"Billy Boy" - care to venture a guess as to what my first name is? I hate that song.
40 responses Add your response
As a young kid, I do remember owning some oddball novelty records (remember K-tel's "Looney Tunes"...how about the song 'Junk Food Junkie' by --?--)and comic book superhero story records. I did receive a very weird jolt of obtuse nostalgia while cleaning out the drawers of an old chest of drawers I had as a kid that I was reviving for storage purposes. In the bottom drawer was a seven-inch record which I, in a flood of subterranean memories, recalled listening to consantly as a six, seven or eight year old kid on my plastic Mattel fold up disc player. It was one of those promotional records that came in some magazine in the early 70's that I presumably absconded with since my dad was probably just going to throw it out. On it was an excerpt from Terry Riley's "Rainbow in Curved Air" a cut from Steve Reich, I think, and a few other rather seriously 'out' pieces from rather obscure avante garde musique concrete/minimalist composers (Luciano Berio or Xenakis may have been on there too). I vividly recalled one that used tape sliced african drums & chanting vocals with bombastic electronics and/or orchestral instruments of some sort. Serioiusly odd stuff for a young 'un to be jamming out to, and the distinct memories that came back to me of playing and listening to this long forgotten record as a child really threw my head for a bit of a loop actually. What my mom thought of these bizarre sounds emanating from beyond the door of her seven year old son I can only imagine. I suppose this could explain some of my current listening habits as well
I'm sure that I remembered the lyrics to some early childhood songs (like "Baa Baa Black Sheep"), but the first song I am certain I remember was a novelty tune that hit the charts in around 1950, titled "Cincinnati Dancing Pig". My Dad, a career officer in the US Marine Corps, was at Ohio State University to finish his MS degree, and I recall hearing the song on the car radio a number of times.
"The Naughty Lady Of Shady Lane" by the Ames Brothers, 1954. The family named our dog (black cocker) Shady after the song. I thought about "Davey Crockett" and "How Much Is That Doggy In The Window" too but believe this one is the first I remember. Judit, what was the first commercial song you remember? Nice thread.
The first song where I remember exactly where I was when I heard it is "Little Teeney Weeney Yellow Polk-a-dot Bikini". Naturally, I know I heard many of the bible songs that Judit mentions and also many of the TV songs that you mention Shubertmaniac, but that goofy song is the first that really jumps out with a specific time and place.
"Wipe out" and "Rubber Duckie". Oh god. There was one even before these, I remember a gold label 45 by two brothers I think, and that plastic thing that you put in the middle (in the hole) to spin on the RCA. I think my parents still have the record, I am going to have to look for it.
Thnx for bringing back the memories!!
Since my mom dropped me on my head when I was a toddler & I had a fever of 105, my memory is very foggy as a little one. I remember sitting in our 1960 Dodge in the Bamberger's parking lot in New Jersey watching heat lighting & "Downtown" was on the radio. Or was it 1964 in Frankfurt, Germany, sitting in the same car? Just can't remember.
This from All Music Guide:
Gene Autry was more than a musician. His music, coupled with his careers in movies and on radio and television, made him a part of the mythos that has made up the American identity for the past hundred years Â John Wayne with a little bit of Sam Houston and Davy Crockett all rolled into one.
The song I remember, "Back in the Saddle Again."
It is often said, "you had to of been there." He was on the radio before Bill Haley and the Comets or Elvis Presley. (And hey, I'm only in my 50's).
If anybody cares to look up one of my archived threads by clicking "Threads" next to my name below, in the music catagory under the title "In Search of Beatles Rock but not Pop", you can find my story (and a pretty neat one, I think) about the first song I remember (it's in my second post to the thread). Sorry folks, but the story's too involved for me to tell it over again here! :-)
Hey Zaikes, your thread wasn't listed under "threads" (might be under "answers") but a search turned it up so I took the liberty of copying the relevant portion for all to enjoy -- nice story.
"...permit me to tell a story about my first conscious exposure not only to The Beatles, but also to stereo equipment. Although my father was a classical and jazz record collector who frequently played music in the house during the evenings after dinner, when I was still young enough to go to bed before he started listening, his system and music never made much of an impression on me that I can remember, other than waking me up from time to time.
Back when I still had yet to receive the first little portable record player of my own, at a time when I would have been only 3 years old, my family (with me still as the only child) took the longest trip I had yet been on to see old friends of my father's. This couple had a son, who was probably in his late teens or early twenties at the time (my Dad remarried late) - the Summer of Love. He listened to headphones in their living room, and the sight of him with this contraption over his ears and long hair (remember how large 'phones were then? The coiled stretch cords?) apparently fascinated me.
He indicated he would put them on me and let me try them, and in one of my earliest memories at all of any kind, he got up and removed them from his head and placed them over mine, adjusting them as small as they would go. I didn't hear anything yet, but he went over to the record player and cued up something, which turned out to be the thing I had overheard him talking about with the assembled adults, and I recall hearing the phrase "Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" and not knowing what that meant. Apparently it - whatever it was - was something worthy of discussion however, and seemed be known (at least in name - my folks didn't listen to Rock) to everyone there but me.
Having cued the turntable, he walked back past me where I was on the middle of the floor, telling me that the music would begin in a moment, and turned to sit down and face me on the couch, in between his mother and my parents as they all watched and waited to see my reaction. Not knowing exactly what to expect, I was awestruck when sound so loud I could see the adults laughing but not hear them, filled my head to what seemed like the extent of the whole world.
It was a kind of music I had never experienced before, and it affected me greatly. "Picture yourself in a boat on a river...Marmalade skies...Kaliedescope eyes...Boom! Boom! Boom!" He had cued up "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds", and I was being thoroughly psychedelicized! I thought it was just the most incredible thing I had ever heard.
I have no memory myself of the next part of the story. I just remember listening, enraptured, until the headphones were removed and I could hear once again the adults for whom I was such a source of amusement. But my parents told me in later years that after the music began, and my eyes grew wide and my mouth went open, that I became so excited that I went and totally astonished them by literally turning a cartwheel right there on the carpet in front of the sofa, with the headphones still on me!
Now, understand - I do not know how to turn a cartwheel. I have never turned a cartwheel in my life, before or since that day. But I guess that there in that moment, hearing The Beatles for the first time, I was just moved so intensely by the spirit of the music that details like actually being able to perform this kind of stunt were rendered completely irrelevant. Anyway, it was, as they say, a very auspicious beginning to my future relationship with The Beatles and their music, and they have always been my favorite musical group ever since, and I'm sure always will be."
First memory at home:
The sound track to How the West was Won with Debbie Renyolds. My dad would play it every Sunday after church. I especially liked "When Johnny Comes Marching Home"
First memory from radio/school:
Beatles-I Wanna Hold Your Hand, or was it She Loves You?
First 45 I bought with my own money:
Indian Reservation-Paul Revere and the Raiders
I'll also tell the story about the first concert I remember. I grew up (and still live) in the DC area, so we are graced every summer by the Smithsonian Institution's Folklife Festival held on the Mall, in between the Capitol building and the Washington Monument. At just a little older than I was in the Beatles'n'headphones story above, around 4 years old, my folks took me to it for the first time.
Now the crowds can get pretty large down there for some of the musical performances, and there were no seating pavilions installed back then, so everybody stood, and a little guy had a hard time seeing much beyond a forest of legs. The performer we heard that day at my first live show turned out to be none other than the great Pete Seeger with his banjo. I don't think I really knew any of his songs, but I knew his name, maybe from Sesame Street or something, and knew he was some kind of a big deal and that everybody liked him (or so I thought).
Even more than the music, I'll never forget the musical element my eyes were opened to during the show. Not being able to see the stage except for the occasional glimpse, I looked at what I could see: people's feet. And I noticed something weird about what they were doing, but I couldn't figure it out. So I tugged on my father's trouser leg, and when he bent over to hear me, I asked:
"Daddy, why is everbody moving their feet?"
"They're tapping their toes" was his reply.
Of course, that only prompted me to return with, "Why are they tapping their toes?" I hadn't even known what the word 'tapping' was.
"Because they're keeping the beat" he explained.
You know what came next: "What's the beat, Daddy?"
So he told me that if I listened very carefully to the music, and watched the peoples' feet, I would find the beat, and then I could tap my toes to it too. He showed me by clapping his hands in time with the music and tapping his toes. I concentrated real hard on the music, and watched the people, and the next thing you know, I was tapping my toes to the rhythm!
And that's how a legendary folk performer and a bad view taught me about the beat for the first time.
My First Concert:
1st Rock Concert:Cream at Madison Square Garden.
First rock concert at the Garden after it was built. 1969. Cream played on a revolving stage in the middle of the floor. The PA was also on the stage. Everytime the stage revolved around to the opposite side of the Garden, you couldn't hear the band. I had to leave at 10:30 to make the LIRR train home for curfew so missed the last part of the show!. Had a fabulous dinner at Tad's Steaks with my friends ($1.99 for a nice peice of horse meat).
Sleep Walk by Santo and Johnny. In the early 50s. I don't know why I liked it so much but my mom bought me the 45 and I played it along with all my other kiddy 45s. One thing it did to me, it stuck in my head for the rest of my life and when I heard Albatross by Peter Green and Fleetwood Mac; I knew immediately where the influence came from.......
"Are You Experienced" - Hendrix. I was 5 years old (early 1967). My best friend invited me to listen to his parents new HiFi. We listened to that album all day long and when I brought the album home to show my parents, they absolutely flipped. This was way too radical for the 5 year old of a conservative Christian family. This memory had a huge influence on my musical taste ever since.