#44 Your first record, tape, or CD

Straight up now tell me: What was your first CD?

Mine was “Forever Your Girl” by Paula Abdul which was gift-wrapped together with Janet Jackson’s “Rhythm Nation” as part of a Christmas present with my new mini-system. Yes, I was ten years old when the boxy Magnasonic arrived under the tree… and I can still remember those CDs vividly. Of course, that’s probably because we went through the four steps of New Record, Tape, or CD Love together:

Step 1: Plenty of fish. Checking posters at the record store, flipping through Columbia House catalogues, flipping through hundreds of plastic-tombed tapes, you’re single and looking for love. Maybe they had a listening booth but most likely you plucked your album based on a song or two from the radio … and the rest was a complete surprise.

Stage 2: The First Time. This is the sweetest stage. All alone in your room you have a quiet moment with your new disc. When you get frustrated with the shrinkwrap you start biting it till it eventually peels off and static-clings to your hand. Next you push the case open, hear the little squeaky crunch as you pull it out of the case, and then gaze at that mirrory scratchless rainbow purity. Quickly peel out the booklet to see what kind of artwork they included and whether the put the lyrics in. Then you put it into the player, hear it spin round, and hold your breath and push play…

Stage 3: Dating Steady. You can’t live without each other. You pop the tape into your Walkman and listen to both sides, both ways, every day. You stick the CD in your car stereo and jam to it every night on your way home. You start memorizing the lyrics, your brain starts hearing the next song after the last one ends, and you start telling everyone about the album…. This is also the stage when you rearrange your life around your new tape or CD. This means taking every other CD out of your dusty tower by your TV and reorder them all alphabetically.

Stage 4: Lost love. It’s not that the love didn’t last. It’s just that your heart moved on and your record or tape didn’t change. You dyed your hair and went punk, fell in love with someone into hip-hop, or maybe got strung out on Top 40 during your blurry Clubland days. Now your first CD or tape sits lonely at the bottom of a shoebox, garage sale pile, or closet. You stumble upon it again and pop it in for a listen down memory lane… with your brain still hearing the next song after the last one ends, the lyrics shooting back to you, and all the memories from that distant time in your life flashing through your brain. You can see the bedspread you sat on listening… see the posters on your wall… and hear your mom calling your for dinner…

Your first album calls back a day when records, tapes, and CDs meant something more. They weren’t just plastic rectangles in paper boxes… they were little keys to your thoughts, doors to your heart, and friends when you were lonely. Lyrics colored in your own feelings, choruses sent you flying away, twisted jams twisted your head around, and every part of it made you today….


Photos from: here, here, and here

126 thoughts on “#44 Your first record, tape, or CD

  1. Hahaha!!! I think this is truly awesome!!! I don’t exactly remember what my first CD was…. But I do remember some of my favorites :)
    In case you usual readers/commenters are wondering who I am I’ve been reading 1000awesome things for a while trying to catch up to today and I finally did!! Thanks to all of you out there for making 1000awesome things awesome! Especially you Neil :)

  2. This is so very true. My first album (ahh the days of vinyl) was the Eurogliders and I played that thing to death, particularly when no one else was home.
    I still go through the steps above with new CDs that I purchase, but oddly I don’t have the same attachment when I download it from iTunes. That is particularly strange since the first thing I do now is load the CD into iTunes and put it on my ipod. Or is it more that if I really want something I will buy it as a CD rather than as a digital download, which are more opportunity acquisition for me???
    Something to ponder maybe…

  3. Very cool! I’ll always remember mine…
    The first C.D I was ever given was a Nickelodeon’s 90’s CD and the first one I ever bought with my own money was Avril Lavigne’s “Sk8ter Boi”. This really brings back the nostalgia which is always “awesome” :)

    1. avril lavigne’s “under my skin” was the first CD album i ever received.. she was one of my favourite artists back then and still is now :’) AWESOMEE.

  4. My dad brought The Beatles first album ever home for all of us!
    When I saw Rudolph, he bought me one of my very own though, which was Mother Goose songs by Burl Ives. When we weren’t rocking, I found Mr. Ives voice and smile was so comforting…..

    1. …and back when a single-45 could be bought for about 99cents, I’m sure my first was Neil Young, Horse with no name.

        1. I still have most all of the first, they’re still in alphabetical order too! Now I’ve discovered I can replace Burl Ives, “Twinkle in your eye”, LP on Amazon…thanks Neil….this is awesome!!!
          I know the rainbow you’re talking about:) And when I worked in a music shop, Split Enz, True Colours-I got you, debut LP came in with rainbow colourful designs laser etched onto the Vinyl, that cast designs over the room when it played…and they flew off the shelf! Still have mine!
          I love music where both the instruments and lyrics can be heard…ballads with meaning. Artists like REO Speed-wagon, who creatively title like this~ “You can tune a piano but you can’t tuna fish…It’s time for me to fly”.

          *Did you all know as of May 2011, over 623,162,727 songs have been written/recorded…that are known of….and every 2 minutes another is produced…that is the most spectacularly AWESOMEST TRIVIA EVER!

  5. Most of this still applies to the digital age too; in fact, mixtape making is coming back in the form of youtube playlists, albeit without the satisfaction of having a physical cassette.

  6. Oh man. Oh MAN. Love this one. Mine was a greatest hits compilation of No Doubt, given to me by my dad when I was like 6, completely random because that’s his thing. He doesn’t even like them… classic Dad. Anyways, I opened the CD and for whatever reason just loved it. So much. And I still have it, even though it’s scratched beyond use. So I bought the recent re-release :) And what’s funny is now that I actually have developed my own musical tastes, No Doubt is still one of my favorite bands and it’s still one of my favorite CDs. Ahh, thanks for this post Neil!

    1. My first CD was No Doubt, too! But I can tell I’m older than you because I got my first CD in middle school and it was No Doubt’s Tragic Kingdom, when “Just a Girl” and “Don’t Speak” were first being played on the radio. I still have that CD, too!

  7. Mine was Spice Girls if I believe correctly or Backstreet Boys. Haha, I still listen to both. This is one of my favorite posts because I love music.

    1. My first album was Thriller by Michael Jackson. I didn’t get Whitney album on cassette until much later, obviously.

  8. I remember when I got a portable tape player for my birthday! It was like magic, being able to carry music around in my pocket!

    I do remember my first CD clearly, though, ‘7; by S Club 7. Classic stuff right there :)

  9. Haha I will always remember the first CD I could call my very own- Barbie Slumber Party Mix!! Hahaha I heard it at a friend’s and LOVED it and Mum bought it for me :) I think I was about 6? It had all the greats like early Britney Spears and Atomic Kitten and Sophie Monk and that 😀
    But when I first read the title of this post, my brain jumped to a different kind of ‘first CD’…. because Thursday 1 March our choir is launching our first CD!! I’m so excited!! We’ve recorded about 30 songs and put it as a double CD and worked with a graphics designer to produce the booklet and it looks heaps professional It’s called ‘Sweetest Feeling’ because that’s one of the songs. 😀 I’ve sold 42 already and all that was asked was 20 each haha. Well, anyway, yes so our highschool girls choir has produced our first CD and that is really

    1. “YOUR First Record”…this IS about you and your mates! How spectacularly awesome, Emmy! ***Congratulations to you all!!!

        1. Ha, maybe I will! When I get the CD :) Although I’m not sure if the copyright would allow it, but we’ll see :) And also, how would you upload it to this website?

          1. Up load to you tube, then link in from there! If you’re allowed to, that will be awesome to see:) Quickly though, time’s ticking….

          2. OH, Emmy~ that is absolutely beautiful! Astoundingly AWESOME!
            Hey everybody, we’ve fame and fabulous~ in the house!
            Made my day! Thank you so much for sharing=D

          3. <DDDD It makes me all warm and fuzzy when someone says I've made their day. Thank YOU!
            AND WE GOT THE CD TODAY!!! It looks awesome!! Haha and I'm not just saying that for here. The booklet we designed is so cool and everything sounds so good! Today couldn't get ANY more awesome! <3

          4. Oh! Also, I figured out how to link a music file from my computer to show here, (I think!!) So yeah here is me singing Both Sides Now :)

          5. I don’t think we can click on this link and would LOVE to see/hear as it’s one of the best songs ever written and likely phenomenally sung by you:) Is there another way?!*

          6. :( ummm im not sure how else, because I was told not to upload the audio to youtube. But thank you! I must it’s not phenomenal at all, but thanks for the vote of confidence :)

          7. I imagine it would be after hearing some of the other songs on you tube from what I believe is your choir…same name and all, right after Mr. Blue Sky”~ Truly AWEMAZING! (that’s awesome and amazing together:)
            Again, Congratulations on taking a passion and making it happen…this is huge Awesome!

          8. Oh right! I forgot there were those ones as well! You know the one called ‘bcc clip- choir at the lyric theatre- No. 2’? With the girl doing to solo out the front? Well that’s me there! Yay you can hear me sing now

          9. Oh my goodness! I was drawn to the song title, “My cup runneth over”, and commented, yesterday! Your voice is angelic! Brought tears to my eyes and is added to my Awesome treasures. God as my witness, I’d a sense it was you, Emmy! I saw Zosia, (wisdom), in your eyes and of a young lady who’d write the heart-felt Awesome essay you wrote last February, to your mom and dad; that which Neil posted in June.
            Thank’s again for sharing your awesomeness=D

          10. Oh my god :’) That is like the nicest thing anyone’s said to me. Thank you so much Wendy xox I am really touched

          11. Hey Wendy and Emmy – there is a site I use. All you have to do is go to ge.tt and upload a file and you can share it with the world! If you join it lets you keep it or delete it as you wish, if you don’t want to join then they only keep it up there for a short time.

            Hope that helps? You can always sign up on soundcloud.com as well :)

          12. Just as I suspected…PHENOMENAL, Emmy:)
            Your song is in my collection of cherished Awesome treasures!
            Again, Congratulations on production and release of your first CD.
            And Thank you for sharing!

          13. Can’t help but compliment a great singer :) Thanks again for sharing. Your message totally made my day today – I missed out on tickets to Radiohead here in Bris so I was really upset – “First World Problem” I know >_<. Lol thanks for that.

          14. Thank you both so much- you’re just so lovely! I had a great time recording the CD, a challenging process, I was only just coming out the other end of a bad cold and lost voice when I recorded my solo, and I wasn’t too happy with the recording but it’s allllll gooood :))) I’ve just come back from the CD launch an hour ago and it was an amazing night, I got all dressed up very prettily 😀 Had a ball, said a very sad goodbye to the choir’s mother/sister Sam, she was the music assistant trainee last year and now she’s going to uni 2 hours away and this was her last performance with us, so yeah it was a good night and a sad night at the same time. But it all went very successfully and smoothly in the end :) Thank you for being such complimentary people that you are, you’re appreciation of me is greatly appreciated BY me 😀 xox

    1. omg wait, Nick Carter was from the Backstreet Boys? I think he sung a solo on my Barbie CD! haha small world :)

  10. Mine were “Pop Goes the World” – Men Without Hats and “Pride” – White Lion. I ended up becoming a metalhead, so I guess the White Lion had a bigger influence but I remember the excitement of “MY VERY OWN MUSIC!!!” What a great way to start the week! :-)

  11. The first album I bought with my own money at age 8 or 9 was “Whipped Cream and other Delights” by Herb Albert and the Tijuana Brass. My parents had early rock, classical and show-tune albums, but I went in a different direction! I was a girl with eclectic tastes who did some awesome hairbrush singing and dancing. I even made up words to the instrumental tunes.

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