Times Of Our Lives: 1974 – Hi Fidelity!


Talking in the last instalment of the middle pieces we used in the ex-jukebox records led onto the thoughts of the first record player I owned. I can’t remember when I was given it but the Fidelity HF45 was (apparently) one of the most popular record players made in the 1970s.


As I write, the memories of the textured lid, curved but whether that was for aesthetics or deliberate for sound quality, I know not. And I’m not really sure I care either.

I can still remember the smell of the cover. Knowing the seventies, there was probably some toxicity to it, a bit like the banda copiers used in schools. God, I loved that smell.

With all those temptations, it’s little wonder that there were warnings about glue sniffing in much the same way Grange Hill would later implore you to “Just Say No“.

fidelity-hf45-sideIt was bloody heavy at the time which probably says more about my youth than anything else but one of the joys of the record player was stacking the records so that they played one after the other. The mechanical whirring and clunk of the singles as they dropped onto the one below is a reassuring link with the past.

One of the joys of record collecting, particularly at a young age, was playing records at the wrong speed. Pinky & Perky came to life in every child’s bedroom as 33’s were played at 45 and 45’s at 78. 78; it was a legitimate record speed as I later found out, not just for larking around in bored moments.

You had to be there, I think. You were, of course; not there but in your own ‘there’.

As much as the convenience has improved and the sound quality is immeasurably better, the crackle, hiss and occasional pop was something to behold. This could turn mawkish but I can’t honestly see anyone lamenting the passing of MP3’s.

On the music scene, the ‘Teddy Boy’ revival was in full swing. Not particularly in terms of music but certainly in dress sense. Mud had been around for a couple of years and were joined by Showaddywaddy in the charts.

It was also the year of my first trip to the second circle of Hell otherwise known as Stamford Bridge. Family friends, Auntie Bev and Uncle Reg, loved football. She played for a local team in the years before the professional clubs were involved in the women’s game and he supported Fulham. In fact, he would go to Fulham and Chelsea on alternate weeks which I’m guessing made him one of the last generation where that wasn’t unusual.

In 1974 – October as it happens – I was dragged along to a 3 – 3 draw with Stoke City, notable because it was Alan Hudson’s first return to west London since leaving Chelsea that summer. The Shed gave Hudson their best – ahem – wishes, renditions echoed in the stands by the falsetto tones of this youngster. Much to the amusement of everyone around us. Nowadays, I’d probably be escorted from the ground by a steward, even being nowhere near double figures in age.

Football, as life, has changed.

Today’s playlist, a mix of what the older me suggest my younger self should have listened to as well as what I was ‘into’, is below:

Artist Song
Brinsley Schwarz (What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love, and Understanding
Ronnie Lane’s Slim Chance The Poacher – Take 2
Elvis Presley I Got A Feeling In My Body
Hot Chocolate Cicero Park
Curtis Mayfield Kung Fu
Stevie Wonder You Haven’t Done Nothin’
The Jackson 5 What You Don’t Know
Commodores Machine Gun
Al Green Take Me To The River
Bob Marley & The Wailers Talkin’ Blues
Sweet Teenage Rampage
Suzi Quatro Devil Gate Drive
Mud The Cat Crept in
Showaddywaddy Hey Rock and Roll
The Glitter Band Let’s Get Together Again
Pilot Magic
Sparks This Town Ain’t Big Enough For Both Of Us
Stackridge Highbury Incident
David Bowie Rebel Rebel
Robert Palmer Sneakin’ Sally Through The Alley
Average White Band Pick Up The Pieces
The Stylistics Can’t Give You Anything But My Love
Barry White You’re The First, The Last, My Everything
Carl Douglas Kung Fu Fighting
Lulu The Man With the Golden Gun
Kraftwerk Autobahn

If the playlist doesn’t open in Spotify, click here to listen in your browser.


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