Monday 11 April 2011

The soundtrack of your soul

What was the soundtrack of your early childhood? I’ve been thinking about this lately, hunting back through the mists of memory. Back to a very young me in a house with no television, no car, no washing machine, no heating but with a large ungainly record player. I’d thumb through the album sleeves, even then choosing by image, not name (I still buy some books purely because the cover flirts with me).
Firstly I remember a lot of classical music. Nothing to scare the horses, very traditional tastes: Bach, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninov, Grieg. My favourite was Rachmaninov – with a cover of pebbles in a fast-running stream.  Years later I heard it out of the blue and found myself dissolved into tears. Why? I have no idea. What limbic memory did it recall? I have no idea.

My brother and sister were a lot older than me. Yet my sister and I shared a room and, as a very small child, I would love to listen to her playing her singles, sharing secrets of her teenage love life. Sandie Shaw, Petula Clark, Lulu, The Beatles, Dusty Springfield. She played this one for years - over every lost love.

My brother was of a deeply esoteric bent. We sat and tried to get our ears round this kind of thing a fair bit.

But then one day he brought home an album with a gloomy-looking bloke on the cover – and we all fell head over heels in love.

My mother loved to dance. She should never have been snared in suburbia. She adored this...and turned it up loud, despite shocked looks from the neighbours. Funny eh?  It was considered pretty risque then.

My father banned it. She laughed. He broke the record. So she played this instead...

How does it shape us, the music of our childhood? The sounds we hear in our formative, most suggestible years? Does it seep into our souls by osmosis? Does it set a seal? What are we setting in motion in our own children by our current music choices?

Music chimes deep, so deep.  In one of my all-time favourite books, The Glass Bead Game, Hermann Hesse said: 'Music arises from Measure and is rooted in the great Oneness. The great Oneness begets the two poles; the two poles beget the power of Darkness and of Light....
Music is founded on the harmony between heaven and earth, on the concord of obscurity and brightness.'

But anyway.  Tell me: what were your childhood sounds? What made up the soundtrack of your youth and do you think it affected you in any way? Feel free to take this and write up your own – but do link back to me and let me know, so I can sneak a peak into your soul too.. :-)


potterjotter said...

What a thoughtful post! My childhood soundtrack was rubbish like Donny Osmond, David Cassidy, Bay City Rollers - none of which exactly 'spoke to my soul' but it was fun at the time. Great blog!

The bike shed said...

Late Sixties and Seventies childhood so I remember lots of songs from that era, of which the following spring to mind :

Johnny Nash - I can see clearly now;
Bob Marley - Jamming and This is Love;
Cat Stevens - Moonshadow;
Don Maclean - American Pie
Melanie - Carolina

And strangely, Tina Charles balsting out I Love to Love to the lights of a school discos!

Alison Cross said...

The earliest sounds I remember were from a range of records that you bought from Woolworths that SOUNDED like the original artists, but were session singers.

The album covers usually had a pretty girl in hotpants or something.

Dear lord, I hope that hasn't affected my musical tastes. OMG - it HAS!!!! I own two CDs by the cast of Glee!

*depressed face*

Dad loved the Rolling Stones. He once came home from London where he had been on business and proudly showed me a piece of paper with Mick Jagger's signature. Sadly, I was too young to read and got very frustrated because I didn't believe him. So I threw it on the coal fire. Mercifully, time has blotted out the aftermath of that particular incident.....

Current listening: Adele and Ceelo Green :-D

Ali x

Dorothy said...

Eons ago the only way I could really get into cleaning the house properly was to play the 1812 Overture - full blast! Nowadays its Meat Loaf belting out anything! Tastes change don't they - Same as the pointy bras - ouch! Thanks for the new banner - are you celebrating the forthcoming royal wedding? Just sayin'.

Exmoorjane said...

PJ: ooh heck...loathed all of those...they came just a little later for me..

Mark: ohyes, now that's more like it...played Cat Stevens just the other day...and used to know all the words to American Pie.
And oh GOD yes! I Love to Love - "button my baby" (LOL)

Ali: hey, guess what? Mick Jagger asked my sister out and she turned him down! Not sure anyone in the family ever forgave her...

Dorothy: ah, good. Banner was just for you. No, not really into royal weddings at all - it was the only one I could find that fitted!! And I like the dog. :)

Fran Hill said...

Definitely many of the ones you mention. And Pink Floyd.

Dragonfly Dreams said...

What a delightful question! Hmmm...since my older sisters were ten and seven years older than me, the music heard in the house was usually rather eclectic.

The Beach Boys
The Mama and the Papas
Johnny Horton
Johnny Cash
Marty Robbins (Gunfigher Ballads)
Peter, Paul and Mary
Soundtracks to musicals like Sound of Music and Paint Your Wagon
Three Dog Night

Then, later on when I got older:
Led Zeppelin
Pink Floyd
John Denver
Barry Manilow

(I KNOW...totally out of the park eclectic there!)

Thanks for the memories!

Stephanie said...

Any song from the 50s or Johnny Cash, takes me right back. My parents loved that stuff. Guess I do now too!

Rob-bear said...

Growing up in post WW2 Canada. Classics and bands. (My dad had played in a small dance band before the war.)

After that:
Gogi Grant
The Travellers
The Kingston Trio
Perry Como
(Hmmmm; am I dating myself, here?)

Somewhat later/more recently:
Gordon Lightfoot
Anne Murray
Partridge Family
Cat Stevens
Harry Chapin
Marty Robbins
Peter, Paul, and Mary
John Denver
Barry Manilow
Bob Dylan
Ron and Kris Klusmeier

Classics, mostly.
Occsionally Denver or Manilow
(Recalling Chapin's song: "All My Life's a Circle.")

Anonymous said...

When I was a kid we would have parties all the time and skiffle bands would come and play. Couple of guitars a tea chest bass and harmonica and a good time was had by all. My earliest memory was at a party where there was a white semi acoustic propped up in the corner whilst the band played. I've no idea why it was going spare, I was only about 4 years old. I asked if I could play with it and was duly plonked on the sofa with this monster stuck on my lap. My mum said I'd never been so quiet as I just sat strumming it with my thumb all night. When it was time to go to bed I asked for a plaster for my thumb, which sported the biggest blister you'd ever seen. How we suffer for our art eh?

So I guess my first music was covers of Lonny Donegan by Lee Curtis and the all stars. lol