VINYL FREE ZONE

VINYL FREE ZONE

VINYL FREE ZONE

As the title of this page suggests I am a total convert to the compact disc. No vinyl records in my collection now but that wasn't always the case.
READ ON...READ ON...READ ON...READ ON...

My recall of these events is a bit hazy but the release dates of the records have helped me put my memories into chronological order.

The reason for this page...I like hearing other people's stories of similar events. Maybe this page will spur on others to do the same and a new trend in music web pages will start....or....maybe they exist already??

1960 to 1966 REEL TO REEL TAPE RECORDER YEARS

The first music, other than nursery rhymes and children's songs, I can remember getting into were instrumentals - Johnny & the Hurricanes (Rocking Goose/Revival), Bert Weedon (Sorry Robbie/Easy Beat) and the Piltdown Men (MacDonald's Cave/Brontosaurus Stomp). Incidentally, the first two were great for practising air guitar, but that's another story. The singles were bought by my brother and I played them over and over again on my parent's radiogram. I knew the B sides as well as the A sides. I've checked the chart books and this was in 1960 when I was eight.

The first, and only, singles I managed to persuade my mum to buy me were Heinz - Just Like Eddie (1963), Dave Clark Five - Glad All Over (1963) and the Rolling Stones - Not Fade Away (1964) which means I've had some sort of music collection for over thirty years. The collection didn't grow any bigger because my pocket money didn't stretch to buying records as well as Superman and Batman comics. With the exception of the three singles all the music I listened to was from the radio.

My Dad surprised the family by bringing home a second-hand reel to reel tape recorder. At the time this was an amazing leap forward and changed my listening habits. Sunday tea times were never the same again. I would regularly record the chart show by placing the tape mike in front of the radiogram speaker. I could play my favourite charts singles whenever I wanted after editing out the tracks I disliked with the pause button - magic!!! I treasured the tapes, even though the background was filled with the hullabaloo of family tea time chatter and the noise of the door catch pinging as my mum went in and out of the room. The single which impressed me was the Kink's All Day And All Of The Night (1964). Once again, great for practising air guitar but that's another story. I must have been twelve.

The first album I owned was the Beatle's Help (1965). During 1964 to 1966 I had older friends who were buying LPs and insisting that I listen to the Beatles, Bob Dylan, the Who and Jimi Hendrix. At this time, albums had no appeal - too long - singles were short and to the point.

1967 to 1969 TRANSISTOR RADIO YEARS

In 1967 I was bought a transistor radio. I can't remember the make but it was my pride and joy. I used to strap it to the back carrier of my bike, turn it on full blast and cruise between my house and the local park. I spent the whole summer sitting on the park with a group of friends listening to the pirate radio stations - mainly Radio Caroline. One magic moment, which clearly stands out in my mind, was riding home one sunny afternoon with the Young Rascal's Groovin' echoing between the houses. There were so many good singles released it's no wonder that they feature heavily in my All Time Favourite Singles.

I can clearly remember the first time I went into a shop to buy my first singles. It was in 1968. With cash in hand from my Saturday job I bought America by the Nice and Amen Corner's High In The Sky. From that moment on I was really hooked and most of my Saturday job and paper round money went on singles. To save money - or was it to get more singles for the same money - I used to scour the second-hand shops - I was thrilled to find Anyone For Tennis by Cream.

I needed the world to hear what I was buying. I persuaded the teacher, in charge of the School Youth Club, to let me play the singles in the main assembly hall which was used for table tennis, darts, snooker etc. I used a record player located in the projection box at the back of the hall and on the next floor up. The deck was part of the set-up used for piping radio education programmes to classrooms around the school. I stretched a cable from the cine projection window down to a speaker located on a projector stand in the hall. I had to have special permission from the English teacher to borrow the one and only microphone. I would then broadcast to the assembled masses. One night I was distraught to find out that the older kids regularly unplugged the speaker. My DJ/radio days never really started.

However, one School Youth Club evening did change my attitude to LPs. One of my friends borrowed two albums from his brother and brought them down the club. The two albums in question were Jethro Tull's This Was and the Door's Waiting For The Sun. The music took second place to the presentation. They were both single albums but had gatefold sleeves with artwork and lyrics. I was hooked. My attention was then drawn to the larger black circles of vinyl especially Jethro Tull, the Nice, Family and the Groundhogs. If you're wondering what I was playing the vinyl on it was still the trusty radiogram and occasionally on my sister's record player - no it wasn't a Dansette but something very similar.

1969 to 1973 MUSIC CENTRE YEARS

I started work in 1969 and ordered my first music centre (6 watts music power per channel - wow!) from a catalogue and paid for it weekly. Albums bought with my first wage packet were Canned Heat - Livin' The Blues (double), Free - Tons Of Sobs and another I can't remember. My mother's comment at the time was 'What a waste of money. You'll never have any money'...and she was right. My collection of albums and singles grew. Notable purchases were All Along The Watchtower by the Jimi Hendrix Experience - my first stereo 7" single and Black Sabbath's first album - even the label was brilliant - never left the turntable - a major influence at the time - even Led Zeppelin weren't that heavy or metal!!

Strange as it might seem I've never been over sentimental about any of my record collections. The first collection was sold when I decided to upgrade to another music centre (8 watts music power per channel - yipee!). I then proceeded to start collecting the records all over again. The reason for changing the vinyl was that I found the better player would show up the damage done by the previous stylus - lots of clicks, pops and frying pan noises. Incidently, you'll be pleased to know that I found out the difference between watts music power and watts RMS before upgrading to my next system.

1973-1975 NO MUSIC YEARS

Marriage loomed and in 1973 I made a decision - yes I took the decision - to sell everything again. The money went towards the deposit on a three up three down terraced property and the money I wasn't spending on vinyl came in useful for all sorts of household items. However, I did manage to extract a promise that at some point in the future I would get a proper stereo and start buying vinyl again. Married in 1974 - two years to settle down...

1976 to 1985
BUDGET HI-FI YEARS

For Christmas 1975 I bought a budget hi-fi - Pioneer SA-5300 amplifier, Pioneer TX-5300 tuner, Pioneer cassette player, Gerrard SP25 Mk 2 record deck (which was quickly upgraded to a Pioneer PL12D) and a pair Wharfedale Linton speakers. (I'm still using the tuner and speakers!!) [Both upgraded in 2000].
I made a conscious decision to put all my buying power in to LPs only...no more singles. However when Chicago released If You Leave Me Now my wife bought it and this gave me the excuse to start buying singles again...just in time for the singles boom of the punk/new wave era. I was a closet punk fan - well I had to be really - bald and 27 years old! I listened to John Peel's late night radio show and bought anything and everything punk/new wave on 7" and 12" singles - Sex Pistols, Clash, Buzzcocks, Ramones etc. etc. My first 12" single was the Boomtown Rats Looking After No 1. Later on I got totally sucked into the 12" remix scene especially the ZZT artists - Frankie Goes To Hollywood, Propaganda and the Art Of Noise. The vinyl collection grew over the years to 350 LPs, 500 7" singles and 150 12" singles. The numbers would have been greater but I became obsessed with getting records which didn't have faults. For every ten I bought I must have returned two because of one defect or another - scratches, warping, pressing faults etc.

1987 to 1999 COMPACT DISC PLAYER YEARS

I kept away from the CD revolution until a mate at work who I had not associated with music or stereos calmly stated one coffee time that he had a CD player. Just so that I could completely forget about ever buying one I asked him to bring it round for a test spin. I'll give you one guess which CD he played...you're right...it was Dire Strait's Brother In Arms. The crackle and pop free sound was stunning but I was more impressed with the ergonomics of the player - the display with number calendar, track times, programming facilities, shuffle play and the draw opening smoothly inviting me to put a disc in the slot.
The year was 1987 and I rushed out and bought a CD player. I listed the vinyl albums and sold them off individually. All the 7" and 12" singles were sold to a local second-hand dealer. I made a conscious decision, again, to keep to albums only and so far I've not been drawn to CD singles. I haven't replaced all my vinyl records as my tastes have changed over the years. But as more and more back catalogue is released on budget CD I am tempted.

1999 to 20?? CDR AND MINIDISC YEARS

Copyright © Leo Reynolds 1995/1999/2000

Music

All Time Favourite Singles

Reissue on Compact Disc

Shopping for Compact Discs in Norwich

Desert Island Discs

Leo Reynolds

Last updated 8th November 2004