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Before the Parkas



1950's - Before the parkas

I didn't know much about music in the 1950's. We always had a piano in the front room, where it was played at Xmas time and at parties. I took it for granted that Mum and Dad played the piano and that Dad was a musician. At that time, he and Uncle Ron (who played double bass) use to go off gigging the same as we do now.

There wasn't much on TV and the radio only played Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Nat King Cole and the "Big Hands". Nothing of much interest to me at that time. There was always a lot of sheet music about and I was curious about all the dots and squiggles, but that was all.

We had a wind up record player 75 rpm, playing lots of orchestras and bands and the one I liked was "March of the Tin Soldiers". ( I don't count it as one of my influences though!!)
In 1954/55 my Uncle Jim was living with us at 22 Shirley Avenue, Portsmouth. One day I could hear something different playing and went up stairs to find out where this music was coming from. He was playing "Rock around the Clock" on his 75 rpm record player. That was the start of something special for me. It was something which was to stay with me for many years to come.

The only way I heard the latest hits of the day was when the older kids use to whistle or sing the songs in the street. Looking back it seems unbelievable now!
Being two years older than me Keith was getting into football at this time.
The 1950's were drawing to a close.

So we're up to the 1959 when a few of the street gang including Keith, decided to go to St. James Youth Club. We should have been members of the Sunday School but sneaked in any way. That was the first time I saw and heard records being played on a Dansette 45 record player. All the hits of the day coming out , Buddy Holly, Cliff Richrads etc, and I remember them playing the song "Here Comes Summer". We were all singing along - "Here comes Summerfield".

And then we got thrown out!!! Happy Days.

So ends the 50's.

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