When I was Twelve: When Vinyl Ruled the Earth

I started listening to music when I was twelve. Actually, I mean I started really listening to music when I was twelve.  Before that I liked hearing music but didn’t really listen to it. We used to play the Beatles on 45’s that my oldest sister had bought when we were five or six. We watched the Beatles cartoons on Saturday. Later we watched the Jackson 5 cartoons. When I was twelve, I bought my first 12″ vinyl albums; “The Beatles “Red (double) Album 1962-1966” and Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon”. My sister bought The Beatles “Blue (double) Album 1967-1970”.  Although I had been hearing beatles songs for years, these were all the greats, together, in double album pressings. Wow. They were revolutionary to me. The Beatles for their era changing break through solid pop sound with great rhythym, fresh lyrics, great harmonies, and great sound.  Pink Floyd for their revolutionary concept album approach with rich moody environments and use of painstakingly choreographed everyday sounds, full of abience and contemplative lyrics. My life had changed. Such different styles that seemed to intersect at times. These albums set me on a course for a life long appreciation of modern music. All types. Rock, pop, blues, techno, country, jazz, bluegrass and whatever else.  But I always come back to rock and roll.

I started to explore the great bands of the 1960’s that I was a little too young to appreciate at the time of their greatest popularity, although I had heard the songs on my sister’s small transistor radio.  I watch some of them on the Ed Sulivan show or other popular variety shows. My brother started to self teach himself to play guitar a couple years earlier. He would play parts of songs over and over in order to learn the licks.  Fusing them into my psyche.  He was greatly influential for forming my appreciation for music.  He would play icons like Jimi Hendrix, Santana, the Allman Brothers, and many of the greats of the late 60’s and early 70′.  He had a great album collection and a great ear for music.

I followed his lead and have collected many albums and cd’s over the years.  I miss the full size graphics, smell of the vinyl, and liner notes that coalesced into a total experience. Creating a unique artistic identity.  Getting lost in the album for 20 minutes at a time.  Mini-sized graphics don’t quite cut it for me.  I’ve lived the good life of triple live albums, trifold covers, and a poster to boot. I am not excited about downloading a digital song without context for the music. Without the dance or removing the plastic wrap, and pulling out the sleeve, and dropping the needle in the groove for the very first time.  The individual songs could usually stand on their own but more importantly their collective body was paramount to the total experience.

I continued to look backwards at the classic rock artists as well as explore current genres and artists developing my base built on greats like Van Morrison, Neil Young, and Bruce Springsteen.  My music collection expanding throughout my college years with the likes of Talking Heads, The Clash, U2, and other ground breaking artists. Although living in Seattle at the time I was slow to catch on to the grundge movement but eventually came around.  I even came to love the artistry in rap music. My musical journey of discovery and appreciation will continue through the rest of my life.

I’ve passed on my appreciation of diverse music to my kids.  They have even surpased me.  Their friends are always amazed by how much “old” music they know and have on their Iphones.  They even enjoy the album art that I have loved.  There is a lot of great music being produced and I’ll continue to buy and collect it.  But from time to time I’ll find my way to a musty old record store in the seedy part of town, take in the experience, and re-live the days when Vinyl Ruled the Earth.

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4 comments

  1. Vinyl was a great medium not just for the music but also for the covers, something which is now lost with this digital age of music. I have found a large collection of old records at my dads, mostly classical music but the artwork on the covers is really great.

    1. Albums had a little of everything, music, artwork, poetry, and photography. I have over 1,000 albums and almost as many CD ‘s. I’m glad to have been part of that era. Thanks for the reblog.

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