This playlist is built, chopped and changed regularly. It’s pretty much for my personal enjoyment so I make no apologies for some very obvious choices or for the staggering omissions. It might never have seen the light of day except that I caught the Steve Lamacq 6 Music show on the Friday before Christmas. Noel Gallagher was in the studio to help pick tracks for a ‘Christmas Party’. No real Christmas music whatsoever on their playlist but much enthused chatter about the wealth of quality offerings from the Sixties. I’m sure I once heard that Noel plays ‘The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society’ every day. No-one could possibly censure him for that. The programme and Mr. Gallagher in particular stiffened my resolve to go public with the selections here.
The first pop LP (no albums back then!) to appear in our house was ‘With the Beatles’. Neither brother Paul nor I can lay claim to spending pocket money on it. Just after my twelfth birthday Mum brought home and continually played this vinyl. Yes, she loved the music… But I think most of all she had fallen for John Lennon and his “lovely set of teeth”. Mum had high standards when it came to long-haired popsters!
So, I was privileged to enter teenage years with no barriers to enjoying the outpouring of a stunning flood of music. Luxembourg, pirate radio, Radio 1 and the listening booth at Rhythm Records in Church Street, Reigate, all pumped fabulous sounds into my very receptive ears.
Cliff Michelmore lived in the centre of our town and his wife, Jean (Metcalfe), appeared at church fetes selling signed photos of Cliff Richard, Marty Wilde and Billy Fury who were riding on the back of what had happened in America. I’d missed the first-hand excitement of Fifties’ Rock ‘n’ Roll but the Sixties was a hell of a starting point for my introduction to the music-driven popular culture of Britain at the time.
I know some of you will find it tough getting past a Leonard Cohen opener. Please persevere. If you like, you could discard a few (not too many, please!) and add your own tunes. If you do, please let me know. I’ll very likely edit the listing - so watch out for my changes.
The music here has stood the test of my critical faculties and continues to be an important part of my life. It was the very insistent background to my youth and has, for the most part, aged better than I have.
I really can’t pick a favourite but if you get all the way through to my final track you will hear Lou bringing me into the Seventies. The fact that he accompanied just about my every last disco dance with a rather special lady at the time is good enough reason for inclusion. The fact that Jan is still with me means I now have the best music and the finest wife. I've done nowhere near enough to deserve either… But I’d struggle horribly to live without them.