The Vinyl Fanatic: In the Beginning…
The Genesis of One Girl’s Obsession with Vinyl via The Beatles’ Abbey Road.
There’s no moment purer with anticipation than the sound of the needle gently grazing vinyl, crackling like a tease before the main event. Before the first chord strikes, the world is still; the possibilities in that next moment are infinite.
I first experienced this excitement when I was eight years old, sitting in my dad’s office listing to The Beatles’ Abbey Road. I distinctly remember begging him to play “Here Comes the Sun” again and again, and him saying,
“Vinyl doesn’t work like that. Just let it play.”
Up until then, it was sport how quickly I could hit the ‘back’ button on my CD player in order to hear my nineties favorites again. Spice Girls’ “Wannabe,” Jewel’s “Pieces of You,”(worth a listen if you haven’t heard it in a while) and the occasional loop of “MMMbop”. My little shiny discs were my pride and joy; I had them organized to perfection. A different brand of care is required when it comes to vinyl though.
I remember my father carefully pulling the record out of its sleeve, gripping the edges with his fingertips, and gently placing it on the turntable as if it were the holy grail. I immediately fell in love with this ritualistic portion of the listening process. His pressing of Abbey Road was the first record he ever bought; he was just eight years old. I consider that specific record my most prized possession. Sure-it isn’t a rare pressing or worth a jaw-dropping-call-Antiques-Roadshow amount, but to me, it means the world. The sentiment and the magic within the grooves is priceless.
Abbey Road taught me to appreciate an album as a whole. The art of the album these days is secondary to the “radio-ready tunes,” of which a “don’t bore us-get to the chorus” standard often applies. It is unfortunate when the artist’s work as a whole isn’t taken into consideration. Their initial purpose takes a backseat; the soul within the music begins to fade.
In my opinion, some of the most meaningful seven minutes of music comes in the ending medley on Abbey Road. “Golden Slumbers,” “Carry that Weight,” into “The End” with a surprise tag from “Her Majesty” never ceases to amaze me. The references to their own songs within that ending is something only The Beatles could get away with. Each listen is a treat and just as monumental as the first time. There is always new facts emerging about this album as well. Dave Lifton did a solid piece for Ultimate Classic Rock recently in which I learned John was originally not a fan of that ending medley. Sorry John, but I can’t help but love it!
And so the vinyl collection began, and my self-proclamation as ‘The Vinyl Fanatic’ was born. I have a ways to go in growing my collection, but someday I hope to buried in vinyl like John Cusack in High Fidelity. Here’s to the dream!