to a lot of that cos it was all around but I pretty much hated it. Unfortunately I didn’t know what I did like, except I discovered REM so listened to them endlessly for about 3 years. Then thankfully the whole Britpop guitar band thing happened so at least I could listen to that without wanting to pierce my own eardrums.
I was going to start writing about playing music and wanting to be in a band and create my own music but I’m working on a different blog post about playing the guitar, so maybe I’ll leave it for that. Plus it’s late and I’m having trouble reading on the screen. Time to go to bed.
Oh in case you are interested here is my list that isn’t really my list.
1. Arctic Monkeys – Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not
2. Bishop Allen – The Broken String
3. Editors – An End Has A Start
4. Elbow – Seldom Seen Kid
5. Eric Clapton – Unplugged
6. Franz Ferdinand – Franz Ferdinand
7. Jumper – Velkommen Hit
8. KT Tunstall – Eye to the Telescope
9. The Killers – Hot Fuss
10. Manic Steet Preachers – This is My Truth Tell Me Yours
11. Oasis – Definitely Maybe
12. Pulp – Different Class
13. REM – Automatic for the People
14. Radiohead – The Bends
15. We Are Scientists – With Love and Squalor
See? It’s a rubbish list.
I had the same problem – do I choose:
A. 15 albums that I want everyone to think I like?
B. 15 that I would take to a desert island (i.e. if nobody was there to judge)?
C. 15 that have been the soundtrack to significant moments in my life?
I tried to make my choices without looking at my MP3 folders (surely I don’t need to be reminded of albums that will always stick with me…) but that went out of the window. However, I did stick to the ‘take no longer than 15 minutes’ rule, and in the end, my choices mostly came from box B and box C (some of them also happened to fit in box A; others definitely didn’t, which is why the 15-minute list was edited over the course of 24 hours….)
This sounds so unfeasibly cool, but we grew up on a diet of Motown, funk/soul and fusion. No Scottish music (Oli did go through his own independent Jimmy Shand phase, but try to get him to admit it…). I also had a lot of Beatles taped from my Dad.
Four of my 15 albums were regular staples on the long happy car journeys from the Borders back to Dundee in the mid-80’s when I still wasn’t so keen on my third school in three years. One of these was Chick Corea – years before I started playing his music myself. We also had a taped version of The Wind in the Willows. I loved the music that went with it, and I remember asking my folks if they thought you could buy that music on its own. Turns out it was Beethoven’s 6th Symphony. (I guess that should have been on my list, but it’s not technically an album.)
Ok so we agree it was a stupid question in the first place! Even if the question were about favourite albums or something similar I would have struggled with it because I don’t think I could ever compile a definitive list. My favourites change over time and according to mood etc. And I still enjoy discovering new music. Heck even trying to name a favourite album of one of my favourite bands would cause me difficulty. I like different elements of each of them, and different aspects appeal to me at different times.
And yes, your parents’ choice of music is definitely cooler than mine! I wonder if my mother and your father always had different tastes? Mind you my brother certainly has different tastes from myself. Maybe his longer exposure to Kenny Rodgers et all is what propelled him in the direction of “progressive metal” (I don’t even know what that is!) and jazz.
Oh and Jimmy Shand? I shall be sure to ask Oli about that next time I see him!!!
I think my dad and your mum had similar tastes when they were young. Then, when my dad purloined the guitar that rightfully belonged to your mum, his hippy credentials were guaranteed. I think all the motown/soul stuff was my mum’s influence.
PS Stuart is into ‘progressive metal’? That boy is an enigma wrapped up in a mystery wrapped up in another enigma. (I have this great image of him suspended in some kind of giant musical incubator, while your folks fiddle with the Kenny Rodgers-a-tron… )
Yes, it all began with that guitar! Had it gone the other way, who knows, maybe my mother would have been the next …. I’m trying to think of a female guitarist from the 60s/70s. Mind you she could have gone and bought another one if she’s wanted it so much.
Re Stuart. Well who knows? He went through a phase of Meatloaf, then at your wedding proclaimed a love and knowledge of jazz that I had previously been unaware of, then he starts coming through to the SECC to see bands called Porcupine Tree etc. Oh and then when he came to visit Jess and I in hospital he was on his way to see Bruce Springsteen at Hampden….