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 1

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.

Becoming a teenager was all about small rebellions and one way to cause a ripple in my environment was to listen to my own choice of music.  I wanted to listen to stuff that wasn’t on the family radio.  In about 1972 my mother purchased a record player and we had a handful of LP’s, mainly easy listening and some light Jazz.  I remember that one of my favourite records was Dvorak’s Symphony No. 9 “From the New World”.  I played that and Louis Armstrong a lot.

Then something big happened, I got my own radio! Now I could listen to what I wanted whenever I wanted.  Mind you there wasn’t much on the radio in well behaved Switzerland in those days. There was the weekly Hit Parade, a must listen if you wanted to keep up with the kids at school.   Listening to music, was rarely about lyrics for me, as the music I listened to was mostly in English and I couldn’t understand anything beyond ‘yea yea’ and ‘I love you’.  But I could understand emotions and feelings,  most of all I got rock and roll. In 1974, I was 14 years of age, I discovered an American GI radio station from Berlin on my AM radio. Every week it presented an hour long rock n’ roll revival show, complete with old radio jingles from the 50’s.  I was hooked! One of the first LP’s I bought, and still have, is a Little Richard album which has a selection of hits on it plus some more obscure tracks.  I bought it for the two recognisable hits, but for me the stand out track was this slow bluesy, soulful number.  It also paved the way for my Soul music obsession which was to follow.

From an early age, music became a form of travel for me.  This had something to do with my mother who started to travel in the mid 1970’s.  Freshly divorced she went on to explore the world beyond the iron curtin and travelled to Hungary and Romania in 1973, returning back with folk music recordings.  This was a real eye opener form me.  There was a world outside my window waiting to be explored.  An idea that is still with me. My dear mother has since passed away but I still carry her philosophy that everyone is potentially good at heart.

Little Richard ‘Don’t deceive me’