Growing up with a surname like Marsden in the early Sixties, is it any wonder that pop music played a significant part in our lives? Though, as far as any link to Gerry and the Pacemakers goes, that was as far as it went. Hatfield, Hertfordshire (typed with Hs but all too often pronounced without them!) was not exactly moving and grooving to the Mersey beat, but it had enough in its own right to keep our toes a-tapping. And the Marsden family (which sounds scarily like the Manson family!) were hugely influenced by the sounds of the time and, in the words of Sly Stone, ‘danced to the music’.
They were all very different dances, however. Dad’s was the Hokey Cokey – you know, in out in out shake it all about – though he, an ex-Teddy Boy with an eye for the ladies, would have insisted on nothing less than Rock ‘n’ Roll. Mum’s dance of choice would have been a romantic Waltz, but instead it turned out to be that one where you keep changing partners. For my older sister, Bernie, I’d have to say the Samba. She was a party girl from the moment she hit her teens and, in the liberated climate of the Sixties, went hell for leather to make herself the very centre of the Sexual Revolution! My younger brother, Marty, was always a natural for the Twist. A slippery customer and a thoroughly nasty piece of work (I have to say that, even if he is my brother), before he even reached double figures, in terms of age, he had set his sights on achieving a very different kind of notoriety!
And then there was Jack – or Jackie, as you will see. My youngest brother. His dance was uniquely his own. Mute out of choice for much of his early life, music moved him in ways too wonderful for us mere mortals to hope to experience. Lyrics became his life. Songs provided his sanity, in an insane world. Over time, I grew to understand his way of looking at that world and I’m proud to say that I was the first to discover my little brother’s very special gift. I, Millie Marsden (thanks a bunch, Mum and Dad!) even tried to replicate it for myself. But I could never compete with Jackie, the original and genuine article. He was definitely Number One!

‘Number One’ offers the reader two types of entertainment in one: Firstly it is a sometimes amusing, sometimes moving story of a young family growing up in the pop-rich environment of Hatfield, Hertfordshire in the 1960s. At the same time it is also a pop quiz, scattered throughout with partial pop lyrics which are numbered and cross-referenced to an appendix with full acknowledgements at the end of the story. So, if you have a pen handy to jot them down, you can play along while you read – or even sing along, if you want to! Any and all proceeds from sales of this Kindle edition will be donated to the following music charities: The Musicians’ Benevolent Fund and The Music Therapy Charity







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