“Happy Birthday to You”

My grandson is a year old today. We visited this morning and weren’t surprised that it was his older brother (27 months) who opened the cards and presents. After birthday cuddles we left the family to their planned day out. I looked after the boys yesterday so I’d had my time with them – today was for Mummy, Daddy and their babies.

It was only later in the day that I realised that another birthday is imminent. Tomorrow Radio 1 celebrates its 50th birthday. Fifty years since I tuned into my little transistor radio every morning before school and listened to Tony Blackburn. It became the soundtrack to my high school years. I’d just started at the local grammar school and everyone was talking about Radio 1. I was so glad that my aunt had given me that little radio for my birthday a month earlier.

That very first song, Flowers in the Rain became a favourite but I didn’t buy it since I had no record player and, unlike many of my friends, my parents didn’t own a radiogram. For those who have no idea what I’m talking about – this was a sideboard-style piece of furniture which housed a record player and had storage for 7″ singles and 12″ LPs (Long player).   But by the time Dusty Springfield released Son of a Preacher Man in 1968 or 69 (I Googled it but there seems to be some confusion), I had my own record player and it became my first single. Soon after I bought my first LP, The Moody Blues Days of Future Past. Funny the things that stick in one’s mind.

It was 1972 before I went to my first pop concert.  I felt as a teenager that my parents were very hard on me but looking back, I am amazed at how much freedom they gave me.  My best friend Margaret had a sister who was five years older and so long as she was accompanying us, I was allowed to go to places that I’d never have experienced if it wasn’t for her. She and her boyfriend took us to see the band Deep Purple and I was hooked on live bands from that moment. Over the next couple of years we saw The Rolling Stones, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Procol Harum, Family (and even spoke to the lead singer in the bar of Birmingham Town Hall – and did we live on the glory of that encounter!!).

I bumped into Margaret’s sister at a wedding a few months ago and told her that my teenage years wouldn’t have been half so much fun if it hadn’t been for her kindness and tolerance in taking responsibility for two much younger girls (for five years is a lot at that age). What’s more, she loaned us fashionable clothes, plucked our eyebrows, and helped us with our hair and make-up. No wonder I so wanted a big sister of my own!  Anyhow we reminisced about the parties and concerts we’d gone to and then ….we talked about our grandchildren! How quickly those decades have sped by.

I loved live music and later in the 70s saw Roxy Music several times, many more bands thoughout the 80s and 90s, and more recently  Elton John, Tina Turner and Neil Diamond but I think my concert days are now over as I developed a dislike for big crowds nowadays. I still listen to music a lot though and rarely drive without either Smooth Radio, Classic FM or a CD playing. No more Radio 1 though because I’ve turned into my parents – ‘What a row’ I think!



  1. I love this post which carried me away on a wave of musical nostalgia! My first L.P. was ‘With the Beatles’ which I played on a second hand Dansette Record Player! The first concert I attended was The Monkees!!! I went with three friends, plus the mother of one of them; as a chaperone, presumably! Status Quo was the first gig we went to unaccompanied. I’m quite envious that you saw Dark Purple. I still listen to Smoke on the Water, occasionally and it has definitely featured at college reunions!
    Over the years, I’ve seen many bands, including Pink Floyd, Dire Straits and Eric Clapton but the one concert that stands out in my memory above all others included Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, The Band and Joni Mitchell. Happy Days!


    • Oh I am so envious (well, at least the young teenage me would have been). I loved the Monkees and was quite certain at that time that, had he ever met me, Davy Jones would have married me! I still listen to Stepping Stone in the car on a favourites compilation. I listen to lots of older pop music even today.


  2. Happy birthday to your grandson! I’m glad you were able to attend all those concerts and things because your friend’s big sister was there to accompany you. Sounds like you had a fun time!


  3. Being considerably older, I was already married by the time Radio 1 arrived, and even then I preferred Radio 4. My first record was Elvis’s All Shook Up, which a friend gave me for my birthday, around 1956/57, and I think my first ‘pop’ LP was the first LP by the Shadows, when I was 17. I never liked Cliff, thought him “wet” unlike Elvis!
    I did enjoy some pop, I enjoyed the music of the Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly, Roy Orbison, but in 1970, as you were enjoying the pop you mentioned, we bought our first stereo record player, a Dynatron. This was a breakaway from the radiogram style of furniture, and it was small and very smart, with a hinged lid. Indeed, at the time it was the Rolls Royce of such things. And our first record was Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. We’ve always loved classical music and built up quite a collection but we also love Abba and Andy Williams and James Last. Now I prefer silence to any music!
    Funny that you should play Dusty’s music when ironing. I used to clean and dust to Bach’s Brandenburg Concerti! I also thought that was ‘summer’ music, while Beethoven was ‘winter’ music!
    Margaret P


    • Holst’s Planet suite was my first classical album, but the Stauss Waltzes have consistently been my most played. we saw a fabulous Roy Orbison tribute singer some years ago. My husband had seen Roy Orbison in concert and thought that the tribute was very realistic. We love Abba too and I like to sing along to their songs in the car!


  4. I enjoyed reading your blog. It bought back a lot of memories of those days and seeing live groups. I saw Dusty Springfield, Lulu, Walker Bros, Jimi Hendrix to name but a few.


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