Bob Marley & the Wailers – No Woman, No Cry (Live)
Ok. So, at last, we get to years where I can actually remember stuff. I have a few sketchy memories from before 1975, but concrete reminiscences begin for me in the summer of 1975. Not surprising really, because we spent much of that summer in the southern African country Zambia, visiting my paternal grandparents.
My dad's dad was a physicist. In the 1930s, he did work that was early investigation into microwaves. During the war he worked on top secret stuff that I've heard was either related to radar or guidance systems, but we'll never really know. After the war, he moved into telecommunications, and was involved in designing circuits at Goonhilly Downs that carried the first couple of decades-worth of transatlantic television transmission. In the 1970s, he went out to Zambia to project manage the build of their first satellite earth station at Mwembeshi.
It was a big family trip that we took in 1975 – I was four years old, and just about to start school. My sister just one a a bit. We saw lions, elephants, banana trees and all sorts of unimaginable exotica. Those memories have stuck with me.
My dad's dad had dark hair, that never really greyed even into his very later years. My mum's dad, by contrast, had platinum hair by the time we came around. As a small kid, this was the easy distinction between the two of them. I'm not sure that my credibility ever recovered when, starting school in the September of 1975, I went around telling all who would listen that I'd just got back from Africa where we'd stayed with Black Granddad.
Although I have many, many memories from 1975, I don't really remember much of the music. Which, if you look at what was released that year, isn't that surprising… it's no wonder that punk came along the following year. The Bob Marley track was an exception to prove the rule.
Number one on my birthday in 1975: Billy Connolly – D I V O R C E (which hasn't even made it into Spotify. By the way, you've got to wait until 1978 until there's a half-decent number 1 on my birthday…)
Click here for the playlist so far.