All for one, and one for all

What music do you buy, why and how?

The very first record I can remember buying with my own money is the single Imagine by John Lennon.  This was when it was re-released after his death in 1980.  Prior to that, I remember listening to the records (and tapes, I think) owned by my parents and grandparents.

My Nanny and Granddad had a magnificent gramophone in a beautiful wooden case.  It must have been the bees knees at the time.  It was the sort where you could load up several 7inch records at once and the machine would play them one by one.  I used to be fascinated by the mechanics of this – how did the machine know when to take the next record, I always wondered.

I also bought an album by Elvis Presley after he died – something of a theme emerging here.  I’m not sure exactly how soon after after his death this was.  It’s funny how things become blurred over time. Elvis died in 1977, so it is possible that I bought this record before Imagine, I suppose, but my memory has them the other way around.

As I grew older, I managed to become influenced by music because I liked it, and not just because musicians were in the news due to untimely deaths.  My ABBA fandom kicked in, uncool though it was at the time – see some of my earliest posts on this.  And I can remember mostly waiting eagerly for birthdays and Christmas to come around in the hope that I would receive the latest album by my favourite singers and bands.  Alternatively, it was a case of saving up precious pocket money, heading out to a favourite record shop and having the pleasure of spending hours browsing through racks and racks of records trying to decide what to buy.

One thing that seemed to emerge as being vital to life’s survival was the arrival of special edition albums and 12inch singles.  I can remember acquiring a white vinyl 12inch edition of Billy Idol’s White Wedding – how chuffed I was with that!

And of course, there was the endless creation of infamous mix tapes – oh my friends and I agonised over getting those right.

These days, music is so very accessible, isn’t it.  Instantly available; totally flexible – capable of being personalised in ever conceivable way.  I have an app on my iPhone which identifies the speed at which tracks are played and selects relevant ones for me to walk to, depending on how fast I want to walk.  And if a particular track does not play at a fast enough speed?  I can tap the screen and increase the beats per minute – amazing!

I have not tended to be very good at downloading single tracks from iTunes.  I often buy a whole album, even if I want only one song.  So I think I can allow myself to lighten up a bit here.  After all, there really is no difference in selecting single downloads from how things used to be when we were all buying 7 and 12inch records, as well as full albums – 100 years ago, was it?

I realise this has been rather a lot of textual musing for you to wade through, so let’s have some music with which to finish.  The Stereophonics’ album Just Enough Education to Perform is an example of something I bought for one track – the iconic Handbags and Gladrags.

But there are plenty of other great numbers on this album too:  Have a nice dayWatch Them Fly Sundays; and Maybe to name but three. Enjoy 🙂

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8 thoughts on “All for one, and one for all

  1. I like the Handbags & Gladrags a lot but I got distracted by the lava lamps! My boyfriend’s parents had one on their console TV in high school around 1973. Their dad was my doctor. I kept thinking my doctor has a lava lamp? There’s something wrong here……Also I got distracted by the thought of White Wedding, actually thinking of rebel yell……actally thinking of Billy singing rebel yell! 😉
    This post is a good segue from Beethoven! Great to have you back.

  2. My grandparents had a pianola. My parents had the beautiful stereo cabinet. The records were mostly my brother’s or my parents’ choice, but it was always exciting when a new record came into the house. I like the idea of purchasing just one song at a time. Sometimes that is all we need. I think we should be able to purchase chapters of a book as well. A penny each, perhaps. 😉

    1. I’m so glad you mentioned the book thing – a similar thought occurred to me, from a slightly different perspective. I was thinking that you would not go into a bookshop and keep buying only the books you have already read. So one should not be afraid to buy whole albums on the basis of only one track that you know – the rest of the album provides a new musical adventure akin to a new book to try. 🙂

  3. Ah vinyl, those were the days. I remember my very first record was from HMV and it was Joyride by Roxette, I was such a cool kid! These days I don’t buy music, I have the free Spotify thing and tend to have YouTube as well going but any spare cash i wish to spend ends up on books usually. I used to routinely buy albums for one track, for the price of a single, it made more sense to buy the album rather than all singles separately. Especially if like suede on the Coming Up album released five of the ten songs as singles.

    1. Ooh – Roxette, you little devil! Yes, spotify is great, isn’t it. And you have probably noticed that I like making use of YouTube for links to music I am discussing. I didn’t do this originally, but it has got easier over time. I really like being able to post a link to a particular track, especially if there is an official video or live version.

      1. Linking is great, especially when it is to a version of a track that is less well known. It’s a good thing to have to give people something they can directly reference, talking of music without the examples is always a challenging thing.

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