There were many aesthetically pleasing parts to playing a vinyl record album. I would examine the cover, remove the record from the inside sleeve using only my fingertips on the edges and then blow off any dust.
I would then carefully lay it on my turntable, set the needle on it and the soft pleasing cracks, hisses and pops would herald the warm, enveloping analog tunes that followed.
My favorite album is probably “Abbey Road” by The Beatles. I got it for Christmas in 1978 when I was 14 and just discovering the Fab Four’s music (the album was released in 1969). I liked how they creatively used the artistic canvas – the long-playing record – that was available at the time.
Specifically, I liked how they added the surprise cutoff ending of “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” at the end of Side 1 and the brief pioneering hidden track “Her Majesty” on the flip side.
I now also use modern digital music delivery systems such as Spotify, but they often fall short compared to records. For example, seeing a little digital picture of the awesome cover art of Earth, Wind & Fire’s 1977 album “All ‘N’ All” with its Egyptian theme (that Iron Maiden totally ripped off for its “Powerslave” album) is just not the same as holding it in your hands in all its magnificent glory.
One album I loved was the Ohio Players “Honey.” Yes, it has the title track, “Sweet Sticky Thing” and of course “Love Rollercoaster,” but since I was a teen hormone machine then, I mostly remember the cover. It featured a Playboy playmate doing wonderful things with honey. Nekkid. Had to keep that one hidden from my mom.
Other locals recalled favorite records:
Tracy Vest: Journey’s “Infinity” was the first album I ever purchased and probably my favorite of all time. I listened to it every day over and over, not skipping a single track. It was the first Journey album Steve Perry was on and they had not gotten to the cheesy stadium rock status at that point.
Andy Gomez: I became a secret member of the KISS army due to their “Alive II” and “Love Gun” albums.
Anita Schmitt-Ford: One thing I miss about those days was going to the record store (Eucalyptus Records) and spending hours just checking out the cover art of the albums. One of the best ones I feel to this day is “Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy” by Elton John. I love the art, and the music is awesome as well.
Susan Macy Luckenbach: Any record by Cream, but especially “Disreali Gears.” I listened to that record every day for years and even dreamed about the music.
Judy Anderson Engell: My sisters, girlfriends and I used to swoon over the Monkees’ first album! We used to sit right by the stereo speakers and listen to Davy Jones sing “to us” for hours. My childhood friend and I went to the Monkees concert in Napa last summer and she brought the album! Sadly, our Davy Jones had already died.
Michael Reardon: One of my favorites back in the day was “East Bay Grease,” by Tower of Power. I was exposed to a lot of music, but that band turned me and a lot of other people on to funk that I had never experienced before.
Eric Rahn: The first record I ever bought was a K-Tel album called “The Rock Album.” Say what you will about K-Tel, but that album was a great classic rock primer, especially for a sheltered little Mormon boy like me. I grew up in a house where Neil Diamond and Simon & Garfunkel were considered wild, blood-spitting demonic rock.
Paula Lindsey: Marty Robbins’ “Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs” was the first album I ever bought. I was 9 and got the 45 of “El Paso” first, then saved all my money up to get that bright pink album. I went to a little country school just outside of San Luis Obispo, so we rode the bus to and from school. Even the cool kids loved the song and we all sang it on the bus. I think that’s when I first figured out that I couldn’t sing.
Reach Fairfield writer Tony Wade at [email protected]