By the time I was able to purchase my own music, cassette tapes were pushing records off the shelves of music stores. Remember Musicland and all those corny posters? My parents kept a collection of records in the closet, and I’d thumb through them regularly. Fleetwood Mac, Chicago, Frankie Valli, the Four Seasons, and the Beatles. They were all there including a few obscure bands I’d never heard of like Paul Revere & the Raiders.
I couldn’t wait till I had a job and could add some modern rock and roll to the mix. A young man can only handle so much Oh What a Night.
Holding your favorite album in your hand is almost spiritual. Cassettes and CDs don’t’ compare. With an album, you get a feel for the band. The cover art becomes a conversation piece, and it’s tangible.
Nobody had to tell me who my dad’s favorite bands were. I could tell from the condition of the albums. The most haggard looking album was one from Three Dog Night. And on first listen I knew his favorite song was Out in the Country because that’s where the needle dropped into the deepest grooves giving it a rich sound not found on a CD or MP3.
I kept a small case of cassette tapes in our Buick Skyhawk. It was our first and only car with a tape deck. My favorites looked like blanks because all the print had rubbed off. The only two cassettes I wore out were Pyromania and Dark Side of the Moon. Or maybe the player had enough Rock Rock (Till You Drop) and decided to swallow the tape. If the eraser end of a pencil couldn’t wrap it back around the spindle, I was out of luck. Back to Musicland for a 3-pack of TDKs.
Kids today have iTunes and the 25 Most Played smart playlist keeping track of their favorites. At the top of my list with 277 plays is Indian Summer from Chris Botti. It’s not my favorite song, but I listen to it while I write which is often. I won’t have a stack of albums my kids can thumb through like I did. I play enough music through my computer speakers that they probably know I like classic rock and jazz. One day they will know albums such as The Wall, Led Zeppelin II, Sticky Fingers, and Who’s Next are sacred and should be treated as such.
With iTunes, iPods and digital subscriptions on the horizon, they may never have to replace their favorite album. Do kids listen to albums anymore or do they cherry pick their favorite songs off iTunes? Some of my favorite songs on albums were those that never made it to radio.
My kids haven’t caught the music bug like I did at an early age. With a Little Luck from Paul McCartney and Wings was the song that hooked me, and I was fortunate enough to purchase the 45 before my parents could decipher the first few lyrics.
With a little luck, we can help it out
We can make this whole damn thing work out
But my parents were reasonable. As long I didn’t sing “damn” I was OK. I didn’t want to be forced to play the “But you went to a Doors concert” card.
What albums or cassette did you have to replace?