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The Philosophy of Nostalgia Is Music: A Walk Down Memory Lane in the Times of Musical Bandbox


When you travel down memory lane there is nothing to keep you from immersing yourself in the days gone by. Perhaps the most philosophical element in nostalgia is the rich quality of thought that remembers a time when culture and tradition reigned over society in quaint ways of decorum.

Nostalgia is best felt through music. The most influential form of entertainment in most homes was music. Rather than watch some non descript programme on that black and white television, we waited for lunch time variety and Sunday’s Musical Bandbox with Jija Bhattacharya.  Who can forget the 6pm yuvavani programme of western music of all India radio? Regardless of all the FM programmes of today, none can conjure up an image that induce a heart-warming emotion than  the words musical band box. Even the children’s special was much awaited when he heard songs like Puff the magic dragon and “My sweet Rosalie”. Can anyone forget Georgy Girl and Usha Uthup singing Beautiful Sunday or Terry Jacks singing Seasons in the Sun?

But before I ramble on with the nostalgic parade, every Anglo Indian is familiar with this man. What I remember most about this song is those large valve gramophones which existed in almost every home. It had a beautiful cabinet for records and Englebert just had to be there. This song is iconic.

As a young boy I loved the song Puff the magic dragon and always wondered who sang it. Later I came to know it was none other than Peter, Paul and Mary, the American folk group formed in 1961. Puff the Magic Dragon was a regular on MBB and Lunch Time Variety.

Georgy Girl  was a classic. I remember hearing it every Sunday and it was somewhat pleasant when hearing this song from the radio. Sung by Judith Durham of the Australian band The Seekers, It went on to win a golden globe award but lost the Oscar to another iconic song Born Free. The Seekers have a special place in the hearts of Calcuttan’s as we remember those beautiful songs like I’ll Never Find Another You, The Carnival is Over
and Morning Town Ride

When Neil Sedaka exploded on to the music scene in the sixties, Calcuttan’s would soon come to know about him through one of their favourite songs Oh Carol. Not many know that Neil Sedaka’s mother toiled through two jobs just to buy him a piano. He would soon go on to graduating from the Julliard school of Music. Oh Carol will always be a part of memory lane and is still a favorite today.

Like the seekers, Musical Bandbox would showcase another song heard frequently at lunch time. Who remembers The Mamas and The Papas and the song California Dreamin’? It went down in history as Rolling Stones 50 greatest songs of all time. The song has rightfully achieved its place in the Grammy hall of Fame.

I will always remember this song which became a huge hit in the 70’s. Terry jacks phenomenal hit Seasons in The Sun went on to sell 10 million copies worldwide. The song was again made famous by Westlife but it will always be The Terry jacks version that I will fondly remember.

Lunch time variety and Musical Bandbox may have played the new releases a bit late but when we heard those beautiful numbers like Cliff Richards Evergreen Tree,Paul Anka’s Diana and Ritchie Valens Donna, it cemented within us memories that would never fade. Each time I hear these songs, I recall the sights and scents of days gone by. Here’s another iconic song that may have lost the Grammy to Stevie Wonder on its launch but it went on to win the grammy for record of the year in 1974. It was Roberta Flack’s Killing Me Softly.

No compilation of music remembering the good old seventies can ever be complete without mentioning the King. Calcutta fell in love with Elvis ever since Jailhouse Rock exploded in movie theaters in Calcutta. I was born ten years later but I’m sure it released in the Metro on Chowringhee because it was produced for MGM. Metro was at the time an MGM exclusive theatre as was The Globe theater in Sudder Street exclusively for 20th century Fox.

The Wonder of You will always be one of my favorites. Ironically it wasn’t an Elvis song having been released in 1959 by ray Peterson. But it was Elvis who made it famous as one of his most successful songs ever since he recorded it live in 1970.

Well, that brings me to the end of my list of beautiful memories. Hope you to enjoyed musical Bandbox and lunch time variety as much as I did. It was a time when music united families at Lunch time as no one wanted to miss out on an hour of the best days of our lives. Signing of here with one of Europe’s and the world’s most successful group of all time. ABBA and Thank You For the Music.

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