Friday, April 12, 2013

Musical Awakening

How many of you remember, I wonder, those seven-inch diameter, black plastic disks, with a hole in the centre and wiggly grooves cut into the surface, that we used to lay on a device to make them spin? We would place a needle - with a diamond at the tip if we were in the money, a sapphire if times were tough – into the grooves, and, as if by magic, with some accompanying crackles and clicks, music would emerge! Later, when I had a little more money, I would graduate to larger, twelve inch disks. For a while, though, I had only enough money for the smaller variety.

And the first black plastic disk I bought? Well, I can’t actually remember which came first, but among them was Riders on the Storm, the last single released by The Doors before Jim Morrison’s death. Another very early purchase was Sweet Hitch-Hiker by Creedence Clearwater Revival, also one of their later recordings. I had just missed out on these bands at their peak. I would have to revisit their work later. Signs, a little known song by the little known Canadian band Five Man Electrical Band, was an example of that soon-to-be-extinct species, the protest song. I awoke into musical awareness at the end of an era: I had missed my true time. The Beatles had broken up. Jefferson Airplane were on their last legs. Jimmy Hendrix and Janis Joplin (not to mention Jim Morrison) were dead. Dylan’s best days were behind him. Clapton was lost in a heroin haze. Woodstock was fading into history. Crocodile Rock, by Elton John, gave a fair indication of the direction music would take in the seventies.

If I had been born five years earlier, I might have been able to enjoy the latter half of the sixties. Of course, I would be five years older now, so I am not too disappointed. When was your musical awakening?

For the price of a Big Mac: Maybe they'll remember me

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