As I drive about the roads or walk around the Shopping Centre I see so many people with wires coming out of their ears I think it must be a new wave of robots and at any minute one of them will stutter to a stop as their batteries run out. Although you and your parents have grown up thinking that’s the normal way to listen to music it hasn’t been for me.
The first music I heard, apart from Dad whistling or singing, would probably have been on our pianola. If you weren’t a piano player you could buy special paper rolls which had little holes punched into them. The rolls fitted into the pianola and you had to continuously pump foot plates to play the music, it certainly built leg muscles. The gramophone was another way to play music you liked. There were big black 78 rpm records that scratched easily so you had to be very careful putting them on and placing the needle down. Ricky and Mike used to torment me playing, “If You Knew Suzie” on ours.
In about 1960 Dad bought a second hand radiogram, it was in a big wooden cabinet and that played the “modern” 45 rpm and 33 rpm records. You could hear songs on the radio and buy the records. The 45rps were only small with usually one song on each side and the first one I bought cost 10/- or about $1. We didn’t have many records so most of the time I listened to the radio, it was a big unit plugged into a wall socket. I used to stand with my ear pressed up against it listening to the latest pop songs. Grandpa was deaf and I always played the radio quietly but that didn’t stop him demanding to know why I, “listened to that rubbish!”
There were radio programmes where you could send in requests and I remember requesting a song Dad loved and we all sat and listened to that one. Maybe it put Dad’s life into perspective, it was called “Life Gets Teejus Don’t It?” and it always made him laugh.
After record players came tape recorders. The first one I had was a big reel to reel player, you had to thread a brown tape through the heads from one reel to the other. I bought that one when I was first earning money and remember my legs turning to jelly because I was spending so much. After the reel to reel tape recorders came cassette players, CD players and then the MP3 players you plug into your ears today.
Radios have changed a lot too. I was at secondary school when transistor radios came in, they were so small you could easily carry them around and listen to the music you liked without interference from “oldies”. I was so excited the day I saw a big Fordgeys ad in the Sunday Mail showing transistors just like I wanted and for a price I could afford. After school the next day I rushed straight to Fordgeys to buy my “trannie”. Beside a big board showing the sale price were not the nice little ones I’d seen in the illustration but big, heavy lumps of things. Only the big ones were at the advertised price, the small ones were much dearer. I was devastated. I left the shop vowing to never, ever set foot in Fordgeys again.
You didn’t know that about Nana did you?
You can move the cursor over a graphic to see the caption.