The first album purchased with your own money is a moment you don’t forget, and Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason is no different from the rest of us music lovers.
Mason was born in Birmingham towards the end of the Second World War, and he later met his future Pink Floyd bandmates while studying at the Regent Street Polytechnic. Before they were known as Pink Floyd, the group went under the name of Sigma 6, which was the beginning of the drummer’s musical journey.
Although he owned a drum kit, Mason didn’t foresee a career for himself as a professional musician, and it was never anything more than a hobby. Mason was studying architecture at University when he first started playing in bands, and he had no ambitions for it to become a serious career.
Mason was educated privately at Frensham Heights School and, during his youth, it seemed absurd to even imagine becoming a rockstar. His childhood admiration of Elvis Presley worked as a gateway drug, and soon enough, the drummer found himself moving onto the harder stuff, but they’ll always be a special place in his heart for ‘The King’.
Presley’s eponymous debut was the first album Mason ever purchased, and it still remains incredibly precious to him. “That black and white picture of Elvis and ‘Elvis Presley’ in neon green and neon pink lettering, the first album he made. It had ‘Blue Suede Shoes’ on it and ‘Hound Dog, ‘Ring My Telephone’, it was absolutely stuffed with his early hits,” he recalled.
The percussionist continued: “It was still a period when you bought records from an electrical shop, somewhere at the back of the shop after you’d gone past all the washing machines and fridges, there’d be a booth with records. I would’ve bought it there rather than a record store with those weird hairdryer booths.”
Meanwhile, in the same interview, the Pink Floyd sticksman also picked out the album’s lead single ‘Blue Suede Shoes’ as the first song he fell in love with. Mason explained: “The beginning of rock’ n’ roll. Elvis was moving things on slightly from Bill Haley. Bill Haley was the first record I ever bought and I almost certainly bought it as a ’78 [inch LP record], not as a ’45, which shows my age!”
His story is no anomaly. Elvis made millions of youngsters dream and seduced them into the rock ‘n’ roll mindset. While many have tried to follow in Presley’s footsteps, few of his alumni have carved out a sparkling career on the level of Mason.