I always think it’s strange but fascinating how we attribute music to events in our lives; milestones which the music of the era stimulates and the memories which take us back to that time. How it unlocks the doors within our brain, which normally stay closed, and then something connects with us. Then like an old style juke box, it clicks and whirrs, bringing the long forgotten events to the forefront of our consciousness.
Likewise, major events have the same effect on me. For my generation, I suppose, one of the most iconic global moments, I can remember, is where I was when the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy took place in Dallas, Texas. At 12.30 on Friday 22nd November 1963 the 35th US President was shot whilst travelling in an open top motorcade through the streets of that city. He died shortly after in hospital. Although this single event has generated a plethora of conspiracy theories, books, films and media speculation, it was part of my growing up.
I was 14 years old and living in Leeds in the UK, so as this happened thousands of miles away, in another country, I can’t really understand why it had such a profound effect on me and the rest of my generation. But it did. Perhaps it was because we felt a connection with JFK as he seemed to represent youth and we were young. All other political figures seem old and did not share our vision whereas he made the connection. He had a young, beautiful wife and as we listened to the early pressings of the Mersey sounds offered by The Beatles and Gerry and the Pacemakers we imagined him doing the same. I certainly I had no idea of his political affiliations but he had something which drew the youth of the world, at that time, to him. There were lots of other world events which make up my timeline; Flower power; Woodstock; Vietnam; Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the moon; Falkland’s conflict; Lady Dianna; with music and mental images to match but the assassination of JFK was the start for me. Whenever I hear Gerry Marsden singing “You’ll Never Walk Alone” I am transported back to the youth club where a group of 14 year old boys and girls listened to it on a Dansette record player and we were told the news of what had happened across the pond so many miles away.