UNCOVERING MY TRACKS (Part #3)


Alice Banned.

My tastes were changing. Maturing, some would say.

But the kid in the 1971 me still found it tough to be weaned off the bubblegum and sugary Pop hits of the day. As a family, we’d been our first foreign holiday the previous year. To Spain, it was. And being played to death that summer was’Candida‘ by Tony Orlando and Dawn, while back home The Mixtures and ‘The Pushbike Song’ had been popular enough to reach number two in the January charts of 1971.

Both songs, and ‘Grandad‘ by Clive Dunn, were found by my parents on the one album in Woolworths. I’m guessing, but in in ultimately forlorn hope of ‘getting with it,’ they bought that album. And on bringing it home, chuffed to bits, they proudly told me I could play it (carefully) on the new radioogram.

My excitement, however, didn’t last long when it very quickly became apparent that the songs were not performed by the original artists Still, money was tight, and it was better than nothing at all.

A few months later, and buoyed by their ‘new cool,’ my folks bought another of those trendy compilations, principally for the track ‘Get it On.’ Of course there was no fooling me this time. Once bitten and all that. Also, the song ‘Coco,’ was on the LP, and I had the proper, 7″ single by The Sweet. I could spot the difference.

Anyway, this one didn’t last long in our scant collection. A couple days later, my Mum saw the TV Top of the Pops and decided Marc Bolan of T. Rex, who of course had the hit with ‘Get it On, ‘ looked ‘dirty.’ The following day I was dragged along to Woolworths in Drumchapel Shopping Centre, where she demanded her money back, despite the album having been played many times.

That was the day I learned the meaning of the word, ‘mortified.’

The rest of 1971 music passed me by without leaving much of an impression. I do still have ‘Bannerman‘ by Blue Mink in my collection, but that’s about it.

The following year though, shaped my music of choice – pretty much for life.

On a family weekend trip to Blackpool, I remember buying what would be only my third album. (The second was ‘Slade Alive‘ by Slade.)

That album was ‘Love It To Death,’ by Alice Cooper. I have no idea as to how I knew of the band. I think perhaps I was flicking through the record box and the rebellious, now fourteen-year-old in me had decided to exact retribution for my mother’s performance a year previous. You think Marc Bolan is ‘dirty’ do you? Get a load of this dude and his cronies!

(I unfortunately now own only a CD copy. I sold the vinyl to a second hand record store in Stirling not long after being married when we had no cash.)

I should have known my parents would win out in the end.

A few months later, Alice Cooper arrived in the UK for a series of shows. His reputation preceded him and of course the very conservative press of the time were all over it. I was desperate to go to the Glasgow show. It would be my first gig. But there was zero chance of that happening.

Determined my mind would not be corrupted by some deviant from the other side of the Atlantic, my folks properly ‘grounded’ me on the evening of 10th November 1972, to prevent me sneaking off to the show with a couple of pals who did have tickets. It was for my own good, of course.

One of my mates though, somehow managed to smuggle a tape recorder into the venue and so I was at least able to hear a very muffled version of the show.

My first gig would have to wait.

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