Looking back at my music lexicon so far, it’s pretty obvious that I’m a child of my time – more specifically from about the mid-sixties to the mid-seventies.That isn’t an apology: I suspect that most people’s musical tastes are largely defined by their formative years.
As we reach the letter ‘K’, however, while I’m certainly not promising to bring myself up to date and down with the kids, here is an artiste whose output extends both before and after ‘my’ time (not to mention outside my usual genre): Carole King.
Before she achieved fame as a performing artist in her own right, most notably with the album ‘Tapestry’, the husband and wife writing team of Carole KIng and Gerry Goffin had produced a prodigious catalogue of instant-classic pop songs for a whole range of artistes, including The Shirelles, with ‘Will You Love Me Tomorrow?’ in 1960′ and ‘Going Back’ for Dusty Springfield.
However, in selecting a song to illustrate this chapter of my lexicon, it must be something from ‘Tapestry’ – a staple of the courting and early married days of Madame and myself, as was the follow-up ‘Rhymes And Reasons’. There isn’t a single weak track on either.
Growing up on Merseyside in the 1960s, there really wasn’t much room for anyone but The Beatles in any list of favourite groups. All pale and shallow imitations – and they were legion – were given pretty short shrift. However, of a very few honourable exceptions, The Kinks were among the best, with thoughful songs that lifted them out of the two-and-a-half minute rut that marked the extent of the ambition (or ability) of so many contemporaries.
I know for a fact that The Kinks played a concert at my university on February 26th 1973. The reason I am so certain is that I was, at the time, two hundred miles away, down on one knee asking the future Madame to make me the happiest of men. Which she has.
And I did get to see The Kinks live a few months later, at the old Liverpool Stadium. They were very good, although for the life of me I can’t remember much about it.
What I do remember, though, is that my two closest friends at university could not bear to listen to this song because of the raw memories it induced in them about broken relationships. It never touched that chord with me, but it is a very fine song- and we’re not in touch any more, so maybe now it’s appropriate for me.