Cathy: Do you remember the first song you ever heard? Mine is a vague memory but I can see giant speakers and hear "Hey Jude".
Rob: I can't really remember that much up to the age of five or six, I do however remember learning Summer Nights from Grease, the John Travolta part rather than the Oliver Newton-John bit, there must have been music before this as I was seven when Grease came out. I can remember various 60s music that my Dad played in the car and Don McClean's song Vincent, but I can't say which was the first I heard.
Cathy: You've just reminded me the long car drives we always seemed to do as a family and my Dad playing Supertramp all the time!
Cathy: What genre of music were you into before your teens?
Rob: I was really into 2-Tone music (The Specials, The Selector etc) when I was eight or nine, I used to go to primary school dressed all in black and white, like the man in the 2-tone logo. I also liked Adam and the Ants and Dexys Midnight Runners. I was then introduced to the world of Heavy Rock via a bootleg Status Quo tape my Nan bought off the market, this was when I was ten/eleven and, annoyingly, it went on to be an obsession for most of my early teens! What about you?
Cathy: I would LOVE to see pictures of you as a Little Mod, that is so cool. I listened to the radio a lot so it was whatever they played on there at the time. A lot of cheesy disco! My parents were really into dancing, they'd give us lessons in how to dance the cha-cha-cha, the tango and the rock in the living room etc. In fact that's all music was to us: an excuse to dance!
Rob: I stayed in my room a lot, listing to Black Sabbath whilst reading, or pretending to read, the Lord of the Rings...not so much fun!
Cathy: what kid-friendly music are you aware of now that you particularly like?
Rob: Well, something that isn't for children, but I think they would like, is Ivor Cutler's album Ludo. Not all the songs are that kid friendly (they are not offensive though) but some are very funny and have a childlike wonder about them that isn't always there in music made specifically for children. With lyrics like: "I saw Granny at the pictures biting all the buttons off the seats" and "Good morning! How are you? Shut up!" I think kids would love it.
Another album that is made for children but is even weirder is Monster Songs for Children by Jad Fair. Jad Fair is the front man of the long running band called Half Japanese and has always been known for his quirky, odd, and, at times, childlike approach to music. Here, he and his brother David run through the alphabet via all manor of monsters, including Bigfoot, the Jabberwocky and even Nosferatu! Each song is introduced by a child talking about the monster. It sounds a bit like the music from a Tim Burton film like the Nightmare Before Christmas but a little bit madder!
An album I loved as a child was one called Spin a Magic Tune, which was a slight surreal journey through the main cartoon characters from the 70s including my favourite, the Hair Bear Bunch, in the company a child and a talking dog, unfortunately it has never been put onto CD.
Cathy: Sounds great! I have to admit I am pretty rubbish with music...Lately I have discovered a couple of great kid friendly bands: one is called Lullatone, they are a Japanese couple who do the sweetest, most enchanting music.
And at the other end of the spectrum, there's this US band called The Jimmies whose indie rock make me smile, they are a bit bonkers but much fun.
And the French Carton Park do utterly mad electronica for kids.
I must say Rob, your Nan must be one special lady if she's spotting bootleg Status Quo at the markets! Thanks so much to you both :o)