I was invited by Jo Lambert to write a piece choosing 5 songs that have been important to me in my life. I enjoyed dong this so much I've decided to reblog it on my own site. Thank you Jo.
When I first heard about Jo Lambert’s concept of a Life Playlist, I thought it a wonderful idea. Even after she kindly invited me to take part, I was still excited and pleased. Music thrills me. But when I began seriously to think about the songs……. Oh no! How could I not choose all of the R & B, Soul and Motown songs I loved, or the singer-song-writers going as far back as Bob Dylan, through Joni Mitchell…. Too many to list. At my first attempt I was overshooting my allowance by a multiple of ten.
In the end, the songs I have chosen aren’t necessarily my topmost favourites – if I could even decide which those are – but they are the punctuation to important times in my life.
I was a snooty child. I looked down on friends and classmates who were “in love” with pop singers. How stupid! I thought. We’re children! How can you be in love when you’re only eleven? Stars like Elvis, Cliff Richard, and Adam Faith left me unmoved. There were individual songs I liked, and I did think Jess Conrad was handsome (shame about the voice), but it was not until the Beatles – there arrival on the scene coinciding with my awakening hormones – that I ‘got it’.
It was a love affair that lasted for years and even now I watch old footage, and hear those songs with a great deal of nostalgia. But the song I choose from that era isn’t even one they penned themselves. I had never heard anything like it – the rawness, the pulse, the power, the passion – stirred the fourteen-year-old me in ways I’d never been stirred before. And if you were around at the time this will bring back a smile.
|TWIST AND SHOUT, by the Beatles, |
We went to a party together. Even to my inexperienced eyes it turned out to be a rather staid affair, but the music being played was good. Both my sister and I love to dance. So, when two very flamboyant, loud and funny young men arrived at the party the whole atmosphere changed, and the girls they wanted to spend the evening with were the girls who danced. Shortly after this event Jan decided she wanted to leave home, taking me with her. She organized a flat that we could share with two girl-friends, and a new phase began.
The song that epitomized that life-changing party, and the very many subsequent parties during the next episode of my life as an independent young woman in London.
|007 (Shanty Town) by Desmond Dekker.|
Read into this choice what you will. Enough to say it was a very happy time of my life.
A few years later I was working happily in an advertising design studio, but was still very unlucky in love. Or perhaps I should say, too choosy. The men I wanted never wanted me and vice-versa. Jan and I were living as a twosome, by then.
I had never met Geoffrey before he turned up in our flat with a band of Jan’s friends and workmates after a leaving party. I immediately liked the look of him, but there was a drawback. Geoffrey was too perfect. A year older than me, he was good looking, clever, in a good job, and interested in art.
But my own social life had recently become more adventurous and I was enjoying myself. I was definitely not ready to settle down. We became friends. My parents loved him. Jan loved him. He was the best friend of her partner, Roger. It all looked too pre-ordained. I could see the road ahead of me running out of other options, so the rebel inside my head would not give in to it.
I was already a fan of 10CC – their discography up to that time is a list of witty, catchy, danceable songs and Dreadlock Holiday has to be a contender for my ‘favourites’ playlist. But around this time the band brought out an iconic song that was a complete change from what had gone before.
|I'M NOT IN LOVE by 10CC|
It immediately became our song – mine and Geoffrey’s – and, of course, I married him.
But it was not until I had our son, Tom, that life REALLY altered dramatically. I gave up work planning to go back to it later. I’d recently learnt to drive and we bought our first car. My husband had changed jobs. We moved house. And, when Tom was just three, I resurrected a teenage hobby. I began writing again, but this time with serious intent.
|Tom and his Great Grand Nan|
I was a young mother, was doing something I loved and, unbelievably, was soon to be published. I had my own car in which Tom and I were able to go places and do things. It could be as simple as driving to an out of town super-store, or to my art class where, he attended the creche, but this was an unbelievably exciting and fulfilling time in my life. There is a great soundtrack to this period, the mid-Eighties, which vividly revives those emotions. Think Live Aid! Because I can only pick one, I choose a favourite song of Tom’s. It brings back those memories of driving around, just the two of us, our music blaring out from the car’s cassette player.
|MAN EATER by Hall & Oates|
My fifth is a totally brilliant song that we used to play, over and over again, on the juke box of a beach bar in Greece. It always makes me want to leap up and dance. But its importance to me is because this was the first holiday I’d taken with my sister since we were single girls. Now that Tom was at University and we were free-agents, it seemed a really lovely idea to go away as a foursome – she and Roger, me and Geoff. We settled on Parga in NW Greece, or more specifically Volos Beach next door. For years I misremembered the name and thought this song was called ‘Or just forget about it’ by Santana. I have found an utterly thrilling live performance which has had me bouncing around in my typing chair. The vocals are supplied by the amazing Rob Thomas.
|SMOOTH by Santana|
I very much wanted to bring this piece up to date with the song I’ve adored since the instant I heard it. The first time I actually saw the performer his appearance took me totally by surprise. I’d assumed he was black for one thing. Beards have never been my thing, but given my own son now sports the full Victorian, I have to put my prejudices aside. Even though I’m cheating - having run out of my allowance of song tracks - I have to mention
|HUMAN by Rag'n'Bone man|