THE GIG TOG

The Music That Made Me

Music is everything to me. Apart from the obvious – wife, kids, parents and health, it’s the most important thing in my life. When I was young I didn’t realise how much of my life would be governed by music but when I look back there it is at every twist and turn.

These days it occupies virtually every waking moment for me - from acquiring passes enabling me to shoot gigs through to editing photos from the previous night. I’m pretty immersed in it all to be honest but there are certain songs that will always transport me back to a particular time in my life where the song in question was part of the soundtrack. This is not always a choice or even a good thing but that doesn’t change anything, certain moments will always have certain songs playing in the background.

When I was really young my parents had a big Radiogram in the front room in which they kept their collection of records. They weren’t massive music lovers but had accumulated a fair few discs of all kinds. The 78’s didn’t really attract my attention but the 45’s and 33’s did. Their taste was eclectic to say the least (and in most instances, not very “cool”) but that didn’t stop the 5 year old me playing everything I found inside the Radiogram. Some I liked, some I hated and some made a big impression straight away. When I think of this time of discovery the over-riding song memory I have is of 1960s “Rocking Goose” by Johnny & the Hurricanes on London Records which *does* actually rock inasmuch as it was the rockiest thing my parents had (I think).

“Don’t Believe A Word” by Thin Lizzy. Listening to the Top 40 on Radio 1 at my parents house while they washed up the Sunday roast dishes.

“New Rose” by The Damned, “Anarchy In The UK” by The Sex Pistols and “Identity” by X-Ray Spex through to lots of unidentified (at the time) Dub Reggae. A period of time when I was discovering the delights of “That There” London, mostly on my own, and being both petrified and fascinated at the same time. Not too surprising when you consider I was a country boy originally. Still, I kept going back and eventually I became totally comfortable there.

“Peaches” by The Stranglers was the very first single I bought with my own money and I officially became “one of those bloody Punks” with this purchase from Longton Market, Stoke-on-Trent. I remember feeling really naughty buying this & smuggling it into the house so my parents wouldn’t want to listen to it then playing it full blast upstairs in my bedroom!

“Realities of War” EP by Discharge. Good times with my mates at the school Youth Club revelling in the abject horror that the “normals” displayed when we put this on the jukebox over and over and over again. Oh how we laughed!

The period of time from when I met my future 1st wife to the eventual break up of that marriage unusually doesn’t feature music all that much or should I say music that takes me back to that time. If there was music vying for attention back then I simply don’t remember it. Maybe that tells you all you need to know about that marriage but there are a few that highlight the actual break up like “Outside” by Staind along with another of theirs – “It’s Been Awhile” although the latter is a little contradictive.

The time in between that break up and me finding the love of my life seems littered with negative songs for various reasons, “In The End” by Linkin Park, “F.O.D.” by Green Day (Dookie) and “I Hope You Die” by The Bloodhound Gang (Hooray For Boobies) to name just three. There are a couple of songs that have a more positive slant but inevitably ended the same way as the gloomier tracks mentioned. These would be “Bullet In The Gun” by

“Friday, I’m In Love” by The Cure. Where do I begin? Well, I first met Alison on a Friday and the following few dates were all on a Friday too so it became one of our songs. Not only that but when we were engagement ring shopping she had a very definite idea of what she wanted but we were having no luck at all. We went into the last shop on our list and lo and behold, there was one that might fit the bill. She asked for a closer look and tried it on, as she did this “Friday I’m In Love” came on over the shops background music system and the ring was a perfect fit! Meant to be or what?

“One Burning Desire” by Hugh Cornwell (Guilty). Along with the tattoo I have of this on my back Alison and I have this song title engraved on the inside of our wedding rings so when I hear the song it takes me back to our wedding day at Ness Botanical Gardens on the Wirral and the beautiful sunny day in the Rock Garden where we were wed.

“Sometimes You Can’t Make It On Your Own” by U2 and “The JCB Song” by Nizlopi. This part was always going to be the most difficult for me. These songs were played at my Dad’s funeral who died in 2007 after suffering severely with Alzheimer's disease. He had a rapid decline from the man I knew and admired all of my life to an empty shell. I’m just glad I had the chance to say goodbye when he had the briefest moment of clarity and remembered me just before he passed away.

And now we arrive at the present day. Unfortunately my health is not the best nor does it have the best forecast at present. Consequently there are a few songs that spring to mind daily with the main two being “Until It Sleeps” by Metallica and “Barrel Of A Gun” by Depeche Mode. When I’m at my lowest these songs speak volumes to me but hey! I’m not wanting to wallow in self pity here, it’s just how it is right now.

Of course this piece just skims the surface and the lyrics of these examples don’t say exactly what was on my mind at the time but some are damn close.

 
 
 

There are a multitude of others so it would be one hell of a job to go into this in more depth and it would make Leo Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” look like a pamphlet!

If there was one song to summarise the songs, lyrics and emotions this tiny selection represents then it would have to be “Music” by John Miles – a good “cover all aspects” song and it pretty much hits the nail on the head.

These were just a few key moments in my life and are all part of the music that made me.

Words by Fish

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