I am pleased to say that my mother managed to stay with it – in the ’60s usage of the phrase, she moved with the times. I was always proud of this, I’ve noticed plenty of people grow older, but their music tastes get stuck in a rut, barely evolving from what they liked in their teens and early twenties.
In honour of this journey, I’m sharing 3 music memories of my lovely Mum, who passed away in 2005.
Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree – the Andrews Sisters
My mother loved to make things to enhance the decor of our home, she made her own clothes too, and some for us children. I can remember her sitting at the sewing machine, using the treadle to make it hum and stitch. A mixed tape (my older brother had made for her) of her favourite jazz and swing music, playing in the background.
I loved the harmonies of the Andrews sisters, vocal groups who’re related seem to achieve blends beautifully. My Mum would sing as she sewed, so their songs bring a lump to my throat. Even if you aren’t the best singer, there is pleasure in doing it.
Telephone Man – Meri Wilson
I was a teenager when this Telephone Man became popular. There was a rash of songs around this time, which told a story and were a little quirky. The lyrics definitely work on an additional, saucy level regarding what the girl singer ‘got’ from the telephone man ‘in the bedroom and the hall’. This was something of which I was unaware, but I doubt my mother missed it’s naughty element!
We’d moved to a smaller house in another town and my eldest brother no longer lived at home. My mum would have the radio on in the kitchen while she was baking or making breakfast – she was a terrific cook who really enjoyed preparing food from scratch.
My mother listened to the radio in the car, so she heard current songs doing the school run or shopping for groceries. I firmly believe that having children keeps a person young at heart. We listened to records in our rooms, forming our own taste in music, but radios in communal spaces were tuned to Radio 1.
By the time my parents moved from the suburbs of London to the countryside for retirement, my siblings and I had all left home. My mother still had a radio in her kitchen but it was tuned to a local station, and locally they liked country music. She said she quite liked it, but she stayed curious about what younger people enjoyed. By now she was using the internet, she had a chat room of writer friends of varying ages and they discussed music lyrics as inspiration and the power of a soundtrack to make our break a film.
Geri Halliwell : It’s Raining Men.
One of her favourites in later life, is from the soundtrack to Bridget Jones’ Diary – a film we loved to watch … cos Colin Firth AND Hugh Grant!
As I write this, I’m reminded that she loved the original by the Weather Girls too – from a decade when I did not fully grasp the meaning of the lyrics. The cheesy video is an absolute must!