"Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity." ~ Gilda Radner

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Where Have All The Albums Gone?

Sweet Baby James.

My very first record album purchase. Shillitos basement. The record department. All those 45s on the wall...

Ah...James Taylor. You've Got A Friend -- that, I believe was on his Mud Slide Slim album.

"Slippin' away what can I say? Won't you stay inside me month of May..."

Which album was that on? And for the life of me, I cannot name that tune.


Tom Petty is right.

“iTunes is a great idea," Petty was recently quoted as saying on MSN. "It reminds me of the old days when you bought a single for 99 cents, and if you liked that, you bought the album.”

Geeze, we all did that, remember?

In practice, however, the MSN article notes, Petty thinks iTunes and other computerized music services like it are killing albums. More importantly, is computerized "a la carte" music extinguishing the artistry behind long-players?

I think yes. And we've all played a part in the album's demise. The minute I bought the 45 rendition of "Last Train To Clarksville" instead of the Monkees' entire first album, I laid the first brick that paved the road to the end of the road for the album.

But wait! I did buy the album, too. Like with everything else in my life, I was a bit obsessive, and I figured if one Monkees' song made me swoon, a whole ALBUM of Monkees' songs had to be orgasmic! Nah. I had no concept of "orgasmic" back in the day of the Monkees...I was just seeing if anyone reading this entry was still awake...

But I digress..

My point -- and I do have one -- is that the end of the album actually began eons ago, from its very beginning. I just recently learned, that the term "album" -- as we, in our Home Stretch years still think of it (33 RPM) from back in our misspent youth -- got its name from the way 78s were packaged in a photo album-like book. My mom had a gazillion of them. Remember those?

It's called evolution, folks. From 78s to 33s and 45s, from 8-tracks to cassettes to CDs. And now, iTunes.

It happens in the record industry, and it happens in our personal lives. If we don't evolve -- i.e., change and grow and re-invent, we die.

Heavy sigh.

I remember when John Denver died several years back...I dragged out all my old John Denver albums -- and I have several --spread them out across my living room floor, and listened to every single one while staring at the album covers. Memories lit the corners of my mind, and my high school days -- and a few college nights -- flashed before me. Sure, the album covers are worn, and the records crackle and skip. A couple of them are a bit warped. But it was like sitting and listening to an old friend reminisce -- I mourned John Denver's demise as well as the passing of my youth, but I celebrated the good times, too.

"Those were the days my friend, we thought they'd never end. We'd sing and dance forever and a day...."

Excuse me for a moment while I cling to my Gordon Lightfoot "Gord's Gold" and Dan Fogelberg "Innocent Age" DOUBLE albums. Better yet, I think I'll listen to "Same Old Lang Syne" on my stereo while I watch the video of Riverfront Stadium being imploded (to make room for All American Ball Park, or whatever the heck that newfangled ballpark in Cinci is named). Does anyone do the Kool-Aid Kool anymore? Ah, how I long for the days of The Twist.

Hide the knives.

Gawd, I really am going to be 50 in three months...Kleenex. I need a Kleenex...


irma said...

Yes, you will soon be the big 50! You kinda gave it away with the Shillitos comment. My first 45 was HONEY by Bobby Goldsboro, bought for 78 cents at Sears. I was sooo melodramatic even back then, "see the tree, how big it's grown but friends it hasn't been too long it wasn't big" Now I know where our minds have gone, useless song lyrics!

Anonymous said...

Those were the days my friend and they haven't really ended, just changed as we all have...SS