Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Top 10 Stages of Recorded Music

1. The first phonograph was a tin disc or cylinder. Listen to the Voice of Brahm’s and Piano Arrangement 1889.

2. 78’s I have seen them and they were much thicker and heavier.

3. 33 1/3’s loved them. Killed me when it skipped though and they could warp with too much heat.

4. 45’s (singles) You could play 45’s in a car? Check the link, of course it’s on youtube.

5. 8 tracks I never owned one but I had friends who did.
6. Cassettes (The Walkman) I had a cassette player specially installed in my first car. They did tend to get eaten, the term used when the taped crinkled up and was mangled by the gremlins inside.
7. Boom Box Okay so I don’t miss these on the beach.
8. CD’s (DiscMan) I carried one on my walks. I needed a pouch for hands free. It could be extra baggage to take your favorite CD’s on a road trip.
9. MP3’s (IPOD) in many cases, it’s in the air and an isolated experience. I do tend to listen to it more then the radio. It is my music on my time, no commercials.
10. Vinyl is making a comeback. Many bands are releasing albums as well as CD’s now.

Some things are worth keeping.

I admit I rarely throw out things that are sentimental to me, those certain things that evoke great memories but I did lose track of my albums but I still have my first stereo.  It was nothing fancy to the music aficionado but it meant the world to me.  My son is now a collector and I’ll hear a song that he is playing and just reminisce.  The other day, I said to him, “I had that album, where did you get it?” and he said “in mom-mom’s attic” and I just smiled. Owning the whole album was so much different from downloading a song.  I will admit I like the convenience of putting the IPOD on shuffle and just let it play the next random song but I think back to the days that I was just in a Dave Mason mood or it was a Yes day and the sound filled the room. When you owned the album, to me anyway, you identified with the artists differently. There was more of an appreciation. The names of the entire band wasn’t the only knowledge you acquired, an album cover was full of information as well as the sleeve that the album slipped into. I can still identify many songs by the album they first appeared on and the art work first comes to mind. I remember closely examining the album as it played. Holding it in both hands and just scanning it as the music played in the background. Looking at the names, often times other artists from other bands played on that album and you felt like you had a bonus collector’s item. I’ll admit I have gotten a little old folksy when the music is too loud but if an album that I owned is playing I have been known to say, “crank it up”. Another observation, when playing an entire album you always knew what song was coming up and if you owned the album and heard the song on the radio you would always hear the first few chords of the next song in your head and half expect to hear that song. It also fascinates me how many lyrics are swimming around in our heads that are activated when a song is played, yet we forget where we last placed our keys.

Remember when you could only buy your albums at a record store?
Record Store Day was April 16th 2011 and is now celebrated annually.

Everyone had a favorite album or two.  Do you remember yours?

1 comment:

  1. Another great topic Mary Ann. Anyone who grew up in the time when vinyl albums were the primary source of music, knows that young people today are missing at least two vital aspects of music artistry by focusing on single song downloads.

    First, MP3 recordings are technically inferior to either CD or good vinyl recordings. The sound quality of recorded music today is not as good, generally speaking, in part because engineers know that the music will likely be played back via MP3 - and it's not worth the trouble, i.e., cost, to have a high quality recording, particularly with respect to "top 40" commercial type songs.

    Second, you mentioned it Mary Ann; the relationship/appreciation of the artist's music is shallow when you only become familiar with the "hit" releases. Many "secondary" songs on albums I listened to ended up becoming favorites of mine, and I may not have even listened to them at all if the MP3 world existed back then. It may also change the approach some artists use in being creative and writing songs.

    An interesting difference in music word between then and now is, back then, groups went on tour to promote album sales. The tour was often sponsored by the record company, which in turn took much of the profit of teh album sales. Now, hit songs are more likely avenues for artists to promote ticket sales for their live performances. Large record companies are almost. A musician can't make a sustained living selling just singles, particularly when as often as not - the song is downloaded for free. At the same time, artists now seem to have the potential to control their own destiny - both business wise and creatively.