Friday, January 21, 2005

Music

I read a great (and lengthy) entry yesterday by Pamela over at Random Thoughts. She mentioned all the musical influences in her life and how her love of music got started. Mentioning her first radio and such got me thinking about my own musical equipment history.

My first record player was a pretty blue Mikey Mouse record player. I got my first records around the same time. They were a collection of 45s that had belonged to my aunt when she was a teen. They were in her old bedroom at my grandmother's house (I always stayed in that room when we went to Hudson for a visit). I just asked my grandma if I could have them and after making me feel like she was doing me the greatest favor on the planet, she said yes. So my little brother wouldn't feel jealous, my parents got him a "record player" for Christmas that year too. I can't believe I actually found photos online of the SAME ONES! I love the internet.



I loved playing those old 45s on my record players. Some of them skipped, but most were in really good shape. I remember listening to Unchained Melody (Les Baxter), A'int That a Shame (Pat Boone), The Great Pretender (Platters), Where the Boys Are, Blue Velvet, Deep Purple...it was about 8 years worth of top hits from 1956-1964. The needle on my Mikey record player only lasted for maybe 4 months. My dad tried to find a replacement, but they were hard to find for some reason (or he just told me that because he couldn't be bothered). So my Mom told me I could have her old portable record player from her swinging single days.

At the time, I thought that record player was REALLY ugly. Thinking back on it now, it wasn't so bad. It was a sort of faded green color leather suitcase with this beige sort of fabric over the speaker in the front. The cool thing about that old record player was it was automatic. You flipped a switch and the record would drop down a spindle (where you could have tons of records queued up) and the needle plopped itself down on top of the record. When the record ended, the needle would return to the side and the next album would drop into place. That center spindle was skinny to accommodate full sized albums; but conveniently stored in a heavy metal clip on the inside wall was this thick, round, heavy spindle adapter that slid on and clicked into place over the skinny one so you could load on your 45s without those annoying plastic spindle adapter inserts. I should find a photo of one of those adapters...anyone under the age of 28 might not have a clue what I am talking about. Ah...here we go. I was always losing those things.

The following Christmas I got my first radio. It was shaped like a ladybug. As luck would have it, I don't have to describe it because I found photos of it! You turned it on and the wings opened...



The only problem with that radio...I couldn't hide it under my pillow and listen to it late at night. The wings were in the way.

The Christmas after that I got a really cool 8-track player...Doesn't it look like I'm all set to blow something up?? You smacked the plunger and the track would change to a new song. So cool!

Hmm...I never really thought about something before. My parents got me something musical and books EVERY Christmas! No wonder I love to read and listen to music. Maybe they did it on purpose...

The next Christmas I got an ugly brown plastic tape recorder. It wasn't very attractive, but it was something I specifically asked for. Now I could record songs off the radio, record TV shows and cartoons and record me and my brother doing goofy things like pretend news casts or our own variety show. But I especially loved recording my favorite cartoons. THAT device I could slide under my pillow and listen to my tapes late at night. I would fantasize about Speed Racer and "Mark" from G-Force... Yup. I had cartoon crushes too. What a horror to find out years later that my love, Mark, was voiced by Casey Kasem (the American Top 40 guy). Ick! No offense Casey, but you aren't exactly my type.

With all these great devices, you would think I had an impressive music collection too. Nope. My parents bought me "kid" albums like Disney's Greatest Hits. I begged for a Shaun Cassidy album on my 13th birthday. One time my Dad brought me a 45 back from one of his many trips abroad - an international recording of Hound Dog by Elvis. Other wise I borrowed from my parent's extensive album collection, borrowed from friends, or I saved my allowance and bought the occasional record myself. Instead, I used to park myself for hours in front of my parent's console stereo and tune in my favorite radio stations so I could record my favorite songs with my little brown tape player.

I was so happy when I got my first job. Finally! I could buy music! And a decent stereo system (I still have that stereo in my basement). One of the first things I did? Join the Columbia Record and Tape club. I could go on a serious rant about that...maybe in another entry.

By the time CDs started becoming popular, I had amassed an impressive album collection. Damn those CDs! I felt compelled to recreate my entire music collection on CD. Now I hardly have time to listen to them. I must have at least 200 albums, almost that many tapes, and many more CDs. Anyone want to buy a gently used and eclectic music collection? Now that I have my huge MP3 collection and a CD burner...sigh. Makes me wonder what the music industry will come out with next to make what I have now totally obsolete.

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