Music is unashamedly my first love. I like to believe that everyone can recall the first album that they purchased. That is when vinyl was originally king, not a retro choice.
I have only met one person in my life that openly boasted that he had never purchased an album. I immediately took a dislike to him. Seriously how can you trust someone, who sees no value in music?
One of my first albums was A Night at the Opera by Queen, released on 21 November 1975. What followed was a collection of Australian rock (Sherbet), UK punk (Dave Warner), R&M (Michael Jackson) and many singles, some which I won from a radio competition. Perhaps that is where my love of that medium started?
I remember the first time I raided another person’s record collection. My family was house-sitting for a wealthy English family that had chosen to go overseas during the 1974 Queensland floods. I discovered Shirley Bassey’s, Yesterday When I Was Young (1970) and as an impressionable 15-year-old, I fell in love with the absolute power of storytelling and Bassey’s boundless emotion.
There were plenty of arguments in the corridors of my childhood home, about the repeat playing of Ian Dury & The Blockheads single, ‘I Wanna Be Straight’.
Teenagers always find a voice. It seemed to aggravate my English parents that it was one of their own who persisted in promoting new wave rebellion and dystopian propaganda.
My favourite rock track is unashamedly a Jimmy Barnes classic, Lay Down Your Guns’. This track may well reveal my 1980’s youth, but it also reminds me of my time in the heady days of working in bar management in rock and roll venues in Kings Cross, Sydney. It is energising and passionate, with a great rock beat and a sexy sax player.
US social worker, Dan Cohen, has developed a Music & Memory program, which features in a 2014 documentary, Alive Inside.
The use of music to trigger the memory of people with dementia is backed by neuroscientific research. The objective is to stimulate memory, improve mood and to activate physical movement. All that you need is music from your era and a great set of headphones.
So I suggest that you start collating your playlist now. I have over 3000 tracks to chose from.
I would be more than happy to be reminded of those rock and roll days. I still play a mean Tamborine and anytime that I want to smash out a little noise, this is the track that I choose.
So my sons, don’t forget to pack, my iPod, noise-cancelling headphones and the tamborines, when you move me into residential care!
Don’t worry about my neighbours, most of them will be deaf.