The Soundtrack of my Life – The Early Years…

I put a post out on my Facebook page and Twitter feed recently asking if there was anything people who read my blog would like me to write about. The response was brilliant and it’s given me plenty to think about, so thank you for responding!

One of the questions asked was that I publish a ‘soundtrack of my life’ post. The suggestion was 16 songs, which I thought would be too many, but when you really sit down and try to think of those peak moments that are linked to one particular song it’s amazing how quickly those 16 places get filled up – particularly when you’re on the wrong side of 50 years old…

Also 16 in one post felt like it would be too many. So I thought I would split this into three posts and see how that works out.

So for this one I am going way back in time.

I was born in 1965, June 16th into a very loving and happy home. I think it must have become apparent very quickly to my parents that my first love was music. My parents bought me a little mono record player, and I nicked my Dad’s records and could probably be heard right down the end of the street, out in our front garden, singing along at the top of my voice, swinging on my rocking horse to the rhythm of the music. I remember very clearly doing exactly that.

Those formative years really influenced my musical taste, and I still love some of those early songs. They were from my parent’s record collection, but if you’re familiar with my own music, I’m sure you’ll hear some of the influences in there still to this day. What is apparent with all of these, and more to come, was my love of the guitar. I was besotted with the instrument, and in truth, I still am.

So today we are heading back to the late 60s and very early 70s.

I’m using YouTube vids as the examples, and I know that sometimes when you press play they can either refuse to play due to some copyright issue, or you’re taken away from this article to listen on YouTube. Do come back here for the rest if that happens! Enjoy!

 

Blue Suede Shoes – 

The first time I heard Elvis something clicked within me. The rhythm of rock n roll, the strength of his voice, and 12 bar time signature and chords. It was so exciting. My parents took me to see a London show called Elvis where people performed some of his greatest hits, and charted his life. One of those performers was a man called Shakin Stevens who later went on to have his own series of hits. Elvis is still the King of Rock n Roll to me.

Folsom Prison Blues – 

This was one of the first songs I learned to play on the guitar. Again, 12 bar blues. I’m sure that when we finally create a machine that can hear the rhythm of the Universe, it’ll be the sound of a 12 bar boogie shuffle, and it’ll be Elvis and Johnny Cash providing the vocals!

Rocky Mountain High – 

Another singer whose songs and environmental attitude obviously influenced me very early on, and still does to this day. What a voice this man had, and what a loss he was too. Still gives me shivers when I hear him sing.

Jumping Jack Flash – 

Along with the folk and country music so much loved by my parents I was also introduced to this band of reprobates. They weren’t the band that truly woke me up to my lifelong love of rock music – that’ll be in tomorrow’s post. But the Stones certainly paved the way.

Music is magic. I have no doubt in my mind that it can heal, make you feel happy, sad, reflective. We all have songs that make up the soundtracks of our lives.

What are the bands and songs that make you think back to your own childhood?

14 Comments

  1. John Davis September 3, 2018 at 1:53 pm - Reply

    For me Damh….Albatross by Fleetwood Mac. I remember going to buy it from our local record shop and every copy in the shop had an annoying click which repeated every 20 secs or so…presumably a faulty master disc. I had to wait another month before a clean copy was available. It has an insistent under-beat that seems to encapsulate the dogged determination that I associate with that great seabird of the Southern Oceans. In later years, about 50 actually, when I embraced the Druid path, it was the albatross that became my totem bird.
    John Davis

  2. Kim Davies September 3, 2018 at 2:14 pm - Reply

    Hi Damh, I’m excited and weirdly honoured that my suggestion was the first you chose! I loved this and I’m looking forward to the other posts.

    For me, I was born in the 80s and so the music my dad listened to was my earliest soundtrack. Bands like Free, Roxy Music, Thompson Twins and ZZ Top.

  3. Ann Ingham September 3, 2018 at 2:25 pm - Reply

    I too love John Denver. I think he was a good song writer and as you say had a good voice. I love the wistful ones and the nature loving ones (and of course Annie’s song). He wasn’t very happy though. For me you are a better song writer, a better singer, and much more powerfully empowering, and have an optimistic outlook! Despite your grief at singing the Mabignon tragedies. ( I really love the one you sang from the second branch)

    On Saturday I was thinking about optimism and cheerfulness. I love your obvious enjoyment of singing and playing, of feedback, and community. I was wondering if Gemini is an optimistic sign being associated with spring and blossoming and growing? cos I am gemini and optimistic too.

  4. Kimberly A Kelsey September 3, 2018 at 2:33 pm - Reply

    Johnny Cash, definitely. He’s still one of those artists that makes me laugh, cry or think with almost every song as I sing along with him, but every song inevitably starts with a smile because his music is so recognizable well before he starts to sing. I’m still on the ‘right’ side of fifty, but only barely, so a lot of true ‘music at its inception’ memories come a bit later for me, but music from the time period you’re talking about still was a huge influence on me. Wings, George Harrison, Janis Joplin, Stevie Wonder, the Temptations, Aretha (bless!), and classic country, too, including John Denver, George Jones, the Statler Brothers… My father’s roots are in eastern Kentucky but they moved to the outskirts of Detroit when he was still quite young, so we’ve talked a few different times about how his childhood influenced his tastes, and likely mine!

  5. Craig Karls September 3, 2018 at 2:49 pm - Reply

    Thank you for sharing Damh. I was born in the late sixties and there was a song that was a perennial favorite as we played in the vast woodlands of Oregon. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_AeMmTE2pc

  6. Ann Beirne September 3, 2018 at 2:54 pm - Reply

    Hello

    The first peace of music that really moved me was Mars from the planet suite by Gustave Holst, they played it at my senior school assemblies, it gave me goose bumps and still does, I was mostly bought up to the sounds of Glen Miller and classical music, so mostly up until my fourth year at Junior School I had very little experience of other sorts of music and this was mainly the Beatles, Stones Gerry and the Pacemakers, I loved the Liverpool football club song walk on from Carousel I have sung it myself in many amateur productions, it has always made me cry, I always find it really hard to sing and sob at the same time. I too love John Denver his Annies song, and Calypso are my favourites, I loved him for his Environmental stance and was deeply saddened at his sudden death. We still have his music recordings that keep him alive in our hearts and souls though.

    Bright Blessings

    Ann

    I am s

  7. Robert Messier September 3, 2018 at 3:06 pm - Reply

    I have to laugh at all the wonderful coincidences between the way you are thinking on your posts and my own posts and e-mails to ailing pagan friends on internet e-mail. (I was booted from Facebook for pagan art and a post of a Japanese orchestra performing in the nude. LOL) Just yesterday, I e-mailed my lifetime musical influences to communicate my bardic philosophy and storytelling. I am not a musician, but I do use music videos to tell a theme or message. The Power of Music does heal the Spirit of not only people, but animals and plants too! I grew up with a huge music library and love all kinds of music, poetry and song. There are always more things to learn about the bard’s craft than just musicianship. It is thought projection, artistic story-telling and a higher form of communication. Damh, your music has been a great influence on my life. Thank you. I could talk about this subject all day, but just to answer your question about the MOST influential music/albums for me were 1…The Beatles “Revolver” for diversity and sounds. 2…Jethro Tull “Aqualung” which made me stop and think about spiritual ideas in a new way. 3/4…The Who’s “Tommy” and “Quadrophenia for the story-telling concept album ideas. 5…Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” for sheer master musicianship and craft. 6/7… Omnia’s “Pagan Folk” and Loreena McKennitt’s “Night at the Alhambra” for utter beauty for deeper thoughts, feelings and for the mastery of ancient instruments by using a concert video forum on YouTube to project that music. Folk rock remains my favorite form of music and my 8/9/10 artists of lifetime influence would be YOU, Cat Stevens and Dougie MacLean. Blessed Be, my friend.

  8. Kevin Rowan-Drewitt September 3, 2018 at 3:10 pm - Reply

    Hi Dave – a lovely blog and great memories. Like yourself, I was exposed to music from a very early age as my parents always had the radio on and bought records all the time that they used to play on their Phillips Radiogram with walnut veneer. The first song i remember badgering my Dad to buy was Glad All Over by the Dave Clark Five – I was actually 5 myself at the time in 63 and loved the thumping marching drum sound and I remember singing it the school playground and stomping my feet to it. My parents bought me a Chad Valley guitar that was totally unplayable but I loved posing with it. About this time I learnt how to use the record player and found the button that drove my parents mad – it was called REPEAT. I loved my Dads Lonnie Donnigan records especially My Old Mans A Dustman which I played over and over on repeat until I knew all the words by heart – I still do! The Beatles of course came along in 62/3 and my parents bought some of their singles and I loved She Loves You which was the biggest selling single ever at the time – we now play it in my ukulele band – such interesting chord structures in their songs. I loved the Sargent Pepper album – the first proper album I ever heard. I do remember getting my Dad to buy Zabadak by Dave Dee Beaky Mick and Titch for me – what strange lyrics that had! Finally as the 60’s ended I loved Creedence Clearwater Revival especially Bad Moon Rising. All these had a big influence on me when I finally started learning guitar a few years later when I was 14. PS We play Folsom Prison Blues in my ukulele band and I get to start it off and sing the first line.

  9. terri September 3, 2018 at 4:09 pm - Reply

    fun idea for a blog 🙂 music has always been the one thing no one could ever take away from me. i always kept it close. it got me through a lot of heartache in my life. as a small child, my grandma always bought us records and made sure we had a turntable. as a teenager i started collecting albums….all the classic rock stuff….i especially loved (and still do) arlo guthrie…going to see him in concert next month for the 1st time ever! 🙂 i have always loved folk music, dylan and that whole gang…..there are so many i have loved through the years….my anthem was always fat bottom girls by queen lol. i could go on for hours about all the music i love and, like you, being on the(very) wrong side of 50 (lol), there is a lot of it! everything from cash to pink floyd to boston, pearl jam, santana, the doors, ozzy and BS (fav metal album of all time is paranoid!)….and tons more!

  10. Char Lewis September 3, 2018 at 9:38 pm - Reply

    Hello Dave,
    Music has been a huge part of my life from the absolute beginning. I have a very musical family. My dad played guitar, and piano, my older brothers, Bob and Bill Lewis (twins) were very successful musicians in the 1970’s. Bob was the bass player and occasional piano player for the Carlton Showband for eleven years, they won a Juno award in 1975, and they had lots of gold albums. They were an Irish/country music band, loved by millions. Bill was the guitar player for Canadian legend Stompin’ Tom Connors, for about 9 years. They criss crossed Canada and the UK and were much loved by millions. And when it’s hockey season here in Canada, I can hear my brother’s iconic riff to the Hockey song, because they always play it on Hockey night in Canada (Saturday nights).
    My other brothers and sisters, are also musicians, I also play guitar and keyboards, And all of us can sing, although the real star in the voice department is my sister Arlene, what a voice. Even the children of my brothers and sisters are dripping with musical talent. My Daughter is an amazing singer, my two sons play guitar, My sister’s son plays keyboards and is recording his first album. My niece Alicia has 4 albums, and another two she recorded with her father. My nephew Aaron C Lewis has 3 albums and was inducted into the East coast Musical hall of fame. My other niece Alysha, has one album out. My brother and son-in-law are in a local band called Proper Villains, my brother AJ is the bass player and singer, and my son-in-law Tommy is the drummer. They play classic rock.
    As for music that I loved growing up, first of all, my father’s guitar playing. I fell in love with Supertramp, Fleetwood Mac, the Beatles, John Lennon, Boston, Peter Frampton, Rush, Queen, Pink Floyd, Uriah Heep, Eric Clapton, Dire Straits, Loreena McKennitt, John Renbourn and Pentangle, Faun, and of course you.
    I can’t imaging my life without music in it. It’s just always been there, since the day I was born. And I play music every day.

  11. Nita September 4, 2018 at 5:38 pm - Reply

    Hi Dave…………yes indeed we all love your music and can hear so many references to the four you have mentioned and others. I have tried to do a desert Island discography but end up with a list as long as my arm. Of course I am much older being a Hippie Rock Chic born in 1951. I too was born into a family who loved music and was encouraged to learn guitar. I now own no less than 8. yes I play them all but not at the same time.
    I love Char’s list too, classy bird you must be. it actually made me think about funeral music, no not in a negative way but in a celebratory way. I looked at all the music I love and decided to have Woodstock by Joni Mitchel followed by If you are going to SanFrancisco (flowers in your hair) and as the curtains close I want everyone to dance out to Brown Sugar. Raise those horns.

    • Char Lewis September 13, 2018 at 5:36 pm - Reply

      Thanks for the mention Nita. Music is my first love.

  12. Jeff Stilson September 5, 2018 at 7:34 pm - Reply

    Damh, I was born in ‘64. I have a brother 12 years older and a sister 5 years older. Imagine the range of music. My brother was a jazz musician and listened to Chicago faithfully as well as bands like the Beach Boys, Three Dog Night, etc. My sister (discounting the likes of Bobby Sherman and Cassidy’s various) was more into the Stones, Zeppelin and The Who. My mother, bless her little cotton socks, was a devoted Beatles fan. So you can guess I heard pretty much all their music as new.
    As I got older I made a friend with 3 older brothers and got introduced to Steely Dan, Genesis (the Gabriel years) Yes, and on and on. Even…Frank Zappa. My brother met him when he did a university lecture tour and said he was the wierdest person he had ever met. No s***, really?!? Go figure.
    All these influenced me to many degrees. Mostly to be a free thinker and take my own path. I had long hair in grammar school, much to my father’s consternation (along with the pierced ear at 15) and worked very hard not to become one of the “sheeple”. Success! I’m different! A worthy lifetime goal.
    Music is what identifies cultures and generations. We are what we listen to. Thankfully someone introduced me to your music a few years ago and POOF! Another pagan is born again, if you’ll excuse the expression.
    Peace, Love and Mead!

  13. […] This is the second part of a short series of articles, the first can be found here. […]

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