In the last month, two strange packages have arrived at my house from Amazon; two vinyl records that my husband has taken to ordering for the vinyl record player that we do not yet possess. He has become very interested in vinyl records lately, which makes me wonder what ever happened to all the records we used to have, back when I was a kid. Probably they were all sold in yard sales or whatnot, since who played records by the 1990s? Certainly not me.
As a child, I remember going through my parents’ record collection; I still have a soft spot for Kenny Rogers and Creedence Clearwater Revival. In fact, my party trick is that I know all the lyrics to every Kenny Rogers song ever – even the less-popular ones like Ruby Don’t Take Your Love To Town and She Believes In Me. I remember looking curiously at the album covers of the hirsute CCR, which was starting to be an outdated look even then.
I had a lot of those little books that came with records to read along with. I can still hear the voice at the beginning: You can read along with me in your book. You know it’s time to turn the page when you hear this bell, like this…ding! Once I graduated from those records, I had a couple of LP’s that were pretty hip for a six-to-eight-year-old: the Mini-Pops and Disco Duck.
It was when I was nine that I got my first REAL record, and that was – inappropriately enough – Like A Virgin by Madonna. I remember looking at the album cover and thinking how beautiful she was, with her Boy Toy belt buckle and frothy dress. I began wearing a ton of rubber and friendship bracelets, as well as the occasional hair bow, in an attempt to emulate that look.
The second album I ever owned – and because of the event of cassette tapes, it was one of the last – was Corey Hart’s Boy in the Box.
Oh, how I loved that album. You can NEVER SURRENDERERERERRRRRR I would sing passionately in the mirror, using my hairbrush as a microphone. I would take out the album liner and read all the lyrics until they were memorized. I was sure – SURE – that I would marry Corey Hart when I grew up. After all, he was Canadian, and I knew that he spent time in Calgary, since this was featured in his Never Surrender video, and it was not that far from my house:
So really, how hard could it be to meet and have him fall in love with me? Of course, this is what I looked like at the time, but I was still undeterred:
I wrote letters to the Corey Hart Fan Club, and for my trouble I received a photocopied letter that said that even though it was photocopied, it really WAS Corey writing it. Swoon.
See you soon, Corey.
Well. Time went on and instead of vinyl albums I saved my money to buy cassette tapes instead. They were so much more convenient, as I could use them in my Walkman on the way to school. By the time I was fourteen, though, it became hilariously “retro trendy” to buy vinyl again, at used record stores. I even had a boyfriend working at one such store, and he would alert me to any Beatles albums that arrived. While my peers were embracing the New Kids on the Block, I was excited at my purchase of an old copy of The Wall. I read and memorized all the lyrics again, although I found them – along with the illustrations on the liner – disturbing and frankly, I didn’t even really like Pink Floyd. However, it looked cool with my copy of Abbey Road. To this day, I change the channel on the radio when I hear Another Brick in the Wall. No really, I think you *do* need education, sir.
And just like clothing fashions, it appears that vinyl is back in style. I wonder if you can still skip songs by counting the grooves on the record, or if the needle still bounces back and forth when the record is finished. Now, if only my parents still had those Kenny Rogers and Juice Newton records.