As an easy way of getting started, here’s something I wrote for the now defunct blog When You Can’t Remember Anything, back in 2017:
My parents were born in the mid-1930s. They met in the early 1950s, before rock ‘n’ roll was a thing, and by the mid-1960s when I rolled up, they had amassed a record collection which would have served well as a playlist for the new Radio 2 station at its launch the following year. There was nothing by the Stones (despite Paint It, Black being No. 1 on the day I was born) and only one Beatles record (bizarrely, the Twist & Shout EP). The Hollies were OK though – there were a few of theirs, presumably because unlike the Fab Four, they hailed from the “correct” end of the East Lancs Road.
Throughout the next eighteen years, additions were made, with albums from the likes of Andy Williams, Perry Como, James Last and Richard Clayderman appearing on a regular basis. With that background, it probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise that I was a very early starter in the “liking music your parents don’t” stakes – at the age of five to be precise. Seeing T. Rex performing Hot Love on what I presume must have been Top Of The Pops was my eye-opener and I clearly remember my father’s horrified reaction when I pointed at Marc Bolan and announced that I wanted to be like him when I grew up.
So, by April 1984, just a month or so shy of my eighteenth birthday, my parents had grudgingly accepted that this wasn’t a phase I was going through and that I had acquired a lot of vinyl that they didn’t want anywhere near the stereo in the living room.
That was when something rather strange happened as we ate our evening meal. I presume there must have been a lull in the usual conversation, which would have been around the seeming lack of revision I was doing for my forthcoming A Levels (a conversation that is strangely being repeated right now with my eldest…). My father suddenly asked, “Echo And The Bunnymen – are they one of those groups you listen to?”. Bracing myself for some sort of sarcastic remark, I looked at my sister, rolled my eyes and replied in the affirmative. “Their new one’s very good”, he stated. My sister and I looked at each other.
It was she who took the initiative, guessing at what she thought was going on. “The Killing Moon is their old one, Dad”, she said, “they’ve got a new one out now”. My father put down his cutlery, clearly affronted by her comment. “No”, he said very pointedly, “I mean the new one. Something to do with fingertips”.
The ensuing conversation revealed that in the timber yard where my father worked, the radio was on pretty much constantly in the various buildings on the site. In recent years, as the average age of the workforce had lowered in relation to my father’s, Radio 1 had become the station of choice, exposing him to some of the “rubbish” he believed I listened to.
My father didn’t really elaborate too much on what it was he liked about Silver, but there was a post-A Level conversation where he described Seven Seas as “another good one”. He had started buying cassettes to play in the car around that time and had moved onto The Eagles among others – maybe this had paved the way to him liking the works of Ian McCulloch and co.
So that’s Silver and what it means to me. I never did sit my father down and play Ocean Rain to him as I did OK in those A-Levels, went to Uni and those family evening meals became a thing of the past. I’m not sure if he’d have liked all of it, but I always think of him when playing tracks from it.
As a footnote, my father passed away a few years ago after a prolonged illness. He lost interest in most things, including music. However, my mother has picked up the mantle of surprising the offspring with musical observations, declaring Biffy Clyro’s original Many Of Horror to be far more “real” than the version by the bloke who won the X Factor….
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