The best of the western music played on the radio and just with a volume control knob, I could increase the decibel level to my liking, on the kind of music being aired. Initially, it was only biweekly on the Monday night, The Forces Request and on Friday it was ‘A Date With You’. Later the All India Radio started the Yuv Vani service for the collegians. So each night a college kid would come and play his favorite western numbers in ‘In the Groove’ program for half an hour from 8PM onwards. I reminisce those days when after a day at school there were no other indulgences besides playing games with friends in the garden adjacent to our government flat. No TV, PC, laptops, mobile to fiddle around. The only available music systems were the gramophones to play the LPs( Long Play records),an expensive hobby by any stretch of imagination. Komal GB Singh would host the program in her perfect diction in ‘ A Date With You’ and subsequently in the Yuv Vani in the era of mid seventies.
There ware incomparable hits in instrumental, rock, and jazz like ‘Come September’, ‘Tequila’, Beatles, Bee Gees( Grease), Heneri Mancini’s ‘Baby Elephant Walk’(from Hatari),and sound track s from ‘Mackenna’s Gold’, ‘For a few Dollars More’ and many more.
No program of the collections being aired would be complete without Harry Belafonte’s ’Jamaican Farewell’, Dolly Parton’s( Working Nine to Five),Cyndi Lauper’s ( Girls just want to have fun), Petula Clark’s( Color my World), Susan Raye( LA International Airport)Elvis Priestley’s ( Jailhouse Rock), Trini Lopez( LemonTree) ,John Denver ( Country Roads) and scores of others lilting ones.
As time moved, the era of radios and transistors evolved to cassette decks and stereo players. The music too changed tracks and Michael Jackson, Bruce Springsteen, Janet Jackson,Madonna, Boney M, Abba, Tina Turner, and Whiney Houston took over the reins from the old horses! Their music had a distinct quality and struck chord with masses. The Billboard s Top 20 were assiduously tracked by English Music lovers with equal gusto as the ‘Hits of Binaca Geet Mala’ compeered by inimitable Ameen Sayani was tracked by Hindi music aficionados! One could tape the songs of liking on audio cassettes which would often misbehave either due the dirt accumulated on the audio head of the players or the cassette tapes getting entangled while playing! Next half an hour would be spent to pull out the tape from the deck and try to restore it back!
The evenings were generally spent listening to the music while doing the school homework or practicing problems in Mathematics despite protests from parents. I always found the soft music in background a companion while studying till I reached the college.
Soon the music industry was set to change forever! The radio sets with big valves, transistors and even tape recorders and decks were laid to rest in favor of MP3, MP4, DVDs , and the Blu -Ray players! The music also shifted gears and instead of melodies and lullabies of the yesteryears more jarring and noisy music took over. Enter a disco and return back after an hour later to realize the feeling of temporary deafness. In the marriages too the soft shehnai was elbowed out by the DJs to blast the music at full crescendo to set the bodies shaking on the dance floor while others desperately tried to make each other heard over the din. We are now living in times of Jennifer Lopez ‘s Love Don’t Cost a thing, Back Street Boys , Quit playing games and Shakira whose hips don’t lie for our unending entertainment. The music industry is all set to change now once again with the latest mobiles/smartphones/I pads having inbuilt music players and radios. The new breed of singers like Justin Timberlake, Beyonce Knowles, Kate Perry, Lady Gaga and Rihanna are set to rule the music world.
PS – Image Kind Courtesy Google