I wrote an article about my son's amazement and amusement at the size of LPs and this in turn led to Jessie W writing her own article http://www.gather.com/viewArticle.jsp?articleId=281474976970330 in response. This got me thinking about the part LPs played in my teenage life and how CDs today just don't evoke the same response.
I remember buying singles as a twelve year old. They cost 44 pence (88c) which when you got 50 pence pocket money a week was a LOT and required sacrifice or saving. LPs cost £2.50 -five times my weekly income so totally out of reach for a twelve year old who needed books and magazines every week and was a hopeless saver.
Christmas came and to my amazement my Godparents gave me TWO LP's by my favourite teenage artists. It would never have even occurred to me to request them as gifts. They seemed to me such a huge expense but I was thrilled to recieve such a "grown up" present and played them endlessly.
However it wasn't just about the music -that gift opened up a whole new world to me. LP covers weren't just designed to contain these huge discs of plastic-they were artworks in themselves. Who even today doesn't instantly recognise certain album covers-Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon for example and at the other end of the scale Donny Osmond's Portrait of Donny-every teenage girl who owned that album remembers the cover and the 8 x 10 black and white glossy photos enclosed fondly. People carried LPs like a badge of recognition-if you were seen with certain albums under your arm it marked you as cool to your peers. The artwork ranged from a simple photograph to incredible visual treats and for many was their first experience of comtempory art. The covers were hung as art in teenagers rooms-their parents might have a Van Gough reproduction on their living room walls but we had the schizophrenic Aladdin Sane, the zippered Sticky Fingers created by Andy Warhol and the evocative Hotel California cover.
From a simple cardboard sleeve-album covers evolved into almost stand alone items -some purchased for the art alone with little concern for the music within. Many are still regarded as collectable and displayable today.
Then came cassettes increase in popularity (and the less successful eight track) as people wanted more portability in their music-and today we have the CD and downloadable music. Technically better sound quality undeniably but at what cost? They have no feeling of solidness and definitely are too small to be used as a visual medium of art.
I miss them.-my ears love the I-Pod but my heart misses the wholeness of the late LP.