Hmmmm, okay, so that might be
pushing it a little, but it's not that far from
the truth. I was hooked on music from a very young age - purely
as a listener I should add - I've never played a musical
instrument in my life! I started by listening to radios (valve
driven), reel-to-reel tape, transistor radio, then
record-players, cassettes and in the 80's moved into the new
digital age with CD's. As soon as I started work I bought a new
GEC Soundeck music centre with an "S" shaped tonearm. Wahoo! I
was so proud of it and listened to it none stop! Most of the
time I had to listen to it using my white plastic headphones
with volume-sliders on each side, LOL.
Back then, it was a bit of a
revelation to be able to listen to LP's, cassettes and radio and
even be able to record music!! From memory, the speakers were of
a coaxial design, meaning that rather than have a separate
tweeter and bass, the tweeter was mounted in the centre of the
bass drive - an integral part of it. It was probably crap, but
at the time I thought it was the dog's dangly bits.
After that, it was a case of buying
separates from AKAI, ROTEL, AIWA and others. Aiwa were the kings
of cassette and I was very pleased when I got my first cassette
deck from them, complete with Dolby-B Noise Reduction.
Also in the 70's was the amazing new
"quadraphonic" sound system. I never actually saw any of this
equipment in the shops, but I was fortunate enough to get a demo
of it in action from someone I knew locally. He had a Pioneer
surround amp, the details of which I cannot recall. I do,
however, remember that it had a circular display not unlike a
radar display, with four illuminated bars stretching out from
the centre to indicate which of the four channels was operating.
The guy put a "sound effects" record on and proceeded to amaze
me as a steam-train thundered around the room from one corner to
the next. Amazing!
As the years rolled by, I steadily
upgraded each component in order to extract as much information
as possible from the source. It often seemed
like the better my
equipment got, the more ticks and pops I could hear on the
vinyl. It was so frustrating to go into town,
buy a new LP and then find that it had a loud tick on
first-play. Grrrrr!!! Thankfully, a solution to that problem
came in the mid 80's in the form of an affordable CD player from
Philips. At the time, I was over the moon with this new
development and it wasn't long before I'd sold my turntable and
all my LP's.
My early musical tastes (some say I
didn't have any taste) centred around light rock music. One day
I got a lift from a mate in his Capri 3 Litre
and he slipped a cartridge in his 8-track. Out from the speakers
came the sound of a band I'd never heard before - it was Pink
Floyd. Wow!! I rushed into town and bought Dark Side Of The Moon
immediately. It was the start of a long-term relationship. To
me, Pink Floyd was a "step up" from the grittier rock bands I'd
been previously listening to. It was more intelligent and
interesting and seemed to have a bit of "theatre" to it all.
Still in my teens, I started to
develop a taste for classical music and one piece in particular
had a massive impact on me - Tchaikovsky's 6th in B-Minor, "Pathetique".
OMG, I just adored that music - and still do, almost 35 years
later. Mozart was soon to follow with his amazingly beautiful
Clarinet Concertos. I found that classical music was a very
satisfying listening experience compared to the
usual tap-footing pop music that floated around the house. Sure,
you had to put a bit more into it in the way of focus and
concentration, but you got a hell of a lot more back in return.
Sometime in 1981, a work
colleague lent me an album which was to add a new dimension to
the sort of music I listened to. It was Randy Crawford's Secret
Combination and I loved it! Although most people probably
thought of it at the time as a Soul/R&B album, I felt there was
something jazzy about it and started to explore jazz from there
on. This led to George Benson's albums joining my collection
along with Elle Fitzgerald many others.
Another great love
from my teens (and right through to today) was Joan Armatrading.
If I was only allowed listen to one female singer for the rest
of my life, it would have to be her. Her voice is amazing, her
lyrics are intelligent and thought-provoking and her music is
just far enough off the beaten track to make it stand out as
something special. I feel the same way about Steely Dan.
Listening to their albums was always another "step-up" as far as
I was concerned. Without wishing to sound pompous (or up my own
arse), Steely Dan's music was for the more intellectual
listener. More than anything, their music seemed to me to be
unpredictable. It wasn't like listening to a regular chart-song
which you felt familiar with on the first listening - no, it
took more effort and gave more pleasure and lasted longer. It
also had a unique sound to it. Fagen's falsetto voice, the
unusual jazzy, popsy, rocky, bluesy, R&B riffs and melodies,
humorous and often cryptic lyrics. Additionally, the band was
always made up from superb musicians and you could tell that
each album was meticulously "crafted". Best album of all time?
Gotta be AJA.
Van The Man. What can I say? Van
Morrison has been in my record collection for a long time and
is my most listened to male-singer. He's never made a bad album
as far as I'm concerned (well, maybe one) and I don't think
there's anyone like him out there. It seems absolutely
ridiculous to me that HMV only had ONE of his albums in their
store when I called in a couple of weeks ago. Just one!!! <sigh>
Back in the here and now, I'll
listen to pretty much anything that isn't poppy or boom-boom.
Yes, I'm a grumpy old git! Having said that, I consider myself
to be fairly open and willing to try new things. I will happily
listen to classical, jazz, blues, rock, hip-hop, dance,
dancehall, R&B and even a smattering of world. What's out??
Country is a no-no, along with Folk and most heavy metal. Having
said that, I quite like Godsmack and the best music DVD that
I have is by Bela Fleck!
Below is a list of the artists who's music I listen to. There's
probably a whole load more to be added because this is quite an
old list, but I can't be bothered to update it.