Apparently, you remember best the music that you were listening to from the ages 15-25. That is why it is the best music to play to someone living with dementia (and why the worse places nowadays that care for people with dementia tend to play ‘The White Cliffs of Dover‘).
I started listening to ‘The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway’ again last week. I think it is about 20 years, maybe more, since I last listened to it. It was amazing how I still knew much of the words and the track sequencing. Despite whatever I have listened to that is ‘cool’ or ‘alternative’ in the interim, the decidedly uncool early 1970s Genesis still retains a hold on me, or at least a hidden part of my psyche.
When the album gets to this point (ok; this is a live version with Phil Collins and not Peter Gabriel, but see below) , all the hairs on the back of my neck rose: it can’t be helped. I hope someone remembers to play this to me when I am very old and not ‘The White Cliffs of Dover’.
I have just got ‘catch up TV’ (paradoxically phone, broadband and TV work out £20pcm cheaper than my old broadband/phone deal: it is a strange world). I hardly watch TV these days- life seems richer than it’s imitation. However, someone told me that there was a Genesis documentary on. I found it and watched it and was really taken with it.
Some background- at the age of 9 or 10, even before Lennon’s death (I am that old) I discovered the Beatles for myself. They seemed to have more depth than what I saw on ‘Top of the Pops’. I started buying their LPs from about that age (thought: I have always been contrary) & got drawn to the less simplistic stuff. It was a short step from them to Genesis: a friend really like them and I didn’t- at first- but got drawn into their lyrical and musical complexity.
Tales of mythical beasts, retellings of the history of the world and few emotions were perfect for a teenage boy who was introspective, could not speak well in public and struggled with emotional expression (I don’t think I have moved on much).
Genesis became the soundtrack of my teens/early 20s and led to me jumping off into Pink Floyd, Yes, Barclay James Harvest, Gentle Giant etc. I hadn’t realised, until I saw this programme just how good that they were. Since I have watched the programme I have been wandering around the house, humming their tunes and my wife has been commenting how happy I seem. Well those carefree days of my first degree seemed so lovely…
This one always reminds me of Autumn, especially Autumn 1986 when I realised that my student days were coming to an end… Once the Banks/Hackett solo takes over (from around 4 mins), I am lying on my back in another place….
So my oddessey into my past continues:-
This is only a 10 minute extract of a 22 minute song! 22 minutes- I could run 3 miles in that time!. Looking at the video: what was it I was thinking of when I was 15-21? The beards, the hair, the seriousness and the overblown lyrics?
Yet when I put this on a week or so ago, I could sing along to at least 80% of the lyrics and my knowledge of the key changes and time changes verged on the disturbing.
File under: guilty pleasure. I secretly do still like this….
A conversation with a schoolteacher a week or so back revealed the amazing fact (to me) that he was at school with Genesis.
Genesis: after the Beatles and U2 , they got me into ‘serious’ music. I can hear the soundtrack to my insular, slightly awkward late teens played out in their albums. Long, pondering songs about mythical beasts were just the right thing for someone who was awkward around people and emotions. So this week I have got my Genesis LPs out.
The Peter Gabriel years were my favourite, but I chose this this week: the album after Peter Gabriel but when they were still in spirit ‘Genesis’.
Each track I played took me to different scenes of my life: being 16/17 and realising through this music that there was a world of great music and wild imaginings out there, being 18 and discovering kindred spirits, being 21 and realising that the world where I came alive for the first time (my first degree) was ending.
Today I will go with ‘Ripples’: particularly the bit where the tune drops and the piano comes in around 4minutes in …then the guitar almost weeping over the piano. Even after several years without listening to it, I’m still going ‘yes’ when that happens and am transported to another place…. oh yes…