Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Day the Music Died

My first music came on 45 RPMs that I listened to on a turntable that when not in use, closed up to look like a little suitcase. Most the discs in my collection were passed down from an older cousin. I remember "Big Girls Don't Cry" was a particular favorite.

Eventually I graduated to LPs, aka 33 1/3 RPM records. Carole King's Tapestry was the first album in a collection that eventually numbered several hundred. By then I had replaced the suitcase with a unit that included an eight-track player/recorder so I could make my own mixed tapes.

Before long eight-tracks gave way to cassette tapes. Having been burned buying now unplayable eight-track tapes, I bought very few cassettes. Nearly all the cassette tapes I ever had were poorly made homemade copies of music I had on albums.

Next thing you know, cassette tapes had been replaced by compact discs. At the time you couldn't make your own. I stuck to buying albums until they became almost impossible to find.

I lost all my albums (it's a long story), got rid of my turntable and started buying CDs. I ended up with thousands (another long story)--most I never listened to or simply didn't like. I picked out the hundred or so I did like and let a student sell the rest online for half the proceeds.

When I got my MP3 player, we burned all the CDs onto the harddrive on my desktop computer. Over the next couple of years the CD players on my living room stereo and in my car quit working. The desktop died, too.

My MP3 player has maybe 60 songs on it, the newest recorded sometime before 2005. For some reason it seems to play the same 20 songs over and over again. I only use it for the FM radio to listen to NPR while I'm working in the yard.

The only new music I listen to now is on the radio, the VH1 top 20 countdown or from a video someone posted on Facebook or a blog. I've still got CDs, but other than my computer, nothing to play them on. Well, that's not entirely true--I did buy the little boom box so I could listen to books on CD in my car when I travel.

Unless I start a new music library with digital music downloaded from the Internet, I'm without music of my own. At about a buck a tune, it will cost a fortune to replace all the songs I'd really like to have. Dirty rotten bastards.

I ain't doing it. I figure about the time I download a good-sized library, the technology will become obsolete and I'll have to start over again. Guess I'll just have to whistle. Whistling is one of the things you do when you're...

The Crotchety Old Man

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