Seven Decades of Song (2)
Last month, I began Seven Decades of Song, a new series of reflections of music through the years with a walk down the 1950s memory lane, listening to request programmes on the Light programme. Today, we move into my favourite decade of all, music-wise. Even today, I jump at the chance of spending an evening prancing around the dance floor, belting out the old familiar tunes at the top of my voice.
The 1960s was the decade when I really got into pop. It saw the emergence of such giants as The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Move, The Kinks and The Animals. Many of the bands from the 1960s are still around in some form or another. We saw the current incarnation of The Animals in Exeter recently and although Eric Burden is no longer with them, the original drummer, John Steel, is still in the line-up.
For many of us, the band of the 1960s was The Beatles. When we consider how much influence the music of Lennon and McCartney has had, it’s hard to believe the band was only together for eight years. Ringo Starr joined in 1962; and the Fab Four split in 1970.
Like many teenage girls, I was in love with Paul. I remember the shock over the headlines ‘Beatle Weds’ and the relief of learning it was George Harrison who’d tied the knot, not our beloved Paul.
But my lasting memory from this decade is not of a band at all. In February 1965, I was watching Top of the Pops when Tom Jones made his first appearance. If my memory isn’t playing tricks, he wore a blouson shirt with Swiss embroidery. And remember, in those days, even The Beatles still wore suits.
A few months later, Tom made a public appearance on stage at our local park. I was desperate to go and persuaded my parents to take me, as I was too young to attend a pop concert on my own. My father’s recollection of that day was of a pale, sick-looking young man who seemed ill at ease with all the publicity. But I reckon his memory must have been flawed. All I remember is a magnificent presence, a great voice singing It’s Not Unusual, and the thrill of getting his autograph! The picture shows Tom as he is today; for the original version, click on the song title. Move over Paul McCartney, there’s a new kid on the block!