Soundtrack To My Youth – Part 5

As far as I was concerned, the late 1970’s were all about long music and loud hair and I wasn’t having a bar of it!  My way of thinking went something like this; “you musicians  want to be so modern then why do you still have long hair and insist on using a guitar?!”  Judgmental …. me …. never! Many of my friends were into bands like Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple and even Status Quo.  (I was nearly responsible for killing the entire band in 1992 but that’s another story) It’s not that I didn’t like rock music, it was just a bit too predictable for me and I couldn’t be bothered to spend time or my money on that kind of music.

My outlook was towards the future.  I wanted to leave my home town, Switzerland, Europe, in fact I wanted to travel to another planet! Did I mention that I was also fascinated with astronomy and space travel? My interest in the possibilities of intergalactic travel led me to discovered a new kind of music that would allow me to do this, at least in my head.  By the end of the 1970’s I was spending time in my own alternative universe thanks to bands like Tangerine Dream, Pink Floyd, Jane, The Far East Band and basically anything that I could find on the Brain record label. And no, I never inhaled! I just loved the sound of synthesisers and I am absolutely thrilled that these days, I can have my own space music lab in my room.  In fact, I carry my synthesiser on my phone.  How cool is that!

As the decade came to an end, I was gearing up to leave Europe an start a new life in Australia; I was moving to Melbourne!  My music choice today reflects that transition from a provincial town to the big city on the other side of the world.  I have this recording in my collection as a glow in the dark 12 inch single, its a old party trick favourite. If you happen to come around to my place to listen to music, you will be treated to this ‘light’ spectacle!

Kraftwerk ‘Neon lights’

Soundtrack To My Youth – Part 3

Music can be a time capsule, but the meaning of the song or tunes also evolve with time.  I have chosen to trace some key events in my earlier life, from growing up in Switzerland through to moving to Australia in my early 20’s.  This soundtrack to my youth is a seven part series.

We could be Heroes! 

I still believe this!  When I started to write this online exposé of my musical tastes, this was the first piece of music that came to mind. I have never really been a fan of a particular band or artist (OK I admit there was that episode in the early 1970’s with The Sweet but please don’t tell anyone!).  What I mean by being a ‘fan’ was, that I had to have every track the artist ever made and needing to know all of the background gossip of his or her life.

The closest thing I got to being a ‘fan’ is how I regard David Bowie.  The funny thing is that lyrics are an important part of Bowie’s work and yet when I discovered his work in 1977, my English was still at kindergarten level.  That didn’t matter, it was the sound and vision (pun intended) that got me hooked.  Heroes, was famously recorded at Hansa Studio by the Wall in West Berlin. The music also reflected my other musical obsession at the time, progressive German electronic music.  Looking back, the album had it all: music by Bowie, recorded in Germany, black and white photography on the album cover by Japanese photographer, Masayoshi Sukita and the LP was mixed in Montreux Switzerland. I’ve always loved this kind of serendipity.

A couple of years later, in 1979, I would read Christiane F. ‘Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo’, in which Bowie’s music was an integral part.  Best of all, David Bowie also released a German and French version of this song.  Now I could finally get the lyrical brilliance as well.  It’s a song that transports me straight back to being a teenager, and also reminds me about my early years in Australia. It still fills me with joy.

So while I am still not a ‘proper’ fan, David Bowie really is my Hero!

David Bowie ‘Heroes’