Music to My Ears   2 comments

Beatles - I Want To Hold Your HandMy first album was “The Stars Sing!”  It had a treasured cut from Captain Kangaroo singing “Button Up Your Overcoat,” who was of course my favorite TV star.  Jimmy Durante and Cab Calloway were also on it … and I have no idea who else.  Don’t know how I got the album.  It was 1962.

Cyrkle - Red Rubber BallThe first 45 I remember listening to was my sister’s: “I Want To Hold Your Hand.” The Beatles were first, and the British Invasion was on!  WHB-AM/Kansas City was the home of the World’s Happiest Broadcasters.  Top 40 radio ruled on AM.  It was 1964.

Eventually, I would buy my own records.  My first two records were 45s, Jan & Dean’s “Popsicle” and The Cyrkle’s “Red Rubber Ball.”  Clearly, I was an early fan of bubblegum pop.  It was 1966.  What can I say; I was in elementary school and that’s got to be age appropriate.  I was not known as a tastemaker in those days.

(insert your own punchline here)Jan and Dean - Popsicle

It was just a couple of years later that I explored Grandma Shull’s house, and found what was floating in the dust on the 2nd floor of her wonderful old farm house.  It’s when I discovered one of the first music playback machines, the Edison Phonograph.  It played 4-1/2″ wax cylinders, and was one of the first ways that recorded music was delivered to people – in 1887.  And they still worked 80 years later!

Edison Phonograph

In that same room were 3 Victrolas.  I could play the 78 RPM records that Grandma still had … which went on a hand-cranked turntable, with a wooden needle vibrating to the grooves in the record.  There were steel needles available, too, but they were harder and wore the wax away sooner.  The wood alternative was softer and they wore away faster, resulting in lower playback quality.  Lower quality in a Victrola.  Riiiiight.  But it was while playing 78s that I discovered Spike Jones, and my love of the absurd began.  Yes, I blame my Grandmother for my later love of Beckett and Ionesco.  Which started with a Victrola.Victrola

I never bought a reel-to-reel player, and thankfully missed the whole 4-track and 8-track fad.  That was truly awful technology.  Imagine listening to an album (OK, even that seems to be a dated concept these days).  In any event, listen to an album which is divided into 4 equal parts, regardless of song breaks, and then listen to a loud “clunk” as the tape heads change position every 2-1/2 songs.  That was 8 track technology, and it was state of the art for in-car listening for a few years.

Cassettes came next.  The best part of cassettes was that I sold a national sponsorship to TDK Tapes when I was at Six Flags.  That was a 6-figure annual deal, and I loved TDK tapes for as long as that sponsorship ran!  And that was the only thing I liked about cassette tapes.

I wholly embraced CDs … and still have not moved beyond, actually.  I’ve ripped them, I’ve burned them.  CDs are great.  But the world has progressed again, and I am behind in the portable digital world.

So this year, I’m asking Santa for an iPod.  I think it’s time.  Maybe I’ll discover a new absurdity to love.


The History or Recorded Music

Timeline of Audio Formats

2 responses to “Music to My Ears

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  1. Pingback: John Lennon Made The Cyrkle |

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