Wanna Come Over and Listen to Records?

Have you tried to find a record player lately? I don’t mean the new phonograph to CD recording devices that make CDs from your old albums and I don’t even mean phonographs for stereo systems. I mean self-contained record players. You may have to  be mid 30s or older to really have an appreciation for (or basic recognition of) these devices. However, if you grew up with  a portable record player and it was a step forward to get an 8 track player, this post is for you.

“OMG, Who Cares????!!!!  They are gone! Wake up gramps it’s 2012. Give me my iPod, skull candy earphones, and iTunes. Now move, I’ve gotta wipe out this entire planet of aliens, dude. OOOOHHHH! That sucks!”. This message was delivered by text in 0.3 seconds by a teenager with mutant thumbs, a phone with more computing ability than NASA did for Apollo 13, and multitasking abilities that are unmatched among previous generations of video game playing, text generating, non telephone speaking teens  that came before them. Those of us who played PONG and space invaders? No chance.

I hear them, though. I felt the same way about my portable 8 track player in the late 70’s  that was the size of small child  Also about my walkman cassette player in the 80s and my portable cd player in the 90’s. How about those cool hair pulling head phones with the wire band and foam ear pieces?  Awesome! Or should I say “DY-NO-MITE” in honor of our honorary 8 track spokesperson on the right, Jimmy “JJ”  Walker of “Good Times” fame.

Oh. Here’s another supporter.

“Now you’re talkin’  ole buddy. Glad to have an old coot like you on here, I ain’t got no use for that fancy technical stuff like itubes, facenook, or myplace. Too many weirdos on there. It ain’t like Craig’s place. I look on there for garage sales and free stuff and uh, uh, free stuff.  Sure I use the innernet,  but all I do is play cards, watch youtube, and look at …uh… oh, yeah, I play cards on it. I don’t see why everyone is so crazy about them apple mopeds neither. Looks like a writin pad to me but folks keep pushin’ them screens with no buttons. Is it a puter? Oh, yeah, I remember records. They sucked”.

Ok, so maybe not him but I bet there are others out there like me, kids who listened to their parents’ records growing up. I listened to a lot of music as a kid and to this day, old  records have a certain sentimental value and appeal to me. It doesn’t matter whether there are “pops and cracks and white noise”, to quote Tim McGraw, I like them.

I was born in 1965 but my parents were born in the early 40’s, which meant they went to high school in the rockin’ 1950’s, arguably one of the coolest musical eras in modern American history. That was the advent of rock-n-roll and doo-wop, and while they started in the 1930’s, some really cool movie musicals were made in the 50’s, as well. Yes, I like musicals, and Yes, I do still have my Man Card. I am a man of varied musical styles and tastes, thanks to my folks, but I credit my dad with my appreciation for various styles of music.

Why do I mention the 1950’s, since it was more than 50 years ago? Because my parents listened to music from the 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s when I was growing up. That means I listened to all that music too. I listened to everything from Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller,  and other Big bands to the Coasters (one of my mom’s favorites), the Platters, and other doo-wop groups, to Carl Perkins, Elvis (Yes, the King, “Thanka, Thanka ver much”), Buddy Holly, the Beatles, Herman and the Hermits, Percy Sledge, Beethoven, Mozart, Buck Owens, Conway Twitty, and the list keeps going to artists still going strong today like Elton John, the Eagles, and others. Me and my dad wore out my album of ELO’s greatest hits, and I still love  Boston, Kansas, Steve Miller, and most of the playlist from today’s classic rock and classic country stations. I also love southern gospel and quartet music, which I grew up listening to. I graduated High School in 1983 and for most music, my preferences stay around that time and earlier. Notice I kindly left out disco, though I was a big fan of the soundtrack from Saturday Night Fever and watched Soul Train every chance  I could get. Like I said, my dad loves all types of music and had a very large collection of 45s, featuring bands from all decades and all music genres. which I listened to regularly as a kid.

A quick Wikipedia moment here for you younger readers who only know the CD and ipod age. Years ago, after dinosaurs and the invention of the light bulb, music was recorded on vinyl discs called “records”. Large discs were called “albums”, say it with me, “AL-BUMS”, that featured 10-15 songs and came in awesome 12″ square covers that doubled for posters and artwork in many teenagers’ rooms. The albums spun at a dizzying speed of 33 1/3 revolutions per minute. 45’s were about 7″ across, had 1 song on each side and spun at 45 rpm. Records were played on a machine called a “record player” that could play both speeds, featured a small needle, really primitive speakers, and unless it was really fancy, no earphones, so everyone got to listen, usually sitting around in a friend’s bedroom, with the door open to make sure your parents could hear what was going on. “Portable” record players meant the machine was the size of  small suitcase, had a handle like the one shown at the top of this post, could be carried somewhere, and then plugged in. Records were made into the 1990s, which means albums, 45s and record players can now be found in antique stores, along with 8 track and cassette tapes. How sad is that? You kids will never know the horror of having to pick the 8 track tape out of a player after it eats it,  or watching a needle jump and scratch your favorite 45 so it skips every time you hit the favorite part of the song . OK.  I am sad now.

giant cabinet speakers

Oh no! Now I miss my giant cabinet speakers from college. They were 4 feet tall with 22 inch subwoofers. Eyes are watering now. Vision is blurry.

Oooooh, and my room from junior high and high school with the big box speakers hanging from each corner of the ceiling for that fancy quadrophonic sound. WAAAHHHH!

I miss the good old days sometimes, SNIFF SNIFF.

Wait a minute! I have a Bose surround sound system and a 46 inch flat screen! HOLY COW! UNBELIEVABLE! the whole room shakes. What was I thinking?

I guess that old stuff was pretty sad in comparison, but on certain days when I hear an old song on the  radio, that white noise brings a tear to my eye and I remember those simpler times with a lot of fondness.

Thanks Mom and Dad.

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4 thoughts on “Wanna Come Over and Listen to Records?

  1. Thank YOU for bringing back some good memories!! Keep your’ eyes open for that particular record player you know we want. To all your’ readers out there: We are still looking for a working stereo record player to play all the 78s, 45s and 33s we still have! Where did all those stereos – that lived in beautiful pieces of furniture – where do they reside today?

    Dry those weeping eyes my son. I promise you that one day, together, we will once again listen to Fats Domino sing “Blueberry Hill” and Bill Haley & the Comets sing, “Rock Around The Clock” ———–*sigh* *sniff sniff*

  2. i do believe you are my musical soul mate, sir. Though I was born in 1993, I’ve inherited my dad’s portable record player and about 700 albums. I was also raised listening to “oldies” and I suppose I have the musical taste of a 60 year-old. Thank you for posting this! It’s nice to know there are others like me!

    • How cool to have such a great collection of LPs! I hope they’re in good shape and you take care of them, but I am sure you will, since it sound like your parents raised you right! My son is a year older than you and is studying music.It seems he also benefits from our family’s varied musical tastes. Keep it up and good luck in school.

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