In the evenings, after he had set down his briefcase and taken his first sip of gin and tonic, my dad would teach me how to rock'n'roll dance in the living room. I would be swooshed into the air, shown how to twist right down to the floor on one leg, while we played Chubby Checker, Chuck Berry, the Big Bopper up loud on the stereo.
Music was a constant presence in my childhood home, soundtracking Sunday lunches, housework, homework, afternoons in the garden. It was a rush of Graceland, Supertramp, Kate Bush; Sgt Pepper, Duffy Power, doo-wop. It was Tango in the Night and Jazz on a Summer's Day, and all four of us crammed in the car, singing a little ditty, 'bout Jack and Diane.
Some moments seem scored on my memory: my dad playing Sixteen Candles on my birthday; a school morning with my mum as she played Phil Collins's No Jacket Required. And when I stop to consider it now, I see how much music has fed and shaped and enriched my relationship with my parents.
I often think it was my mum who gave me lyrics, who gave me Leonard Cohen and Dory Previn: a delight in the sound and colour and weight of words. My dad gave me music: song as a physical experience, as rhythm, as the beat and the off-beat drummed against the car steering wheel. He gave me jazz, and blues, and rock'n'roll, Dion, John Lee Hooker and Thelonious Monk. He would take me to record fairs, where I would stand quietly among the rows and listen to the flick-flick-flick of the vinyl-hunters. He would make me compilations, send me messages about his latest musical infatuation, greet my return home with a casual, "Have you heard the new Kanye?"
My dad and I are still talking about music. When I went home recently we sat at the kitchen table sipping red wine while he explained what he loved about Wu-Lyf's intros. And when my parents went to see Bon Iver play in Manchester this autumn, he emailed me the following morning to rave and to rhapsodise, to try to articulate his awe at the previous night's show.
It was my mum who introduced my dad to the music of Van Morrison: some time around 1970 she bought a copy of Astral Weeks in HMV in Manchester and forced him to listen to it. Ever since, Morrison's music has been a beam, a bolster between my parents, our family.
For my whole life, this is music that has somehow shouldered our relationship; his music has become part of our family language every bit as much as bad puns, Monty Python jokes and references to I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue. We'll talk about "gardens all misty-wet with rain" and of being "famished before dinner" and "meet me down by the pylons".
And still, now, some of the happiest sounds in the world to me remain those late-night murmurings – drifting up the stairs, pressing up between the floorboards, the sound of wine glasses, low voices, the muffled lyrics, rhythms, raptures of Into the Music playing on the stereo: "When you hear the music ringing in your soul," Morrison sings, "And you feel it in your heart and it grows and grows/ And it came from the backstreet rock'n'roll/ And the healing has begun …"
Laura Barton is a journalist and author
It's probably stretching it somewhat to say that, when I was a kid, my mum listened to a lot of 1960s teen idol Adam Faith. Truth is, with the sole exception of the collected works of Andrew Lloyd Webber, she never played any music in the house. The same goes for my dad, whose professed love for the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan rarely stretched to him actually taking their records out of the sleeve and, you know, putting them on the turntable.
We got a good dose of Simon and Garfunkel during car journeys to destinations such as Warwick Castle, too, as well as frequent plays of a Country Classics compilation that was probably bought in a petrol station somewhere for 59p, yet has stayed with me forever, because it included Anne Murray's beautiful song Snowbird. At home, without the need to distract two easily bored boys on the backseat, music was rarely played.
And yet I've somehow grown up under the impression that my mum was one of the world's biggest Adam Faith fans. It's been a regular joke in our family ever since I can remember: how embarrassing it must have been for mum to have frittered away her impressionable years caring about such fluff. Until recently though, I'd never knowingly heard a note of his music. For all I knew, he might have been bloody brilliant.
Admittedly, I had seen pictures of the chap that suggested he probably wasn't tearing Stockhausen a new one with his electronic tape compositions. But he might have been behind a good pop tune or two. I decided to do what all good rock'n'roll journalists in search of a story should. I called my mum.
"He was very good-looking. And sexy," was her opening gambit. "And at the time he was different. OK, not different, just cute."
I see. Anything more, well, musical?
"He had a style of his own. He wasn't the best of singers, but he was different to Cliff Richard or Marty Wilde, he stood out. Then again, back then you didn't have so much to choose from."
After such a glowing appraisal, I had to find out more. Faith's first No 1, What Do You Want, came along in 1959, followed by a string of hits in the early 60s. A colleague pointed me towards Faith's later stuff – notably, the psychedelic 1967 track Cowman Milk Your Cow – but much as I enjoyed it, this wouldn't be the kind of thing my mum was listening to. She was into the teen pop stuff, songs such as Poor Me and Someone Else's Baby: pizzicato strings and vocals that have that Buddy Hollyish tendency to sing as if you've got a live eel down your kecks.
Faith had a good team behind him; his early hits were penned by Les Vandyke and arranged by a young John Barry. But for me, he's just not as good as Holly: his clean-cut style is slightly detached from the meaning of the songs (think X Factor contestants smiling inanely as they perform heartbreak ballads), while Holly's delivery came straight from the heart.
And yet falling in love with pop music, especially when you're a teenager, is always about more than the music. I loved Michael Jackson's songs when I was growing up, but the fact he hung out with a chimp probably helped. Later on, when I fell for Oasis, it was about the fights and the tabloid drama as much as the music. (I also liked the fact my parents dismissed them as "Beatles rip-offs".)
When my mum was teased about Adam Faith, my dad would sometimes say something along the lines of: "She only ever liked him because he was good-looking." I remember the last time he said this, a year ago, with my mum in earshot. "Of course," she said, "that was the whole point!" She might not play his music these days, but my mum clearly had a better grasp of what makes a great pop star than either of us.
Tim Jonze is editor of guardian.co.uk/music
The first record I ever owned, courtesy of my great-grandmother, was Ernie by Benny Hill. But the first records I got to play on my own record player were a bunch of EPs by Chris Barber's Jazz Band. My parents weren't exactly beatniks – there was houseroom for Rock Around the Clock and Sixteen Tons, too – but their teenage passion was trad jazz and, in particular, the work of the fatherly‑looking Barber. The EPs were affordable, featured decent interpretations of Duke Ellington and Sidney Bechet, and had great covers, too. They looked important and sounded like a whole heap of fun; titles such as Whistling Rufus and Hiawatha Rag were solid family favourites.
Mum and Dad went to see the Chris Barber band play at the Dorking Halls during their courtship, and still have the programme to prove it. Dad's Dixieland dream was sacrificed when he sold his clarinet to buy an engagement ring. He also gave up on the idea of going to art school so he could afford to have a family; I've always felt a little haunted by this.
Neither of them had any time for modern jazz. What Dad liked about trad, he explained, was that every time you listened to it you could follow a different instrument, there was so much going on. The "Moderns" left him cold.
He also scorned Kenny Ball and Acker Bilk as "not serious". Barber and his band, though, were the real thing, no matter that they were from the home counties rather than bayou country. When I was older and realised the singular role Barber played in bringing skiffle to the masses, bringing blues singers such as Muddy Waters and Big Bill Broonzy over to Britain for the first time, and thus inspiring the next wave of British rock, I was quietly impressed with my dad's judgment.
My parents' record collection went down an entirely different route once they married: long players only and a lot of Wagner, which proved just the stuff to test out Dad's Rogers amp and Bang & Olufsen deck. The scratchy old jazz EPs, along with a clutch of 45s and 78s by the Shadows, Sandy Nelson and Johnny and the Hurricanes, were handed down to me as fuel for my Dansette.
The few pop records my parents picked up through my childhood were by Simon and Garfunkel and Neil Diamond, on heavy rotation every Sunday. Gradually, the size of my own record collection overtook my parents', and a line was crossed. Now I sometimes envy their compact cupboard of vinyl, especially when I'm moving house.
For my dad's birthday a few years back, I took him and mum to the 100 Club to see Chris Barber for the first time in 40-odd years. He even got to chat to the great man after the show, with some arcane question that had been bugging him for years about a tune they'd played called Black and Tan Fantasy. Whatever the answer was, Dad looked pretty happy.
Bob Stanley is a music writer and member of Saint Etienne.
Newport's Riverfront theatre, South Wales, on a bright Friday evening. My mother – bouncy-haired, in her best top – is about to meet her musical hero. Just as momentously for me, so am I.
Before I reached my mid-teens, we both adored Ralph McTell. He sang on children's TV shows Tickle on the Tum and Alphabet Zoo; I would watch until my eyes went square. The vivid characters in his 1974 smash Streets of London got under my skin – the old man drinking tea alone in the all-night cafe, the old girl with her "home in two carrier bags". The sound got to me, too – those full, rounded, arpeggios on the acoustic guitar, McTell's voice gentle and warm. But by the mid-1990s, that was that. REM, the Smiths, Kraftwerk: these were my bands.
When I went to university my mother would play McTell's 1995 album, Sand in Your Shoes. She liked An Irish Blessing so much she stuck its lyrics on our fridge. They began: "How my life is changing now/ My young ones start to leave their home/ I wish that their uncertain road/ Was one that I could tread with them." Years later she told me that it gave her comfort, and it did again when my two brothers followed me.
Now I am all grown up, and McTell is sitting in front of me; my mother waiting outside. He is a cheerful 67, in a T-shirt and hooped earrings. He laughs about how old I'm making him feel, as I recall his songs. We talk about Alphabet Zoo being inspired by Woody Guthrie, and I think of my record collection now, full of folk. Then McTell remembers 40 years of gigs, including a show in Barry Island in 1972, which my mother attended, aged 21. She met a fellow fan called Roy there, who became her husband, my father.
McTell understands that certain songs bring generations together. "I love that humility about music," he says. "Music has been there before you, and it will be there after you."
The theatre door opens and my mum comes in. In her eyes, I see me, meeting my heroes through my job, trying to keep the fan inside me at bay. I think how her love for her favourite musician deepened my love for mine, and made me want to write about them. When I was young, Mam didn't talk a lot about her heroes, but she revelled in music in a way that was infectious.
And now here McTell is, in 3D, giving her a hug, talking to her about a 1972 gig where she met my father. Internally, I beg her not to cry. She doesn't, but when we leave the theatre a while later, she shrieks girlishly with joy. This makes me happy: truly, I am my mother's daughter.
Ralph McTell plays the Cadogan Hall, London SW1 (020-7730 4500) on 11 December. Jude Rogers is a music writer and Mercury prize judge.
It's funny how you can share a love of a certain musician with someone you're close to and never really discuss why. When I finally ask my dad, who I remember dancing (quite well) and singing (quite badly) along to Neil Young throughout my childhood, what it is he loves about the keening Canadian, he says it's Young's capacity to make sweet the sound of "loss and regret".
"I would often play After the Gold Rush when you were small," he explains. "Life then felt complicated and demanding. I had two kids and a marriage to cope with. We had no money, I had to work all the time and I felt I never had time to catch up with life or with myself. These were the Thatcher years, and all we could see was the defeat of all our hopes and dreams. So I would do the washing up and play After the Gold Rush and feel OK."
This was the mid-80s, more than 10 years after that album's release. Neil Young wasn't exactly going through his halcyon period by then; Trans, the Vocoder-heavy 1982 album, was followed by a rockabilly concept album, Everybody's Rockin', in 1983. "For quite a while back in the 1980s Neil Young, like Leonard Cohen, was considered unfashionable. He was regarded by some as an old hippy," says my dad. "So listening to him felt a bit like defending something from my youth."
Young's wasn't the only music to grace our house, but he was the only one I went on to like. My mum favoured Nanci Griffith, who I liked a lot at the time – not any more. Bob Dylan, on the other hand, was torturous on a child's ears, especially as my parents played it really, really loudly.
My own teenage years were given over to 1990s pop; Björk, Pulp, Whigfield. But later, my love for Neil Young was reignited. Rediscovering his albums was almost like remembering an old love, this time with renewed meaning. I think his appeal is timeless, in part because he has always sounded like an old man with a restlessly young spirit. "Hey, hey, my my," he sings, "rock'n'roll can never die." It's nice to know that while my dad was reliving his past over the Fairy Liquid, he was creating what feels like such an important part of mine.
"Like all great songs and great artists, each of his songs can be rediscovered as you encounter each stage of life and its passing," my dad tells me now. It's almost enough to make me forgive him for forgetting I'd got us tickets to see Neil Young in concert in 2008, and going off to Scarborough for the weekend instead. Almost.
Rosie Swash is editor of guardian.co.uk/fashion
• This article was amended on 28 November 2011. The original said that Jude Rogers's mother met her boyfriend at a Ralf McTell concert. In fact they met up at the concert; they were already courting.
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