Vinyl Records: The Nostalgia
I remember with fondness my younger days, when mainstream music was sold on vinyl records. We would take a trip to a record store on a Saturday, browse for a bit and choose our favorite track. In my day - the flamboyant 1980s - it was all about the likes of Madonna, Duran Duran, Bon Jovi, Queen, Spandau Ballet....the list goes on and on. Bad taste was cool, music was fun, and building up a vinyl record collection was right up there at the top of every teenager's priorities.
Mostly, I purchased the 7" singles - they were cheap and I didn't often have a lot of money. I used to retreat to my bedroom and play them in turn, one by one. There is just something about watching that record spinning round...or maybe I'm just getting too nostaligc. I kept all my records in a small box, designed especially for the purpose, with stickers of various bands stuck all over it. I still have the box, and all the records in it, though the stickers have fallen off over the years.
Nowadays, of course, teenagers (and adults) the world over, still love music. It remains the most popular form of media entertainment. However, instead of the old, vinyl records (though these can sometimes still be purchased) most modern music is now either bought on CD or downloaded straight from internet sites like iTunes. In fact, the way we enjoy our music has undergone a complete transformation since the days of vinyl records. If truth be known, downloading music is probably the most environmentally-friendly method of obtaining your favorite songs. But for music lovers like myself, who can still remember younger days spent browsing through records surrounded by colorful picture sleeves, vinyl sparks feelings of happy nostaliga; memories of times gone by.
And even my parents had vinyl record collections - I recall the crackly tones of Elvis Presely in particular, singing out from the enormous contraption that was the sixties version of a record player. The player even had a certain smell, which is still in my memory today. I remember the 'arm' was automatic, and you could store six records at once, which would then play in turn. The Elvis records were all old 78s, and in my house my mother had them all. Actually, she still has them to this day.
The first 7" single I ever bought (apart from a children's album full of some rather absurd tracks) was Debbie Harry's French Kissin' in the USA. I can't remember my next purchase, but I do remember being completely obsessed with Wham! for a while. The songs sound cheesy now, but I still love them for what they were. I was intrigued by Madonna, new to the music scene and very much the rebel. Michael Jackson was popular, and especially great at discos, when everyone tried to 'moonwalk'. 'True', by Spandau Ballet, was a song I loved, and I liked 'Rio' by Duran Duran. However, by the end of the eighties, I had developed a bit of an obsession with the music of Bon Jovi. Bon Jovi was the background for my exam revision, though I'm not sure how much that helped In any case, I still like Bon Jovi today.
Just the other weekend, my husband decided to retrieve his old vinyl record collection from the back of the stair cupboard. Just like my own, it is full of old, eighties hits that set the soundtrack for a generation. It's surprising, really, how something as simple as a song caught in time can send you flying back to other days; other times; a forgotten decade. But it's not only about the music, of course - a song might make you think of the times you used to prance around your friend's living room with a sweeping fringe held in place with a can of rock hard hairspray, but it is just as likely to bring up other memories. Friendships, perhaps, or trips out. A family Christmas, when someone bought you a certain album. A first crush, unreciprocated. A first, unsure love. The many escapades of youth, both good and bad - sad times, happy times, and all the little moments inbetween. I can't help wondering whether we will be able to capture such nostalgia with the music stored on our Ipods and MP3 players...probably not. For me, it will never be the same as the box of memories in my sticker-scarred, record storage box. Vinyl records...they really were the days.
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