Yesterday morning, I took my little one to the bus stop. Along the way, I was greeted by Supertramp’s “The Logical Song” playing on the radio. As it sometimes happens, I was reminded of a long-ago association to that song. Since I have a little downtime, and nothing of particular interest elsewhere on my smartphone, I may as well share the story here. Otherwise it will die when I do, and I don’t want that to happen.
45s were the equivalent of a digital download, back before anyone had ever thought up such a thing. When a song came on the radio back in the 1970s, there were a few options if you liked that song: Keep listening until the song was played again, or buy the album that the song was on, or buy a single version of the song, which was played at 45 RPMs, and gave the records their name.
Between the first 45 I ever bought in 1978 (“Reminiscing” by the Little River Band, if it matters) and the last one I bought in 1985 (the theme to Miami Vice by Jan Hammer), I probably acquired somewhere between 50 and 100 of these things. Some I remember, some I’ve deliberately blocked out, and some I recall, but would never admit to owning in the first place.
I bought my copy of the Logical Song on a summer’s day in 1979. My mom and my siblings and I were out and about, and I couldn’t wait to get home to play my new record. But fate had other ideas.
We went into another store for some reason, and I left my new record in the back window of our Chevy Impala. The sun got a hold of the record, and by the time we returned, it had become a very interesting, but completely useless, series of peaks and valleys of a warped petroleum byproduct.
Needless to say, I was traumatized. It was an early lesson in what direct sunlight can do, but I didn’t look at it quite that way. My mom returned the mass of molten music–a nice piece of alliteration, there–to the store we had bought it at, and then I was able to go home and play the record as originally planned. But first, there was a glitch that lay comfortably buried in my memory until it was set free earlier today.
Today’s kids won’t know anything about physical forms of owning music. It’s all downloads and clouds and streaming, and I won’t suggest that’s not progress in some way. But memories like this can be a fun thing to have, and sharing with the digital world is one of the pleasures I get from writing in this space.
Downtime is over, so now it’s time to Take the Long Way Home (that’s one that would have been on the Supertramp album, had I gone that way instead of just getting the 45). And who knows what kind of a mess that would have created?