There have only been a couple of occasions in my life when I’ve found my musical tastes have matched up with my peers. My earliest and strongest musical influence was probably “Young Talent Time”. I absolutely adored that program and, in particular, had a special place in my heart for Jamie Redfern. In what was undoubtedly a sign of things to come, I discovered many years later that in Kindergarten, I had scrawled “I love Jamie Redfern” on my pencil case. Yes, seriously.
And then for a couple of years, I kept up with the charts, with “Explosive Hits 75” being a particular favourite album. Even though it contained popular hits such as Sherbet’s “Summer Love”, I was probably more attracted to Al Martino’s “To The Door Of The Sun” and Gilbert Becaud’s “A Little Love And Understanding”, instantly labelling me to my peers as a musical outsider. I mean, I had the posters of Sherbert (without their shirts on) plastered all over my wall, but I guess (again in hindsight) it may have been for other reasons.
And so I guess it wasn’t until the ABBA explosion of 1975-1976 that my musical tastes actually matched with my peers. Quite vividly I remember bringing along my copies of “Arrival” & “The Best Of ABBA’ to be played on the record player during lunch break, at a time when the world was divided between ABBA fans and “Bay City Rollers” fans. And then, of course, it all went pear-shaped for ABBA in Australia, with just a few of us remaining as ABBA fans.
At about this time I discovered Peter Allen, Barbra Streisand, Liza Minelli and Judy Garland (yeah, the writing was on the wall wasn’t it?), further demonstrating just how out of touch I was with my peers. While they were listening to Sunnyboys & Midnight Oil, I was discovering show tunes and the avante garde pop sounds of Yazoo, Eurythmics and Grace Jones.
And then I went to university and discovered dance music, with the likes of “Dead or Alive”, “Man To Man”, “Paul Lekakis” and various other European disco artists, providing a soundtrack which I could actually share with my peers. Mind you, a fair percentage of my friends at university were also deeply into “The Riptides” (later Ganggajang) and “The Go-Betweens” popular bands at the time.
In the period since then I haven’t really cared about the musical taste of my peers. I’ve just gone through life happily enjoying the music that I do, covering a broad spectrum of genres and artists.
But once again tonight, I was reminded about how out of touch I am with my peers when it comes to music. I’ve just finished watching My Favourite Album and was more than a little disappointed. Unlike last year’s “My Favourite Movie”, it would appear those who voted this year represent a very narrow percentage of the population. I’m guessing most of those who voted were aged 35-45 males. But isn’t that me? Well, yeah, but while I have broad musical tastes and don’t really care what others think, I’m guessing most of those who voted tonight read serious “music magazines” and like “serious rock”.
As Renee Geyer pointed out, there were no Australians, no women (five out of 100 albums had female vocalists) and no black performers in the Top 10. Instead, we had the usual suspects of white American male singer-songwriters and guitar-based rock bands. A boring, predictable list, IMHO.