Looking through my motley collection of vinyl singles the other day, it struck me how different were their reasons for being there. Some sit there anonymously as if I’d never bought them at all and they had just sneaked in by chance during a dark night, yet others are full of pride and bursting to tell their story. One of those eager storytellers is ‘Now I’m Here’ by Queen.
In the early 1970s I had become a fully fledged album buyer after spending much of the late sixties amassing a small, yet top quality (ahem) singles collection but as I became a student at University in the autumn of 1974 the restrictions of a student grant (remember them?) meant that in order to satisfy my rampant music possession syndrome urge I had to reduce myself yet again to a singles buyer.
This was a pain in the backside yet it did lead to my purchase of Queen’s ‘Now I’m Here’ in early ‘75, which if memory serves, was the first Queen record I ever bought. Now, the second issue I was faced with was this: not wanting to uproot my beloved stereo system, I didn’t have a record player with me – only a tape player and a load of LPs hastily transferred to cassette the previous summer. True, my first year room mate had brought with him an ancient autochanger-in-a-box, the sort of kit that every sixties teenager owned in order to annoy the older generation with the new-fangled beat music. But it was his, not mine.
So the reason this single has its very own back story is partly because it didn’t get played very much…until I went home for the weekend, that is. In my first year, I went home for a weekend once or twice a term. Of course this didn’t happen at all after the first few terms as life away from home became infinitely preferable to life at home but that’s another story and probably one that everyone knows. I always managed to arrive home about midday on the Friday when the house was empty, all occupants still being at work or school and this was the moment that ‘Now I’m Here’ came into its own.
My own prized stereo system still sat in my room and I cranked it up to ‘11’ to play my still pristine Queen single. It’s a great rock number in anyone’s book but at deafening volume in an empty house it sounded sublime. You could even play a bit of air guitar and leap around without anyone seeing. This is what teenage years were made for. Brilliant.