By Lorry Myers
I missed the days of pulling a vinyl album out of the sleeve and setting in on the turn table, gently placing the needle arm on the beginning grove and watch the record spin. As the music played, I would hold that album cover in my hand and read it inside and out.
It was written for me.
Growing up, our bulky console stereo played showtunes like Oliver!, The Sound of Music, and Camelot. The album covers highlighted scenes from each movie and the words to the songs were printed so I could sing along. My sisters and I listened until we knew every word of every song on every album.
I still do.
As a teenager, my songs of choice changed but my love of album covers remained true. The cover with Janis Joplin and her wild hair, and James Taylor, with his brooding eyes, said as much as the printed words to their songs. One of my favorites was the Sticky Fingers Rolling Stones album cover that showcased an unidentified man in a pair of tight jeans with a zipper that actually worked. Everyone loved that album cover.
Everyone except my mother.
Then there was Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and The Moody Blues; those albums, I was sure, showed me the meaning of life. The music I listened to was a sign of the times and album covers made me feel like I was part of it. Along with the music, it brought me to a new age, a new way of thinking, a new way to rebel against those who didn’t understand. Holding an album cover meant that I was part of the journey…part of the turbulent times.
Times of change.
Vinyl albums eventually, started going out of fashion, 8-track tapes were the new thing. Even then, I stuck to my turn table, too stubborn to move on. But if you wanted to take your music with you in the car, those old vinyl albums wouldn’t do. So, I had both, car music and house music, rocking the roof with an album cover in my hand while my collection of 8-tracks tapes rode with me wherever I went.
But the world didn’t stop there.
The cassette tape came next. It was less bulky and came in little plastic cases that may or may not have an insert that you had to unfold to read. The tapes were always coming unwound and the world of music for me, just wasn’t the same anymore. Reading words off a folded paper crammed in a plastic case felt impersonal and cold.
Whose idea was this?
For the complete column, see this week’s edition of the Centralia Fireside Guard.