A Blog of Individualism, Originality and Self Expression from a Daydreamer with a Big Imagination

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Death Of The Record Player

Humorous, Yet Sincere Experience
If you haven't ever owned a record player and a record collection you missed an important part of music history. The record player was also called a phonograph, gramophone and in more modern times a turntable. The record player spans back to the late 1800's and died out in the mid to late 80's after Cd's appeared the scene. For those of you who like facts the first phonograph was created by Thomas Edison in 1877.

My grandparents bought me my first record player when I was 12 or 13 years old. It was a compact mono phonograph system with one speaker. Lucky for me they also bought my first ever record. It was The Partridge Family, the one with all of them sticking their faces out of the side windows of this flower power hippy type bus on the album cover. If you have no idea who The Partridge Family is, they had a popular show on TV starring singer David Cassidy and the rest of the group. Yes I admit it, I watched the show. And yes it was pretty cheesy looking back. My second record album was The Osmond's.

Years later thanks to advancements in technology I had my very own complete bad mamma jamma stereo system along with a turntable,  AM/FM tuner, and of course two speakers. I though I had it all.

I also had my first job and my very first apartment. $149.00 a month and furnished. Before you know it all of my unemployed broke lazy moocher friends I have known all of my life were over constantly. What did I get myself into? I learned really fast that it was hard to keep your equipment and record collection in good shape with people wrestling around falling on your stereo, getting drunk and puking on your records. Sometimes they would even fly my albums into the swimming pool as you would a Frisbee.

I lived a second floor apartment and my stereo was on a table in route to the bathroom. Unfortunately the apartment was very small and had a strange layout, it was the only place it could go. It seemed like every time some heavy footed friend of mine went to the bathroom the album would skip a line or two in the song. Sometimes depending on the size of the person or how drunk and stoned they were the record might skip two or three songs. And then there were times it would skip all the way into the center of the record onto the label creating a horrible sound.

Besides skipping part of the song you just knew your record had a brand new scratch added to the numerous others. You could always tell on every album what the most played songs were. The particular track would be a lot lighter in color than the others. Sometimes the track would almost be white or at least look white considering most albums are black, especially If you didn't buy a new turntable needle on a regular basis like me. As the needle becomes more dull and blunt it digs into those small fine grooves it has to travel through and creates a lot of extra added wear and tear on your record album. To prevent that all you have to do is buy a new needle periodically but at the time they were considered to be expensive.

Records for some reason never seem to make it back into their covers and if they did, ZZ Top might be in the Led Zeppelin cover and vice versa. It seemed the records always ended up in the middle of the floor in high traffic areas for some strange reason. From my friends point of view the album covers made great coasters and TV dinner trays. Some even served as an easy place to write down phone numbers and notes on. Oh yeah and you had the freelance album artist who didn't think the original picture of Bob Dylan or any others looked good enough. Before you know it they would have an Adolph Hitler mustache, wearing a pair of sunglasses that weren't their before, or have a joint ablaze hanging from their lips.

It seemed like such a hassle to own a record player and to have all of those albums that took up so much space. You have to worry about them getting scratched constantly. Today we have Cd's that are small and mp3 players the size of cigarette lighters that hold thousands of songs. Even so the days of spinning records on the turntable were some of the most memorable and best times of my life. I am so glad the record player and my 30 year collection of a about thousand albums or more played such an important part in my life as a music listener. I love modern technology but I also have an appreciation in my heart for things that were made in earlier times.

You Didn't Really Just Read That Long And Boring Story Did You?  


Anonymous said...

Great story