Monday, November 29, 2010

Part Two: The Early Years of Record Buying

Thanks for coming back. Here's where the madness began.

I would lie in my bed, listening to to my knight's-helmet-shaped AM radio, waiting for my favorite songs. I became obsessed with Elton John's version of "Pinball Wizard" and somehow it dawned on me that if I owned the record I could listen to it whenever I wanted to. One day when my mom was going downtown I scraped together a few dollars and asked her to stop into Sam Goody and pick up the Tommy soundtrack album. I could barely concentrate all day, waiting for her to get back home. 

Before I knew it, she was back and I was putting diamond to vinyl. Next, I experienced that sinking feeling that all record buyers have felt and try to avoid: the realization that you bought an album with just one good song. Damn - burned on the very first try! No matter how hard I tried, I just couldn't get into the songs featuring Tina Turner and Eric Clapton - not to mention Oliver Reed and Ann-Margaret, who appear on an astounding 12 tracks out of 31!!

And then, to add insult to injury, my little knight's helmet played me the ORIGINAL version of "Pinball Wizard" by The Who, which was obviously far superior. Clearly, this record buying stuff was more complicated than I had thought.

That was in 1975. For my birthday in 1976 I got my very own Realistic turntable and speakers (dad loved Radio Shack). My sister Jessica gave me three 45's: "Devil Woman" by Cliff Richard, "Magic Man" by Heart, and a reissue of "Got To Get You Into My Life" with "Helter Skelter" on the flip side, released to promote the Rock'n'Roll Music compilation. I loved having the little singles - I could put on my own AM radio show with just my favorite songs. I just needed more vinyl - lots more vinyl...

Next Time: 12" of pure genius.

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