Wednesday, 9 April 2014

40 - argh! - with Linda King

In honour of my birthday, I decided to invite some fabulous bloggers to help me celebrate.
Their task? To create a post with the theme 40. Today's guest is Linda King...

Happy birthday, Annalisa and welcome to your next decade!

So… 40. What to write about 40? I feel myself drawn to the Top 40 (the British music chart, for our friends from other places), remembering laying on my belly in my best friend’s bedroom on a Sunday tea-time, listening to and – this shows my age – taping our favourite tunes. We’d be in a state of hushed excitement, waiting to discover whether The Boomtown Rats were at number one or whether David Bowie’s new, unusually ‘dancey’ single had made it into the chart. It mattered to us, back then. Now, I have hardly any idea what’s in the chart. Sad, in a way, but right in another way. Kids don’t want us grown-ups laying claim to their musical territory.  

Music seems so much less exciting now. It’s lost its raw edge, its inventiveness, its shock value (unless you count the recent ‘twerking’ and that wrecking ball video – and to be honest, I didn’t find it shocking, just a bit pitiful.) I don’t know if anything will ever again be as deliciously shocking as the Frankie Goes to Hollywood video for ‘Relax’ was at the time. Even the way music is delivered to our ears is less exciting… CDs, those sterile, shiny silver disks, so far removed from the black vinyl we were used to. Tapes got chewed up in the machine or wore out – vinyl was the medium of choice! Vinyl had album covers that often opened out and a lyric sheet printed large enough to read, sometimes even in the artist’s handwriting. I don’t often bother trying to sing along with the right words these days – the print on CD covers is so tinyAnd then, there are downloads. No physical album cover, let alone lyric sheet, although of course you can go online and find the cover and (probable) lyrics for anything. I think I remember lyrics being published in The Record Mirror, somewhere near the back. In an age of ‘wait and wonder’ as opposed to the instant scurry of a computer mouse, that was really exciting!

I’m not meaning to come over as a fuddy-duddy. I love progress, technology and all things that genuinely move us forward, but I think we all hanker a little for the days of our youth; days of discovery, of new feelings, of innocent anticipation and thrill. I miss looking forward to the Top 40 on a Sunday, even if it was slightly tainted by the looming prospect of school the next morning!

In honour of your birthday, Annalisa, I was going to collate my own Top 40 of favourite singles and albums, but I think I’ve probably rambled for on long enough already!

Instead, here’s one of my best-loved album tracks by Bowie, who really has to be my all-time favourite artist, and which takes me straight back to my early teenage years. It’s not too long and I think it’s rather beautiful!

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Which track or artist would have to make it into your Top 40?

Thanks for reading – and thank you so much for having me, Annalisa! 

Linda King blogs at Excuse Me While I Note That Down

20 comments:

  1. Oh this made me feel so nostalgic! I never missed the Top 40 and can still remember the anticipation as we got closer to hearing the number one song for the week. And David Bowie is amazing. When I was little and my brother wasn't home I'd sneak into his room to listen to his tape. Bowie's Changes was my favorite. :)

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    1. I used to sit by the radio too, but Mum would always call me down for dinner at the wrong time!! Changes was fantastic. Bowie was, and still is, so cool.

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  2. Every Sunday I would listen to the entire Casey Kasem top 40. It was thrilling. I'd wait with my tape player, ready to record (eeps, admitting to pirating!) the songs I wanted to keep for the week (mixed tapes...they give those little cassettes the nudge over vinyl ;)

    I still love my music and I enjoy the fact that I can now buy a song that I want instead of a whole album. And I love making playlists...the high tech version of the mixed tape.

    So many great Bowie songs! How to choose just one?!

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    1. Yes, I taped too. One birthday, I was given a tape-to-tape recorder, which meant I could edit out the bits of talking I'd recorded by accident. Oh the joy!! Choose just one Bowie song? No, impossible :-)

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  3. Bowie!

    I always listened to Casey Kasem's Top 40 too. And I'd do the tape player thing, just like Elizabeth. I have to admit...getting one song I like is much easier now.

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    1. I must admit, I'm an album buyer. If the artist has spent time deciding which songs belong together, and the best order for them, the least I can do is listen to them in the way they intended. I realise this is a very 20th century attitude!

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  4. fun post and it's okay to be a bit fuddy duddy. What's fun is hearing artists today sample "our" classics. I love all things Queen and INXS. But today I like Bruno Mars, Maroon 5, and just fun poppy stuff. Happy Birthday month to Annalisa. Glad you joined her party

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    1. I love old and new music too. I do get a bit disappointed with the whole sampling thing - I just want people to be original, I guess. When I hear the same riff in several different songs, it just makes me want to listen to the original :-)

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  5. The biggest bummer was the records with no jacket on the inside. You felt cheated - hey, where's the lyrics?
    There's still inventive music out there. Progressive rock. Much bigger in Europe than the states though.

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    1. I agree - you need to go looking for new music, but there's some fantastic stuff out there. Just stay away from the charts, these days, because it seems to be completely informed by 12 year old girls!

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  6. I think music has lost its edge too. I love David Bowie. I saw him on his Glass Spider tour. I remember listening to the Top 40, and to the Dr. Demento Show. I wonder if anyone else remembers that!

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    1. I saw Bowie in 1997 (?), the tour when he announced he wasn't going to sing any old songs at all. Although he relented for the encore, and I got to hear him sing Under Pressure, which I love!

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  7. Hi Annalisa and Linda - great 40s memories .. David Bowie has been an amazing creator hasn't he - I'd go with the Animals and Procul Harem .. and Dylan .. and ... cheers fun remembrances - Hilary

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    1. I grew up listening to music from the sixties, so it holds a special place in my heart. I even owned a 50s rock and roll compilation when I was about 16 that I listened to constantly.

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  8. Oh yes! Some music nostalgia! Those were the days weren't they? I cannot understand the words to a lot of today's songs. Great post Linda!

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    1. I love to Google the words of songs, and then I sit in front of my computer singing along... too much information?

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  9. So true Linda! Once your mind's been blown by a certain type of music, it's hard to be impressed. After hitting my musical peak in the early nineties with grunge and house, I had to go backwards in time to be impressed again. Music of the lat 60s and early 70s does it for me just as much as the early 90s.
    I do miss looking at album covers, but I love downloading songs within seconds. And one thing is for sure, if I want to feel youthful again, I listen to my old tunes! :)

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    1. A lot of indie record shops are springing up again, selling vinyl albums, as an alternative to downloading. There's something very special about flicking through records :-) I'm slowly working out the whole downloading thing, but it doesn't feel natural to me.

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  10. Thanks for having me here, Annalisa! I hope you're living it up :-) And thank you to everyone for the comments - I'll be popping over to your blog to say hello. I've been neglecting mine terribly, but my excuse is a new puppy :-)

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    1. It's my pleasure, Linda. I'm slowly getting around to checking out the comments, but I'd underestimated the number of people who'd visit in my absence!!

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Please comment - I love a good chat!