Do you remember buying your first single? Where you bought it? What it was? The thrill of playing it for the first time? What it sounded like? How it maybe changed your life? Lots of us do. Lots of us still have that single somewhere in a dusty box in the attic, along with other treasured memorabilia of an adolescence lost in music and romance. The attic of our youth.
The Joy of the Single is a documentary packed with startling memories, vivid images and penetrating insights into the power of pop and rock’s first and most abiding artefact – the seven inch, vinyl 45 rpm record; a small, perfectly formed object that seems to miraculously contain the hopes, fears, sounds and experiences of our different generations – all within the spiralling groove etched on its shiny black surface, labelled and gift-wrapped by an industry also in its thrall.
In the confident hands of a star-studded cast, the film spins a tale of obsession, addiction, dedication and desire. The viewer is invited on a journey of celebration from the 1950s rock n roll generation to the download kids of today, taking in classic singles from all manner of artists in each decade – from the smell of vinyl to the delights of the record label; from the importance of the record shop to the bittersweet brevity of the song itself; from stacking singles on a Dansette spindle to dropping the needle and thrilling to the intro.
Featuring contributions from Noddy Holder, Jack White, Richard Hawley, Suzi Quatro, Holly Johnson, Jimmy Webb, Pete Waterman, Norah Jones, Mike Batt, Graham Gouldman, Miranda Sawyer, Norman Cook, Trevor Horn, Neil Sedaka, Paul Morley, Rob Davies, Lavinia Greenlaw, Brian Wilson and Mike Love. ©BBC
Lucy Pappas… ‘Words’ The Bee Gees bought from The Disc Jockey. 2/6d maybe?
Jane Hartley… 6 shillings or 7/6 more likely Lucy. I bought Mighty Quinn, Mannfred Mann 1968 for 7/6 in 1968!
Lucy Pappas… It was 1967 so yes, 7/6d sounds right. That was a great programme x
John Storer… and it was that Peter Cook and Dudley Moore album that introduced me to them, Terry, and gave me an enduring love of their humour. My first single purchase was “Vehicle” by The Ides of March but didn’t really start buying them until late 76 when I would but two or three punk singles a week. The first of them was “new Rose” by The Damned and my first 12″ single was “Oh Bondage, Up Yours” by X-Ray Spex.
Tony Ham… Ever Fallen In Love With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve, The Buzzcocks, Just Lust on the b side, United Artists, bought from Rye Record and Denim, I think singles were about 20p back then?
Leigh Wieland-Boys… I was living in Malta when I bought my first single – saved my pocket money & bought two (prob from the NAAFI) Wind me up, let me go (Tin Soldier) by Cliff Richard & Jake the Peg by Rolf Harris! 1965 and I was nine years old – still have them ;o)
Sarah Harvey… Helen Shapiro – Walking Back To Happiness….. went with my Mum to Woolworths and bought it ….. Embassy Label. Oh how my tastes have changed! 🙂
Jim Breeds… Re. the price. When I first started buying singles they were 6s/8d. Exactly 3 to the £pound. Not sure when the went up to 7/6 but that’s right too. My first singles (given to me with a Fidelity record player by my uncle who was upgrading) were Moon of Gold – Neil Sedaka, and Travelin’ Light by Cliff and the Shads. Im not sure what the 10 y/o me thought being a “hoot and a holler away from paradise” actually meant but I played that single to death. I still have it. First single I actually parted with pocket money for was She Loves You.
Mick O’Dowd… My first was Cathy’s Clown by The Everleys on a 45 but unfortunately I only had a 78 player so had to sell it to my cousin. Shortly after I got my first Dansette and bought Wild Wind by John Leyton. By the way Sarah Helen Shapiro was not on Woolworth’s Embassy label as this was reserved for cover versions by unknown artists but could well have been Walking Back…
Alan Esdaile… The first record I got as a present was Hello Goodbye The Beatles but the first ones I went out to buy were Keith West Excerpt from a Teenage Opera, Procol Harum Whiter Shade Of Pale and Small Faces Itchycoo Park.
Kev Towner… I think it was probably Monster Mash by Bobby “Boris” Pickett & the Crypt Kickers. Either that or Ballroom Blitz by The Sweet.
Terry Huggins… First singles were It’s Over by Roy Orbison and Don’t Turn Around by the Meseybeats. First album (rather bizarrely) was one containing several Peter Cook and Dudley Moore sketches. Here’s a single some of you may have forgotten, Can’t help thinking about me – David Bowie & the Lower Third. Had to order this from Jack London’s Record Shop as none of the other shops had it in stock and they seemed to think you were being awkward and it was a nuisance if you asked to order records. This happened so often that I tended to buy most of my records from Jack who would cheerfully order even the most obscure records. If he didn’t have it in stock, he’d order it and if it wasn’t there on the day he said it would be (which for some reason always seemed to be a Tuesday), he’d give you a discount. I rarely received any discounts.
Jim Breeds… Good old Jack 🙂
Yvonne Cleland… This is what we spent pocket money on when we were kids! Ten bob!
Chris Meachen… I believe my first single may have been ‘She loves you’, though I regret I no longer have it.. I do have an original copy of ‘Albatross’ on the blue horizon label, which is possibly the oldest in my collection. …and it’s autographed by Peter Green..
Julie Morris… I’ve still got all of mine – hundreds of them – could never part with them!
Janine Anne Scott… Rose Garden – Lynn Anderson
Yvonne Cleland… Oh my goodness! That was played all the time up at the Black Cat!
Chris Giles… Good Vibrations was my first single
Patrick Lewis… The Last Time – Rolling Stones
James Johnson… Breaking Glass – Bowie
John Wilde… The Locomotion – Little Eva
Wendy Weaver… Rock Around the Clock by Bill Haley on a 78! I think I bought Hound Dog at the same time and Sixteen Tons. Probably with Christmas money as records were expensive then.
Julie Morris… Rock & Roll part II by Gary Glitter – awkward!
Mick O’Dowd… You can still like his music as long as you don’t buy it anymore so that he prospers from his crimes. I worked on concerts with him and he was a great showman it’s just a shame that he turned out the way he did.
Julie Morris… We used to go to the ‘gang’ shows and Christmas shows and they were great. He’s just a disgrace. As you say, such a shame.
Pete Fisher… 1961, Bert Weedon, Ginchy.
Lesley Brown… John, I’m only dancing. David Bowie. Boots Bexhill after I’d listened to it in the booth!
Clifford Rose…Life on Mars by David Bowie. I purchased it from the Record Shop, Queens Road.
Nigel Ford…The Rise & fall of Flingel Bunt – The Shadows, then some weeks later Not Fade Away – Rolling Stones though we only had the 78rpm wind up Gramophone at the time,… had to wait months before we got the Dansette Tempo… all in the attic still plus a load more 7″s etc.& they were 6/8d in 1964, ‘ had to wait about a week to get them once ordered from an electrical shop in Battle.
Tony Davis… I remember I was 10 years old in 1962 and during that year went to the Grammar School which was then in Nelson Road. I used to walk home for lunch as we lived in Plynlimmon Road and I can remember walking into the house and Cliff Richard’s The Young Ones was playing. I was knocked out to find that it was a 7″ and not the radio playing on a Dansette portable record player. Up til then we had only had the radio. So this was my first ever single. I can remember buying a Ricky Stevens single I Cried For You shortly after from the Disc Jockey when it was at the top end of Queens Road. I still feel like that excited 10 year old now when I discover some new music that I want to add to my collection.