Wednesday, September 5, 2012

From Skipping Records To Skipping CDs...Has Music Really Changed Very Much?


(Note:  This was written years ago, but I think you'll like it (if you are of a certain age!) Enjoy!--GW-T) 


If you know a 45 isn’t just a pistol, you are probably as old as I am.    I remember playing 45 rpm records in my bedroom and watching “American Bandstand” like it was yesterday.   When I hear what teens listen to now, I think about how much better the music was when I was their age. The songs had a “great beat” along with lyrics that made perfect sense.  Or did they? 

A popular song,  “MacArthur Park” was more widely known as “the Cake Song.”  You remember those words don’t you?  Someone left the cake out in the rain.  I don’t think that I can take it, ’cuz it took so long to bake it.  And I’ll never have that recipe again!  Sheer poetry!  This one was a little before my time, but how ‘bout the Mafia-based song “Mack The Knife?” Oh the shark has pretty teeth, dear… And he shows them pearly white…Just a jack knife has MacHeath, dear… And he keeps it out of sight. Then there was “Louie, Louie.”  A great party song, but nobody really knows the words to it.  Kids were listening this stuff and we talk about today’s songs?


  
45 rpm (rotations per minute) record and a LP (long play) album.  I had a cool record player with colored lights that flickered!  So rockin'!
As I was dragging out Christmas decorations I came across a stack of record albums (you know, black, flat vinyl disks that play really old music.  Also known as LPs.)  Some of the titles included soundtracks from “Miami Vice” (now THAT was cutting edge), several by BachmanTurner Overdrive (remember “Takin’ Care of Business”?), Foreigner, Boston (an absolute favorite!) and not one, but two copies of “Peter Frampton Comes Alive.”  Of course, I haven’t had a working turntable for more than 20 years.  But, I hung onto these albums for 13 moves! 

An 8-track cartridge.  Everyone I know has had these eaten by their players! 
As useless and silly as keeping the albums was, it pales in comparison to the box of 8-tracks.  I finally gave my whole collection of 45s, LPs and 8-tracks to my older brother Jeff because he still has a working 70’s stereo system.  He recalls when 8-tracks first came out that he “didn’t think it could get any better than this!” 
 Let me fill you youngsters in on the “mechanics” of an 8-track tape.  Basically, there was a continuous loop of tape divided into four sections for the songs, and then each section had two tracks so the song would play in stereo.  Still with me?  The player played one section until the end of the loop then jumped down to the next one.  This wouldn’t be a problem except all songs weren’t the same length, so you would have either dead space or worse, the famous cha-chink would happen right in the middle of a song (often a favorite one.)  Then the music would fade in at the beginning of the next track. 

Another fun problem with these pricey little puppies (I remember paying $12.95 when I only earned $3.00/hr.) was for no apparent reason, they would get “eaten” by the player.  Thin brown tape would spew everywhere.  Even if you could get them out of the “tape deck” (aka player) in one piece, the “surgery” performed to fix them was seldom successful.  Heat melted them, so they couldn’t stay in a car for long in the summer!  They were so darn bulky you didn’t want to carry more than a couple at a time.  They weren’t something easily stuck in a purse. 

Though much more portable, these cassette tapes got eaten also.  I learned to splice them in college, which took some talent, only for them to become dinosaurs to CDs.  Never leave them in a car!
So much for the technical support section… the most recent use of 8-tracks in my house was leveling-up a leaning Christmas tree.  Now I use VHS tapes as they are becoming just as obsolete.  I don’t know if music is any better nowadays, but the equipment sure is.  It was kind of sad to get rid of my old music (even sadder to recently learn some of them go for big bucks on Ebay!)  But, all is not lost.  I’ve seen dozens of commercials offering CD’s of my favorite (and some un-favorite) “oldies” for just $19.95, credit cards accepted—RUSH SHIPPING available (who would need to pay extra to “rush” 30 year old disco songs?)  Well, I guess everyone (even a teenager) has a right to their favorite kind of music…as long as they wear earphones or keep their car windows up.  Get out some of your favorites and start jammin’!

What are your musical memories???  Please comment below:)
Until next time!
Gale
  
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