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The World

Published on January 1st, 2017 | by The Telegraph


Queen Mother ‘enjoyed listening to Caribbean steel bands and Paul Simon’

As the nation’s favourite grandmother, it might be expected that Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother’s musical tastes would have been rather old-fashioned. But her private music library – details of which were made public for the first time – show that the royal’s preferences were remarkably eclectic. Her collection included Caribbean steel bands, Canadian yodelling, Rodgers and Hammerstein show tunes, folk music, ska and even a top-selling pop album by Paul Simon.Among her 100 records were the wartime speeches of Winston Churchill, performances by Noel Coward, comedy LPs by The Goons and Tony Hancock and, appropriately enough, the soundtrack to The King and I.

Despite her aversion to pop music, former aides also confirmed she was an avid listener of Terry’s Wogan’s Radio 2 breakfast show, making her the most famous ‘Terry’s Old Gal’, or TOG, as its female listeners were called. The Queen Mother, who died aged 101 in 2002, kept the collection at the Castle of Mey in Caithness, where she spent the majority of her summers for almost half a century. “She had very catholic tastes in music and enjoyed listening to everything from Scottish reels to stage musicals,” said one former aide, who worked closely with her for several decades. “I don’t think she was an avid listener of pop music but she loved listening to Terry Wogan on Radio 2. She listened to him every morning before she came downstairs.”

Among her favourite tracks were said to be ‘You Can Call Me Al’, the hit single from Paul Simon’s multi-platinum 1986 album Graceland, which featured a range of African musicians. Another was Thank U Very Much, a 1967 hit by Liverpool band The Scaffold. However, she apparently she misheard the lyric ‘Thank you very much for our gracious team’, believing it ended ‘Our gracious Queen’. Among the other surprises in the collection are records by The Desperadoes Steel Orchestra, a calypso band from Trinidad, and Wilf Carter, an obscure Canadian musician. He was also known as Montana Slim and noted for his high-pitched yodelling. Her love of a tipple was reflected in Tak A Dram Afore Ye Go by Mirk, a local folk band, and an album titled Fiddler’s Dram by an English group of the same name. Some of the Queen Mother’s more traditional choices included Elgar’s Coronation Ode, written for Edward VII but played when her husband, George VI, was crowned King. There was a recording of Greensleeves, said to have been composed by Henry VIII, an LP by the International Staff Band of the Salvation Army and La Vie En Rose by Edith Piaf, the French chanteuse.

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