If you’re of a certain age, you probably pity the young people of today. Every kid is plugged into his own private iPod listening room, listening to iTunes effortlessly downloaded from the iStore or streaming them on Pandora. They have no idea what they’re missing, grooving on their own cloud of music.
Remember what it was like back in the ’60s in the pre-earbud days when music came out of speakers?
1. The Thrill of the Chase
Shopping for records was just that—a chase. Each time the Beatles or the Stones or any of the popular Motown artists released a new album, it called for a visit to your favorite record store, even if it meant taking the bus. If you didn’t have the money, you and your bestie had to at least go see it. You’d pick up the thin plastic-wrapped album and gaze at the photos on front … and back, where you might even find Mick Jagger’s ass hugged by tightest of tight pants.
2. The Behind Closed Doors Experience
As soon as you got home, you repaired to your room—or your bestie’s room, if she was the one buying—to listen, usually lying across your bed, gazing up at the ceiling or getting lost in the mind-blowing graphics on the album cover.
3. The BYOM Party
Not BYOB parties, BYOM, as in Bring Your Own Music. When you went to a party, it was a communal experience. Everyone brought his or her records and entrusted them to the host. It was the day of stacking turntables, so she’d pile them them atop one other and set them in place, and the arm on the stereo would take care of the rest.
4. Packing up for College
When the time came for college, your albums went with you, usually packed in a cardboard carton you snagged from a liquor store. And as all the dads who packed them in the car will tell you, they weighed as much as a stack of bricks. But it was all for a good cause, because one way to gain instant popularity was to have the best collection of albums on your dorm floor. Whether you brought them to the student lounge or played them full-blast in your room, you were instantly on everyone’s list of cool.
5. Breaking Up
Yes, breaking up was always hard to do, especially if it was your favorite LP. While it did take a lot to actually break it in pieces, it was easy to scratch vinyl or to melt it. Leave your album in a closed car on a summer day and you’d have a warped circle that refused to lay flat on the turntable.
6. Building up Collectible Collections
if you’re a pack rat like me, you never threw any of your albums out, and as a result, you have a valuable collection. Or at least it would be if you’d been a bit more careful with them. They may have survived the moving vans that took you from home to home over the years, but not the cat who thought the Dark Side of the Moon cover made a great scratching post. Then there’s your very first album, Meet the Beatles. It remained unscathed from 1964 until that day in 1998 when your five-year-old niece decided to give Ringo a mustache.
Maybe you never even realized how many albums you had after stashing them away in the damp basement, after you finally gave in and bought a CD player, then a Walkman, then finally bit the bullet, bought an iPod and opened an iTunes account. But admit it: You miss those trips to the record store, don’t you?