If you’ve ever met me, you’ll know that I like to sing, and mid-conversation most usually is the optimum occasion for doing so.
But enough of that, today I’d like to talk about my musical history, or rather, how I became the all-genre loving individual I am today.
Growing up there were a few staple albums I can remember. Namely:
- Hunky Dory – Bowie
- The Ultimate Collection – Bob Dylan
- Tracey Chapman – Tracey Chapman
- Suzanne Vega – Suzanne Vega
- Life – Thin Lizzy
- Simply The Best – Tina Turner
My parents played these albums regularly. On car journeys, my parents dictated the music choice (I like to think to indoctrinate us) and despite constant complaining “Dad, do we have to listen to Maggie’s Farm AGAIN?”, I think it worked.
It’s difficult to categorise the genres my parents love. I know they don’t quite enjoy my brothers’ appreciation of Gangsta Rap, but their foremost adoration will always be Ska (Dad) and RnB (Mum).
The above albums are my earliest memories of music. Later down the line, we’re in the mid to late 90’s and boy, I’m excited to share these beauties with you. Remember, I’m still talking about albums I heard around me, rather than those I chose to listen to:
- Fresco – M People
- Now That’s What I Call Music! 28
- Life – Simply Red
- No Limits – 2Unlimited
- Let’s Talk About Love – Celine Dion
- The Marshall Mathers LP – Eminem
- Earthbound – Conner Reeves
- Toni Braxton – Toni Braxton
A bit of a mix, eh? Ok, this is where my Nan and Aunt come in. There are two albums each on that list that belong to their repertoire. Yes, my Nan loved No Limits AND Celine Dion (talk about varied), and my Aunt does enjoy a bit of easy listening. Dad embraced Eminem and Mum pretty much collected all NTWICM albums going.
My Nan was also a big classical music fan and used to play “Prokofiev: Peter and the Wolf, Britten” LP quite a bit for me. I remember it fondly, and I miss it terribly.
Now we’re hitting the age of discovering my own taste in music. My first cassette was Right Said Fred – I’m too sexy. Yep. I think I bought it in a Woolworth’s bargain bucket. My first album was a Disney collection which for the life of me, I cannot find online whatsoever. I’m finding it very difficult to recall the first album I played non stop, it’s one of the following though:
- Now That’s What I Call Music! 38
- Spice – Spice Girls
- Five – Five
- Gabrielle – Gabrielle
- White on Blonde – Texas
I was in the age range of 8-9 at this stage. You can judge all you like, but Robbie Williams is coming up. I annoyed my sister so much with “Sing When You’re Winning”, she would shout at me to turn it off. Take That featured heavily in my younger years, but not so much that they were my “favourite all-time ever best band in the world” (like some of my chums).
Early teenage years are a little fuzzy for me, so I’m struggling to recall anything beyond Robbie. There was, of course, my Garage phase, but I didn’t own any albums other than “Born to do it” – Craig David and a collection of tracks on a Ministry of Sound 3 CD collection. I remember sharing headphones with Kathryn in our mid-teens, but 11-13, there’s no other memories. So continuing on:
- Hybrid Theory – Linkin Park
- Free all angels – Ash
- Echo Park – Feeder
- 8701 – Usher
- Sing When You’re Winning – Robbie Williams
- White Ladder – David Gray
- The Greatest Hits – Whitney Houston
At this stage, I refused to admit I loved Tina Turner. I’m ashamed of that now, I should have been the kid at school who was not afraid to say what I liked. I continued to hide anything I thought was embarrassing or just not cool right up until my mid 20’s. Pathetic, but revealing. Some of the closest friends I had were not good for my self-esteem.
I’m moving onto artists now, mainly because from this age onwards I didn’t really own albums – a few of the below yes, but not all physical copies. The age of the download had hit, and I had anything I wanted.
- The Strokes
- The Killers
- Franz Ferdinand
- The Libertines
- The Cure
- Funeral for a friend
- The Pixies
- Arctic Monkeys
Ah, University. It was a dark time for me, and I don’t like to overthink about it. Not sure my music choices helped much, but I found solace in these artists. No, I was not emo, I was way too old for that. I was, however heavily influenced by my teenage siblings and Marc. Recently I lent my brother my iPod classic which hadn’t been updated since this period, and he raved about my music choices. Of course, it wasn’t just the below that featured, I listened to a lot of Bowie, Dylan, Chapman and Vega too.
- My Chemical Romance
- Fall Out Boy
- Panic! At the disco
- Hawthorne Heights
I had also started to sing in front of people. Karaoke fever had struck the Berry, and I also discovered my talent to imitate Cher. It’s not the best, but it’s good fun. The life-defining moment was to sing with a live band in front of strangers at “Rockaoke”. I don’t have a Rock voice, so I chose the only song on the list that I knew I could sing – Son of a Preacher man. The band groaned I didn’t care. Suddenly, I discovered my true self and had unravelled years of hiding. I didn’t care what people thought about my music choices, I didn’t need to like what my peers did.
2013 changed me, and I started to think about myself more than I had ever done before. I got a new job, came to terms with my health, openly admitted my geekdom to the world and started to listen to music more than ever. I was listening to two albums a day (I’ve cut down to 1 now) and began to think about my future more than ever.
Which leads me to now. Back to albums, these feature heavily in my frequently listened to. I’ve not included my staples (Bowie, Dylan, Chapman, Vega):
- Aretha – Aretha Franklin
- Break Every Rule – Tina Turner
- Come Away With Me – Norah Jones
- 4 – Beyonce
- A Girl Called Dusty – Dusty Springfield
- Blues – Etta James
- Bat Out Of Hell – Meat Loaf
- Songs In The Key Of Life – Stevie Wonder
- Tapestry – Carole King
I also listen to a lot of playlists. I make quite a few of my own and listen to Kelly’s Country Music playlist weekly. Spotify also has a few that I can’t help but listen to. #ThrowBackThursday usually quenches my 90’s thirst.
To finish off this post, I have created a playlist with songs that have carved out my existence from the above artists. There are so many more artists and songs that I could have written about, but I wanted to focus in on those that have made an impact.
Thanks for reading (and hopefully, listening).
Peace out xoxo