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Music from the '60s and '70s

What albums did you listen to?

Ah albums, those tributes to the past…which ones did you own? I had well over 100 of them, and they all eventually became nicked and tattered.  I managed to hold onto my record collection until about two years ago, when I finally updated my sound system, and realized I had no space for my hundreds of records anymore.  

Part of me wished I had saved them, but I just couldn’t tolerate those hisses and pops anymore.  Now, my CD collection dominates the living room, with the spillover stacked upstairs in the den and bedroom. No wonder guests never want to spend the night.

I think I first began collecting albums when I was about 11.  Teresa and I had “Meet the Beatles, “ which came out in 1964, with those four bowl-haired English gents on the cover singing Yeah, Yeah, Yeah.  Many women were in a frenzy wanting to see the Beatles.  As for me, I just pretended I was Paul McCartney. I even looked a bit like him at the time.

Within a year or two, I had purchased The Doors, with Jim Morrison looking askew with his curly locks and poetic self-conscious stare. I’d begun writing poetry myself, and he was a real source of inspiration.  I even put my name on the cover of the record, as we'd often take our albums to our Walter Reed parties, and I didn’t want mine to get lost or stolen.

After that, my record collection began to expand exponentially.  More Beatles albums arrived, along with The Turtles, Stevie Wonder, and many others.

Teresa was a big fan of Cat Stevens, the Moody Blues and Joni Mitchell. I delighted in those artists as well, adding my own favorites like Mose Allison, Iron Butterfly, Cream and other psychedelic superstars. 

After school, I’d go upstairs to pick my favorite disc, and then proceed to play it over and over again, while I pretended to do my homework.  The black lights that gleamed in my bedroom were the perfect accompaniment to the bright pink posters I had plastered all over the walls.  

The obscure lyrics and screaming guitars of Jimi Hendrix probably made my neighbors go deaf, despite the fishnet I had hanging on my ceiling which tried to capture all the sounds and keep them prisoner in my room.

When I was 18, my friend Arthur worked at a record store on Ventura Blvd. and he’d always introduce me to new music. By the time I got to college, my tastes had expanded to include Laura Nyro and Rod Stewart , along with jazz luminaries like Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Stanley Turrentine and Chic Corea.

The albums were growing in their girth, my turntable placed right next to the window so that any student could enjoy my collection as well.  Didn’t everyone love Creedence Clearwater Revival?

I do miss my album days. There was a real ritual to selecting an album, sliding it out from its paper sleeve, and choosing which side to play.  Slowly, you’d lift the arm and place it gently on the grooves until you were transported into the song itself, as a singer, musician, lyricist or simply a fan, trying to escape from the drudgery of the day…

teresa mcgrath November 15, 2011 at 03:40 PM
great article mary, you stimulated some fond memories....i have always saved my 400 albums....some were stolen over the years, especially my beloved beatles collections and bootlegs....i replaced the albums over time.. the beatles were pivotal, and we were introduced to that fine '64 album at barbara engle's house during one of her famous slumber parties...the first album i bought with my own money was the association with the song, windy....i had put hundreds of blue chips stamps together to save for my own record player that unleashed music that was so intoxicating...early was only the beatles, as their songwriting and creative genius occupied my mind and emotions.....some of the other '60's invasion groups and motown dominated on a little red transitor radio i had, and made it into my collection as money allowed...later arrived crosby, stills, nash, plus eventually young, joni mitchell, cream, led zeppelin, jimi hendrix, stevie wonder, pink floyd, and a little later miles davis, chick corea- return to forever, john mcloughlin and the mahavishnu orchestra...additionally classical music entered my collection with the usual bach, beetoven, and tons of jazz....it was fun to walk to the record store and pick obscure artists or the album cover art, and see what unfolds...we would stack the '45's, 33's, or 78's and let it rip...i bought another turntable in the '80's so i could play an album occasionally, plus i have cassettes....cds are stacked and ready to roll....
Mary McGrath November 15, 2011 at 04:08 PM
Oh wow, didn't remember you converted Blue Chip Stamps to buy music related products! And Barbara Engle surfaces again! Thanks for sharing your memories and filling in some gaps!
teresa mcgrath November 15, 2011 at 04:20 PM
sure mary....hahaha.....i put in so many stamps with a sponge, as i wanted the little record player so bad..it had detachable speakers so you could enjoy true stereo sound when mono gave way to that....
Mary McGrath November 15, 2011 at 05:15 PM
Oh, and I forgot to mention Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks-one of my favorite groups from the 70's that I still enjoy today. Fun jazzy stuff with some entertaining lyrics!
Mary McGrath November 15, 2011 at 05:29 PM
I guess I borrowed your record player? I know I had one in my bedroom, but I don't know where it came from...maybe you do?
Mary McGrath November 15, 2011 at 05:34 PM
My pal Arthur mentioned the Bla Bla Cafe in Studio City....Anyone remember it? http://www.bla-bla-cafe.com/
Andy Steiner November 15, 2011 at 07:38 PM
You made me think... How many grooves on each side of an average LP?
teresa mcgrath November 15, 2011 at 08:23 PM
mary- i remember the blabla cafe and dan hicks and his hot licks.... andy- can't recall that, but if i was forced at gunpoint, 660 to 700 if it were 331/3 rpm, since many lp's were around 20 min?
Mary McGrath November 15, 2011 at 11:26 PM
Now that's a Jeopardy question!

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