Thursday, June 04, 2009

Thursday Talk Time - Music Blast from the Past

This week columnist Annie West considers the delights of vintage albums.

There’s a problem in the West household. Our CD player isn’t working. Nor is the other one. We could, of course go out and buy a new one but we love this sound system. We’ve got a sentimental attachment to it, plus it allows us to load several CDs and forget it. And why pay for a new one if it can be fixed? A moot point at the moment as ‘fixing’ is taking longer and longer (trouble with parts but that’s another story).

The upshot is that the family has had to resort to other music options. The teenagers seem to have gone off the use of MP3 players for the moment, perhaps because they’ve discovered the delight of blasting the house with sound instead of just their own eardrums. As a result they’ve been raiding the old record collection.

Yep, I confess, we still own vinyl. Not only that, we still have a record player. My children came home from school a few years ago saying how impressed her friends were that we had….RECORDS in the cupboard. Many have never seen such things. And there was I thinking we were sadly out of date because we hadn’t disposed of the ancient recordings.

The novelty of a long playing record is such that my daughter was given a stack of them from her birthday. We’re acquiring them! Apparently it’s now cool to find shops that sell them second hand, and for poverty stricken students to buy them instead of CDs. The record collection is burgeoning and, as the part that will fix the CD player proves more elusive than the fabled yeti, we’re having a blast from the past.

Teen boys have delved into Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple. And of course that’s led to hours on a bass guitar perfecting ‘Smoke on the Water’. The 80s are proving popular with BandAid a perennial fave among visitors. Suddenly I’m respected because I know the words to choruses from old songs! Never thought I’d see the day. Not only our own kids but others are rediscovering old recordings by Bob Dylan, the Beatles, Elton John, David Bowie and so many others.

There are days when I sorely miss our CD player but in the meantime it’s rather fun not knowing what old album is going to be dug out and played. If I’m lucky it might even be one I know!

Do you have a favourite album from the past? One you can’t bear to part with? One you’d love to dance to if only they’d put it on Video Hits? What’s your favourite blast from the past?

Despite listening to music from the past, Annie’s more than happy with the here and now. She currently has TWO books on sale. THE GREEK’S CONVENIENT MISTRESS is a Presents release in North America. You can check it out or buy it here. BLACKMAILED BRIDE, INNOCENT WIFE is currently on sale in Australia and New Zealand and you can buy it here. If you visit Annie’s website you can read excerpts or enter a contest to win signed books.


  1. Oh, Annie, how long have you got! I have a whole cupboard-load of old records too - and I adore them! How could I live without Herman's Hermits, Johnny O'Keefe, The Beach Boys and The Hollies... Not to mention all of those old K-Tel compilations.

    I have to ask, do you know all the scratched bits in your most beloved songs and hover over the turntable waiting for the precise moment the needle needs a little bit of help along?

    Thanks for the nostalgia trip!

  2. Hi Michelle,

    You were quick noticing this post was up! Ah, those compilations. My dh had numerous 'party mixes' that create lots of smiles when they're dug out.

    Yes, I know what you mean about the scratched bits. Fortunately not too many of them but a few. Was laughing to myself today. Had a long drive and on the way all the songs on the radio were oldies - and this the station that's supposed to play new stuff. My son was delighted and I knew all the words!

  3. Annie, what a great post and how you sent me off into a haze of nostalgia. Um, no, perhaps that's the glass of wine I had at lunchtime!

    I used to collect records like they were gold. And I think because every one of them was a major purchase, my records always meant much more to me than any CD I've since bought. I remember my mother buying me Beethoven's Greatest Hits when I was about 10 and how I played that into the ground. Good one, Mum! I've got a stack of old David Bowie vinyls that I just adore, particularly Station to Station. I put that on and immediately I'm back to myself in my early twenties. One of the faves that never fails to get a party jumpin' is Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass. That's so daggy, it's cool! Oh, memories, light the corners of my mind...

  4. I have an incredibly old vinyl with a bunch of old hippie songs, even the original Trogs recording of Love is All Around. Dug it out when it was top of the pops. The kids were amazed. I had a life before them? Wore hot pants, mini skirts, was part of that whole make love not war generation?

    Actually my daughter is shocked at how short my skirts were. Did that whole "Mother!" thing. Bless.

  5. Hi, Annie! What a fantastic post. We actually do have shelves and shelves of vinyl.

    We've got an old record player that we call the UFO. It's exactly like this one here:

    Looks good but the sound quality's awful! Lately I've been playing Tears for Fears, the Pretenders and the Smiths.

    x Vanessa

  6. Ahhh vinyl! I still have some but no player (note to self - buy one!). We have the original NOW Thats What I Call Music on vinyl, Footloose, numerous Wham! singles (and I still know all the words to Wham Rap).

  7. Annie, FAB post. We have rather a lot of vinyl between us (and nearly all the ones you pictured above *g*). DH loves getting his box of singles out on a Saturday night when my old uni friends are staying, and the kids are fascinated by the nostalgia trip.

    Have replaced quite a lot of them on CD, but, ah, vinyl... Nothing quite beats the sound.

    I knew DH was the one for me when his copy of Led Zeppelin IV jumped in the same place than mine did!

  8. Anna, isn't it amazing how hearing an old album or a single song can transport you back? I heard a Queen song on the radio while I was driving today and instantly recalled the first time I heard it. Hm, my parents have a massive collection of Beethoven too.

    Oh, and watch out, my daughter's likely to visit and play your David Bowie into the ground.

    And recently we visited friends in Germany and were proudly shown their new sound system. The centrepiece was a new record player for all their hundreds of records! Enormous fun.

  9. Liz, hot pants and mini-skirts? How gorgeous. Am laughing at your daughter being shocked at your short skirts. But then mine is still coming to grips with a mother who writes romance!

    An original Trogs album? Just told my husband and he's jealous.

  10. Ooh, Vanessa, that is the most incredible record player I've ever seen! Ours is utterly functional and boring by comparison. Tears for Fears are big in this house at the moment too.

  11. Biddy, a Wham girl? I saw one of their film clips the other day and was agog, remembering. Oh, that hair! Yes, do buy a player. It's much more fun than just looking at the records.

  12. Kate, the matching LZ albums say it all. Obviously your romance was meant to be. Though I found dh and I had different things. I had LZ and he had Cream and so on. Some things in common though.

    What fascinates me is just how our kids have taken to this music. Nice to think we're broadening their horizons!

  13. Annie, there was a matching TV to go with that record player - it looked like an astronaut's helmet and met an untimely end.

  14. My favorites Moody Blues Days of Future Past and Blind Faith's Blind Faith. I also have:Pink Floyd -Dark Side of the Moon, Meet the Beatles-The Beatles, Iron Butterfly's- Inagodadavida, Steppenwolf, Rolling Stone's Sticky Fingers, Cat Stevens -Tea For the Tillerman , Jethro Tull's Aqualung, Living in the Past & Thick as a Brick. Led Zepplins Stairway to Heaven, Bruce Hornsby & the Range, Santa Esmerelda, Woodstock, Jefferson Airplane, Steve Winwood, Dave Clark Five Bits & Piece's, etc. I love music and have lots of albums.

    I also have the first 4 that you show: Abby Road, Neil Young, Queen and Simon & Garfunkel

  15. Ah, nostalgia. We have a couple of shelves of vinyl in the dining room buffet. People who go there thinking they're going to get out the good dishes are always a bit taken aback. Usually in a good way.

    I don't listen to music that much while I'm working, but you've given me a new displacement activity, Annie (shame on you!). I'll be playing some today, I'm sure.

  16. What a fun post, Annie :-). I recognize a couple of the covers you've got here--I've got the same albums in a box in our attic.

    A few years ago, my husband and I discovered a Doobie Brothers greatest hits CD in a store, and we couldn't resist buying it. Our children had never before heard the music, and they loved it! It was the #1 most-requested CD in the family car for many months after that.

    Some of the albums in our record box that the younger generation loves to listen to: Mamas & the Papas, BeeGees, Tower of Power.

  17. Annie, did you steal my collection? lol. Do you have the coloured vinyl ones? it was such a craze to collect those and thepicture discs.

  18. Vanessa, a matching TV sounds amazing. I'm trying to visualise it. I suppose like the record player, it looked good but didn't perform well?

  19. Hi Laurie, there are a lot of familiar albums there. It's been particularly interesting watching the kids discover different ones over a period of time. A few yearts ago it was Pink Floyd. Now they've got back in time to the Beatles. Hm, a few of yours I haven't yeard in years! Sounds like you've got a marvellous collection.

  20. Anne, we have albums in our dining room buffet too! The trouble is finding space big enough for them.

    Hope you enjoy your music today.

  21. Terry, I haven't heard the Doobie Bros played in ages. Maybe you should get the box out of your attic and see what else you've got up there?

    It's so good to hear so many others in the same situation as us!

  22. Oh Nell, I'd forgotten the coloured records. I think the only one we have is a bright red Synchronicity by the Police. How about you?

  23. I must admit I still love to listen to the Monkees! They were my first love!

  24. Hi Mari,

    My son and I listened to the Monkees on a recent long drive. Great for singing a long to! What a coincidence.