Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Beatles - I'm So Tired

A record worthy of vinyl



I'm So Tired popped up on my iPod on the way to work on Friday.

I was born around the time The Beatles broke up. Like most people who discovered The Beatles after they'd come and gone, I got into them as a result if their poppier early work, their hits and from their latter solo work.

In 1967, The Beatles released The White Album. 20 years later, I bought it for the first time. It was 1987 and my music collection consisted mostly of cassettes (my favorites were stored in a canvas cassette tape holder underneath the seat of my Pontiac Phoenix). For some reason, I felt that I deserved to treat myself to owning this particular album as a record. At the time, vinyl collection consisted of the following records:
  • The Monkees' Greatest Hits
  • Duran Duran's Rio
  • Duran Duran's Arena
  • Adam and the Ants' Prince Charming (see? It struck a chord)
  • INXS' Underneath the Colours
  • Kiss' Dynasty
  • A 12 inch maxi-single (look it up, kids) of The Thompson Twins' Lay Your Hands On Me
Of course The Beatles' White Album deserved to be a part of that pantheon!

Like I said, I was a cassette man, and by the time I purchased my eighth record, I had recording them onto cassette part down to a science:
  • Step 1: At the point of sale where you're purchasing said vinyl record, also pick up a 90-minute Maxell XLII-S blank cassette.  
    • Step 2: Record the album onto the cassette the the first time you play it. God forbid you picked up any dust from the record onto the cassette.
    • Step 3: While the first side of the record is recording, in your neatest (and tiniest) handwriting, write the track listing plus the artist and album name on the side of the case.
    • Step 4: Carefully put the record back into the sleeve, so that in the unlikely event you'll have to re-dub it onto cassette, you have an almost pristine vinyl copy to work from.
    For eight albums, this system served me well. AND it was the perfect cassette album! Record One fit on Side A of the cassette and Record Two fit on Side B. It was like The Beatles planned it that way!

    That summer I fell in love with the White Album. It was the soundtrack of my car. Some point that summer the cassette got caught in the car stereo. I was able to extract it and re-spool it thanks to the help of a No. 2 pencil. There was fallout however,   somewhere between Piggies and Rocky Raccoon, the tape twisted on itself and I wound up with about 25 seconds of backmasking that I thought John Lennon and Paul McCartney would have been proud to call their own...so much to the point that I not only kept it that way, but to this day, when I hear either of those songs I still sing that twisted section backwards.

    My love affair with The White Album has as much to do with my love/hate affair with cassettes at the time. I loved cassettes, but I recognized even then their flaws as a music storage device. 1987 me knew it wasn't the storage medium of the future. Sure CDs were out there, but I didn't see their staying power yet...they were still too expensive and too precious for me then.

    I went out of my way to purchase The White Album on vinyl. It was also the last album I ever purchased on vinyl. A fitting end to a short love affair. Have I bought my last CD? I'd like to think I have. I just wish the last CD I purchased was a memorable...maybe it's just because I'm so tired I can't recall what it is.

    1 comment:

    1. I loved that car. I think I heard Rocky Raccoon in it for the first time.... Good luck with the blog!

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