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What was the first the record you bought? ...no fibbing now

Jamie McDowell and Kerry McKittrick ask local personalities to name that tune

It’s a revelation that may make you cringe or, well, reveal that even at six years old, you’d rather good taste.

For many of us, the first record we ever bought was a special moment, even though looking back today we may cringe at the very thought of it — or maybe we still even listen to it.

It may have been a funny song that appealed to us as children, such as a Jackie Wilson number, or, for the younger generations, Bob the Builder. It could have been a football anthem for a team that we no longer support (and would be mortified at, if someone was to find out) or it could have been a pop song that we memorised every move to.

Through the decades, as record players made way for cassettes and cassettes made way for CDs, the music industry slowly entered the digital age, dominated by MP3s, an audio format which only emerged at the turn of the millennium, was largely unheard of. Recently however, the original vinyl format has been making an unexpected comeback — its warm background crackle and chunky aesthetic feeling catching the eye of the curious younger generations.

Regardless of how we choose to listen to music, whether it be on an iPod, CD player, vinyl deck or even straight off the PC, people from all walks of life will always have a place in their heart for that one song that first made them fall in love with music, or even to which they first fell in love.

A number of celebrity music lovers tell us what their first record was, revealing the good, the bad and the just plain ugly of their earliest musical memories...





Nuala McKeever (45) is a comedienne and Belfast Telegraph columnist. She says:

“I could tell you what my first ever record was but unfortunately I'd have to kill you. To begin, I must put this heavily in context. I was very into everything Spanish at the time. It was 1981 and I was studying Spanish language in school, as well as having recently spent a month in Spain.

I bought a record by Julio Iglesias called Begin the Beguine. I think a Beguine was a type of Spanish dance. But that's what I bought — Julio Iglesias — not even Enrique. After that I bought a John Lennon record and never really listened to Julio again.”

Duke Special aka Peter Wilson (40) is a singer/songwriter from Belfast. He says:

“I'm Still Standing by Elton John was the first record I remember buying. It would have been around 1980 or 1981. It was ages ago anyway, and I was still at school.

I remember the song was playing on the radio constantly and I loved it. At the time, the shop where I got my school shoes would give you a free voucher for a record at a local record shop. Before that, I'd been mostly listening to my sister's records.”

Steven Agnew (31) is leader of the Green party in Northern Ireland. He says:

“This is a bit embarrassing, but my first record was also the first album the band Bros had ever made. The album was called Push and I would have been around eight years old when I got it.

As well as the album, I had a Bros bomber jacket which I wore to school. To give you an idea of how bad the music was at the time, some other kids would wear bomber jackets with pictures of Kylie and Jason on them. Nowadays, I tend to listen to CDs, and thankfully I don't listen to Bros any more, but I have a few friends who are keen vinyl collectors.”

Johnny Hero presents the U105 Drive show weekdays from 3-7pm. He says:

“Blockbuster by a band called The Sweet was the first record I ever bought for myself. It was released in 1973. I didn't have a record player at time, so I had to wait for about six months after it had come and gone in the charts to get it.

I got it for 20p second hand in a shop in Smithfield Market. That was important for me because it was the day I started collecting vinyl, which I've done ever since. I have a very big collection in my mum's house. A few years ago I bought one of those machines that transfers your music from vinyl on to your computer. It took me weeks to transfer the whole lot, but it's nice because you can still hear the crackle of the vinyl on the digital versions on my computer. There's a certain charm to that sound.”

Brian Houston is a singer /songwriter from Belfast. He says:

“My first record was a song called Banner Man by Blue Mink, which I definitely don't listen to any more. But I think the first record that really made an impression on me was an Elvis Greatest Hits compilation.

I collect a lot of vinyl now and I've managed to get some pretty rare Elvis LPs, so to this day I still go looking for vinyl. It's good to see vinyl popping up more in Belfast music shops these days. There's a great appeal to it.”

Paul Stafford (42) is an award-winning hairdresser from Belfast. He has a successful salon on the Lisburn Road in the city: He says:

“My first ever record was probably Hound Dog by Elvis. It had a song on the B-side as well called Don’t Be Cruel. It's memorable because I used the money I was given at my First Communion to buy it. I think the only reason I chose it was because of the picture on the front sleeve. After that, and this is a bit embarrassing, I bought No Parlez by Paul Young. It was just after the whole mod scene had died down and New Romantic music was becoming popular. I would never listen to him now but I went to see him about ten years ago and the gig was terrible.

We play vinyl in the salon. Thankfully, the music's a lot better than what I used to listen to. I've picked up Liam Gallagher's new album on vinyl so we’ve been playing that these days.”

Jim Rodgers, who is in his late 50s, is a member of the Ulster Unionist Party and was twice Lord Mayor of Belfast. He says:

“When I was young I was a big fan — and I still am — of Frankie Vaughan who sang Give Me The Moonlight, Give Me The Girl. I would sing a few lines of that song even to this day. When I was about 18 years old, I went on holiday with friends to Blackpool where we saw him live and hearing this record reminds me of that great trip. He was absolutely brilliant.”

Joe Lindsay (39) is a DJ and broadcaster. He lives in Belfast with is wife Mary. He says:

“The first record I ever bought was the theme from a 70s TV series called Monkey by a Japanese band called Godiego. I bought it on seven inch vinyl and I still have it.

The first album I got was a compilation album of Beatles songs on tape bought from Ma Moore's in Smithfield Market. It had a lot of cover songs so I spent more money and got the Beatles Red album instead.

I never throw any music out, so in our house we have a record room with loads of music and DVDs. I still listen to the Monkey theme now and again.”

Maurice Jay is the head of music at U105. He says:

“It's hard for me to think of one of my first records that I'd be willing to admit to. The first one I was given was a song called King Of The Cops by a guy called Billy Howard. It was an impressionist remake of the song King Of The Road, but instead of singing, the whole song was made up using recordings of voices of famous television cops like Kojak. I knew all the words.

The first record I actually wanted to buy was Dreaming by Blondie, and I have to admit it was mostly because I had a thing about her back then. I got it in a shop called Turntable in Holywood, and paid extra for the sleeve with a picture of her on the front. I used to lie on my bed with the record on repeat looking at the cover that had a picture of her wearing a brown leather dress.”

Terri Hooley (62) is the legendary owner of Belfast record shop Good Vibrations. Terri is credited with discovering the Undertones. He says:

“The first record I came across was San Francisco Bay Blues by Jesse Fuller. Eric Clapton later covered the song on a performance he did on MTV. Fuller also did a one man band version of the song where he played the drums, guitar and the kazoo.

The first one I was given came free with a magazine. I was about four or five years of age. It was a jazz LP and I sat and played it and read the sleeve notes over and over. I still have my San Francisco Bay Blues record. It even survived the fire in Donegall Arcade.”

Ken Reid (55) is the political |editor at UTV. He says:

“I remember getting my first record in 1963. I didn't buy it myself. My grandfather, a man called Bertie Hepburn, was a bus inspector and he gave me She Loves You by The Beatles. It got me interested in music, and I still like the Beatles, but my appreciation of music is a lot broader now.

I like bands today like Mumford and Sons, who remind me of a band from the 70s called Lindisfarne and an artist called John Martyn. I'm also a fan of |black music, such as stuff by Nina Simone.”

Nichola Mallon (31) is an SDLP councillor for the Oldpark area of Belfast. She says:

“My first album was the Monster Hits compilation and I can remember it being just before Christmas in 1989 because it had all the hits of the year.

These days I'm all about CDs and MP3 players but my dad still has a huge collection of vinyl at home.”

Dawn Purvis (44) is an independent MLA and lives in Belfast with her sons Ernest (20) and Lee (18). She says:

“I'm embarrassed to admit that it was Pearl's A Singer by Elkie Brooks on seven inch vinyl. It's long gone now but I have kept all of my albums so I still have the first one of those I ever bought. It was by Yazoo and the album was called Upstairs At Eric's.

Now and again I get the vinyl out and have a trip down memory lane with Alison Moyet, The Specials and Madness.”

Stephen Rainey (29) presents the After Midnight Show on BBC Radio Ulster. He says:

“I bought the Blues Brothers soundtrack on cassette when I was about 10 years old and I still have it in a cupboard somewhere in my parents’ house. I had a couple of records on vinyl when I was growing up but I didn't have anything to play them on. It's only in the last two to three years I've gotten into vinyl and I listen to it almost exclusively now. I don't use an MP3 player. I like music you can hold and I can't figure out how to work them anyway.”

Conall McDevitt (38) is the SDLP MLA for Belfast South. He says:

“I bought my first ever record off my cousin for three quid while we on holiday in Galway. It was Green Door by Shakin' Stevens and I think she ripped me off. She must've needed the money to buy something else. I was about six at the time and she would've been 12 so I didn't really know any better. I think the record's still knocking about the house somewhere.

Nowadays I listen to grungy music and Irish rock bands. Unfortunately I'm one of the ones who's fallen victim to the U2 generation.”

Trevor Lunn (64) is the Alliance MLA for Lagan Valley. He says:

“Interestingly, I've just received a replacement of the first LP I ever bought as a Christmas gift from my brother. It's called Connie Francis Sings Irish Favourites. I remember pleasantly listening to an American Italian trying to sing in an Irish accent. I bought the album in 1960, but one of my nephews had it half destroyed. When my brother found it on Amazon I was delighted.”

Robin Newton (55) is a DUP MLA for East Belfast. He lives in Belfast with his wife Carole, they have two children, Emma and Adam. He says:

“My first record was on vinyl and it was San Francisco by Scott McKenzie. It would have been thrown out long ago because I never listen to vinyl any more.”

Tim McGarry (46) is a comedian and presenter. He lives in Belfast with his wife Carolyn and sons Jospeh (13) and Michael (8). He says:

“The first album I ever bought was a cassette by the Tony Robinson Band called Power In The Darkness in 1978 but I lost it a long time ago. My first single was a seven inch and it was Sultans Of Swing by Dire Straits.

I'm not an MP3 man so I have dozens of CDs in the house — my son is into MP3s though. When he was eight my wife was singing the Dead Or Alive song with the line “spin me round like a record baby” and he asked what a record was.”

Ralph McLean (41) is a Ulster radio DJ. His show is on Tuesday-Thursday from 8pm-10pm. He says:

“My first record was given to me. It was called Coward of the County by Kenny Rogers.

The first album I bought for myself was called Seven Sons by The Jam. I got it because my cousin recommended it and I’d also read about it in a football magazine.

It was 1979 and I was 10 years old. I’ve been a lifelong fan of The Jam ever since but I also love Van Morrison. My favourite album is his live album Too Late to Stop Now. I want to start a campaign to get a national Van Morrison Day brought about. Mind you, Van would probably sue me.”

Rigsy (32) aka David O’Reilly presents Across The Line on BBC Radio Ulster on Monday nights from 8pm-10pm. He says:

“The first ever record I bought (well, my mum bought it for me from a wee shop in Newry) was The Final Countdown by Europe.

The first album I bought myself was Bad by Michael Jackson and, all things considered, it had a big influence on the music I'd go on to love. The first CD I remember buying was a dodgy compilation of commercial dance, though I did steal a load of REM tapes off my sister around the same time.”

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