Do you remember the very first bit of recorded music that was “yours?” That you paid for out of your allowance and could play when you wanted? This was it for me – 1958 I believe.
The McGuires were probably in their 30s by then – as I recall one of them dated a mobster. But they were a sweet looking and sounding group. My mom loved them too. I guess my heavy rock days were some time in the future.
And how did I play “Sugar in the Morning, Sugar in the Evening”…etc? On a punishing, skip-prone portable record player that my parents owned and my grandfather used from time to time to play his Vernon Dalhart and Chuckwagon Gang 78s. (You can look them up.) Click, pop and skip – the sounds of my youth.
Later on I graduated to my own grind it out record player – I think it was an Arvin or Silvertone. At that point I went on to mono LP 33 1/3 RPM vinyl. From there I moved to stereo LPs, reel to reel tape, cassette tape, CDs, MP3s and finally some 60 years later to Spotify.
And after decades of pop-click, tape and cassette recording, CD duplication, MP3 ripping and encoding and countless players, audio components, recorders, boom boxes, computers,Walkman units, iPods I have gotten to the point where there’s nothing at all except the cloud image of music.
Right now I’m listening to Atlanta Rhythm Section’s “Imaginary Lover” – a song I have never owned in any form but quite like – the digital concierge in Spotify chose it for me based on other digital choices I made personally.
If you haven’t run across Spotify it’s a multiplatform music streaming program. It works on PCs, Macs and Linux, iPads, Android and iOS smartphones, Roku boxes – you name it. It’s free if you don’t mind the ads and costs less than a CD per month if you want to go full on music. You can search for music you want – there are about 30 Million titles available so you won’t be disappointed.
At home I play Spotify music on my desktop units, I stream it to my TV with Roku and I plug a mini-cable into my stereo receiver and let my Android tablet be the music machine. I suppose if I had a smartphone I could get Spotify anywhere.
The best thing of all about Spotify? It’s brought back the unadulterated boomer pleasure of listening to a whole “concept album” from start to finish. If you want to experience “Disraeli Gears,” “Every Good Boy Deserves Favour,” “Beggars Banquet,” or “Pet Sounds” in all their remastered glory they are there for you.
And it’s not just boomers. My Gen-X son-in-law listens to Spotify at work and he’s working his way through Rolling Stone’s top 100 albums of all time. It’s hard to imagine him listening to “Music from Big Pink” or “Highway 61 Revisited” but he’s learning something.
I have to admit that – although I’m not a playlist sort of guy – I do like the one put together for me by the digital concierge that Spotify features. It hasn’t guessed wrong yet today – everything from James Taylor to Steely Dan to J. Geils to .38 Special. With 30 million choices I guess it can’t go wrong.
Spotify – give it a try. It’s too good to be wasted on the young.