Mark's Musings

A miscellany of thoughts and opinions from an unimportant small town politician and bit-part web developer

30 Days of Music: 29 – A song from my childhood


For all that music means to me now, I don’t have much memory of it from my childhood. Partly, that’s because we weren’t a particularly musical family – we had an ancient gramophone with some old 78s (I kid you not!), but they didn’t get a lot of needle time and for most of my childhood music was just something that happened in the background – the radio playing in shops, or on the school bus, and once a week Top of the Pops on TV, but only the occasional song piqued my interest. It wasn’t until my teens, when I got a radio of my own and discovered Radio Luxembourg and Radio Caroline, that I realised there was plenty of stuff out there that I actually liked listening to. Effectively, my musical knowledge began in 1978, which for me was rather late.

Having said that, I do have one very vivid musical memory from my early childhood. In fact, it’s the earliest memory that I can put a precise date on. My mum used to listen to the radio in the kitchen while she did the housework and, though I don’t remember much of it, this song somehow managed to implant itself in my memory. Actually, my memory is playing tricks with me a bit, since I was convinced before starting to write this article that I heard it announced on air by Jimmy Young – he seemed to be ubiquitous on the radio when I was a child. But, in fact, that’s not possible, at least not if my other memory is correct, and I’m more certain of that side of it.

What I actually remember hearing is the announcer (not the DJ – this would have been pre-Radio 1) telling us that he was going to play the new record by The Beatles. And this is the song he played:

Yellow Submarine

Footnote: This is a story that I’ve told several times, since “what’s your earliest memory?” is a fairly common question and hence I’ve had plenty of opportunities to give the answer. And when I do, people younger than me always seem to respond with “oooh, you remember The Beatles!” as if being old enough to hear their music while they were still making it is some kind of badge of musical honour. But the truth is, I barely remember any of it. In fact, other than this song, the only other Beatles track that I can definitely recall from my childhood is Octopus’s Garden, which is hardly one to be proud of remembering. I certainly had no idea, at the time, that they were the biggest band in the world. And, if I’m perfectly honest, I don’t really think I missed all that much.