February 11, 1988

Article at Dallas Times Herald - Dallas Observer - Lynchburg (Va.) News & Advance

A late convert finally puts LPs in the closet

Well, I finally broke down and bought a CD player.

It had to happen, I guess, it was the Yuppie thing to do, and though l don’t consider myself a Yuppie (I associate the term “Yuppie" with disposable income), I don't like feeling left out, either.

For a long time, I resisted — really. Who needs a CD player when you've got a wonderful old turntable and a lifetime’s collection of records? I can’t tell the difference in the sound anyway, unless there's a huge scratch or something on the album and that actually adds a nostalgic quality to the whole listening experience.

Gosh, I would remember with a gleam in the eye, I sure did ruin that beautiful Elvis Costello ballad when I dropped a half empty Coke can on It.

I guess I always knew I'd give in. While maintaining the front of an LP purist, diligently wiping the grooves of each record nightly with a dust cloth as I scoffed at the nouveau music lovers and their new toy, I unconsciously started buying fewer records, until I was buying none at all.

And then there was that omen from the summer before last, when I wisely placed a large portion of my collection in the back seat of my car for about six hours one sunny afternoon, and it turned into vinyl mush and hardened into black Frisbees with little holes in the middle. (WARNING: Don’t use them as frisbees if this happens to you. You could accidentally decapitate the neighbor kid.)

But still I waited. Until I realized a couple months ago that I wasn’t listening to music anymore, except for the stuff on MTV and VH1. In other words, I was losing brain cells daily.

So, I bought one — a CD player, that is — cheap I'm probably the first person on my block, in fact, to own a third generation CD player; it’s been circulating around the newsroom, from editor to photographer to me, since 1983.

I like the fact that it's already out-of-date, so I don’t have to worry about taking care of it. It’s primitive looking — no remote controls or carousels or electronic robot arms that can take the CDs out of the case for you and it’s the same, utterly unfashionable silver color as my other stereo components. Perfect.

The sad thing is, the only place I could put it was under my turntable, so I had to do something with my albums. Space at my place is kind of limited, so the only real option, unless I wanted to construct an elaborate mobile and hang it from the bathroom ceiling, was the closet.

Being forced to put the classic albums of Fleetwood Mac, Billy Joel and Elton John in the closet? Unthinkable. (Although, of course, in Elton’s case, he’d already been there.)

I just couldn’t do it. There were too many good memories.

But then I realized that there were some embarrassments, too. A lot of them. Disco soundtrack "Saturday Night Fever.” K-tel hit collection “Out-a-sight!” Disco soundtrack “Thank God It’s Friday." K-tel hit collection “Convoy." Disco. K-tel. Disco. K-tel. My head began to spin. It was a nightmare.

And worst of all — no, I can’t admit it — "Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.’’

The one by PETER FRAMPTON and the BEE GEES. I threw the whole stack in the closet in a heap.  Hey, CDs are great. They’re a chance to start over, to correct all the horrible purchases that linger like pimples from adolescence.

My first purchase, in fact, was the original “Sgt. Pepper."