My mother was very young when she had me and as a result popular music was a big part of my childhood back in the early 1960s.
My last couple of posts got me thinking about how I would characterise my musical tastes. I usually tell people that I don’t like country and western, rap, disco and that I’m a bit tired of rock. The more accurate truth is that I like all kinds of music, it’s just that some types, to my mind, have more crap in them than others.
Here’s some of my favourite music from my early childhood. Much of this music was in my mother’s vast record collection and I used to love listening to it on the weekends when my mother put it on while she cleaned the house.
This first song is “I remember you” by Frank Ifield
What a voice!
Talking about voices, Della Reese is someone I still listen to. Here she is singing “Don’t you know”.
The platters also caught my attention. Here they are singing “Twilight Time”.
No mention of the Platters can go by without a nod to the eternal classic, “Only you”
Doo Wop was a particular favourite when I was growing up and I still like Dion and the Belmonts. Here’s the classic, “The Wander”.
I guess that being a kid that liked Doo Wop, left me being open to enjoying “novelty songs like “Mr. Bassman” by Jonny Cymbal.
In my childish mind at the time, “Working for the man” was almost as good as Mr Bassman. Of course, nowadays I realise that “Working for the man” is way better. Here’s a video of the song with some guys clowning around to the music.
Along the same lines, I also loved “16 tons” by Tennessee Ernie Ford. I’m starting to see a pattern emerge here; heavy on the bass, simple rythm and folk-country influenced. Here’s a little video of “16 tons” with some Warcraft animation in it.
Then of course was the great Ray Charles and “Hit the Road Jack”.
After hearing “Hit the Road Jack” I’d be humming it all day.
In a class of his own was Screamin Jay Hawkins with “I put a Spell On You”
Can you imagine someone getting up in such a get up nowadays? It’s hard to belive that he still performed the same way until his death in 2000.
Mum was a great fan of Elvis and had just about everything the guy ever did. My mother once told me that I was nearly named Elvis by my father, after him. I would’ve hated that as a kid, but as an adult I think it would’ve been pretty cool. “Hi, my name’s Elvis”.
Here’s the king singing “Jail House Rock”.
Then of course was the wild man himself, Jerry Lee Lewis. My mum had seen him in concert as a kid and she’d told told me how he’d pushed his piano off the stage at the end of his performance. I thought that was sooo cool! Here is a video of him singing “Great Balls of Fire”.
Although I liked Jerry Lee’s music my mother didn’t and this is what she had to say about him.
“I absolutley loathed Jerry Lee Lewis, I couldn’t stand his screaming/singing or piano playing, antics, and I thought he was just plain ugly! Years later when I was working in Sydney airport when it first opened, he and his entouage came into my lounge bar , yahooing and cursing and swearing , a real bunch of crackers, they were. He also had his wife with him, she was his cousin and only a young teenager, and when he snapped his fingers and yelled at me to “get your ass over there and get me a drink”, I told him to “be quiet and hold your language down, or I will have you ejected”………….he didn’t listen, told me to “go and screw myself”, so I had security remove him and his clan”.
Of course Australia had it’s own, “Wild One”, Johnny O’Keefe, and here he is doing a cover of the Isley brother’s “Shout”
Mum also had very little time for Johnny O’Keefe and this is what she had to say about him.
And then there is Johnny O’Keefe, what a jerk too! He reminded me of an ugly blond version of your father and I couldn’t stand his ‘singing antics’ either!
I met him at an event I went to once, (can’t think of where.) He was strutting around , like a little bantam rooster, and he said to me “Do you know who I am?” And I replied “No, who are you?” he walked off in a huff, ha, ha, ha! Girls were following him everywhere……why I’ll never know!