It was July 1968 and I was counting down the days until my eighth birthday. Among the things I was hoping to get were accessories for my G.I. Joe and Johnny West action figure collections, a new baseball bat and glove and my very own record player.
I was just starting to get into rock and roll music and was tired of sharing a record player with my big sister. To her credit though she was kind enough to share her records with me.
My record collection was pretty thin; it consisted mostly of kid’s songs and novelty records. I figured I would work on getting a record player first, and then focus on get my rock and roll music collection going.
When the big day came, July 23, I was not disappointed. My mom threw a party for me and several of my good friends came over to share cake, ice cream and games. I do remember we played a few games of pin the tail on the donkey!
Sure enough, when it came time to open the presents, I found I had a new General Electric Walt Disney record player, turquoise with white stripes and a big picture of Mickey Mouse on the inside of the cover. After my friends left the party I plugged it in and went in search of some 45’s to play. To my surprise, my sister handed me a stack of her 45’s and said I could keep them. The creation of what is now a rather large record collection had begun.
Two of the 45’s she gave me come to mind, both by the Beatles: Please Please Me and From Me to You. I think that one of the reasons I remember those 45’s was the groovy record label they were on. Although most Beatle records would be released on Capitol Records, these early recordings were released on the small Chicago based label known as V-J Records. The labels were black with silver lettering and had a rainbow around the edge of the label similar to what Capitol Records was using on their albums at the time.
While I thought the labels were cool, the music simply blew me away. I heard my sister play the Beatles many times before and also heard the Beatles played often on Phoenix, Arizona radio stations KRIZ and KRUZ but this was different; they were now playing on MY very own record player! I was hooked!
I had to have more Beatles records; I had to have ALL kinds of rock and roll records! In years to come, allowance money, birthday money, paper route money and part-time job money went towards feeding my Beatles habit. I had a “Ringo” on my back and I didn’t care.
Well, that small collection of records I received from my sister grew into well over a thousand albums and 45’s. In addition to that, my home is filled with all kinds of rock and roll memorabilia with the focus being on the Fab Four.
After all these years, I still look back on my eighth birthday and think YEAH! YEAH! YEAH! What a great day that was!!
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