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Any Major Teen Dreams


Any Major Teen Dream

The stuff of teenager-oriented pop has occupied me lately, with the birth of the Bravo Posters site on which I post a few posters a day from old editions of Germany’s Bravo magazine. I think it’s fair to say that when we look back on our teenage obsessions with pop music, the questions that will evoke the most nostalgic vibes are what your first record was, and which posters you had hanging on your wall.

Your first record most probably was not cool. But ask your music-loving friends about the first record they bought, chances are that everybody else bought something really sophisticated. They were eight and bought, depending on their generation, Kind Of Blue, Sly & the Family Stone, Big Star, Too Drunk To Fuck by the Dead Kennedys, or NWA’s F*ck Da Police. They might even tell the truth, so you feel like a bit of a chump if you first record was “How Much Is That Doggy In The Window”, “Long-Haired Lover From Liverpool” or “Ice Ice Baby”.

I confess: for years I did not acknowledge that the first record I bought was a German Schlager hit by Roy Black (not his real name) teaming up with a nine-year-old Norwegian girl named Anita. The single, it must be said, was aimed squarely at my demographic at the time, the five-year-old, and at grandmothers, like mine, who financed my debut vinyl purchase. Couldn’t you have guided me to buy Black Sabbath instead of Roy Black, granny?

For a long time I was also embarrassed to admit that my first English-language record was by the Bay City Rollers. Today I feel no more embarrassment at that than if my first single had been an obscure Northern Soul classic. While the late Roy Black may still lack cool, the passage of time has forgiven the Bay City Rollers for their droll tartan outfits and for being adored by barely pubescent girls. The Ramones admitted a long time ago that they took inspiration from the teen-orientated bubble-gum pop promulgated by Leslie, Woody, Alan, Eric and Derek. The rest of us have taken a little longer to appreciate that BCR weren’t as awful as their trousers led us to believe. And so I’ll pronounce while flinching only slightly: I was a BCR fan, even though I was a boy. And I liked Woody the best.

The phenomenon of teen idols precedes the advent of Rock & Roll. There was Bing Crosby, who charmed the girls and their Moms in the 1930s. Then came the Bobbysoxers who screamed for young Frank Sinatra from Hoboken, NJ. Then came rock. Elvis provided many a young girl with her first experience of celebrity-inspired wet knickers. But these were singularities, quite extraordinary performers. True, the combination of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s ascent and the Bobbysoxer legacy (among other social events) created a wave of singers marketed directly to the teen market: the likes of Troy Donahue, Fabian, Frankie Avalon or Paul Anka in the US, Marty Wilde in Britain, or Peter Kraus in Germany.

But arguably the real teen revolution came with the ’60s and Beatlemania. It was a whole new deal which inspired a new culture of teen idolatry; some accidental, some manufactured to cash in on the Beatles.

teen dream gallery 1Early teen idol prodigies of the1960s included Billy J Kramer (whose “Bad To Me” was written by Lennon & McCartney) in Britain, The Monkees in the US, and Herman’s Hermits in both countries. Like the Backsteeet Boys or the Spice Girls and their ilk 30 years later, The Monkees were an assembled group calculated to appeal to diverse constituencies within the projected fanbase. The Beatles provided the template: Paul, the cute happy one; John, the tough cynical one; George, the quiet serious one; Ringo, the pet. And the calculation obviously worked; the Monkees were huge, thanks to their image, and their records were great, thanks to brilliant song selection and the seasoned session musicians of the Wrecking Crew.

In the early 1970s, the pretense of musical authenticity evaporated in the US. The Archies had a worldwide hit in 1969/70 with “Sugar Sugar” (as song The Monkees had turned down). Based on the comic, they weren’t even the group. Where The Monkees were a literary equivalent of a photo novel, The Archies actually were a cartoon. The fiction wouldn’t stop there. The Partridge Family was a TV band, backed by the flair of, again, the Wrecking Crew, and the beauty of the talented David Cassidy and, for the boys, Susan Dey. Things would become charmingly peculiar when the Brady Bunch, whose kids weren’t musicians even in the fiction of the show, started releasing records. At the same time, some groups didn’t bother with instruments, even if one or the other minor Jackson 5 did parade with a guitar occasionally, if that could be choreographed into the dance routine.

In Britain, the teen-oriented acts were more credible. T Rex, the Sweet or Slade played their own instruments and produced some fantastic pop whose appeal conquered the linits of age. Other acts were clearly manipulated or manufactured for marketing purposes. Questions remain about how much Woody, Eric, Alan and Derek contributed to the Bay City Rollers on record (we do know that Leslie did sing, and Alan, Eric and Woody wrote a good number of songs).

Based on the template of the early ’70s, UK record label bosses tried to cash in on presenting acts like Hello and Slik (featuring future Ultravox frontman Midge Ure) as the teen dreams they did not aspire to be. The calculation bombed. Hello and Slik were one hit wonders, groups like the Dead End Kids and Buster never took off, BCR disintegrated slowly after Leslie McKeown left (to be replaced by Duncan Faure of South African teeny giants Rabbit), Sweet grew beards and dabbled with prog rock, Dave Hill of Slade shaved his head, and punk happened. The teen dream was dead. Out of punk grew the New Romantic movement, and with it Smash Hits, giving rise to a new generation of organically grown teen idols: Duran Duran, Adam Ant and Spandau Ballet.

In the US, the family idols gig — Jacksons, Osmonds, “Partridge” — slowly lost its lustre. As the late ’70s neared, the pursuit was on for the next pretty boy in the mold of David Cassidy. And so teens were introduced the charms of David’s half-brother Shaun (whose 1977 song provides the title for this mix), Leif Garrett (like David, a child TV star), Andy Gibb and, of course, John Travolta. The time would come for the rise of the boy band, in the US and Britain, with The Monkees and the Bay City Rollers providing a template, but minus the pretense of members playing instruments in terms of personnel selection, and the Jackson 5 inspiring the idea of four or five chaps harmonising their choreography.

teen dream gallery 2

With all that in mind, here is the Any Major Teen Dreams mix, featuring acts that featured on the postered walls of pre-and freshly-pubescent kids, and were marketed as such, between 1963 and 1978.  As ever, the lot is timed to fit on a standard CD-R and includes home-lipsynched covers. You might also enjoy the Any Major Teenagers mix of songs about, well, being teenagers.

Now my question to you: what was the first single you bought?

1. The Beatles – Do You Want To Know A Secret (1963)
2. Billy J Kramer & the Dakotas – Bad To Me (1963)
3. Herman’s Hermits – No Milk Today (1966)
4. The Monkees – Last Train To Clarksville (1966)
5. Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich – The Legend Of Xanadu (1968)
6. Tommy Roe – Dizzy (1969)
7. The Archies – Sugar Sugar (1969)
8. Bobby Sherman – Little Woman (1969)
9. The Jackson 5 – The Love You Save (1970)
10. The Partridge Family – I Woke Up In Love This Morning (1971)
11. Sweet – Co-Co (1971)
12. T. Rex – Metal Guru (1972)
13. David Cassidy – Daydreamer (1973)
14. The Osmonds – Love Me For A Reason (1974)
15. David Essex – Gonna Make You A Star (1974)
16. Hello – Tell Him (1974)
17. Bay City Rollers – Rock & Roll Love Letter (1975)
18. Slik – Forever And Ever (1976)
19. John Travolta – Let Her In (1976)
20. Andy Gibb – I Just Wanna Be Your Everything (1977)
21. Leif Garrett – Surfin’ USA (1977)
22. Buster – Love Rules (1977)
23. Shaun Cassidy – Teen Dream (1977)


And don’t forget to check out Bravo Posters!

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  1. halfhearteddude
    March 2nd, 2008 at 06:54 | #1

    PW = amdwhah

  2. JonnyB
    March 3rd, 2008 at 14:20 | #2

    I’m fairly sure it was ‘Stand and Deliver’ by Adam and the Ants. At least I think that was the first one I spent my own money on, which is an important distinction.

  3. Beth
    March 3rd, 2008 at 15:46 | #3

    The first single I ever bought would’ve been something by Donny, probably ‘The 12th Of Never’, but the first album I ever bought would’ve been…oh…something by The Osmonds… See? It never did me any harm!

  4. jb
    March 3rd, 2008 at 16:06 | #4

    Hmm. Can’t remember the first one I bought. Got Neil Diamond’s “Cracklin’ Rosie,” Dawn’s “Knock Three Times,” and “I Think I Love You” for Christmas the year I was 10, right after I started listening to the radio.

  5. Anonymous
    March 4th, 2008 at 01:52 | #5

    I think it was “I Want You Back,” by the Jackson 5, but mostly for the “B” side of that 45 which was a cover of Smokey Robinson’s “Who’s Lovin’ You.” I lost my virginity to that record.Joe

  6. FreeThinker
    March 4th, 2008 at 02:02 | #6

    So, what was the first record I bought?I spent my total allowance on my first music purchase, one purchase of two 8-track tapes:Deep Purple: Made In JapanAmerica: AmericaYou mean the first record?The 45 of Elton John’s “Bennie And The Jets.”

  7. Mike
    March 4th, 2008 at 04:26 | #7

    The first 45 I ever received was “I Am Woman” by Helen Reddy. And I was a boy! I remember Mom bought me “Take A Chance On Me” by Abba and I remember buying “It’s Still Rock And Roll To Me” by Billy Joel. The first album I ever bought was Abba’s Greatest Hits. And the first cassette I ever bought was the soundtrack to Footloose. I was a vinyl guy…still am.

  8. Anonymous
    March 4th, 2008 at 13:22 | #8

    Time to show my age here… when I was 13, my first 45 was Isaac Hayes’ Theme from Shaft and first LP was a K-Tel type hits compilation. First “proper” LP being The Monkees’ Pisces, Aquarius… etc – just catching up on my late 60s love of all things Monkees. Still got the bubblegum cards – you know the ones: you put them all together and the reverse made a colour picture of the band!Phil

  9. Liz
    March 4th, 2008 at 19:11 | #9

    My first was Bryan Adams: So far so good. Followed shortly by Bon Jovi’s Crossroads. Yes, I have come a long way.

  10. Fusion 45
    March 4th, 2008 at 20:12 | #10

    Single was either “Boy Named Sue” by Johnny Cash or “You’ve Made Me So Very Happy”…at least that’s what I recall. First album: “The Partridge Family Album,” of course.

  11. Any major dude with half a heart
    March 4th, 2008 at 21:35 | #11

    Well, seems like quite a few people here had Teen Dreams… The Partridge Family was rather influential, it seems.Incidentally, fusion 45, I’ve tried to leave comments on your fine blog, but no message window appears…

  12. Anonymous
    March 5th, 2008 at 04:25 | #12

    I think the first single I bought was Tommy Roe’s “Dizzy”. My friend and I argued over which was the best single – “Dizzy” or “Build Me Up Buttercup”. In college I had to hide my copy of Shaun Cassidy’s “Teen Dream” or the guys in the dorm would have kicked my ass.

  13. Any major dude with half a heart
    March 5th, 2008 at 11:58 | #13

    Your friend was right, marginally.The Shaun Cassidy reference calls to mind the Duran Duran reference in the intro to the live version of Barenaked Ladies’ “If I Had $1000000”.

  14. whiteray
    March 6th, 2008 at 05:45 | #14

    The first single I bought — makes me feel old — was the 5th Dimension’s “Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In.” The first single I ever owned — Dad bought it — was “I Want To Hold Your Hand”/”I Saw Her Standing There,” which make me feel even older. (I still have both of those singles!)

  15. Miss Parker
    March 7th, 2008 at 13:24 | #15

    Rolling Stones “Jumping Jack Flash.” That was a *long* time ago…..

  16. Heather Ferreira
    March 13th, 2008 at 23:36 | #16

    First LP was “Xanadu” by Olivia Newton-John, the Bee Gees and ELO. But my Dad got me Donny Osmond’s “The Twelfth of Never” when I was maybe 5, and the first 45 I bought was “Goody Two Shoes” by Adam Ant, so I’m kind of echoing you guys here…

  17. Anonymous
    March 31st, 2008 at 05:42 | #17

    The Byrds cover of Dylan’s ‘Tambourine Man’ – I am certain that was the first 45 I bought.

  18. Maggie
    April 10th, 2008 at 03:19 | #18

    Had a slew of 45s. Can’t remember the first one. My first lp was the Stone’s hits album High Tide and Green Grass.

  19. Anonymous
    June 20th, 2008 at 02:00 | #19

    Hi Heather–The Bee Gees are not on the Xanadu soundtrack.

  20. November 12th, 2015 at 16:54 | #20

    “Bridge Over Troubled Water”, Simon and Garfunkel. I was embarrassed by this during my Punk Rock years, but now I’m good with it.

  21. Freddie Jaye
    November 12th, 2015 at 17:16 | #21

    Not quite on-topic, but you can see a 13-year-old Leif Garrett as a cross-dressing psychotic killer in the low-budget “Devil Times Five.”

    You can watch or download it here:

  22. Mike Clifford
    November 13th, 2015 at 00:58 | #22

    I believe I am the oldest here as my first 45 was LOrne Green (Dad Cartwright from Bonanza) and ‘Ringo. Be side was him singing theme of ‘Bonanza’.

  23. Donald
    November 13th, 2015 at 05:54 | #23

    First 45- John Sebastian, “Welcome Back.” First lp (garage sale) Rod Stewart- Every Picture Tells a Story (25 cents.) First lp, new The Best of KC & the Sunshine Band. First cassette- Who Are You. I am no longer ashamed of any music purchases- all of them got me to where I am.

  24. Dave B
    November 13th, 2015 at 16:15 | #24

    First single : The Night Chicago Died by Paper Lace
    First album I owned : Kiss Alive
    First album I bought with my own money : Night At The Opera by Queen
    First concert : Bay City Rollers

  25. Birgit
    November 13th, 2015 at 17:57 | #25

    First single I bought at a school fleamarket:
    Thin Lizzy – Whiskey in the Jar. I still like it.
    No Bay City Rollers, I wasn’t a cool kid.
    My grandmother wasn’t into Schlager or pop music but we’ve had Jürgen von Manger’s spoken single Schwiegermuttermörder at home, a local classic you may remember.

  26. dogbreath
    November 17th, 2015 at 12:14 | #26

    Thanks for a great mix (even with The Partridge Family!) and Edison Lighthouse’s “Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes)” was where my pocket money went.

  27. Jürgen
    November 17th, 2015 at 17:58 | #27

    My first Single was: The Sweet – Block Buster!

  28. Geoviki
    December 3rd, 2015 at 05:21 | #28

    I think we’re a lot alike in that I was very aware of music at a very young age.

    First single played incessantly on repeat: Sugartime – The McGuire Sisters – 1958 (I was 4).
    First album: Meet the Beatles (I went halvsies with my older sister) – 1963
    First single: Yeh, Yeh – Georgie Fame
    First concert: The Beatles, Detroit, 1964. I was 9. More normally, my second concert was the Cowsills at the Michigan State Fair, after which I fell into big time teen popdom. I even wrote Cowsills fanfic.

    I was lucky that my sis was 7 years older than me and bought a ton of singles that I listened to every day before she got home from school. We lived near Detroit, so most of our choices were Motown.

  29. Geoviki
    December 3rd, 2015 at 05:22 | #29

    And I forgot to thank you for this great mix, so thanks!

  30. Pete Reilly
    December 3rd, 2015 at 13:38 | #30

    Great mix as always – thanks for keepin’ ’em coming.

    Like Geoviki, I guess I was lucky that my elder sister bought a lot of 45’s and LP’s during my younger years so I got to listen to some fantastic music (Small Faces, Beatles, Beach Boys, Dylan etc) that I still love, but she now loathes.

    My first 45 purchased was “This Old Heart Of Mine”, Isley Brothers 1969 reissue, but as this was from the bargain bin of my local record store, for me that didn’t quite count.

    My first full price 45 purchase was a couple of weeks later “I Heard It Through The Grapevine” Marvin Gaye for the price of 6 shillings and eight pence, for those who remember real British money! First album, “Greatest Hits” Four Tops. Yes, I know there was a Tamla Motown trend going on and that Marvin Gaye track is still my favourite single of all time, but my tastes have diversified significantly since that formative year.

  31. halfhearteddude
    December 4th, 2015 at 07:36 | #31

    I am jealous of you, Pete. That’s some solid first records there.

  32. rat-a-tat-tat
    May 12th, 2022 at 17:24 | #32

    Oh, this is marvelous. Thanks for reaching into your archives… always super appreciated here.

  33. Dave Berthiaume
    May 12th, 2022 at 18:17 | #33

    First record I owned: Kiss – Alive
    First record I bought:Queen – Night At The Opera
    First single:Shaddap You Face – Joe Dolce
    First concert:Bay City Rollers

  34. May 31st, 2022 at 12:19 | #34

    Bruce Willis – Respect Yourself! Beat that.

  35. amdwhah
    June 1st, 2022 at 10:22 | #35

    You poor man! Having said that, I bought it, too, because Willis was still cool, what with Moonlighting and all.

  36. Rhodb
    June 12th, 2022 at 00:04 | #36

    Normie Rowe – Que Sera Sera

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