Seven Decades of Song (3)
Two months ago, I began Seven Decades of Song, a series of reflections of music through the years with a walk through the 1950s, and last month we visited my all-time favourite musical decade, the 1960s. Today, we’re moving forwards once more into the 1970s, which turned out to be a very busy time for me.
This was the decade that saw the most changes in my life. I started it as a teenager in the sixth form, thinking about taking my A levels and leaving the parental home for a bedsit in London. Ten years later, I was married, with a degree in biochemistry and a doctorate in microbiology. We were about to buy our first house and I was working as a production manager in the pharmaceutical industry.
And my musical experiences were as wide-ranging as the rest of my life. I was now listening to records more than the radio or television. And we spent a lot of time at live gigs. This is one of the times when I regret never having kept a diary. I can remember seeing Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Hazel O’Conner and Hawkwind. But I’m sure there are far more performers I have since forgotten. And I find it interesting that most of the bands I remember are from the rock genre rather than pop. Yet, when I consult the lists of top selling singles of the decade, most of them would be described more as pop songs than rock. And I can still remember the words to most of them.
And right at the top of the list is my favourite Beatle, Paul McCartney, now with his new band, Wings. And the worst had happened. Paul was married to Linda. But like most little girls of the 1960s, I had grown out of that phase, and barely gave it a thought.
My husband is no dancer. I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times we have danced in public. So, at our wedding, his best man, who had a beautiful voice, sang I’ll Take You Home Again, Kathleen as I waltzed around the dance floor with my father. (I should say I was christened Kathleen, while Elizabeth is my middle name).
I was pretty sure that beautiful song wouldn’t feature anywhere in the pop charts of the 1970s, since it was written a hundred years before. However, I found to my delight that Elvis Presley released a version of it on his 1973 eponymous album. I don’t have a recording of the version sung at my wedding, but I guess the late, lamented Elvis makes a great substitute.