Musical Memories

Its been a while since I did one of my little trips down memory lane – and since I was supposed to be doing one a month I have a few to catch up on!

I was sorting thru one of my cupboards recently and found all my Music Albums. I know they are very uncool now but when I first started work buying music on vinyl was one of those luxuries you bought yourself… and you would save up to buy the expensive ones or double albums…. Some of them still have a price sticker on and they seem to range from about $3 to about $7 with double albums being about $10. So not much these days but remembering my first pay packet was about $45 for two weeks work they seemed expensive then…

And Albums are often such works of art…. something that is lost buying modern digital music. The Album covers were often very beautiful and detailed…designed as an eye catching promotion to make you buy the music. Many of them opened up and inside there was often more pictures, maybe a word from the artist about the album – or even all the words of the songs! Some even had a little book inside which was an added bonus. You would sit in your beanbag with the headphones on reading the album cover as you listened to the music….

I remember being in boarding school and one of the girls got a portable record player for her birthday. She was the absolute envy of everyone…even tho very few of us had a record we could play on it. She was in my dorm so we got to listen to it more than most of the girls…Thinking back now I bet the sound on them was pretty atrocious but I don’t remember that we minded. Being on a portable record player you had to sit on your bed and not walk across the room or it made the needle jump and possibly scratch the record which was heartbreaking!

I think my first couple of singles were ‘Nights in White Satin” and “House of the Rising Sun’… we played and played them all the time. Such appropriate songs for hormonal teenage girls! Also Bridge over Troubled waters and Wuthering Heights….. goodness quite a range there…

My first Album was ‘Hot August Night’ by my favourite artist Neil Diamond. My love affair began when I was in 3rd Year High (Year 10 these days)… I have almost all his albums and have been to most of his Australian Concerts. Back then I can’t remember if it was cool to like Neil Diamond or not… I guess many of us have special memories of the music or artists we enjoyed as teenagers…look how many baby boomers pay to see old rockers nowadays…

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Back in the seventies Neil Diamond was pretty big in Australia. I remember he did a tour in 1974. I had booked tickets for the Perth venue which was later in his tour. Myself and a friend were travelling across Australia and happened to be in Melbourne the night he was performing at the Myer Music Bowl. We didn’t have tickets but went to the venue and sat outside the venue up on a hill – where the stage was miles away (back in the days before the giant screens you have these days).

Needing to find a loo I was wandering around behind the venue trying to find the facilities. Near the back entrance (above it actually as there was a driveway going underneath to the stage door) there were a few girls standing around. I don’t know what made me think that they might be waiting for Neil’s arrival but I was standing right there and in drove Neil!! He got out of the car just below us and waved up at the now hysterical group of girls…Hi girls – he said. We all screamed again and waved back. Some of the other girls passed down things to sign but I had nothing – not even my camera to take a picture!! He signed the albums and waved again and went inside the venue…. My heart was pounding and I was exploding with excitement. I found the loo and then hurried back to my friend…. Not being able to contain my excitement for another moment I yelled at them from about 20 yards away (I do these embarrassing things all the time…) – Guess what I just did??!!! – well about hundred people turned to hear what I had just done… I just spoke to Neil Diamond – I said breathlessly!!! So that was my close brush with my hero and I can still see that encounter whenever I think of it……. So after all that excitement we stayed to see the concert – I stood on my rucksack to be able to see over everyone else… and altho you could hardly see him you could certainly hear him…

So big was Neil in those days I remember they broadcast his Sydney concert live across Australia… I remember the Prime Minister was in the front row (what a waste of a good seat) and I sat at home in front of the TV watching it. Years later (many years later) they released that concert on a DVD and I watch it and it takes me back to those days so many years ago.

When Neil finally came to Perth he played at the WACA. We got there early and put our rugs on the lawn. The West Australian had a couple of pictures in the paper next day and you could order a copy. Of course I did – and I still have them. I look at Neil and his long hair and it reminds me of the time all guys had long hair – not like today. And of course Neil doesn’t have such luxuriant locks any more either… but he still has a cute bum!

Jenny Buckingham126

Jenny Buckingham125

I jokingly tell my hubby that if Neil Diamond ever rocks up to my front door and proposes then he is to instantly divorce me so I can elope with Neil. Strangely my hubby has agreed – I don’t think he thinks it will ever happen….

So Thank You Neil for forty years of wonderful musical memories… hopefully there will be many more….

So after you have flicked thru the 20 or so Neil Diamond Albums  (I wont inflict photos of them all on you here) what else is there?… My albums reflect the seventies and eighties and the music that was around in those times – more recent music is on CD’s – and more recent still – on my iPod….

Rod Stewart was another great love of mine… I can remember going to a couple of his concerts. One I remember in the Entertainment Centre he came out for about the fifth encore with the house lights on and everyone still standing on their chairs and dancing….

Alice Cooper was pretty outrageous for those times…. there was some talk of him (pretending) to rip the head off a chicken and having a snake on stage….. I didn’t go to any concert of his…

Wings was the first concert I remember queuing up all day to buy a ticket for…. I remember lining up around the Entertainment Centre for an entire day to get tickets for myself and my friends – those were the days where there was only one ticket office and you couldn’t ring to buy tickets – you had to line up…

I saw Elton John perform a couple of times and Fleetwood Mac. Dr Hook were insane – I’m not sure they knew what planet they were on that night – but they were very entertaining! Leo Sayer was great – as was ABBA. ABBA were huge in those days. I used to love watching Countdown on Sunday nights. I remember when ABBA’s Fernando was the number one hit for weeks and weeks – and it finished off Countdown for so many weeks… They were the sort of group that everyone said they hated but still sold so many Albums – so an awful lot of people that said they hated them must have been buying their music!

I didn’t see ELO or Bryan Ferry…which is a shame… I love Bryan Ferry’s music and he is a pretty sexy guy! Interestingly I havent been back to see any of these artists in more recent concerts – except for Neil…. I think Rod Stewart is great as a gravel voiced crooner (have several of his recent albums) but somehow I think I prefer to live with the memories I have of them when we were all younger! I also cant bear to see tribute singers or bands – I’d rather be home listening to the real thing…

Then I have an eclectic collection of other music from those days.. love dancing to Status Quo, saw Suzie Q at the Beatty Park Aquatic Centre – she lifted off the roof, saw Stevie Wonder…and John Denver a couple of times- all country folk and apple pie.

My friends went to Uni and they often had music sessions there… I remember seeing Mike McClelland there and maybe Ross Ryan… I have several of their albums…

And all those sad melancholy albums about love lost and life. Janis Ian was a great favourite of mine – but many of them were very sad songs. Demis Roussos was also into love songs…I remember playing him a lot when my boyfriend (now hubby) was travelling around Europe without me. And Lobo….. I still hear his songs on the radio and they bring back those years of teenage angst. My Lobo Album has a scratch on it and many of my favourite songs have a skip in them – so I had to find his music online to be able to get the songs without that added extra. Also Cat Stevens…loved his simple music and the messages within them…. Boney M was exotic melodies – probably introduced to me by Countdown. Gordon Lightfoot and Neil Young, along with Bob Dillon were probably an influence from my (more sophisticated) Uni friends.

I also have about four America Albums…. and a Pink Floyd, Bob Dylan and The Eagles…. I think I was influenced by a couple of my Uni friends to get into those bands – they were really into them whereas my tastes were different and I doubt I would have developed a taste for them otherwise..

I also have a lot of Rick Wakeman music. Don’t hear that on the radio much these days…I will have to go back and listen to them again…

I have a few Australian Bands as well. I remember travelling down from the country and staying at the White Sands hotel with my girlfriends and going to see Ol 55 who were performing at that pub that night. These were clearly influenced by Countdown…

The rest of my collection – some Beatles music – I was just too late to be a Beatles fan – but I do have their various incarnations since – John Lennon, Wings … I also have a few compilation albums popular in those days – all showing a popular and unsophisticated range of music tastes…

Also a lot of ‘rock’ musicals – remember the first versions of Jesus Christ Superstar and Godspell….. who didn’t cry in The Rose, or Love Story or Sunshine??? Does anyone else remember Tommy with The Who?? Grease is still my favourite musical (along with Mary Poppins – but that’s another story) – and have seen many versions – but Olivia and John are still the best!

The oldest record I have is a Connie Francis one that I pinched from my older brother. I loved that album – still do….. Lipstick on your collar, Tenesee waltz….. just beautiful…

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They always say that a certain song will always provoke a memory…. That memory and music are closely related….. and that is true. I remember a song called ‘Toast and Marmalade for Tea’ was a big hit when I was studying for my Leaving…. hardly ever hear it on the radio now tho so must have been a very tiny hit!! I just looked it up – was an Australian song…as Molly would say – Do yourself a favour and listen to it.. Toast & Marmalade for Tea – Tin Tin

Whenever I hear a Meatloaf song I am reminded of driving up and down to my country home, sometimes three times a week, when my Mum was dying. I used to turn it up full blast as I drove and sing loudly – it kept me awake on those long drives and perhaps screaming out the songs helped with my grief and sadness at the time. However I also remember that listening to Meatloaf tended to make you speed!!

Happy Birthday Helen is a song I always associate with my daughter as it is a song we always play on her birthday….

So my trip down memory lane has finished… hope it reminded you of the music that means something to you….. it certainly bought back those years of the 70’s and 80’s to me…. and my 200 vinyl albums will stay in my cupboard so that sometimes I can listen to them and remember my younger days….

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