Vinyl Memories

Nostalgia of a different kind for you today … We’re talking seven inch singles, those perfectly packaged pieces of vinyl musical gratification.

I remember the first single I bought, back in 1972, it was How can I be sure by David Cassidy, I think it was 50p from Boots. I no longer have that one, but during my decluttering, I refound my box of singles I was keeping hoarding in case I ever got a juke box, and it was so much fun to go through them all again.  Few, if any, are worth anything, and I’ve whittled them down to a neat pile of about thirty that I can’t bear to lose – the rest will go to the car boot sale.

Being a teenager in the 1970s, I grew up with singles. When I was younger, we played them on the old stereogram in the garage which had the benefit of an autochanger. Later I mainly recorded them onto cassettes.

My first exhibit, is two singles which demonstrate my list-making tendencies well … Note the number sticker on the Bowie, and the peeling name sticker on the other (the number is on the back).  All were filed, and catalogued.  The second single here was from 1968, and bought by my parents after a holiday in Switzerland where it was on the hotel’s juke-box – great for those party moments where you feel like a Cossack (after too much vodka?) and need to do a bit of Russian dancing. A case of from the sublime to the ridiculous maybe, but I can see a troupe of kids doing a modern streetdance version of Casatschok on Britain’s Got Talent …

The next exhibit shows more stages in the history of the seven inch single.  In the mid 1970s, you could buy reconditioned ex-juke-box singles from newsagents.  They’d have a rack of them – all with their middles cut out, in replacement sleeves – and Santana’s cover of the Zombies’ song She’s Not There is one that remains in my collection – a classic with that blistering guitar solo – still brilliant.  Then in the 1980s, there were firms like Oldies Unlimited that reissued classic tracks back to back like that on the right.  I’ve forgotten already what was on the back of this one, but I got the Surfaris Wipe Out to go in the jukebox collection.

Then two more of my parents’ – Mack The Knife still had it’s original late 50s London records sleeve, although rather aged. Spanish Flea was another blast from the primary school days that still gets me bopping around whenvever I hear it, (along with Burt Kaemfert’s Swinging Safari, but sadly we never had the single of that).

Now I can hear you say – where are all the special editions, the coloured vinyls, the picture discs, the shaped singles etc?  Well, I sold them along with most of my lps some years ago, when ebay prices were really good, enough people still had record decks, and there were a lot of record collectors out there.

But I shall leave you with one picture sleeve from a treasured single that will certainly go in my jukebox one day …

It’s a shame as the BBC has been running a feature on the Desert Island Discs website, asking people for their own nominations and I missed the deadline – The poll has now closed.  It won’t stop me spending some time thinking about my choices though, and I’ll get back to you in another post.  Hit me with your rhythm stick (above) may well be in there!

Were you a vinyl fan?
Do share your memories of those big black round things that made great music.


10 thoughts on “Vinyl Memories

  1. Can I have an mp3 of Casatschok. Have Spanish FLea on CD – still great.

    Wondered who had purloined some of the above but still have my own Rhythm Stick (12″).

  2. Keto, will bring Casatschok down next time I visit – I no longer have a record player, and BTW Mum gave me all her singles years ago and you sold the Ian Dury to me for 20p – no purloining involved! 🙂

  3. Didn’t know I ever had the 7″ version. Think I know of a spare Record deck. 😉

  4. Ah Memories – vinyl – Urban Spaceman / Napoleon IV/ Tiny Tim / Ronnie Hilton plus of course all those from Ed Murray’s Saturday morning show – Keith West’s Grocer jack, Nrs Mills and the Scafold. My Old sister told me about all these

  5. You mean Ed Stewpot of course. You’re forgetting Hello Mudder, Hello Fadder, Cinderella Rockafella…

  6. Vinyls never went out of fashion in our house thanks to my other half who has a huge collection, both LP and single.
    They are mostly soul and funk from the 60’s and 70’s, some of them quite rare imports, but yes we have a fair few of the ex-jukebox singles too and one or two quirky records -David Bowie’s Laughing Gnome and Paul McCartney’s Frog’s Chorus for example, which were both great favourites with the kids when they were small!
    We had a few years when the collection was packed away because we had nothing to play it on but I bought him a new music system for his 50th a few years ago which has a turntable (for once I didn’t have to rack my brains over what to get him!) and we regularly have music evenings – probably to the irritation of the neighbours as I don’t think our conservatory is particularly soundproof!

    • We used to have around 1000 albums, but reached the point where we never played them once the number of cds outnumbered the lps, except when we had a ‘random pick’ hour – a bit like your music evenings which sound wonderful. So I sold most of them, including quite a few rarities, and the turntable went too. I just have one small box with a few treasures left now. Juliet is rather fond of the Laughing Gnome – but I downloaded it for her – never had the single.

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