Jane: Led Zeppelin- Stairway to Heaven
This song has charted me through life. Infact it’s really hard to narrow it to one song ‘cos I have so many. I can map my whole life with music, even from four years old. I used to love Cliff Richard- and I still do. People knock him but I think he’s got a lovely voice.
My parents had loads of 45’s and throughout the 1960’s my Mam would have the radio on. I loved Johnny Walker and the music he played. Whatever he loved is what I still love.
During the 1970’s I went to school in Boldon up by the railway lines. We used to go home for lunch and every Tuesday me and my mates would carry a wireless back to school to listen to the chart show, at one o’clock they would reveal that week’s number one.
At the weekends we’d go to the Mecca- where Tesco is now. We’d spend all week planning our outfit and go dressed in long skirts and smocks. There was a ‘hairy night’. They’d play load of rock music including Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven, Neil Young’s Southern Man and Wishbone Ash Blowin’ Free. We’d dance our hearts out and then catch the last bus back home.
At 16 I left school- I didn’t even wait for my results. I started working at the Swallow Hotel in Seaburn and then moved to the Imperial on Jesmond road. I wanted to be a housekeeper after I saw a video about it by the careers officer at school. People turn their nose up at cleaning but as the head of the department you’re the main cog in the hotel. Without housekeeping the whole hotel would grind to a halt.
We had a lot of different guests in the hotel. We’d get football teams, actors and musicians. We were trained not to hassle them. We were the hired help- it was very ‘upstairs downstairs’. I was very blasé about the famous faces: Sid James, Paul Young, Basil Brush. The only time I remember being star struck is when Cliff Richard came in. All his band and the roadies had arrived and his stepfather- he used to drive up in the Rolls Royce, and Cliff would fly in on his own. I was in the coffee shop talking to the receptionist and he just walked in and sat down on the chair backing onto me. I couldn’t think. I couldn’t even eat my lunch, I was just thinking how pathetic is this?
There was a lot of bad behaviour from bands in the hotels. The band Pilot- formed by ex members of the Bay City Rollers took the pictures off the walls and put them in the toilet- making it clear what they thought of them. Guys and Dolls (with Bruce Forsyth’s daughter in) stole the pillows and Sham 69 trashed the place. They emptied all the fire extinguishers and tipped the beds up side down. They were very rowdy but I think Punk was like that – a bit aggressive that’s why I never got into it.
I love Cliff because his voice is really relaxing and I’ve got all his records but the song that will always give me goose bumps is Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven.