Your first record?

My first record
Photo by Paul Clarkson
Bellmans sales label
Photo by Paul Clarkson

Our first record player

It was in 1964 that my dear old Nan bought the family’s first record player, as with most people it was a ‘Dansette’. I can still remember to this day the excitement of having our first record player. The Beatles were and still are my favourite group, but luckily I had an older sister and brother who covered that department and bought their records. This left me to concentrate on my favourites of the time. The first single record I ever bought was ‘Make Love to Me’ by John Leyton. It cost me 6s 8d and I bought it in John Beal’s record department in East Street.

Mad on music

I have always been a fan of John Leyton and used to enjoy seeing him in films such as ‘The Great Escape’ and ‘Everyday’s a Holiday’ I thought his singing was fabulous. I also bought the EP ‘Tell Laura I Love Her’ by John Leyton and you can clearly see the ‘Bellmans’ sticker showing that it cost me 10s 9d. I was mad on music and used to save all my pocket money up to buy records. There were loads of record shops in Brighton, but Bellmans seemed to be the one where most people remember buying their first disc.

Watching the records go round

I remember one day we took a trip on the bus to Lewes and there was a cute little record shop just by the railway bridge on the Cliffe High Street, where I bought ‘Boy’s Cry’ by Eden Kane. It was a nice era for music, no videos then of course. We used to gather round the Dansette and watch the records as they played, which is why to this day I can still name which label a particular record was on from the 1960s; handy for any pub quiz.

Your first record?

So what was the first record you bought? Where did you buy your records? If you can share your memories with us, please leave a comment below.


Comments about this page

  • I’m ashamed of the first record I purchased, so sorry I can’t tell you!  By the time I left school in 1970 I was into The Rollin’ Stones, John Mayall, Hendrix etc.  I purchased my first record at the age of 13 in about 1967, a one-off-wonder hit, and I am now ashamed, so, sorry I cant tell you, but I did play it to death on a Dansetts!

    By Peter Groves (06/03/2014)
  • Back in the 80s when he had left showbiz behind I saw your hero John Leyton in the index room at Companies House when it was still in City Road, London, Paul. He looked much the same, but didn’t break into song, much to our great relief! I gather he still does a few retro-concerts to this day.

    By Stefan Bremner-Morris (06/03/2014)
  • The first two records I remember buying were ‘Paperback Writer’ by The Beatles and ‘Sunny Afternoon’ by The Kinks.  These were purchased from Bellmans, the record section was immediately to the left as one walked into the store.

    By David J Scott (06/03/2014)
  • ‘Come on’ by The Stones 1962. Got it from Bellmans.

    By Terry Eggy Boyle (07/03/2014)
  • My very first record was “Lonely Little Pup (in a Christmas shop)” by Adam Faith, when I was 13 in 1959.  My dad bought me a record player for Christmas 1959 and this was the first of many Adam Faith records that I purchased from Bellmans.  I remember being so happy to be able to play the songs I liked over and over again.

    By Sandie (07/03/2014)
  • Peter Groves what are you on about. Own up. That first record cannot be so bad you will not tell us all. Give us a chuckle – please?

    By Jennifer Drury: Website Editor (07/03/2014)
  • Don Partridge, Blue Eyes, purchased in the record shop in George Street, Hove.  I just checked it on the net – it was 1968, so I was 14! Actually although it would have been bad for my 1970s image, he was actually a much better musician than many around today, and he does have a connection with the area.  He lived in Seaford in later life, and could be seen busking in many towns around the area.  He died in Seaford in 2010.  Right you lot, keep it quiet, no-one to tell Mick and the boys!

    By Peter Groves (07/03/2014)
  • Oh Peter you silly boy. Blue Eyes was brilliant – but my favourite was Rosie. I just found a video of him on the net – he was so clever. And good for you to buck the trend and buy what you liked.

    By Jennifer Drury: Website Editor (07/03/2014)
  • Christmas 1966. Just had my 14th birthday and a Dansette as a present. Mum gave me money to buy 2 records for her: “Green, Green Grass of Home” by Tom Jones, and “Matthew & Son” by Cat Stevens. (My brother is called Mathew.) For myself I bought “Good Vibrations” by the Beach Boys and “Think Sometimes About Me” by Sandie Shaw. I really wanted to start my Beatles collection, but I wanted to be cool and get the latest records. Still love Vibrations. And, Pete, I loved the busker, Don Partridge, but preferred “Rosie”. No need to be ashamed!

    By Renia (08/03/2014)
  • My fist record was ‘Strawberry Fair’ by Anthony Newly. ‘Strawberry Fair’ was the A side and ‘Pop goes the Weasle’ was the B side. I loved that song – I was about 11 years old. I purchased that record in the old Woolworths on the corner of Cheapside in London Road. I can still remember the building – as you walked in the main doors the old wooden stairs would be on the right and you got your records up there as well as my Airfix kits.

    By Stephen Raynsford (08/03/2014)
  • The first record I ever bought was ‘Diana’ by Paul Anka (1957). Far more important though was finding Mose Allison’s ‘Parchman Farm’ in Bellman’s some years later in one of their bargain bins. That was a key point in my musical career. For the last 45 or so years, I have been able to play ‘Parchman Farm’ on the piano.

    By Philip Burnard (08/03/2014)
  • How strange that you bought the record in George Street, Hove as Don Partridge used to busk there regularly at the end of his life. I used to see him at the Neville pub but he would never sing ‘Blue Eyes’ – he said he couldn’t sing it back in the day never mind now!

    By Marilyn Jones (08/03/2014)
  • This is a brilliant site.
    I used to go to a very tiny record shop in Guildford Road, a few yards up the hill from Brighton Station. I can’t remember the name of the lady who ran it. My first two records which came from there in 1954 were “A Dime and a Dollar” by Guy Mitchell and “Secret Love” coupled with “The Deadwood Stage” by Doris Day. I still have them along with many Frankie Laine, Guy Mitchell and Bill Haley records, all bought at the same shop. I remember her ordering earlier records for me such as “Jezebel” and “She wears red feathers”, great times! I had a fantastic wind up gramophone which had leather casing and I used to buy, from the same shop, tins of needles. Each one could only be used once so they didn’t last long. I’ve moved on since those days!

    By Peter Guy (09/03/2014)
  • Great stuff Paul, Jennifer and Peter G. The first record I ever bought was ‘Jailhouse Rock’ by good old Elvis, queued with my pals for what seemed like hours outside Beales in East Street on September 24th 1957 – the day it was released. Other favourite records in that era played to death on the juke box at our Oak Leaf Cafe in Saltdean were ‘Born too Late’ by the Pony Tails, ‘Picture of You’ by Joe Brown and The Bruvvers and ‘It’s Only Make  Believe’ by Conway Twitty – even in those days that name was very uncool. Come on Andy Grant give us a smile 🙂 and tell us your first or favourite record.  Might it have been ‘Needles and Pins’ by the Re-Searchers?

    By Chris Wrapson (09/03/2014)
  • Hi Chris, I can’t honestly say I remember the first record I bought. I was very much into Jan & Dean, Jay and the Americans, Happenings, 4 Seasons, Beach Boys and the Hollies, but the records I had were really more eclectic than just those. I wonder if anyone remembers the ‘cheapo’ EPs containing covers of the latest hits (I believe they were on a label called Top Six and were really not very accurate covers). Similarly the Baron Knights used to regularly release comedic covers of the latest hits. Incidentally, Joe Brown lived locally to me and still surfaces from time-to-time at our local carnivals and town shows. Regards, Andy

    By Andy Grant (11/03/2014)
  • Some great replies there, nothing wrong with ‘Blue Eyes’ Peter, a great song. I can remember buying records that I regarded as a ‘guilty pleasure’. In my ‘long hair’ days I can remember buying Tamla and reggae singles which confused my mates, but if it’s a good song then why not? I also remember, as does Chris, that I once queued up for a record. Mine was a few years later and it was ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ from Virgin by the Clock Tower and yes Andy we had some of the ‘cheapo’ EPs that you mentioned in the ’60s. We had a ‘trad jazz’ one with Kenny Ball and Chris Barber, we also had one with ‘Venus in Blue Jeans’ by Mark Wynter and ‘Telstar’ by the Tornados. 

    By Paul Clarkson (11/03/2014)
  • Bought my first record Wonderful Land by The Shadows in Wickham and Kimber, George St, Hove. Didn’t have a record player yet, was anticipating Christmas! My parents had a 78rpm gramophone; they owned quite a collection of music.

    By Marguerite Roberts (13/03/2014)
  • The very first record I ever bought was “What’s New Pussycat”, by Alvin and the Chipmunks. I went with my Dad to the record department of the Co-op on London Road.  Probably 1964ish? The first “proper” record I bought was the Twist and Shout EP by the Beatles – got it with a birthday record token – can’t remember the name of the shop, but it was on the west side of London Road, a few yards down from Preston Circus.

    By Marc Turner (19/03/2014)
  • The first record I went out and bought was as a direct result of skipping off school with my mates and attending a Radio One Club lunch time session at the Top Rank Ice rink. It was Prince Buster’s ‘Capone’.

    By Adi Proud (06/08/2014)
  • The first record I bought was ‘A Teenager in Love’ by Marty Wilde. We used to go to a shop in Lewes Road where ex-juke box records were sold then we had to buy centres to fit into the records in order to play them on the Dansette at home.     

    By Roger Brill (07/08/2014)
  • ‘I got Rhythm’. Not only very ‘square’, as you might call it, but wordless too. Just the music!! That is the first record I recall dad bringing home to our house. So for me who was regularly bopping away to Radio Luxemburg this was a big disappointment. GI Blues LP was my very first own purchase. After seeing the movie with my girlfriends I found out I could buy it weekly from one of my friend’s home shopping catalogues. I think it cost around £1.10 shillings.  So over 20 weeks I could pay it off at something like 1 shilling and 3d. Not bad you might think? But I only earned £2.10 shillings a week and from that mum needed house-keeping, my daily bus fares to work, and anything else we paid for in 1961/2. However did we do it?

    By Sandra Bohtlingk-Baldwin (08/08/2014)
  • I can’t remember the very first but one of the first records I bought  was ‘C’mon Everybody’ by Eddie Cochrane in about 1958/59.  I’d heard it at a youth club one night and thought it the best thing I’d ever heard.  

    By Jacqueline Thomas/Parker nee Jones (08/08/2014)
  • My first record was 54321 by Manfred Mann. My Father in Law Harry Durrant in later life made a double necked guitar for Don Partridge. I thought “Rosie” was a great record and liked Don’s music. My sister still lives in the family home and her next door neighbour is the one and only Johnny Wakelin who had the hit about Mohammed Ali.

    By Alan Spicer (04/09/2014)
  • I found myself in some kind of youth club or coffee bar one Saturday morning, somewhere in Portslade or Southwick in the early 50s. A couple of ‘with it’ guys were playing the latest hit record, and from that moment I knew I just had to buy it: “Oh, Mein Papa” by Eddie Calvert, a trumpet solo! I still have it, buried up in the loft. I would need special equipment now in order to play it  – it’s an old shellac 78rpm!

    By Brian Hatley (08/03/2015)
  • I have good memories of Eddie Calvert. He had a gold trumpet and had several hits. ‘Oh Mein Papa’ and ‘Cherry pink and Apple blossom white’ both got to number one. Other hits were ‘John & Julie’, ‘Stranger in Paradise’ and ‘Zambesi’. I saw him at the Hippodrome and he was great!

    By Peter Guy (11/03/2015)
  • My mother possibly sold you your first record. She worked  in the  record department  of Plummer Roddis in Western Road at the start of the rock’n’roll era. One day a lad comes into the store trieing to coax my mum into ordering copies of his new single. The boy was a very young Tommy Steele. The record was ” Singing the blues”. 

    In the late fifties she worked for Broadmeads (next to  where Richer Sounds is now in the London Road) in the record department. I have happy memories of going to the shop after school and pestering my mum into putting records on to play in the record booths . It was the era of Elvis and the big blockbuster musical films. It always surprised me how popular the film musical LP’s were. Along came the Beatles and the Stones. My mother was in her element working in that shop doing a job she loved. It helped  to keep her outlook young. It had its benefits for me also many a time I ” borrowed” LP’s to take home to listen to.

    By michael lee (22/07/2018)
  • My first records were Bachelor Boy by Cliff Richard and Sun Arise by Rolf Harris, which I played back to back on my Dansette. Dad used to tell me to turn it down all the time, and threatened to remove the inside of the record player if I didnt! I arrived home from school one day and he had! So after that I kept my hair rollers in it.

    By Maz (03/10/2018)
  • My first record was the Who’s I can see for miles – played on my Dansette. :0)

    By Lin Travis (26/10/2018)
  • During the Suez Crisis in 1956 petrol rationing was brought in and work in the motor trade just died overnight so I left the Bristol Garage and went to work for Goodsells in Gardner Street Brighton who made high quality wireless and radio equipment. One of their specialities was amplifiers for schools known as their ‘Schools Range’ and one of my jobs was to make up the wiring looms to connect the different equipment together and solder these onto the plugs and transformers etc. As radio had been my hobby I already had my own little wireless workshop in a cellar at the Bristol Garage in Church Place where I used to make things and try to repair radio sets bought at local jumble sales at St Mark’s Church Hall in Chesham Road and other places like Jack Ball’s secondhand shop in Edward Street. While working at Goodsells I built one of their MA5 amplifiers for myself. These were an adaptation of a design in the Wireless World magazine of the time. Having built this amplifier I wanted to test it. I already had an electric gramophone deck rescued from a dismantled radiogram so I was set up to go, but had no record loud enough to do my testing! So, – I went to Barnards in St George’s Road and asked for the loudest record they had. Mr Barnard sold me Bill Haley & His Comets ‘Rock Around the Clock’, only then recently released in the UK which he thought was the noisiest thing he had in the shop! That would have been about January 1957 I suppose and I think it was about 3/9d. ?. It nearly blew my loudspeaker out and I know my father got fed up with the noise coming up the steps into the service bay!

    Noting the above comment about old ex juke box records which needed a special spacer; Some record players did have a spring loaded ‘centre’ which located in the middle of those little 45 rpm records and just ‘popped up’ when needed. Poor Maz! Fancy your dad confiscating the works from your Dansette! (What are Hair Rollers, a group I haven’t heard of? Bit like the Band of Rain I keep hearing about on the TV who don’t seem to do many gigs round here either.)  There was a youth club at St Mark’s Church Hall, the Reverend James was a young vicar and quite go-ahead for the time, and I would go there in the early ’50s and play records on an old gramophone for them as I wasn’t much into the dancing side, I also used to put on music for the annual church fete at the vicarage with a PA system borrowed from Guy Austen of Central Sussex Radio at Burgess Hill, so I must have been one of the first ‘disc jockeys’! I still think to this day that it is amazing how much tone can be obtained from an old 78 rpm record on a gramophone with a good sound box. So, just as an exercise, dump your high fidelity equipment and CDs, get out your old wind-up and have a careful listen. You will be surprised what you can hear on a nearly hundred year old recording without all the interesting extraneous noises being electronically suppressed. Averys of St James’s Street were in my mother’s family, Vera Avery being my mother’s sister, and at one time they had several record shops in Brighton & Hove, somewhere I have one of their 1930s record sleeves with all their shop’s addresses on. Bellmans, didn’t they have one of those things that the assistant would put your money in and it disappeared into the nether regions and returned a minute or two later with the change and a receipt? Worked on the same system as Brunel’s atmospheric railway. (PS; Paul, please educate me on the railway bridge in Cliffe High Street.)

    By Tim Sargeant (27/10/2018)
  • My children and grand children give me a lot of stick about this but my first records were Hank Williams’. The very first was “My buckets got a hole in it”. I had everything he ever recorded and I still have a collection of LP’s and EP’s.
    I am now looking for a retro gramophone so I can play them again!
    In my defense I also had a good collection of more”pop” records…some of which I still have.

    By Deryn Bell (05/07/2020)
  • I’m new to this website hence the rather long period of time since the last entry to this item in 2020.

    Like many of the other contributors to this item, in the mid 1960’s I bought my first record player, which was a red Dansette, and I believe I purchased this from Lyon and Hall in Western Road. This store is also featured on this website. At the same time as I bought the record player I’m sure I bought my first record which was an LP entitled ‘Take It Easy With The Walker Brothers’. Oh my goodness, I hardly left my room for days as I played this LP to death and I was totally in love with Scott Walker and his voice. There then came lots of different singles, EP’s and LP’s by other singers/groups but I enjoyed most the music of The Walker Brothers. I thought the musical arrangements on all their songs was just superb and when I listened to their music I was taken to a wonderous place. I remember my mum was rather worried that I spent so much time in my room listening to what she thought was rather sad, melancholy music but I just loved it all. The Walker Brothers appeared at the Brighton Dome perhaps around 1966 and I hoped I’d be able to go but I wasn’t allowed to. Unfortunately the news of the mass hysteria that seemed to follow them around wherever they made an appearance came before them and my mum just thought I might not be safe there. I was very miffed I can tell you as I would have loved to have seen them live but, with all the screaming, probably I’d not have heard a thing but still……….
    The Walker Brothers were only together for a few years, after they split up I then followed the music of Scott Walker as he continued on his own. In later years there came many compilation CD’s of The Walker Brothers/Scott Walker music and I bought everything I could get my hands on. I like lots of different music but, as I glance up at my music collection, the music of The Walker Brothers/Scott Walker makes up the majority of the collection. A few years ago I was very sad to learn that Scott had died, John had died many years before and I don’t know if Gary Leeds, the third ‘brother’, is still alive. I feel truly blessed to have had their music in my life for all these years and to still be enjoying it so much. For anyone who might be interested on YouTube there is a nice version of the song Let It Be Me sung as a duet by Scott Walker and Dusty Springfield.

    By Carolyn Jones (01/09/2023)
  • I too had a Dansette ,it was red and grey and I loved it deeply .My first record was Its now or never by Elvis and my second was Sea of heartbreak by Don Gibson and then I became a Stones girl .Saw them in Brighton Hipodrome in 1964 and never looked back .Still the best ever .Good memories ,along with The Starlight rooms and The Suite .I worked at Emanuel Coiffeuras a hairdresserin Western Road .

    By Carol then De,Ath (12/02/2024)

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