Yesterday, despite the heat I reluctantly managed to get myself to the gymnasium for a bit of exercise. Whenever I go there I’m entertained by the non-stop music that provides rhythm and necessary mood. The music varies according to the duty instructor’s taste. Now that can be a problem at times. Younger employees set the music according to their fancy. But today the music was my vintage. I noticed the women quickly change rhythm when the Abba song ‘Money, Money, Money’ pounded out across the floor. No need to say a word just move to the beat, if you’re over fifty-five, that is. I glimpsed the younger clients who looked a bit amused, ignored them! Now, I’m no Abba fan but who doesn’t recognise popular music from an era gone by. ‘Mama Mia’, ‘Fernando’, ‘Ring Ring’, ‘Super Trouper’, ‘Take A Chance On Me’, all from the wonder group, Agnetha, Anni-Frid, Bjorn and Benny in the 1970’s. No matter where you were or what you were doing, there was no escaping the catchy music from the blond Swedish foursome.
As I raised a sweat to good old Abba, it got me thinking about the role of music in our lives. A good party in Australia (a few decades ago and still today) wasn’t complete without a few rounds of Jimmy Barnes singing ‘Working Class Man’. This classic was released about 1985 and still entices people to their feet in seconds. Actually, if the right gym attendant is on duty we even get to work out to the gravely voice of the wonderful Jimmy Barnes. Oh, I forgot, there is only one way to listen to Jimmy singing this song. Full volume.
So whilst I’m in the reminiscing mood let’s go back a bit further. In the 1960’s I remember when Normie Rowe (how could anyone forget Normie!), he was my teenage idol. Sorry Normie, I think you now prefer Norman. Well anyway, I lived in a country town, we didn’t get much entertainment and only knew about these singers and entertainers through watching weekly television shows called Go and Bandstand. When it was announced that Normie Rowe and a few other acts (can’t remember who they were) were coming to perform in our very own town hall it caused major excitement and frenzy. I made a navy and white spotted dress complete with a matching peaked cap (they were all the craze then, please believe me!) and prepared for the big event. I loved Normie singing ‘Ooh La La’, ‘Que Ser’a, Ser’a’, ‘It Ain’t Necessarily So’, ‘The Stones That I Throw’ and ‘I (Who Have Nothing)’, these are the songs I mainly remember these and they instantly carry me back to the sixties and the pop era of the time.
Normie Rowe in the 1960’s
The Beatles’ of course were cult figures for so many teenagers around the world. I remember in a cooking class at school, I must have been about fourteen or fifteen at the time, another student had a poster of the beatles rolled up in her bag underneath the cooking bench. She was unrolling it when the teacher spotted the backsides of six or seven girls huddling excitedly over the picture. Well, I have to confess that I was one of the huddlers trying to get a glimpse of George, my favourite Beatle. I will never forget their music and knew all the words to ‘She Loves You’, ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’ and ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’. I also remember the severe lecture dished out to the ‘silly girls’ at the back cooking bench.
The Beatles in the 1960’s
And before I get on to more sensible examples of music and how it touches or influences our lives I have to mention the wonderful English singer called ‘Cilla Black’. Not to say she isn’t sensible mind you. Oh, how I swooned over her on the television, mainly trying to work out how she was able to get her slinky hair to curl long and sharp down the sides of her face. . .anyway I did love her singing. Remember, ‘Anyone Who Has A Heart’.
There are memorable times that I particularly associate with music. When visiting the Shetland Isles a few years ago we spent a wonderful evening at a pub listening to ‘Scottish Fiddling and Singing’. It is said that Shetland Fiddling has an Irish and Norwegian influence, lively and full of energy. Old and young musicians alike tuned up, joined in and cross referenced their music to the sound of a clapping and foot thumping audience. I’ll never forget the marvel of the music at that pub in the Shetland Isles.
Whilst I’m on about Scottish music I have to mention a piece of music that is very special to me. Whenever I hear ‘Scotland The Brave’ it raises the hairs on the back of neck and my feet move involuntarily. I can’t whistle very well but when I hear that tune, I’m the best whistler in the World! I think somehow it represents part of my heritage, the pipes and the drums and a sound I’ve listened to since childhood.
A modern tune composed in 2003 also has particular but more recent meaning for me. ‘You Raise Me Up’ originally written by ‘Secret Garden and later also released by Josh Groban in 2004 is a version that is particularly special to me. Special because a wonderful work colleague played it at my work farewell and gave me the CD. A few years ago we also played it at my Mother’s funeral to accompany a slide show of her life. Whenever I hear this tune begin it gives me a little jab of sadness and probably always will.
Isn’t it amazing what going to the gym on a hot day can trigger. . .