From a very early age I was subjected to music that was to pave the way for my trends and likes later on in life. This post highlights the top ten songs that interjected rock into my young impressional life to shape me into the music lover I am today.
My dad was heavily into Dire Straits and Pink Floyd, this was often played in our household and despite my dad moving out when I was four, hearing them play still takes me back to my childhood. I don’t particularly remember liking these bands when I was younger but I do remember one night when I couldn’t sleep my dad taking me downstairs to listen to them and telling me how Mark Knopflers guitar playing needed to be admired and I fell asleep with that notion in my head.
Dire Straits are certainly still in my top bands and with their long guitar solos how can you not admire the guitar strumming. I remember these songs always being played when we used to go ice skating along with the likes of Peter Gabriels ‘SledgeHammer‘ which, along with many Dire Straits songs, had some rather lyrical quirks.
There are so many of their songs that I adore, ‘Romeo and Juliet’, the western feel of ‘The man’s too strong’, the upbeat rhythm of ‘Walk of Life‘ that you cant help but foot tap to and ‘Money for nothing‘ has an introduction and guitar solo that strums be straight back to 1986. However, for me, the song that gives me chills has to be the gravely tones of ‘Brothers in arms’. This song takes me back and despite making me feel somber is a song I will never tire of.
My dad was in a band when he was younger called ‘The Wanted’, not to be mistaken with the recent band, I believe he played in and around Todmorden and Burnley and from what my mother tells me was an exceptional guitar player and pretty damn good at finger picking. My mother also had a guitar but the only song she could play was a Jamaican song with three chords…. right now I am not far behind her!
My dad has a wealth of guitars and is very loyal to the electric and as such borked at the idea of my buying of an acoustic but personally, I love the acoustic folky tones.
My dad leaving left my ears in the hands of my mother who had varying taste in music. I recall a time when Bross were high on her playlist but she also liked classical music and songs of Andrew Lloyd Webber were often boomed around the house along with great artists such as Phil Colins and Sir Elton John.
Bar liking a little bit of Phil Colins and having an appreciation for musicals her eclectic tastes didn’t pull on any of my musical strings until she introduced me to the Eric Clapton. There was a restaurant not far from us aptly named ‘Claptons’ which paid complete homage to this artist with a 50’s duke box, of course housing all Clapton songs, and pictures, vinyls and paper clippings donneed every inch of the walls. We dined their occasionally and this spurred on my lasting embroilment with his music and I am currently reading Claptons autobiography. This comes highly recommended and he makes for an interesting read as well as a great listen.
Eric Clapton, a damn fine specimen in his day, has such a range of songs which are sheer brilliance and he has an amazing handle with a guitar. However, there are two which spring to mind whenever I think of him and that is because of the memories I attach to them. ‘Wonderful tonight‘ was often played in our house and I adored this song as I would daydream about being grown up, having a man to love me just as much as the women he sings about in that song.
The other song is ‘Tears in Heaven‘, this song came out when I was in high school and I remember being told that this song was to deal with the grief of losing his son, who died having fallen out of an unlocked window, that always stuck with me. It takes a very strong person to be so open about something so tender and personal, so despite now having other favourites such as ‘Cocaine‘, I think that ‘Tears in Heaven‘ is what has to appear on this play list.
However it was my brother who would be the first inspiration for the love of rock. When he started to learn the keyboard and guitar he would get me to sing along to the explicit tones of Nine Inch Nails, despite my not understanding of what any of the lyrics actually meant and my dear Grandma’s trying to get us to sing the more innocent melodies of Edelweiss, I enjoyed their vibe.
He also got me into Nirvana, another band, like so many others ,that for me will never age and they are not only on my regular playlist but also are a band I enjoy running to. From this I of course continued my love with the Foo Fighters.
Nirvanas ‘Nevermind’ album is one of my all time favourites. Despite that ‘Smells like teen spirit‘ is a song of legendary measure, having raved out to the dance version so many a times as well as the original and ‘Rape me‘ being my all time track, ‘Polly’ was my first exposure to Nirvana as I tried in vein, to sing the low tones, whilst my brother blasted his guitar. I always have to giggle when this is played remembering how I used to try and get my ten year old voice to drop to the deep tones required to deliver this awesome song but it was one that started to shape my musical tastes of which I have these memories and my brother to thank.
When we were kids my mother took us to PGL. As children we took this acronym to mean Parents Get Lost as this is a camp where parents leave their kids for a week or more whilst they go on a more ‘kid free’ holiday. However, it actually takes its name from the initials of its founder, Peter Gordon Lawrence, who started leading canoe trips down the River Wye in 1957.
This camp was split into two locations. A location for the teenagers and another for those not quite of age. I was in the latter camp. My mother had enrolled me on the activity course for the week. I was in a dorm of around 15 girls who were all enrolled on the pony trekking course. Which left me, with 15 boys to do all the assault courses, clay pigeon shooting and motorcross racing.
Being away from my parents I was exposed to many things but one of which was music. One band that particuarally stand out for me from this trip was R.E.M. It seemed to be piped in from all places and I reveled in it. Michael Stipe’s voice, so instantly recognisable, so wallowing, played on my hormonal heart strings and when I hear them now it makes me feel like a teenager again. I still love them to this day and for me they will always remain a classic. My favourite song of theirs would have to be ‘Loosing my religion’ which seemed to be on repeat for my entire experience of the PGL trip.
As a family, we used to go down to Cornwall in the summer to camp in Holywell bay. Not only was this home to surfing, Scrumpy Jack and all things adolescent. This was home to the BoomBoom room and where my dance era was born. The likes of Underworld by Born Slippy and The Cranberries coarsed through my young impressionable veins and I was hooked. For Born Slippy this was very short lived however the Cranberries very much still feature in my musical collection. ‘Zombie’ being one of my all time favourite, Dolores O’Riordan high pitched distinctive voice never fails to chill me. I heard this when I was in Australia in 2014 and the first thing I did was text my brother about the good ole BoomBoom room.
Later on in life my cousin introduced me to The Police and Sting. His soothing voice with folk and jazz influences instantly put him in my music bank for life. I love his honest raw emotion in the songs which can be traced back to his real experiences. Again this artist has so much to offer but I think I have to chose the ever popular ‘Fields of Gold’ with the romantic in me loving that this is about his wife. Although Sting doesnt get me pumping it is something that I love to chill out to on a warm summers night.
As we got older and became teenagers I was to be exposed to some bands that would never make me look back. One of these bands was The Red Hot Chili Peppers. This American rock band with the gorgeous Anthony Kiedis at the helm, were a band not to only enter my musical rearing but also one that got me really into buying music and exploring what the world had to offer.
The Chilis, a band that feels like they have been with me for my entire life, are one that I believe are set to go through the ages. I saw them play at Knebworth and it was beyond nostalgic. They keep to their style and this seems to never get old and I for one will certainly continue to be a fan. They are a band of epic proportions and Kiedis, like so many other artist, has come from a crazy up bringing and his autobiography again comes recommended.
I found it hard to pick out one song of theirs because I genuinely love so many of them and so many hold personal memories. Such as when a friend was ill in Australia and I sent him a telegram with the lyrics to The Zephyr song slightly edited, to make him feel better, to ‘By the Way‘ that was remastered into a dance track that spiked nights out in Garlands to ‘Scar Tissue‘ which is one of my all time favourites.
Kiedis‘s voice always gets me pumped whether he is delivering a rock style rap or singing a river of calm, their jerky tones always get my head bobbing. However, to be true to this post I felt I needed to highlight a song that takes me back beyond their newer material and therefore this had to be the first song I ever heard of theirs and that is ‘Suck my kiss’ from their early Blood, Sugar Rush album. It was like nothing I had ever heard before and their style and energy is unique to them.
Music is so amazing. There is not one single person it doesn’t reach out to and touch, making us feel sad, happy, calm or energised. I love that it can take you back 10 years to a moment, a blip in your life to when you very first heard a particular song, and you know exactly what you were doing at that very moment in time despite any time lapse, our brains attaching songs to a specific time and date, archiving memories and melodies together.
Music is the soul.