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The First Single


Until the age of 13, I did not have a clear-cut taste for specific genres of music. I listened a lot to Radio Veronica and heard quite lot of episodes of the Dutch Top 40, tinkering on the edges of oscillation with my two transistor crystal receiver. Nevertheless I did not hear a song which carried me away in the direction of a fan club.

Things changed when some friends gave me a single with The 5th and Sabre Dance as B-side, both arrangements of pieces by Beethoven and Cachaturian performed by the Dutch pop group Ekseption. I remembered The 5th from the radio, it was a song I liked. And now I had my very first single!

There was a tiny problem: I did not have a record player and my parents did not allow me to use theirs in the progress of my musical education. Fortunately there was another option. My sister had an old portable gramophone, a device with a built-in electron tube amplifier and a crystal cartridge with high pressure stylus. She had used the gramophone for LPs with fairy tales, but at that time she felt way too old (about 12) for these matters, so the device was slowly turning into a dust trap.

I asked her if I could have it, she would not play it, while I had a real single for it. Alas, giving away was out of the question with her, I had to pay for it. Thus the gramophone changed ownership for seven and a half guilders (an amount which exceeded my weekly spending money quite a number of times) and I could start my musical education in pop music.

I clearly remember the moment that the sound of The 5th and Sabre Dance filled my room, reacted upon by an outcry which I would hear time and time again the follow­ing years until I left home: “Turn down that bloody music!”

Thus I was introduces to Rick van der Linden’s capabilities in arranging and com­posing.

The gramophone player became a major asset for me, even on class parties, because the player was portable. It appeared, however, not wise to play records on it for hours long, because the turntable became so hot, that is was almost possible to bake an egg on it. This kind of heat was fatal for LPs. Not for singles, because they did not protrude over the edge of the turntable.