Do You Remember

I spent yesterday morning listening to Pandora Radio on the Internet. I have several different stations programmed. Yesterday, I used two of them. One was Buddy Holly and the other was Connie Francis. Pandora is neat because when you program a station, Pandora chooses other music that has the same general flavor to it.

Sometimes I click on the song that is playing and read the lyrics along with the song. Yesterday one of the graphics that was with a song was of a 45 record changer. That got me to thinking.

In my life time I have witnessed an enormous amount of change in the music media. My mom introduced me to records with her old hand crank record player. You cranked up the spring driven motor and then put the needle down on the record. The speaker was on the head that held the needle. She had several records from the thirties.

I had an aunt that had a similar contraption, except it used cylindrical records. Both easily scratched the records and they snapped and popped as they played, but I loved listening to them and would do it for hours on end.

When my mom and I moved to Odessa, she bought me a portable record player. It only played one record at a time and could play 78s, 45s and 33 1/3 records. Today, I doubt if many know what those designations stand for. The numbers represent the revolutions per minute of the media. Of course the lower numbers created the ability to get more music on a smaller recording area.

My mom bought me three or four records with the record player and the artist I chose was Burl Ives. I had at most about 8 songs – all on 78s. I still remember Hard Rock Candy Mountain, Polly Wolly Doodle, and others.

When I was a teenager the 45s were the rage. Each record had two songs, one on each side. The 45s were easy to recognize because they were smaller in size and the center hold was over an inch in diameter. Kids would get together and bring their records and sock hops were the rage. Buddy Holly, Connie Francis, Elvis Presley, and others were always played.

The 33 1/3 records allowed you to get a lot of music at one time. I was big on the folk music at this time. I had the Chad Mitchel Trio, the Kingston Trio, Peter Paul and Mary, Joan Baez and others. I never really got into the Beatles.

To get music into cars the eight-track tape cartridge came out. It was huge and used a wide tape. The media was too large and soon was replaced with cassettes. These were great and the Sony Walkman made carrying music easy.

Cassette tapes and records gave way to CDs and everyone thought this was the ultimate. Small, thin, high quality sound that had no snaps, crackles or pops. I had close to 300 when I moved to Panama.

Now, CDs are almost a thing of the past. The medium now is digital and solid state storage can hold hundreds to thousands of your favorite music in the space of a wrist watch. Streaming digital music and videos are becoming the norm.

It is hard to imagine what the next advancement may be. Thinking about all the music technology changes, I have seen in my life time, almost makes my head hurt. I wonder how many of the Chiriquí Chatter readers remember the same changes I remember.

15 thoughts on “Do You Remember

  1. Hi Don Ray,
    I remember all those! 🙂 I remember the 45 RPM record player we had in our car! It has some type of gadget similar to the old jukeboxes to keep the needle from skipping while driving (provided you stayed on really smooth roads).

    My first radio job at a 500W station in the midwest had turntables for 78’s and 33’s and a thousand adjustments for the tonearm. Still, it was only AM so no one noticed the crackles and pops.

    I did the portable CD player when those came out and the multi-CD changers for the car and the house. Top of the mark for sure, back then.

    Sad to see there is no longer a “B” side to anything. 🙂
    jim and nena
    fort worth, tx
    (never got the Beatles, either?)

  2. You misremember: it’s “Big Rock Candy Mountain, ” not “Hard Rock Candy Mountain.” I wasn’t around when it was popular, of course (ha-ha), but it was part of the soundtrack of the movie “O Brother Where Art Thou”

  3. Don Ray:
    I came a little later, but I remember having a Record player that could play 45’s, 33’s and even 78’s. I remember having to put an adaptor in the middle of the 45’s to play them in this record player. In 1984 my mother bought a new car and has a tape player (Oh my God!) where I can play Michael Jackson’s “Trhiller” and tons of tapes. We used to take our big portable tape players to school and listen to tapes after school. I have a walkman in the mid 80’s (I still have it) . Then CD’s (salsa music the majority of them). Now I have a shuffle I pod (only 150 songs) and have “Slacker” and “Live 365” on my DROID smart phone. By the way, I recommend for you to check Live 365, you may like it.
    Jaime^

  4. Two things:

    1. When I was in my early teens, my brothers and I went through a treasure trove of stuff that my mother brought home after her mom’s death. In one heavy box, we found a collection of thick (as in, 1/2″, maybe more) records that were larger in diameter than 45’s, but not as wide as 33’s. Out of curiosity, we tried one on my mom’s record player, but got only strange sounds. It seems that there were a variety of record/audio recording formats in the early days; these thick, old records we found were apparently a dead-end branch in the evolution of sound recording…

    2. Last Christmas, my girlfriend gave me an Ion turntable that plays old 33’s directly into your laptop, or other computer. I’ve had my old records packed in boxes for years (a la my grandmother’s records), so taking them out after all these years has been a bit of a strange experience – they play just fine on the Ion, though… The Byrds, anyone?

  5. You must have read my mind Don Ray. Time to downsize so I am preparing an ad to sell our turntable and receiver, plus collection of LPs and 45s (unfortunately all the 78s never made it to Panama). Hate to see them go but haven’t played them for a while and now have most of the songs on an IPod. Anybody interested in details of the equipment and record collection will be able to find the ad on Boquete.ning under Buy, Sell or Trade Stuff and in Boquete.org towards the end of this week.

    Great Blog Don Ray, keep up the good work.

  6. When I was a child we had a turntable for 45’s, 78’s and 33’s, also a tape recorder/player for reel-to-reel tapes before the cassettes. I still have boxes of LP’s stored somewhere and now have approximately 150 cassettes and 900 cd’s. Your post has reminded me that I need to let go of all these antiques!

    How time flies!

  7. I know what you mean. I may have come along a bit later, but my record player through Junior High was a single spindle, manual, monaural one which could play 78s, 45s and 33-1/3rds. I skipped 8-tracks and went straight to cassette and from there on to CDs and now digital media.

    I have an Audio Technica turntable that can connect with USB or into a line-in jack on the computer (or receiver). Some albums have been converted, but a lot are still vinyl only (and not listened to).

    Like you, it’s not easy to imagine what will come next in this arena.

  8. Let us not forget: “Cruisin'” up and down Main Street, listening to the car radio (AM, of course). For those of us in northwest Kansas, we had to wait till the atmospherics changed in the evening so we could tune in KOMA in Oklahoma City–50,000 watts of power. Occasionally the atmosphere switched us to WLS in Chicago, but that never seemed quite as great.

  9. Pandora is great. It has become part of my Sunday afternoons ……put on my favorite station and take a nap!

    Have you tried spotify.com. I just signed up for it …suppose to be similar to Pandora but just now available in the States; apparently very popular in Europe.
    Rick In Florida

  10. In Northeast Kansas it was 50.000 watts out of St. Louis that beamed in at night. Can’t remember the station but remember the melodious voice of the the DJ, “The Man Who Walks and Talks at Midnight.”

    Also started collecting those 33rpms ‘flying saucers’ back in the early 60s. About 5 years ago I cleaned out the basement in the house I had been in over 25 years, and found a big box of 33s. “Boy, somebody would love to have these,” I said. No takers. Finally drop them at Good Will. Friend said he saw them in trash bin couple of days later.

Leave a Reply