The Power of Music

Music and smells, they take you back.

Tonight on XFactor the Jim Morrison-Nick Cave hybrid dude sang The Power Of Love.

One moment I was on the couch with The Silverback and The Evil Geniuses, and the next I was lying on the spare mattress at Lissy’s house pressing Play/Pause/Play on the Pye cassette player, over and over again to write down the words to Frankie’s version of that same song. In the days before iTunes and Goog, that was how we figured out the lyrics, unless we were lucky enough to have a Brashs gift voucher stored up to purchase the actual record, with liner notes and (hopefully) the words, rather than a pirated TDK-60 tape of the album.

Lissy and I were future songwriters- quite possibly the Lennon/McCartney of our generation. She was Paul of course- that girl had a mighty voice, even back then, so I was John- whiney, nasally, and not all that pleasant to listen to, but I could sometimes turn a phrase or two. It is a shame and a crime that none of our recordings have survived, as our version of Kids In America was second only to our fabulous Wham Rap (yes, I still know all the words). We were magnificent back then in the 80s, with our confidence as big as both our hair, and our appetites for Rasin Toast and Super Sippers (Sing it: When you’re sippin’ all day long on a super Super Sipper), and only slightly smaller than our plastic clown earrings and shoulder pads.

Beatles album cover

Yes, I still have records. Oh well.


By 1984, we had finally tired of This Is Not A Love Song and were ready for a new challenge. Enter: Frankie Goes To Hollywood and The Power Of Love.

1984 was the year we stepped up our musical talents. No more would we just learn the songs verbatim and sing them endlessly and repeatedly and did I mention endlessly, until her brother would come screaming at us to: STOP WITH THE SAME SONG OVER AND OVER AGAIN YOU LITTLE IDIOTS. No, this was the birth of a new era. Something the kids of today call a parody.

It felt like much more than a parody though. We felt like the chick who wrote that hideous fanfic 50 Shades Of Grey must have felt- we were convinced we were creating something unique and beautiful. A tribute, yes, but a hit in its own right. Something that would make us millions, and most likely get us invited to a Frankie show, probably to appear as the secret climax of the evening. Laws knows we looked the part. No one had more Portmans colour co-ordinated fluro accessories than us.

Thirty years have dulled my memory somewhat, but I can still remember some of the adapted lyrics:

The power of rips, A force from the waves, Dragging me out. Something something something. Make surfing, Your goal.


I know, right?

How are we not millionaires, or at least, insanely famous?

I guess it’s just the way of the biz. A mystery, and a loss. To music-kind.

Before you get too upset, I might have forgotten to mention that in Year 10, my singing talents became widely known. I started up at a new school, and some of my friends were part of the school choir. Knowing how great my vocal range was, I went along one day, thinking I might bag myself a spot in the school musical. I’d heard that the guy who played Kenicke (and had pashed Rizzo for real) the year before might be up for another round. The play was called The Boyfriend, so that sounded all kinds of perfect to put some of the tips I’d picked up from Dolly Magazine to the test.

Anyway, I went to choir and I sang my little heart out, giving Miss both barrels of my repertoire: the startling high notes and the booming lows. After a while Miss pulled me aside, and I just knew she was going to ask me to be the new soloist.

“Ummm, Alison, you’re quite good at sport, aren’t you dear?”

“Yes Miss, sure am. Netty, softball, swimming, aths, I’m pretty good at all of ’em. And now this, singing too, so yeah, an all-rounder I guess,” I giggled a little in what I thought was a self-deprecating way, just so she would know I was also humble.

“Ahhh, yes, well, an all-rounder yes. It’s just that I hear they really need you in the, um, sports, so I’m thinking perhaps you’d be better served supporting the school in the, er, sports.”

What a lovely lady. Putting her entire school musical at risk, just to help out the sporting teams. What great school spirit. I can’t remember our school motto, but it surely must have been something like “Sacrifice one, for the good of all.”

Well played Miss.

The Power of Music, eh?


What songs take you back?

Have you penned a parody? Or been kicked out of choir?

…From The Ashers