50 Tunes For 50 Years: Minnie Riperton

Alongside the Garrad deck and Wharfedale speakers in the lounge, our dining room also had its stereophonic installation. And what an installation. A sideboard come radio come record player piece of furniture, its valves took an age to “warm” up. But once it finally burst in radio static filled life it provided our dining room and kitchen (thanks to its hatch, an ever-present 70s addition to one’s home) with a soundscape as varied as the many, many patterns on our soft furnishings, wallpaper and carpet.

The signal it loved most came courtesy of BBC Radio Two. Terry Wogan, Jimmy Young, Tom Edwards, David Hamilton and gents (Annie Nightingale was a late night listening pleasure rebellion I kept to myself) easing us through the decade with their chat and, in Wogan’s case, immense charm. It was a radio station that influenced me more than is probably cool to admit, falling as I did with the joy of sharing your musical pleasures with that oh-so-dear listener.

And it left me with an indelible musical legacy. For thanks to Radio 2, I know the lyrics to tunes I never knew the names to. Tunes that decades later I can still sing with perfection to completion as Minnie Riperton, Meri Wilson, 10CC, Supertramp, Exile, Christopher Cross, Laura Branigan, Fleetwood Mac, Toto, Climax Blues Band, those Alessi brothers and many more began what would be later called a bally-eric education. An education that ensured that regardless of the notes required the sing-along was always attempted. So apologies to Mrs Pink next door (yep I lived next door to Mrs Pink, who never was in it by the way). I appreciate those long summer days accompanied by me attempting to do a Riperton couldn’t have been easy. But thanks to Radio 2 I was learning. A sound craft I would fall in love with, and lyrics I would never forget.

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