…my first experiences of music were by way of the classical music records that my father played and the ’50s records that my brother played. Those, and the background of the BBC “Light Programme” as it was known back then, were the musical wallpaper of my childhood. There was also a little Puccini that my mother enjoyed and also some jabbering Gilbert and Sullivan. I have an retained an active distaste for the latter, although my heart now melts when I hear Puccini. My mother also had a penchant for listening to some of the more turgid and schmalzy records that oozed and dribbled through the “hit parade” (Mantovani, anyone?) so my brother’s Buddy Holly and Johnny Cash came as welcome relief. My father’s interest lay in the grand symphonies of Beethoven, Tchaikovsky and Sibelius, and it was this music that would ultimately have the deepest impact on me.
But first was a rather rude awakening by a song that most would consider tepid, but at the time knocked my juvenile socks off. This piece of epiphany was The Rhythm Of The Rain by The Cascades, although at the time I new neither the title of the song nor the name of the group performing. Consequently, my attempt to identify it in order to buy it in the local record shop, by humming snatches of the melody, failed. I think I bought Sun Arise by Rolf Harris instead because I could make a convincing “boing, boing” sound.
That was all before I heard The Beatles She Love You. And that was the moment I ceased being a young boy.