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Archive for June 26th, 2010
26 Jun

A Stack o’ Fun at 45RPMs

My original 45 that started it all.

I miss vinyl. No matter how great the remastering, music originally put out on vinyl just sounds better on that format. Yes, the digital transfer can clean up the sound to near perfection, but the results are like covering beautiful furniture in plastic – kinda pretty and shiny, but not really comfortable and homey. I miss the pristine sound of a brand new record right out of the sleeve, or the pops and crackles of something played over and over again. And while I loved albums, my favorite format was always the 45RPM single.

When I was a kid I had a portable record player. I loved getting 45’s together, stacking them on the player and letting them go. Every 3 minutes or so a 45 would drop and a new song would start. It was bliss. And the trick was to sequence the songs so that there was a flow to the music or even a theme. I bought singles consistently beginning in 1974 with Barry Manilow’s “Mandy,” and continued collecting them through the late 80s. The collection also includes older singles from the 60s that were later purchased or inherited. I still have them all.

Some of my 45’s are songs that have yet to be reissued on any CD. These were usually minor hits by forgotten artists, but I remember them well. There are even popular singles where the mix sounds so much better than what was transferred digitally – believe me, if you listen to a song 50 times, you know what it is supposed to sound like. Every once in a great while I’ll dig out the box and give them a spin. Decades later they still sound great.

It’s funny how music has come a bit full circle with the digital world. Singles were originally king in the 50s and 60s, but then albums began to rule the market followed by the CD. Now, single songs can be downloaded in an instant allowing you to create your own collection of songs – the digital equivalent of the 45 stack. I enjoy my iPod and creating fun playlists, but it is nothing like holding a song in your hand, setting a needle on the lead, and the anticipation of music beginning within a second or two. Maybe I’m just an old fart now starting to say “back in my day…” Or perhaps the younger generation, in this case, is really missing out on something truly wonderful.

Anyone out there still have their 45’s?

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