Inevitably, I grew up listening to my parents musical tastes, particularly The Seekers, Val Doonican and musical soundtracks, such as South Pacific (I wanted to meet a girl who wore a hoola hoola skirt!). The Beatles happened and I was completely oblivious. However, as teenage loomed ever closer I began to take more interest in the sounds out there. In 1971, with some birthday money, I bought four singles. They were "My Sweet Lord" (George Harrison), "The Resurrection Shuffle" (Aston, Gardner and Dyke), "Give Me Just A Little More Time" (Chairman of the Board) and "Sugar, Sugar" (Saccharin version). They were all so different, but all classics in the Top 30 at that time.
For the next three years, I became hooked on the songs by T Rex, Slade, The Sweet and Gary Glitter. Yes, I was into pop music, big time. Then something amazing happened. In the spring of 1974, a boy in my class (called Hayden Davies) lent me an album to take home and listen to. The album was called "Fragile" by a band called Yes. I'd never heard of them. Apparently, they were into something weird called "Progressive Rock", whatever that was. The album had been around for a couple of years already (according to the sleeve notes, it was released on 4th January 1972).
I waited until there was nobody in the house (I didn't want my sisters laughing at my music) and put the LP on the turn table and settled down. After the first few chords of the first track (Roundabout), I knew that the music was good, very good indeed. I was stunned by just how special the whole album was. The quality of the musicianship was of such a high level, compared to what I was used to hearing and the lyrics seemed to hint towards folklore and nature. I was also fascinated by the album cover as well. It opened up, like a book and inside there were the lyrics to read and sing along with. Also, there was a colour booklet with photos of the five band members and (significantly, because I'd just started rock climbing) there was a painting of a climber scaling a sheer cliff on the side of a pinnacle.
I became a big fan of Yes, particularly the line up of Anderson, Howe, Brufford, Squire and Wakeman. I was gutted, in 1982, when our Vauxhall Viva was broken into in a Liverpool car park and the stereo and cassette tapes were stolen (including a pre-recorded cassette of Fragile). I still have my vinyl copy and of course the CD, too. Fragile is still one of my favourite albums and Roundabout, Heart of the Sunrise and South Side of the Sky are still wonderful songs that evoke memories of blissful teenage summers.