I REMEMBER WHEN I WAS YOUNG (JUST)

My niece is in the midst of her end-of-high school exams. She’s feeling pretty stressed, as can be imagined. Who doesn’t have clammy-palmed memories of the final secondary school tests?

As I vaguely recall—and as vaguely recalled in a much earlier post about exams, Deborah Roberts and Suzi Quatro—my stress levels were variable, ranging from quiet confidence, through nervousness to disassociation.

To try to stay connected with body and soul, you’d listen to the radio. Or more accurately, to a transistor. That three inch speaker brought sounds to distract, soothe, excite, revolt and sometimes confuse. These were not proper grown up noises, of course. Pop radio 3XY was the only station considered by Melbourne teens of my vintage.

What were we hearing during that long ago November examination period?

What soundtracked your own end-of-high school rite of passage?

Here’s some think music: the week’s #3 hit by front-man of electric blues outfit Chain, Mr Matt Taylor.

[Matt also featured in a much earlier memoir post.]

37 comments

  1. This cluster made me laugh for nostalgia’s sake. Max Bygraves, Des O’Connor, Perry Como and Charles Aznavour.
    The nice cluster of Aussie bands made me smile.
    Bridge Over Troubled Water impressed me then and still impresses me but I didn’t buy it during HSC.
    It will get a run this week.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a wild mixture of styles and energy levels, that chart. Something for everyone in the family, DD.

      Like

  2. Funny, I don’t remember being all that stressed about final exams. My last (5th) year I only had 5 classes, a victory lap to get in what they used to called the OAC year, which somehow apparently made it easier to get into uni as it signified some sort of “advanced” learning. I chse 5 classes I wanted, got my credits, and moved on.

    I don’t know much of what was on popular radio as I was finishing up high school, though Barenaked Ladies were big, and all the grunge bands were on folks’ minds (Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Alice In Chains, Soundgarden, etc). Metallica was ever-present. I was listening to Harry Connick, Jr., Louis Armstrong, and Miles Davis, mostly, but I was starting to be open to other stuff.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Love that divergence of listening habits, Aaron. Not much between Miles and Metallica, or Armstrong and Alice In Chains!!
      Didn’t Barenaked Ladies recently appear over at 1001? 😉

      Like

      1. Well, I was a little different, musically, in high school from my peers. It’s not that I didn’t appreciate what they were hearing, I just took longer to get to it myself. That came along in uni.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Following your own drumbeat. Love it.

          Like

          1. Hell yeah, I got my own whole rythm section!

            Liked by 1 person

  3. I ended up moving to central Florida for my last months of high school. Those months were soundtracked by Lynyrd Skynrd, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd etc. I was also introduced to the Pat Travers Band and their neighbourhood favourite Boom Boom (Out Go the Lights). It was the classic rock and the least eclectic chapter of my youth.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Of course, it wasn’t ‘classic rock’ then, was it?! It was what was on the radio. Having said that, I started to listen outside the (transistor) box soon after leaving High School and that did sprout some serious eclecticism, as you observe.
      That Pat Travers cover of the Little Walter hit makes chilling listening these days. Guess that’s a whole other post!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. pinklightsabre · · Reply

    I graduated in 88, and that’s the year the first Beastie Boys album came out. Was kind of an anthem for white boy beer drinking and skirt chasing. Perfect for a 17-year-old with nary a clue.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haven’t read many pls posts on this time in your life, Bill…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. pinklightsabre · · Reply

        Be thankful.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. pinklightsabre · · Reply

            Well there are many different versions of myself since then in nominally evolving levels of interest. The further you go back the more sour or acrid, like peeling an onion.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Certainly (in my case) a clueless version . I have found a not unpleasant softening of attitudes towards my young neurotic self; a kind of retrospective kindness uncovered by writing.

              Liked by 2 people

            2. pinklightsabre · ·

              That’s nice, “retrospective kindness uncovered by writing.” Sounds therapeutic, no accident to that!

              Liked by 1 person

            3. Touché! That’s what happens when you chat to a friend between clients! 😊

              Liked by 1 person

            4. pinklightsabre · ·

              Love it…

              Liked by 1 person

  5. Lots disco in the top 40 when I graduated (1979): Donna Summer, the BeeGees. But also an eclectic mix of other artists: ELO, Rod Stewart, Rickie Lee Jones, Blondie, Abba and Supertramp, among others. In the 8 months of the pandemic, I’ve taken regular walks along the shoreline, and this music of my teens is what I choose, more often than not, to listen to while I stroll…it’s strangely comforting.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is so true. Humming along to tunes indelibly stamped into our late teen DNA, often with misremembered lyrics and the occasional echo of a cringe.
      Funny, but my loathing of disco has softened over the years. Some of the synth-driven stuff (bits of Donna, bobs of Georgio M) is rather enjoyable.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I have to bow out. CB never mad it to the finish line, it was to stressful for the teachers. I think I heard a few choruses of Woody’s ‘So Long It’s Been Good To Know Ya’. when they showed me the door.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey, that’s what happened with my first attempt at Unischool!

      Liked by 1 person

        1. It’s an important club to have membership of, CB!

          Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m amazed she’s actually having physical exams. My kids are taking exams online this term.

    My A-levels were sound-tracked by the Ramones, who I’d just discovered and were even starting to jostle with AC/DC for poll position in my pantheon of heroes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well, he says, with and insufferably smug smile, Victoria hasn’t had any covid cases for over 28 days. (But fuckin’ hell, the lockdown was long).

      Ramones as study music. Yes, I can imagine that for you, Mr S. Did you start with the debut or somewhere else?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I started with Ramones Mania, a two LP comp I bought my girlfriend (unsuccessfully and tactlessly asking for it back when we split months later). Then I bought the debut and my whole world pivoted.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. A real punk would’ve stolen it back and left a Pink Floyd LP in its place.

          Ramones Mania is a good comp, the the debut is very special indeed.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Best LP ever recorded. Simple.

            I wasn’t a proper punk, merely a bit of a posturing, cross hippie child.

            Liked by 1 person

  8. jprobichaud · · Reply

    I’m from the same general geography and age bracket as Aaron over at Keepsmealive so my peers were all listening to grunge and/or Barenaked Ladie and while I enjoyed some of these, I was also into Nine Inch Nails and Ministry for the teen angst and a lot of British Madchester and Shoegaze music, Stone Roses, Chapterhouse, Blur, Charlatans, Lush, etc…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This is a bit embarrassing, but I only learned this week where the term ‘shoegaze’ came from. It is much more literal than I’d hoped, just quietly.
      The dominant music genres (because it’s been plural–fragmented, even–for decades now) of each generation are always interesting and worth exploring (at least a paddle!).

      Liked by 1 person

      1. jprobichaud · · Reply

        I love the story behind the coining of the term. I also love how the new breed clings to the term where the originators tried to distance themselves from it. But I suppose that’s often the case.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. No artists likes simplistic labels, do they? But a one-word handle is so… um… handy!

          Liked by 1 person

  9. “Goats Head Soup” #2 behind Neil Diamond! An era when you’ve got the Stones, Neil Diamond, Perry Como, and Barry White all in the charts at the same can’t be that bad. And quite a nifty table radio there to boot. – Marty

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It really is an extraordinary hodge podge of songs and styles and degrees of dreadful, eh Marty? I know I tend to remember the albums or tracks that moved me but forget how out of step that was with the prevailing trends. For example, the moment I discovered jazz-rock (aka fusion) in 1974. No-one I knew had the slightest idea what I was blathering about. Who were your go-to artists?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. In some ways it’s also at least a bit comforting to know that there was a time when we weren’t so segmented. For instance, you could have a big country and western song (remember that classification?!) that stayed in the charts alongside an R&B one. Those days are gone. Now I have no idea what songs come out of Nashville.

        Back then my big go-to artists were Chicago and Elton John. My intense CSNY phase was a few years away, and my forever more prog devotion was still marinating. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Marinating in prog is often a good strategy Marty!

          Liked by 1 person

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