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Memory fragments

Trailer to both biographies

If you have reached 50, as Walter Steinmeier has, and still bob your silver coloured locks up and down in secret to ‘Substitute’ by The Who while driving your company car along the motorway, then there is a chance you will feel that time is driving you down an apparently never-ending tunnel. - Is our Ex-Foreign Minister a Who fan as well? There’s at least a good chance of it. We definitely are, and always will be.

I recently turned on ‘Substitute’ while driving home to the Rhine area just after crossing over the regional border of Baden-Württemberg on the Rhine Bridge at Mannheim, when Keith Moon's drums came in, together with Entwistle’s bass line, Townshend's punchy guitar and Daltrey's voice, from which Townshend's tenor subtly took off.

Just like punk and jazz, combined with perfect harmonic melody, bang in the middle of R & B fever; never to be achieved again, unable to be copied - and all of that in 1966! The time machine brings it all back and it gets better every time you hear it. You really get to realise that the effect of something like that lasts with you for ever and you are on the trail of what enchanted you so much once upon a time.

There are ‘Oldies’, which just fade and become stale over time, while the attraction of others just grows and grows, in view of the overflow of music today in the mainstream and alternative sectors. It’s well known that an over-supply rarely leads to greater diversity, but rather to standardisation and epiogonism at best, or to ‘easy listening’, as it is so nicely put in the directives issued by radio stations. Many of us around then in the 60s developed a special kind of listening skill as certain pop treasures only used to pop up in specially selected programmes. There were special programmes where you could hear ‘Mother's Little Helper’ by the Stones following Roy Black's ‘You are not alone’ and Englebert Humperdinck following Syd Barrett and his early Pink Floyd. Serious radio broadcasters could often not grasp what they were really trying to say when commenting on the music.

There was one broadcaster, though - what was his name, he had a - can I say this? - randy name: Walter Sexauer, who took us on board the ‘My generation’ train with him on Radio Saarbrücken. Many will still remember that cute Beat Club presenter Uschi Nerke, the classic girl in a mini dress, who offered Procol Harum's ‘Homburg’ and the Bee Gees' ‘New York Mining Disaster’ to us with the innocent eye of a connoisseur. That was the first time. You see, we were there. It was our time.

Strolling down the warm asphalt roads in basket ball shoes to the melody of ‘Tell me’ coming from some window or other and being played by someone perhaps playing it to his new girl friend for the first time. ‘Tell Me’, the Rolling Stones, the bad boys, lads' music and girls were only taught to acquire the taste slowly.

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