Music, music and more music

A song by Bo Diddley was played on the radio. Its mood seemed timeless, rooted in its own decade, it seemed music that might be played at any time in an indeterminate future.

No-one in our family was musical. In our house, my mother was the only person who could sing, the rest of us would have been hard pressed to have carried a tune in a very large bucket.

Yet there was always music.

We had a radiogram, a prized purchase in the late-1960s. It had a radio with a three band tuner, Medium Wave, Long Wave and FM, and it had a record deck that allowed the playing of records at 33 rpm, 45 rpm, and 78 rpm.

To the schoolboy looking at it, the 78 rpm option seemed an odd inclusion. Could you even buy 78 rpm records anymore? Being a child whose perspective was always that of the present, the thought did not occur that there were many, many people whose collections would have included many 78 rpm records.

A visiting uncle and aunt had to be shown the new radiogram and there was great hilarity as the lid was lifted. Some mouse seeking refuge from the outside world had found its way into the record deck and made a nest by chewing up the pages of the instruction booklet. If there were features of the radiogram that were not obvious to a user, then we would never know what they were.

The radiogram in the living room and the transistor radio in the kitchen played music.

Although he would only have been eight years old when Glen Miller’s aircraft disappeared, my father had a collection of Glen Miller records, which, in my memory were 45 rpm, perhaps they had been re-released. There were Long Playing discs of the Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess and Rhapsody in Blue. Other American songs included Hey Paula, sung by the duo Paul and Paula (it didn’t seem a very original name for the group

From our own side of the Atlantic Ocean, I remember Val Doonican’s Walk Tall and Only the heartaches, as well as The Bachelors’ Diane. There were rock and roll and Lonnie Donegan records

Looking back now, the selection of records seems odd. The sort of records my parents played seemed almost to have stopped at a point in the early-1960s. No Beatles, no Rolling Stones, although my father enjoyed the music of both The Rolling Stones and The Animals.

Perhaps it was the radio that did it, perhaps when BBC Radio 1 was launched in September 1967, there was no longer an inclination to buy discs. When there is music, music and more music for free, why spend money?

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