Having a laugh at a few months of age.
So let's start at the very beginning. Number 1 in the charts on the day of my birth, and for most of April 1960 in fact, was 'My Old Man's a Dustman' by Lonnie Donegan. Before I came along and before he married Mum, my Dad was a frequent visitor to Soho’s Jazz clubs, often to see Ken Colyer’s Jazzmen or Chris Barber’s Jazz Band, both of whom featured Donegan on guitar and vocals. Dad continued to follow Lonnie for a while after he went solo and I still have a few of his original records in my collection.
Donegan was a very influential figure in the pre-Beatles UK charts, amassing a total of 31 top 30 singles between 1955 and 1962, several of them interpretations of traditional American Folk and Blues songs. 'My Old Man's a Dustman' was one of his occasional Music Hall inspired novelty hits, which perhaps diluted his true legacy a little for later generations, though even on this single, the b-side featured a strong version of the Child Ballad 'The Golden Vanity'.
Becoming aware of Dad playing his 'My Old Man's a Dustman' single in the early 1960's counts as one of my very first musical memories. Dad sang along, very loudly, with most of the records he played and songs he heard on the radio, a habit he never grew out of. (To the extent that, following his death 47 years later, Mum claimed one of the greatest challenges she had to face, was to become accustomed to the deafening silence that settled on the house.) In the case of 'My Old Man's a Dustman' he also had to try to explain the lyrics to his little boy. 'What are 'cor blimey trousers' Dad?'