Musical memories

Musical memories (1973 to 1980)

Musical memories. I was born on the day that David Bowie retired his stage persona Ziggy Stardust at the Hammersmith Odeon in London.

Dad had learned the Cello at grammar school, and Mum and Dad both sang in the church choir.

They love music and have a collection of vinyl records, which includes singles and albums by ‘The Beatles’, ‘ABBA’, ‘The Shadows’, ‘Cliff Richard’, ‘Wings’, ‘Elton John’ and ‘The Wombles’.

They have been church-goers since the 1960’s and are now retired. We would go along every Sunday and sing traditional hymn’s played by the organist.

One of the first songs I remember hearing on the radio was ‘Dancing Queen’ by ABBA;

On the same day in 1979, my younger brother was knocked down by a motorist outside our house. He fractured his femur and was in Hospital for six weeks.

My late Gran had an upright piano in her living room, and my uncle would play the theme to ‘Jet Set Willy’.. a popular computer game on the 48K Sinclair ZX spectrum; Ludwig Van Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata”.

Jet Set Willy | ZX Spectrum | The Nightmare Room

Uncle had lots of classical vinyl, and he played it to death on his record player after Sunday lunch. Eventually, he replaced most of his vinyl with Compact Disc’s (CD).

Dad drove us home in a Reliant Regal. I don’t remember the vehicle having a space for a radio.

Musical memories (1980 to 1984)

1980, and I had passed a test at primary school, which involved identifying musical ‘intervals’ by ear. I was one of around six pupils chosen to learn the Violin.

My first music tutor was called Mr. Hart. He took one-to-one violin lessons for 20-minutes every two weeks in a side room, off the main hall corridor.

It was cramped, but we would occasionally go into the main hall and Mr. Hart would accompany on an upright piano. I learned scales, arpeggios, sight-reading and passed my Grade 2 exam at the age of 10.

1983. One of my earliest memories of playing in front of an audience was at Havering School’s annual concert at Snape Maltings, Suffolk. I was one of a number of 2nd violins.

Snape Maltings | Concert Hall | by Jeremy Young
Snape Maltings | Concert Hall | by Jeremy Young

2nd violins are just as important as first violins. Usually, seconds have lower notes than first’s, which are the foundation for the melody. Anyway, seconds are what makes the firsts sound nice! 

I don’t have much memory of the music played, but I do remember Mr. Hart playing the grand piano in the concert hall. I liked playing in the orchestra and hearing all the parts playing in harmony.

Musical memories (1984 to 1989)

1984. My first year at Comprehensive school. The girl’s liked a pop duo called “Wham!”.

Music lessons took place in a purpose built block opposite the main hall. We paired up and took turns to play a Yamaha PSS-series keyboard, which had about three octaves worth of keys.

One year, we managed to sight-read the melody to TV soap opera ‘EastEnders’. It was a bit underwhelming.

I received a Sony Walkman as a present from Mum and Dad for Christmas, and I’d listen to songs on tape at school during break.

Artists and groups such as The Thompson Twins; Howard Jones; Level 42, The Human League; Chaka Khan; Prince; Phil Collins; Madonna; Ray Parker Junior?

More Violin lessons, but interest in them (but not necessarily the instrument) had long gone. I loved music, but I didn’t like the tutor, and she didn’t like me.

I would improvise when I thought she wasn’t listening to me ~ “just play the notes as they’re written!”

Do they know it’s Christmas?

The Christmas number one in 1984 became the biggest selling single in UK Singles Chart history (at the time), with more than a million copies sold in the first week alone*.

In October, a news report aired, which highlighted the famine which had fallen on the people of Ethiopia.

Irish singer Bob Geldof saw the report and wanted to raise money. He called Midge Ure from Ultravox and together they co-wrote the song, “Do They Know It’s Christmas?”. The song went on to sell 3.7 million copies. 

During Band Aid’s tenure at the top, Wham! remained at Number two with their double A-side ‘Last Christmas’/’Everything She Wants’, which became the biggest selling single (at over a million copies) not to reach number one in the UK.

*From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia | by Simon Edward | September 2014

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