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…