I am of a generation that had the wonderful gift of vinyl.
My record collection was one of my most prized possessions growing up. I got my first “stereo record player” when I was 14. It was the big present that year for Christmas. I remember it flipped out from its base and the two speakers were detachable with about three feet of cord. It was quite progressive for its time. I also received several record albums, among them, Stevie Wonder, Isaac Hayes, several Motown groups, The Jackson 5, and Elvis Presley.
I set my stereo up to be the crowning point of my room, close enough to the window so that when I sang into my hairbrush I could look outside at the world going by. I’d decided that year, I was going to be a singer, have my own band, and tour the world. Collecting records (I also had a very extensive library of paperback books), was my passion. I dabble in all types of music, knew the words to almost every song, and could mimic most singers. Music along with books was my escape. I wanted to play several instruments and go to college for a music degree (again, all of this was alongside being a writer).
My fondest music memory is one that takes place at the AYA (American Youth Association), a place we all hung out on Saturday nights. The back end of the building was decorated like a cave and it was where we danced with joy, with sorrow, and with a sense of revolution in our world. The music of the 70’s was incredibly varied and my friends and I loved all of it. We danced, we sat around and sang along, and for the girls, well, we went to the bathroom in groups to cry our way through breakups and makeups while ballads blared from the speakers.
I realized I wanted to be a lyricist. I wanted to write words for songs. I wanted my words to affect the young and old, give comfort to the sad, and be a part of people’s memories well into their old age. Most of my memorable life experiences are punctuated and defined by specific songs. Music and words are a powerful combination. It truly is the universal language on so many levels.
Since the growth of technology, where music can be streamed and even CD’s are becoming obsolete, I miss the rush of putting a record on the player, gently placing the diamond tipped needle on the record, and hearing that first scratch of it sliding into the grooves before the beautiful sound of music filled the room. It’s a nostalgic memory.