There was a great piece in the supplement, G2, in today’s Guardian. It was about the influence of our parents on our musical tastes. I’m quite lucky as my parents, on the whole, have a great taste in music. So in the spirit of the article, I felt like sharing some of the music from my childhood.
Back when cars only had radios and cassette players, we used to have a box full of cassettes to listen to on the long car journeys we would take when going on holiday. Two of the songs that were played have always remained in my mind, the first, and I have no idea why this was on a cassette, was the theme song to ‘The Adventures of Robin Hood’, the 1950s TV series. I can only assume it was on because it was fun to sing along, as one of my favourite childhood films was the brilliant 1938 ‘The Adventures of Robin Hood.’
The second song is ‘Letter to America’ by The Proclaimers. Everyone knows this band for the song ‘I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)’, but they actually wrote some nice, less cheesy songs.
I’ve loved Frank Sinatra for a long time now. At Christmas my parents would always have CDs playing some of the best songs of the 1940s, 50s and 60s. Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr., Mario Lanza et al. One song that I always turn to is ‘It Was Very Good Year’. When I hear it, first of all the beauty of the song hits me hard. It is a beautifully orchestrated and arranged piece of music. But of course, Frank’s voice seals it. I don’t think there will ever be a singer that could put so much power into the lyrics he sang. Start the video from 1.50 to hear the song.
Staying with the theme of music from a bygone era, musicals were a very big part of my childhood. My parents grew up watching films made during what was dubbed the ‘golden era’ of musicals. In particular, the films of MGM studios. Showboat, Singin’ in the Rain, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, I’ve seen them all and loved them all!
Usually, you are either a Beatles fan, or a Rolling Stones fan. And what decides that is who your dad liked when he was a boy. My dad, the luckiest bastard alive, was a teenager when the Stones began, and his love for their music has been passed down like a gene to me. I appreciate The Beatles and like a lot of their music, but for me The Stones will always be superior.
That’s a brief tour of my musical origins! I think I turned out alright. I’ve got an incredibly eclectic taste in music, ranging from Metallica to Bach, The Rolling Stones to Miley Cyrus. (You know what, I like We Can’t Stop. THERE I SAID IT.)
So thanks to my parents, you prepared me well!