Friday, December 7, 2018

The First Album You Ever Bought

It's a question every vinyl addict likes to ask. It isn't something the current generation of "music" lovers will be able to do in the future with the same feeling. "What was your first download?" doesn't have the same ring and not an ounce of romance. Thank God for hipsters and vinyl.

There are, though, important distinctions to make when considering your first album. There's the first record you ever owned and the first you bought. For example, my mother bought me my first single - Freddy and the Dreamers' "I'm Telling You Now - in 1965 for memorizing the Pledge of Allegiance. Apparently, I used to groove around the house to it when it was on the radio, so she got it for me to play on my brother's Silvertone record player. I can still see it in my mind's eye. It was on the Tower label with a big red t on the sleeve.

The first album bought for me, Christmas 1966, was The Wondrous World of Sonny and Cher. My parents had split up by then, so when I saw my father, later that same day, I was even more overjoyed when he gave me The Mamas and the Papas, the one where they're all in the bathtub.

While presents are well and good, we only really start collecting records when we buy them for ourselves. It's how we build a badge of identity; some of us were luckier than others. For seven weeks I saved up an allowance of 50¢ per week and walked up to the record store with my grandmother for Sgt. Pepper. I didn't have the sales tax, which is why one brings along one's grandmother. How lucky.

I don't remember the second or the third album I bought, but 50 years later I remember that day. So what's yours?