Scoty is a regular in our Ask the DJ section at BBHQ....
It has been said so often but it is so true, nothing is as emotive as music. It's like we take some personal "soundtrack " with us as we progress through life. Is there anything like it for transporting us back to a certain place or time, and it's nearly always one special song that does it. For me it will never be anything but "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" by Elton John. Whenever I hear that song it is like being on the receiving end of a short, sharp, jab. Straight away I feel as if I'm back in the summer of 1973 and 15 all over again. It takes me back to the time of my first love.
You can instantly recall the way you felt all those years ago. You can almost smell the grass and feel the sun as you lay so close. You just had the feeling that the summer would be never ending and the love like - wise. Of course, things never work out that way and as someone once put it so well "days grow old and love grows cold." In our case, at the end of summer we went our own ways.
When I think about it now I can see just what an appropriate song "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" was. At 15 it is a metaphor for life. You haven't covered much ground and the road stretches way out in front of you. It's nearly 27 years on and I have been in a great relationship for the last 12 years on but still that song acts as a powerful magnet. I would be interested to hear from others what particular songs stir up memories and emotions in them.
It's well documented how every generation thinks "their" music is so much better than that of the generation before. When you live in a house with teenagers you get used to the disparaging remarks, everytime you play one of your favorite tracks. So it gives you a nice feeling to get one over them sometimes. For me two examples come to mind. The first was when one of the girls came home from school and announced that she heard for the first time a "cool" new band. Seems that she had heard a girl playing a tape during lunch break and gone over and asked what it was. This group is awesome," she said that night at home. "They are called the Village People." Keeping a straight face I said, "Yeah, I've heard them, they do 'YMCA' and 'In The Navy.'" The look on her face was as if to say well, the old fellas not as out of it as I thought.
As I said my reprieve was brief, my stocks hit an all time low when I came clean later on and told her they were a group I listened to when I was a teenager. One Village People cd was immediately removed from her "wants" list! Another example was when her sister went to see Forest Gump a few years ago. When she came home she said how much she loved the movie and that "awesome" soundtrack. It turned out that she thought all those 60's songs were new ones that had been written specifically for the movie.
Another thing that amuses me is the number of re-makes getting played. The funny thing is when you tell teenagers that they are listening to a "retread" they flatly refuse to believe it. You have to go and dig up your old copy to prove to them that you haven't lost your marbles. Usually they listen for a bit and go "yeah, whatever, but that's not the way it's meant to be done." That gets you really going. Not the way it's meant to be done, most of the time the song was written by the artist you're playing to them. I mean, how can anyone interpret Cat Stevens better than Cat Stevens, to use an example?
Anyway, something happened a few weeks ago that indicated that all may, not yet, be lost. The youngest was listening to Madonna doing "American Pie." She got up and said, "That version sucks, give me the other version any day." I hadn't been aware that she even knew there had been another version, so things may be on the improve..
...A little more about myself, I was born in Auckland, New Zealand in 1958. My partners name is Lynda. She also loves oldies music and is responsible for getting me back into it. When I met her I was listening only to the new stuff, she soon put an end to that, and awakened my interest in the music I was no longer listening to.
One good thing about growing up in New Zealand is that you always heard music from different countries. We always had Casey Kasem and American Top 40 on Sunday mornings but on the radio there was always our own Kiwi hits, plus the hits from the U.K. and also songs from Australia and Canada.
My main interest now is collecting the hits that made the U.S. Top 40 and the U.K. Top 20. I agree with Anthony on the one - hit wonders, I find this area particually interesting. Some of my favorite one hit wonder acts are Crazy Elephant, Reflections, Murmaids, Hombres and Free Movement, there are just hundreds. I have a wonderful book on the subject called The Billboard Book Of One Hit Wonders by Wayne Janick. It may be available from Amazom. com, if so grab it, it is a terrific read.
My own favorite listening choice these days leans towards all 60's & 70's soul music. I love those early 70's soul hits by groups like the Five Stairsteps, Jackson 5, Stylistics, Detroit Spinners, Blue Magic and New York City. I have every volume (18, I think) in the Rhino Soul Hits Of The 70's series. At this stage I have about 820 cd's, 4,000 45's and 700 albums in my collection, I think I can sometimes feel the floor beginning to buckle under the weight.
It's quite amazing at times the mis-conceptions that people have about other countries. I'm in New Zealand, but Australia also suffers the same problems. New Zealand has a population of about 4.5 million people, but in area it is larger than places like the United Kingdom, Netherlands, and Singapore. People overseas always equate the population to a miniscule country. They have the idea that you can cover the whole thing in a day. New Zealand is made up of two islands, North and South. To cover the North by car it would take about fifteen hours driving, with no stops; the South Island even more. In contrast to popular belief there may be 60 million sheep here, but they are largely confined to the country areas. My girlfriend was recently talking to someone on a chat line. They remarked that it must be nice and restful to be typing while she was watching the sheep through the window. Sheep? We're in the middle of a bustling, cosmopolitan city here in Auckland, it's not as if sheep are just wandering all over the back yard. She was also asked last week by someone thinking of visiting here, whether a day would be enough for her to show them around the entire country. They also asked what is was like to wear a grass skirt. No one has worn a grass skirt here for 150 years, and then it was only the Maoris, the native race of this country. Another comment passed was do we have television. She said yes and even computers and that is how come I'm talking on the chat line. We actually have the highest number of internet users per head of population outside the U.S.
Australia also suffers from the same syndrome. Apparently someone recently contacted the Olympic Games organisers in Sydney. Before they decided to come, they wanted to know if there was any chance they could be hit by a kangaroo while they were shopping in downtown Sydney. Sydney, one of the most modern citys in the world - and people think kangaroos are hopping down the main roads, while the pedestrians play dodgem. Another question was could they walk over to New Zealand from Australia and look around. Well, one man may have been capable of that, but he lived a very long time ago, there is about 3000 miles of water inbetween. Yet another wanted to know when visiting New Zealand could he walk from the North Island to the South. Now, common sense tells you, what do you usually find between two Islands ?
In short, it may be time to lay some of the mis-conceptions to rest and come down under and visit Australia and New Zealand. You'll find we are two very civilised countries, as modern and up to date as any in the world. And as or the New Zealand scenery, well, it left Bill Clinton speechless on his last visit here, and apparently that's a rare event!
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