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Pete Lawrence - 28 Nov 2015


The idea of buying my first album was tremendously exciting. Previously I'd owned The Monkees' 'I'm a Believer' 45, a Thunderbirds EP and Sparky's Magic Piano, but the floodgates were suddenly opened by an NME special on progressive rock, or 'underground music' as it was termed at the time. My first purchase was one of the Island label's early samplers, which cost me 14/6d from W.H. Smith in Leamington Spa, here compiled into a handy playlist. I especially liked Jethro Tull's 'We Used To Know' which prompted much air guitar playing and as for the awesome power of King Crimson's epic '21st Century Schizoid Man', well what can you say?

There were also some young upstarts called Fairport Convention, which featured a rolicking accordion, and a quiet introverted chap by the name of Nick Drake who was destined for at least another two decades of obscurity.

Free, Mott The Hoople and Blodwyn Pig all rocked out in their own quirky ways - listening back now you can hear what a massive influence Dylan was on early Mott.  And there was the album's closer by the weird Dr Strangely Strange, who me and my mate Martin dismissed flippantly at the time with the quip "must be on drugs". The sleeve photography's drug references went totally over my head at the time, of course.

I was 12 when I delved into the grown-up world of album buying with my Christmas money, It changed my life for the better. It also opened the floodgates to a whole world of music that was out there, waiting to be searched for.


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