Top 10 Music from my Formative Years

A little while ago I explained how I had come over all nostalgic and started to create top 10 lists from my formative years. I started of with a blog on the Top 10 TV from my Formative Years.

Undeterred by the fact that this blog was only read by about two people, neither of whom were inspired to join me in my nostalgia, I have decided to persist, this time concentrating on the music of my formative years.

I must strongly emphasise that this in no way reflects my favourite music now. In fact, it doesn’t even necessarily reflect my favourite music then – it is merely the music that, for some reason, sticks in my mind from my early years.

As with my previous Top 10 I am blatantly cheating by actually doing two Top 10s as there were two distinct periods in my formative years musically. Early on I didn’t really have much interest in music, but there is some that sticks in my mind. This forms my first Top 10 and is broadly in chronological order.


10. My Grandfather’s Clock

This is one of the earliest songs that I can remember and was from an album called something like “Children’s Favourites”. I have no idea who it was by nor why it had such a resonance, but even now I know the words to the first verse.

9. Two Little Boys – Rolf Harris

I never really particularly liked this song, but it is one that I remember my mum playing quite a lot. My parents’ music collection contained a lot of depressing music – it’s amazing I didn’t become a Goth.

8. Ernie (The Fastest milkman in the West) – Benny Hill

This was Christmas No 1 in 1971 – they don’t make them like that any more!

7. Long Haired Lover From Liverpool – Little Jimmy Osmond

Another Christmas No 1, this time from 1972. This was the first record that I expressly asked to be bought for me: give me a break, I was only 6.

6. Crazy Horses – The Osmonds

I am conscious that having 2 Osmonds songs in this top 10 risks marking me out as a fan, which I really wasn’t – honest! This is also from 1972 and at least it has some vague rock credibility. It was great for running around the playground like a loon shouting out the ‘Whaaa, Whaaa’ bits.

5. Under the Moon of Love – Showaddywaddy

This was in the singles chart in 1976. I was a big Showaddywaddy fan until the age of about 11, but I never owned any drainpipe trousers.

4. Heart of Glass – Blondie

All of a sudden, when I was about 12, there seemed to be an explosion of good music – maybe it was just that I had started to notice. This came out in 1979, but I think it was probably the video more than the song that caught my attention. The following all came out at around the same time: 1978/79

3. Hit me with Your Rythm Stick – Ian Dury and the Blockheads

2. Cool For Cats – Squeeze

1. Another Brick in the Wall – Pink Floyd

How could any song that started with the lyric “Hey! Teachers! Leave those kids alone” fail to catch the attention of a 13 year old boy.

The Teenage Years

Once you’re a teenager you have to choose your tribe. Although I didn’t have a great interest in music I did have a yearning to ride a motor bike and the whole leather jacket and jeans image appealed to me, so it was initially this rather than the music that led me to join the tribe disparagingly known as the ‘Greebos’.

Many of my fellow Grebes had older brothers or even parents who were into rock music, but I hadn’t really heard much of it so I had to take a crash course. There are so many great rock songs that formed the soundtrack to my teens that it’s hard to pick just 10, but after much deliberation these are my Top 10 – some I still like, some I’m less keen on these days.

10. Paranoid – Black Sabbath

9. Run for the Hills – Iron Maiden

I distinctly remember suffering whiplash at a party when, having drank all of my friend’s dad’s booze, we spent the rest of the evening banging our heads to this track.

8. Breaking the Law – Judas Priest

7. La Grange – ZZ Top

There are other Southern Rock bands that also deserve to be in this list – Lynyrd Skynyrd, Molly Hatchet, Blackfoot – but ZZ Top were the best.

6. Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen

One of the first singles I bought as a Greebo – initially I found I too mellow, but I loved the ending.

5. Bat Out of Hell – Meatloaf

This song was so played to death that I later came to hate it.

4. Smoke on the Water – Deep Purple

Put a guitar in the hands of a teenage boy in the 1980s and he would try to play the opening bars of this track. Classic.

3. Rocking All Over The World – Status Quo

I saw Status Quo in concert more times than any other band – they make the most of those 3 chords.

2. Ace of Spades – Motorhead

Play it loud!

1. Whole Lotta Rosie – AC/DC

AC/DC were the greatest of the bands and I loved all of their stuff.


About Darrel Kirby

I am what I am.
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10 Responses to Top 10 Music from my Formative Years

  1. janh1 says:

    Yup that was a narrow squeak with “Two Little Boys” – good grief. With the exception of Ian Dury and Benny Hill, the others in your first list are pretty dire and, ahem, surely the Pink Floyd tune started with “We don’t need no educashun…”

    Your second list has much more that appeals. Status Quo, Sweet Caroline, and Down Down and Rocking All Over the World, all classics.

    Smoke on the Water was the only thing my brother learned to pluck out on the guitar but it was a favourite anyway as was Paranoid. What about Fleetwood Mac and the once-lovely Peter Green?

    Classical Gas. That was the single I played to death, together with early Elton John albums and Simon and Garfunkel’s entire collection. Not really greebo, head-banging stuff! 🙂

    Oh and not forgetting Elgar.

    • Darrel Kirby says:

      I still stand by the top 4 in the first list. And you are, of course, right about the Pink Floyd lyrics, tis the chorus that I quoted.

      Agree about Fleetwood Mac/ Peter Green, but these came later – too mellow for my early years, although Rumours did appear at odd mellow moments. As for the rest, I fear there was not much overlap in our musical tastes here!

  2. Jan says:

    Oh Well is my favourite Fleetwood Mac number. Fabulous. Rumours was a bit MOR in comparison.

    There might be overlap in our lists of All Time Faves. The music of my youth doesn’t figure large in that list, apart from some classic Elt. 🙂

    But that list takes a lot of thinking about….

    • Darrel Kirby says:

      I prefer the older, bluesier Peter Green Fleetwood Mac, but it was the Rumours album I first came across and, as you say, a bit MOR, hence why I wasn’t so keen.

      All time favourites is really hard – I started thinking about it and gave up. There’s just too much stuff out there and my list would depend on my mood. And it is hard to separate out what you really like vs. most influential vs. nostalgia value, etc. Would probably end up as a top 100!

  3. janh1 says:

    Yep agreed. It’s near impossible but if you’re really strict with yourself you could surely come up with a top ten? Would need an annual review.

  4. janh1 says:

    Must have some kind of criteria though. I was thinking classical list and non-classical but I suppose that’s cheating a bit. So, ok, the ten favourite tracks of all time?

    Needs considerable thought.

    • Darrel Kirby says:

      Feel free to cheat – both of my Top 10s so far turned out to be 2 Top 10s. Classical not going to feature very prominently for me though…

  5. j says:

    Hmm. Still thinking about it.

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