The Who – ‘Quadrophenia’

A life in music No.16

1982 The Who – ‘Quadrophenia’

Emotionally, as a soon to turn 16 year-old, my internal thoughts, insecurities and voyage of discovery were just about to go into overdrive. The usual teenage dramas were prominent, fuelled and fanned by the music and lyrics that I was consuming daily with fevered gusto. Over thirty years on and I would say with some certainty that the one album that has done more to develop and change, to challenge and question, to confuse and ultimately to inspire me is Quadrophenia, The Who’s glorious homage to the Mod scene of the 1960s and Pete Townshend’s story of Jimmy’s own tortuous voyage of discovery. Continue reading

Advertisements

Marvin Gaye – ‘Anthology’

A life in music No.15 – 1982

Marvin Gaye – ‘Anthology’

By early 1982 my love affair with the Top 40 was all but over. I still consider 1979-81 to be a fantastic era for music; blessed with the energy of punk, lyrically influenced by the societal issues of the day and stylistically inspired by 60s, ska and roots – at least the stuff I loved anyway. By ’82 synthesisers and emotionless new romantics with fake plastic sentiment had replaced Dexys, The Jam and The Specials. Fuck that. I was looking elsewhere for inspiration and musical kicks. I was heading back to the 60s. Continue reading

‘Motown Chartbusters Vol. 3’

A life in music No. 14 – 1981

Motown Chartbusters Vol.3

On Valentine’s Day in 1970 this album was the first ever compilation to reach No.1 in the UK album chart. Eleven years later it was my vinyl introduction to the Detroit hit factory, Motown. From my ever-decreasing memory I vaguely remember purchasing it for two reasons – firstly the track listing (bearing in mind my junior knowledge of Motown) looked fantastic, and secondly the sleeve, in all its shining glory looked even better. Yes, I was an early sucker for an eye-catching cover. Continue reading

The Kinks – ‘Golden Hour Of The Kinks’

A life in music No.13 – 1981

The Kinks – ‘Golden Hour Of The Kinks’

By the dawn of 1981 regular trips to Snu-Peas, Boscombe’s dingy vinyl haven were becoming weekly fixes. Fingering through rows of soiled and pre-owned LPs would become an obsession, but the thrill of the chase for new music had hit me, hard. The Kinks had caught my attention with a handful of their 60s hits being regular plays on my radio channels of choice. I loved the production, the sound and feel of the likes of ‘Waterloo Sunset’ and ‘Sunny Afternoon’ that oozed a whimsical, multi-coloured and romantic, quintessentially English sound. It was the mix of Ray Davies’ genius as a songwriter coupled with the brash coolness of early hits ‘You Really Got Me’ and ‘All Day And All Of The Night’ which tempted me into finding out more. A search for a Kinks album featuring these favourites and about twenty more lead me to Golden Hour Of The Kinks. A fine choice.

Continue reading

‘This Is Soul’

A life in music No.12 – 1980

‘This Is Soul’

Listening obsessively to the likes of The Specials, The Beat, The Jam and Dexys for the previous couple of years, it was inevitable that those band’s musical roots were to follow closely behind in my own musical catalogue. 1960s and 70s ska, soul and funk was about to hit me hard, and it all started with this vinyl gem released in the UK in 1968 – This Is Soul Continue reading

The Beatles – ‘1967-1970’ (Blue album)

A life in music No.11 – 1980

The Beatles – ‘1967-70’ (Blue Album)

It was the autumn of 1980. It was going to happen at some point, but it happened to be David Sax – a schoolfriend, county tennis player and Vitas Gerulaitis lookalike, big hair, headband and everything, who did the deed. I remember the day well, we’d already spoken fairly briefly about music, I mentioned my love of The Jam, he mentioned his love of Bob Dylan then he showed me his (his dad’s I presume) record collection. He showed me The Beatles. More importantly, he leant me the Beatles’ Red and Blue albums. Continue reading

Dexys Midnight Runners – ‘Searching For The Young Soul Rebels’

A life in music No.10 – 1980

Dexys Midnight Runners – ‘Searching For The Young Soul Rebels’

When Searching For The Young Soul Rebels was released in the summer of 1980 the UK singles chart was littered with funk and disco; the golden age of both had had their day, but the likes of Chic, Diana Ross, Gibson Brothers, Detroit Spinners, Brothers Johnson and Odyssey were still hugely popular. Soul, however, was a far more distant memory. Not since the heyday of Motown had authentic soul acts really bothered the Top 40. Funk and disco were hanging in, ska and mod was in the middle of a massive revival and then along came Dexys Midnight Runners, bringing with them a new soul vision.
Continue reading

The Jam – ‘Going Underground’

A life in Music No.9 – 1980

The Jam – ‘Going Underground’

For my 14th birthday The Jam released ‘Going Underground’, and much appreciated it was too. Prior to this No.1 single (straight in at the top spot; no mean feat at the time) I’d dug The Jam, but had yet to become a Weller obsessive. That was about to change. I was looking for inspiration; for excitement and a hero to worship, and like many other impressionable teenagers who sought a role model from their TVs, radios and record players, Paul Weller was that man. A good choice. A very good choice indeed. Paul Weller was a passionate, gobby, working class, mod-obsessed, Beatles-inspired super cool motherfucker.
Continue reading

The Beat – ‘I Just Can’t Stop It’

A life in music No.8 – 1980

The Beat – ‘I Just Can’t Stop It’

By 1980 the ‘second wave of ska’ had firmly found its place in the UK charts. Madness, Selector, Bad Manners and The Specials were having major success, and it was The Beat with their debut album I Just Can’t Stop It who cemented my love of the dance craze. By this time (aged 14) I was already checking out the roots of my chart favourites, listening to soul, ska and sixties, fascinated and obsessed as I was by the history and the culture as well as the music.
Continue reading