My First CDs

What first tempted me to fritter away any disposable income I might have on music for the rest of my life?

I’m rarely tempted to engage in musical discussion nowadays - frankly just finding the time to listen is hard enough, let alone argue the toss - but the recent post over on Just Played about first CD purchases made me think back to the balmy days of 1994.

By my tenth year I already had a humble record collection. My parents had pretty dodgy taste in music - hello, Jason Donovan, Barry Manilow and Gary Glitter - but my Dad was keen on getting me interested in music. As a toddler I loved the vinyl album soundtrack of Rod, Jane and Freddy penned Rainbow songs right up until my brother used it as a spacehopper and snapped it in two. Infrequent visits to a long-gone record shop in Inch’s Yard yielded a few Jive Bunny 12"s and a few Simpsons 7"s but I’d yet to get a CD by this point.

When that tenth year was through, I managed to save up a small bounty found in birthday cards, enough to get what I wanted more than anything: a ghettoblaster. Not a stereo or a hi-fi, no. A cooler-sized portable set of speakers with a CD player, radio and cassette deck. I skimmed through the Argos catalogue for hours, evaluated my options and opted for something I thought was pretty good. Mum and Dad quietly took me to one side, told me that they’d bought one in the Winter sales with the intention of giving it to me next Christmas but that they would sell it to me for the price of the cheap Argos one I had my eye on.

And it was glorious!

I remember latterly laying on the scrap of floor in my room, headphones attached and somehow Heath Robinson extended across the room, listening to The Great Escape, Different Class and I Should Coco but that was once I’d found my music-listening ears. When I first got my ghettoblaster, I was listening to much more simple faire.

My early CDs were all singles. I bought them in Woolies for anywhere between two quid and 49p in the reduced bin. At the time I loved them all and, given the right amount of drink, I could probably recite the entire lyrics of them all.

First CD? I really can’t remember! However, these all arrived before my musical epiphany:

  • Rednex’s duo of chart hits Cotton-Eyed Joe and Old Pap in an Oak. In hindsight I fully admit that, lyrics aside, they are pretty much exactly the same song.

  • Dog Eat Dog’s white-light rap No Fronts. The Beastie Boys were a bit too aggressive for me. That’s no excuse those.

  • A novelty single about the Street Fighter 2 video game. I still have it somewhere. It was pretty bad and tied to the success of the Tetris single a few months before.

  • EMF’s cover of I’m a Believer that featured Reeves and Mortimer. I bought this almost entirely on the strength of The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer and loved it to pieces.

I was really lucky: my Jive Bunny records, that EMF single and the Britpop explosion gave me a founding in old-fashioned Sixties styler pop. That passion has led me down some really bizarre avenues, though there’ll always be a special place in my heart for those early wonders.

Join in now: If hadn’t been for Cotton-Eyed Joe, I’d been married long time ago. Where did you come from? Where did you go? Where did you come from, Cotton-Eyed Joe?