Sunday, September 27, 2009

For the Love of Vinyl

I love vinyl records.  I love the way they look, the glistening spiral groove winding around the ebony disk. I love the way they smell, crayons for the ear.  I love that the artwork has room to explode across the foot square jacket and that inside you frequently find surprises–cool lyric sheets, liner notes, maybe a mini-poster.

 It’s still pure magic to me that music can be held captive in those tiny grooves just waiting for a needle to liberate it. It’s a ritual to take the record out of the sleeve and set it on the turntable.  You have to pay attention and because of that you end up paying more careful attention to the music as well.  At least that’s my theory.

I’m not a collector; I’m more like an accumulator.  Once a record comes into my life and memories attach, it’s hard to let it go. So I have a hodge-podge collection with no sense of order or purpose to anyone but me.  Taken as a whole it’s of little financial value, though there are a few rare gems.  Still, I love simply having the records.  They trigger the same nostalgia as looking through a yellowing photo album or reminicing with an old friend.

And I love the sound. I’m certainly no audiophile.  I’m sure I lost a good chunk of my hearing range standing too close to the amps at concerts back in the day, but the experience of listening with hisses and pops included somehow makes the memory more complete, more authentic. That’s how it was back then, unpredictable, a different listening experience each time.

  Records were simply the artifacts of daily life for me through some wonderful youthful years.  So, in celebration of vinyl--and of classic Rock 'n'  Roll—I’d love to hear about records you’ve loved and music that’s made up the soundtrack of your life.



  1. I've always loved "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" by Elton John. I remember painting the house with Matt while listening to that and Earth, Wind and Fire. To this day when I hear those songs I feel like I'm on a ladder at 1415! ~Andrew

  2. My dad had a great vinyl collection back in the day. When we hit the road he had to leave all of his records behind. It was almost as bad as leaving behind his grand piano. He still talks about them every once in a while with that far off look in his eye that he hides behind a passing shrug. His hand always flutters to his chest, as if there was a place in his heart where those records lived, only a dusty memory now.
    We recently found out that a friend in Georgia has a record player. The last time we passed through we spent hours with her, listening to music, accompanied by the living pop and crackle of the record. There's something that happens when the record starts spinning. An electric sizzle that settles into your soul. I'm glad I got to experience it with him. Watching him dance and sing along to Godspell and hum along with his favorite oldies was an experience I'll never forget.