“The Story Of The Blues” — Wah!

No Words, No Song
5 min readMay 8, 2019

I was in a fairly sober meeting with a professional colleague earlier. She went up considerably in my estimation when her phone went off part-way through our conversation.

Although her phone was on its quietest possible setting, I instantly recognised the strings from the intro of “The Story Of The Blues” emanating from somewhere deep inside her handbag.

I’ve always loved “The Story Of The Blues”.

It has the distinction…and I use that term extremely loosely…of being the first record I ever bought for my short-lived DJ-ing career. Not so much a career, more a gig, if I’m honest, but I was quite pleased with myself at the time.

I always wanted to be a radio DJ because I loved music and all my heroes growing up were radio DJs. My ambition was to work for the BBC on a “through the night” show.

This wasn’t because I was an insomniac…in fact I’ve been one of those bright-eyed and bushy-tailed early risers that so many people find a mixed blessing since I was a kid.

So I didn’t much fancy staying up all night. But I figured virtually nobody would be listening in the wee small hours, so I could get away with raiding the famous BBC record library to play whatever I wanted and nobody in senior management would ever notice.

That never happened, of course…except in my dreams. Although my Spotify subscription allows me to do pretty much exactly that now without the need to persuade the BBC to give me a job first…

But in the mid-1980s my flatmate at the time asked me to DJ at a party of his…well, more of a soiree if I’m honest — he’d gone to a really posh school and all his friends came from there or somewhere very similar.

This was less of a vote of confidence in me than you might immediately think.

My flatmate’s musical taste excluded just about every piece of music less than 200 years old, with only rare exceptions like Benjamin Britten and, in especially light-hearted moments, some Gilbert and Sullivan.

I didn’t even look at his record collection as I knew that would be a waste of time. So I started with mine.

I earmarked a few of my more party-friendly 7" singles for the party, but thought a few current chart hits might be a good idea in case any trendy people turned up (spoiler alert, they didn’t…), so I set off to Woolworth’s with a fiver in my hand…yes, this was a…

No Words, No Song

Without words, it’s just a nice tune. Add words — now you’ve got a song. And songs can change your world. I write about some that changed mine.