doug — off the record

just a place to share some thoughts

50 years

Growing up (and not in a good Springsteen sort of way), radio wasn’t allowed in our house except for Sunday nights when my dad would sit around the kitchen table listening to the Toronto Maple Leafs who always seemed to be on the road and it always seems that they were in New York. The joy of nostalgia; I’m probably right about them being on the road and wrong about always playing the Rangers.

On my 14th birthday, I got the greatest gift that came with warnings. It was a used record player/stereo combo. The caveats were that I had to keep it in my room, that I had to keep the volume down so that only I could hear it, and that I couldn’t play any music while I was doing homework.

The stereo went with my to university where it became clearer that I had missed a big part of growing up. (again, not a Springsteen reference) Because I was older when I got the stereo and my only source for revenue was babysitting, I had to split my fortune a number of different ways and buying records was on the list but they tended to be K-Tel (whatever happened to K-Tel?) “best of” albums. I knew all of the hits of the time between them and listening to CKLW, The Big Eight.

My musical life changed at university with a few things. In KW, we were near enough to FM radio stations broadcasting to my clock radio, the university radio stations came through our cable, and I had a room mate who was really into music. I was blown away when half of his room would be devoted to music listening, between his gear and his music album collection. The most genius thing was the way that he stored his albums. They were in alphabetical order, each album stored in an Angel Sleeve (and not in a tattooed sort of way), and no album was ever allowed to stay on the turntable after it was played. It was cleaned and then returned to storage.

He was the disc jockey in our shared room and there was always music on while we did homework and reading. It turned out to be the best thing for me; I always have music on now when I’m doing work. As I write this post, I’m listening to John Fogerty.

Back to the music. An album that always made his rotation was Led Zeppelin IV. Yesterday marked the 50th year of this album. Since university when I actually had an income, I’ve owned two record albums, one CD-ROM, and enjoy watching the content played on YouTube.

Black Dog
Rock and Roll
The Battle of Evermore
Stairway to Heaven
Misty Mountain Hop
Four Sticks
Going to California
When the Levee Breaks

As I listen to this and see the public reaction, I can’t help but be amazed at how this has truly stood the test of time. The content is as great to listen to now as ever. There is some content that everyone would recognize immediately like Stairway to Heaven and The Battle of Evermore. But, the entire album was and remains amazing to me.

How many other things in popular use as survived 50 years and is as good now as it ever was?


4 responses to “50 years”

  1. CKLW was my only source of broadcast music as a teen in Kincardine.Even as a student at the Faculty of Music at the University of Toronto I couldn’t afford to purchase music, and depended upon radio in my room, and the record collection at the library. How different it is now for young people: access via free streaming to almost anything, but little commonality among those listening as a result. Sad that much of music’s popularity is due now to the personality of the celebrity rather than the merits of their creations.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You mean, in Kincardine, you couldn’t get CKNX and the farm report from Wingham! You are quite correct about the listening habits these days. Can we throw the music video into the discussion and maybe even The Buggles “Video Killed the Radio Star”?

      Thanks for the comment, Terry.


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