Two records remain from my childhood collection: The Monkees first album and an autographed copy of Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors (“To Marie – To a very special person. Lindsay Buckingham”). If I recall correctly, I inherited the Monkees album from one of my brothers. The Rumors album was a gift from my sister (who was dating Lindsay Buckingham’s brother at the time). I gave away the rest of my collection to a store downtown during a cleaning fit several years back.
I was able to hear the albums this weekend at a friend’s house. She recently bought a turntable and had a party to celebrate, inviting everyone to bring their records. Although the stile arm rode small waves of warpage, I was so pleased and relieved to discover my records were still playable! It has been so long since I even looked at one, I had forgotten that records are two-sided. I blame time and compact discs for that.
I used to love watching records spin, getting almost hypnotized while the music played; staring at the stile as it progressed slowly toward the record’s middle. Try and do that with a CD! I’d lean on the console and sing along to Neil Diamond, Jethro Tull, Heart, Jesus Christ Superstar, The Sound of Music – we had quite the eclectic collection.
Of course, after records came cassette tapes. I would record my favorite songs off the radio when I wasn’t listening to my very first cassette album – Cat Steven’s Tea for the Tillerman. But somehow, I totally missed the 8-track era.
Although now I appreciate being able to burn my own CDs with individual songs through I-Tunes and creating personalized radio stations through Pandora, listening to records at my friend’s house reminded me of what’s been lost with the evolution of the music industry. I don’t claim to be a music industry expert, but it’s obvious to anyone paying the least bit of attention that a whole generation of children has grown up with a different music listening experience. No more self-hypnosis to the red Columbia label.
Instead of the 33-1/3 rpm LP (for the younger set, that’s a 33-1/3 revolutions-per-minute long-playing record), we now have the I-pod. It’s not bad, just . . . changed. Who knows what we’ll have next? But one thing’s for sure, we’ll always have music of some sort. It seems hardwired into our beings.
Since I only have two records, I don’t think I’ll go so far as to buy my own turntable, but it sure was fun to recreate the childhood experience of listening to music, if only for one evening.