Music in the Nilagiri House lounge

As you come up the incline from Flagstaff to Senior School, the door facing you leads to a hallway, with a staircase at the end winding up to a landing. Mac’s room was on the right, and the landing led to the Nilagiri House lounge. There were a couple of easy chairs, a divan at the far end from which you could watch the girls walking up to school. The theme colour of the lounge was maroon.

The main corridor (and Reading Room) between the dorms of Nilagiri House ended at the lounge. Between that doorway and the divan, tucked up against the wall, was a gramaphone record player for vinyls (33 rpm LP albums and 45 rpm EPs or singles), connected up to a valve radio. The radio itself was virtually permanently tuned to Radio Ceylon, and occasionally we listened to the hilarious “I married a female wrestler”, the nostalgic “Oh to be in England” and the prophetic “I’m Henpecked” (can’t find the song).

The singles that we initially danced to included the “You’re Sixteen” with“The Ladies of Calcutta” on the flip side. (The words seem somehow different from what I remember, they went more like this although that’s not the version we had, so perhaps it wasn’t the flip side but another disc altogether).

Nat King ColeAnd then there was Nat King Cole singing Cappuchina with “Let True Love Begin” on the obverse. There was also the fascinating Peter Sellers/Sophia Loren number “Goodness Gracious Me”. Paul Anka with “Diana” and “You are my Destiny”, Ricky Nelson with “Wonder like you”. Cliff Richard with the songs from the film “Summer Holiday”. So many beautiful songs, so many memories. Young love in our hearts as we dreamed of our girls and sang along.


Pat BoonePat Boone sang “Speedy Gonzales”, with “Love Letters on the Sand” on the other side. And then there were the long-playing albums. Pat Boone’s “Great Great Great ” with “Running Bear” and “El Paso”. Pat Boone was a great hit, with many other numbers (“Pearly Shells” and “Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White” to name a couple).

The BeatlesAnd then came the Beatles. The “Beatles for Sale” album played incessantly for months. If I remember right, there were also the “With the Beatles” and “A Hard Day’s Night” albums.

So many great songs from those three albums, too numerous to cite here, but I’m sure you’ve heard them, and hear them still. Who knew then that they were going to change the face of pop music forever. Elvis was the king, Cliff was the Prince, but the empire was ruled by the Beatles. I guess we did perhaps hear the Rolling Stones, but I can’t remember being too fond of them at the time.


Mac’s prized possession, of course, was Handel’s Messiah. He played it when he dared. I don’t think there was a single Nilagiri House boy who understood that music at the time. Our only brush with semi-classical music was with the school’s western orchestra, with numbers like “O Sole Mio”, “Ciribiribin” and the wonderful “Theme from a Summer Place”where Jacob Chacko’s clarinet would sqeak on the high note. There was another piece we played in the school orchestra, “Rococo Rendezvous”, which I cannot trace. But I guess the school orchestra deserves its own entry, so I’ll leave this thread here.


Anybody else remember any other music from the Nilagiri House Lounge?


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