During a recent discussion of music, my friend mentioned that his 15-year-old daughter never owned an album.  She’s an avid music lover, but has only ever purchased individual songs via download.

That struck me as sad, because when I was 15, pretty much all I had – or wanted — was albums.

I remember my first one:  ELO’s A New World Record.  It was 1976; I was 12.  All I had to play it on was a crappy little portable turntable from the 50’s (it would take another summer or so to cut enough lawns to save up for a better stereo).

I soon got Boston’s first album.  Then some Aerosmith, Queen, Sweet, Foghat, Ted Nugent.  I quickly realized that LPs sounded far better than 8-tracks and cassettes (duh).

I lived in Carlyle, IL, at the time.  We were in a subdivision about a mile out of town.  Every time I’d get $10 or so saved up, I’d ride my bike into town to the little record shop/electronics store.  They didn’t have a great selection, but I loved perusing, and eventually picking out the album I wanted most.

Once I got into high school and started making better money working summers in the fields, I bought as many as I could afford.  Punk rock had hit it big, so there were many cool bands to discover.

I also liked the artwork, and to me, that’s the biggest loss in the mass conversion to digital formats.  You could hold the LP in your hands and gaze at some awesome art (I’ve actually bought albums strictly because of the cover).  Often, there were extensive liner notes with cool artist info.  And sometimes they’d slip a magazine or poster or some promo gimmick in there.

And how did you hear or hear about new music to decide what you wanted to buy?  1. Radio, and your station selection was limited.  2.  TV, if you happened to see a live performance or rare music video (this was before MTV).  3.  Magazines.  4.  Friends.  There was no iTunes, Pandora, Grooveshark, etc.  You were on your own.  If you were lucky, your friends liked cool music.

Anyway, I know LPs still have some popularity.  I haven’t owned a turntable in many years, and recently had to sell a few of my albums, but still have 50 or so with which I couldn’t part.  They bring back warm fuzzies of a music-obsessed youth.


Here’s a couple of my favorites framed in my living room.