LP's, SINGLES and 78's
I realise completely that this will not make sense to 80% of WOLers. But, hey-ho, there are some clubs in life you just can’t join.
I sold my records when I went to university in the early 70’s, opting instead to tape them all before I flogged them on a Grundig reel-to-reel tape recorder. Shame really, some of them turned out to be quite valuable; amongst them was an early copy of Bob Dylan’s “Freewheelin’” that turned out to be worth a bob or two (ha ha).
They cost me a fortune to buy in the first place; 39/6d was the going rate for nearly all of them although there were a couple of Pye Golden Guineas. Also Marble Arch did some at 11/6d. I never understood the disparity. Certainly there was a theme that the cheaper LP’s were by artists you wouldn’t want in your collection (Donald Peers and such like), but not always. I’d got on Marble Arch The Kinks’s “Greatest Hits” as well as Donovan’s “What’s Bin Did and What’s Bin Hid” (or possibly the other road round).
Until the Grundig I played them like everybody else (ironically, one of the tracks on The Kinks’s record was “I’m Not Like Everybody Else”) on my record player – the ubiquitous square box in red and pale grey. It had a 3-speed setting - 33rpm for LP’s, 45 for singles and 78 for, well, 78’s. Mine was cutting edge and had a top loader capable of dropping 8 records (8 LP’s was a bit of a stretch).
I rarely used 78 except to make them play like Pinky and Perky but I did have a 78 of Jerry Lee Lewis’s “Great Balls of Fire” with “Mean Woman Blues” on the B side. And playing it was fabulous! When you pushed the automatic start the record player itself sprang into frantic, agitated life in sympathy with the turntable which, obviously, spun round at the speed of light. But everything else kept up. No sooner had the top loader dropped Jerry on the turntable than the needle arm leapt up, across and plomped down in three delightfully staccato movements. Then, for 2 or 3 seconds there was a rhythmic crackling/hissing which heralded JLL’s slow piano arpeggio followed by “I gotta woman mean as she can be”.
When St Peter finally confronts me with the ledger of my life and asks me to list my many regrets, expecting a catalogue of guilty sins, I shall remind him of the day I sat on that 78 and broke it.
It pains me still.