I am pretty sure they had music in the 1950s.
At least, that is what I told a young woman I met at the CD stand in a budget store the other day.
“Excuse me (middleaged gentleman),” asked the woman, who was just 17 or 18, as we browsed side-by-side. “Do you know when the disco era was?”
“The 1970s,” I said with authority. I am usually absolutely lousy at answering trivia questions but, hey, I cut my musical teeth and learnt to wear flares in the disco era.
“Oh,” the young woman said, obviously disappointed as she replaced a motley purple CD back on the stand. “I’m looking for music from the 50s. Can you see any?”
“Um, let’s have a look,” I said. Not that I knew what I was looking for. I scanned the shelves but drew a blank. Aside from disco music, I was sure that rappers and punks did not come from the 1950s either. “I can’t see any.”
“Did they even have music back then?” the young woman asked.
“Oh yes,” I said. They must have done.
I was just a mere baby in the 1950s, you understand, but I am pretty sure my mother sang lullabies to me.
I have no idea why the young woman was looking for 1950s music.
I expect she was shopping for a present for her grandparents.
I could have been mischievous, I guess, and told her: “Oh yes, the disco era was from the 1950s.”
Imagine the delight of her grandparents when they removed the wrapping on their gift to find from KC and the Sunshine Band’s Greatest Hits.
Ah, disco! In the 1970s I was a disco freak who liked nothing better than shaking a booty. I had to. Wearing a white body-hugging polyester disco suit was the only way to impress girls. Well it seemed to work for John Travolta.
Oh, I get goosebumps just thinking about all those disco sensations from Saturday Night Fever: Staying Alive, Night Fever, Night on Disco Mountain, Disco Inferno and Boogie Shoes.
I had other favourites too: Baccarra’s Yes Sir, I Can Boogie; Boney M’s Rivers of Babylon; I Want To Put On my-my-my-my-my Boogie Shoes by KC and the Sunshine Band; and Play That Funky Music, White Boy by Wild Cherry.
I loved that last record. I used to play it really, really loud and dance along in front of my bedroom mirror. Luckily, I came from a really hip family. The louder I played Play That Funky Music, White Boy, the louder my dad would bellow from the other room: Turn That Funky Music Down, Boy.
We did have other music in our house.
My parents had a few LP records. You know, the big black saucer-shaped things that we later discovered could be melted in fantastic big ashtrays when, first, cassette tapes then CDs came into being.
I cannot remember all my parents’ records. At the time, in fact, I thought most of them were pretty forgettable.
I remember, however, there was stuff by Perry Como, Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby and the soundtrack to South Pacific complete with scratches and stains and soapsuds. “Gonna wash that man right outta my hair.”
I do not know why, but I suddenly felt very nostalgic.
“Hey, I remember music from the 1950s now,” I excitedly told the young woman next to me.
“Cool,” she said. “Where do I find it?”
“Over there,” I said, pointing to a fine selection of black ashtrays.