I’ve been copying an idea from Ken Bruce who has a feature on his BBC2 radio programme called Tracks of my years, where celebrities and personalities choose music which featured or represented certain times of their lives. I’ve been having thoughts about the music in my life, and the soundtrack to my teenage years in the swimming club was the Beach Boys music.
If you think about Cambridge, what was then a much smaller university city than it is now in the heart of silicone fen – blasted by chilly east winds, and not renown for glorious sunshine, although we did have pleasant English summers, and California, the home of the beach Boys, the two must seem very far apart in almost every respect. However, my teenage years spent swimming, training in the pool, forty odd miles a week, swimming in the river in the annual summer races, the music my friends and I played was the Beach Boys.
Heroes and Villains, music by Brian Wilson, words by Van Dyke Parks, it was released the last summer I was in Cambridge before my family moved to the west country. I didn’t realise there was much history to the song and the recording but if you look on Wikipedia you will find it has quite a complicated background.