Remembering 45 Recordsby Tyler Woods on May. 20, 2010, under Life
I was loading my iPod this morning with new music and while clicking and dragging the newest album I just got I thought, hmmm this is almost too simple. I mean I simply download an album, and then move it to my iPod. My mind suddenly took me back to my old bedroom when I was about 11 or 12 years old and I was sitting on the wooden floor legs crossed, putting a stack of 45’s on my turntable and it got me thinking…
Back in the day when you wanted to listen to a single song, you did not download it from ITunes or a webpage, you went to Thrifty, Skaggs, Woolworths or a Record store and you went to the bin and picked out a 45 record.
Sometimes you didn’t have to go far because sugar coated cereal boxes back in those days has 45’s on the back of the box. That’s right. How good can it get? Just peal it off the box and go play it on your record player. They only played a few times, and were scratchy and could mess up your needle. Who cared! It was free and back then as kids, we thought it was pretty darn cool to get sugary sweet pop music like the Jackson 5 and The Archies on the back of cereal boxes.
Now for those who are too young to remember, 45’s were single songs on a 7-inch vinyl disk. There were little yellow or red adapters that snapped into the center of the 45′s so it would fit on the spindle. It was far smaller than a 33 album but you did not have to buy the entire album just to hear a song.
I used to sit on my bed or on the floor all the time arranging my 45’s. There was something special about that. Listening to 45′s wasn’t just something you did; it was a process. First you would get all your record containers. I had about a dozen or so and most of them were cheesy colors and cheap vinyl or cardboard boxes with a metal latch on it, but it held your records and helped you keep track.
Keeping track of these disks could be fun especially if you had hundreds. There were some days when I would put them in alphabetical order. Other days I would do it by genre. There was Motown, rock, pop, male, female, easy listening, hard rock, country, oldies, and my personal favorite; miscellaneous. All that proved to be more work than it was worth so on most days I put my favorite 45′s in my favorite holder and left it at that.
Once I selected my favorite tunes, like I would place them in a wire rack. I would place them with fast or slow, pop or rock. I would fill the wire rack and it looked sort of like this; Midnight Confessions by The Grass Roots, Dance To The Music by Sly and The Family Stone, Green Tambourine by The Lemon Pipers, MacArthur Park by Richard Harris, Light My Fire by Jose Feliciano. Light my Fire by The Doors, Hurdy Gurdy Man by Donovan,Sky Pilot by Eric Burdon and The Animals and You Keep Me Hangin’ On by Vanilla Fudge.
Now that they are loaded on the wire, I could take a stack and get them ready to load. I could not wait to hear the mix I have arranged and I was ready to go. Normally I could stack about 5 or 6, but on a good day I could stack around 8 of these vinyl disks.
Today we do the same thing or there are no single disks, just mo3’s. You can go to Starbucks, and much like the 45’s are the cereal box, you can get a card for the free download of the week.
Much like 45’s, you can take singles and create your own special mix, and listen. Anymore you do not have to stack and play, or try to find one of those yellow adapters. You can clearly play more than 8 songs, more like 800 songs.
Still, I miss sorting through my 45’s, or the way cool record jackets that came with some of them. We used to trade records with friends, now we just download whatever we want and give the link to our friend and say check this out, or just send them the MP3. How we listen to music has changed, but there was something magical about those silly 7 inch disks.