My mum bought me my first turntable as a 7 year old in 1977, a little mono Binatone, because she was fed up with me always damaging the stylus on her music system. I would be constantly playing her Beach Boys -“Greatest Hits”, Simon & Garfunkel – “Troubled Water” and Tammy Wynette – “Greatest Hits” LPs.
Anyway, when she bought me my first turntable she gave me a box of 7″ singles (about 100 all up) that she had bought as a teenager through the sixties. Her grandfather used to give her half a crown pocket money each week and she used to buy a 7″ single and some sweets. I listened to them all religiously, both A and B sides, and my collection of 2000 vinyl albums that I started building from 13 years old (and still own) reflects on the 7″ records that were given to me in that box.
She was a big fan of Them (we’re from Belfast) and apparently she dated the drummer a couple of times in the day! There was 5 of their records in the box along with discs of The Lovin’ Spoonful (who she was also a huge fan of), Beatles, Stones, The Who, Small Faces, Kinks, Francoise Hardy, Supremes, Four Tops, Percy Sledge, 1910 Fruitgum Co., Jay & The Americans along with many others. It was a very eclectic mix and a great introduction to so much great music.
I also loved Them, I think it was because they were from my home city and we felt proud of them, so every time I play this record, I always think of an innocent time as a kid sitting on the floor in my bedroom spinning vinyl all day.
I did actually meet Van Morrison when I lived in Denmark in 1991. It’s a shame to say, he didn’t live up to my expectations as he was quite rude which burst the bubble a bit. However Them were a great band and he did write some cracking tunes which everyone knows to this day.