So continuing this little series I now move into my teenage years.
Man the late 70s/early 80s were such an exciting time to grow up when it came to music. I saw the excesses of Prog give way to the energy of Punk, then that morphed into New Wave and New Romantic music, but Punk also in a way gave birth to the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM). Metal with more edge and raw power. Add to that the rockabilly revival of the Stray Cats, the MOD revival of The Jam etc, and Two Tone Ska with The Specials, Madness, Selector, and Britain’s music scene was a multicoloured array of various tribes. At times those tribes would clash. I don’t think anyone was too pleased about the revival of the mass brawls on Brighton seafront on the May Bank Holiday… And I looked like a big rocker, complete with torn jeans, long hair, biker’s leather, and cut-off denim jacket covered in patches – a beacon for any passing Mods at the time. I guess I look back at that time with affection, but it wasn’t all fun and games
Evening Star – Judas Priest
So after Thin Lizzy caught my attention another couple of classic Top of the Pops performances made me rush out an buy their latest releases. The first was an album called Killing Machine by these guys… Judas Priest were probably my first proper Heavy Metal love. I loved their image (I had no idea at the time that Rob Halford had based his look on the New York Gay Scene), the music, the lyrics. I found another hero in KK Downing and wanted to once more be him. This song isn’t typical of Priest, but it was the first song of theirs I heard, and I still love it.
Doctor Doctor – UFO
On another Thursday night I sat glued to the TV and Top of the Pops when this song came on. I became a huge UFO fan in an instant and their live album Strangers in the Night is still one of my all time favourites. The groove of this track blew me away. I saw UFO for the first time in many years at Download Festival a couple of years back. They opened the Saturday morning, way, way, down on the bill. I was amazed. What amazed me was the small audience who turned up to see them. UFO were a big band back in the day, and Michael Schenker a legendary guitarist. Iron Maiden headlined that day and the irony was that their intro music was this UFO song. Everyone was singing along… Where were they for the band who actually played the song and had played it live that very morning? Weird.
Riff Raff – AC/DC
I will never, ever, forget the moment I first heard this track. I’d been advised to buy the new AC/DC live album If you want Blood and did so with a little trepidation. I hadn’t heard anything from them, but was told their latest single Rock n Roll Damnation was amazing. So I spent what little money I had on the album, dropped the needle, and this happened. I was so lucky to see AC/DC with Bon Scott on the Highway to Hell tour at the Brighton Centre just a month or so before he passed away.
Blitzkrieg Bop – Ramones
The Ramones got me through a lot of teenage angst. Every time I felt angry or upset I put on their live album Its Alive and my mood shifted. Again I am so pleased I caught them live. It was one of the fastest, most intense gigs I had ever been to. They literally came on stage, Dee Dee shouted ‘One-two-three-four!!” and they were off, and didn’t stop until the show ended. I think they must have played about 200 songs in that set! Amazing band.
Comfortably Numb – Pink Floyd
Along with all of the metal and punk I was also a hippy. Burning joss sticks in my room, wearing the occasional kaftan, and I had an afghan coat that, when it got wet, had to stay in the shed – it stank so much. My denim was covered in Patchouli, and I was often found chilling out to Pink Floyd and the next band here, Yes.
Wonderous Stories – Yes
I loved Pink Floyd, but I think back then Yes were even more a part of my life. This song in particular. I have some very fond memories of this song, none of which are suitable for printing here in public… Going for the One was my favourite Yes album, but Relayer and Tales from Topographic Oceans were also played to death on my little record player.
So next we head toward more recent days…