What was the first record you ever bought?
Go on, admit it, if only to yourself, in private. Odds on it was something way too guilty to be even a guilty pleasure. Bob the Builder? Mr Blobby? Bros?
I’ve yet to meet someone who said their first record was Jimi Hendrix or Nirvana.
Mine was My Old Man’s A Dustman (Lonnie Donegan – ‘My dustbin’s full of lilies.’ ‘How do you know they’re lilies?’ ‘Lily’s wearing them!’) For years it was my party piece whenever my parents had friends round to visit. Funny they only ever came the once . . .
My embarrassing first record theory was knocked on New Year’s Eve when one person told me hers was Shostakovich (and she wasn’t posh, she assured me, and she didn’t know if Shostakovich was embarrassing in classical music circles.) Another proclaimed his first to be a Bob Dylan record. I ruled him out on two technicalities – the first he didn’t know which song, so that doesn’t count. Plus he’d lived in a remote part of Ireland and didn’t come into contact with pop music until quite late in his life, by which age all of us have moved on to something more credible. I was ten for Lonnie and swiftly moved on to rock’n’roll and American punk – though I must admit the second record I bought was barely more credible than the first. Delaware by Perry Como. (‘What did Delaware? She wore a brand New Jersey.’) Maybe for me the damage was lasting. I’ve had a weakness for puns ever since.
Of course, it’s different for today’s first-timers, with so much available to stream and children plied with music at child sensory and music classes. I doubt We Built This City On Sausage Rolls is ever going to be fondly remembered as a musical first by this decade’s teens. Will there ever again be a ‘first record’ to pass into personal histories, like Lonnie Donegan and Mr Blobby? And is that a good or a bad thing?