In these days of digital downloads and online streaming, it sometimes gets hard to imagine a time when you went into Woolworths or your local record shop to get the latest hits. Younger readers will probably think I'm rambling on like an old man here, but when I was buying records around 35 or so years ago, it seemed like more of an event - not like today, when the latest number one is on your laptop or iPod after a few clicks of a mouse (...now I am rambling on like an old man, but I digress...)
Back in 1980, your only sources of news on the latest releases were the music papers - and it was not just the NME. We also had Record Mirror, Melody Maker and Sounds (to name three) and to music fans, this was, for most of the time, the starting point. In my case, once I had found out that a favourite act had a new single on such and such a date, I'd start taking a few notes - and if there was an extra track on the b-side of the 12-inch edition, that was a bonus - I'd get that as well. Once I had my list prepared, it would be down to the friendly neighbourhood record shop at the first opportunity (well, the next time I'd be going into town) to hand the list over and put the stuff I wanted on order.
Then the waiting started. Making do with dodgy recordings from Radio 1 (and this was when you could only get it on Medium Wave during the daytime), listening to Radio Luxembourg (and putting up with the signal constantly fading in and out) or watching Top of the Pops on BBC One on a Thursday, the next couple of weeks or so would feel like an eternity until the next visit to the shop to check if the discs had come in. If they were, it was "mission accomplished". In fact, there were times when I simply couldn't hand my cash over quickly enough most weeks! And as for the odd limited edition that cropped up, those were the ones you'd kill for, so to speak, especially if they came with a free single. At times it felt as if every purchase was planned with almost military precision.
Now I might have exaggerated the odd detail here or there, but that's more or less how buying music was in the 70s & 80s. Not like today, when it's all sorted with a click of a button. There's none of the personal contact you'd get when browsing at the record store, and there's none of the anticipation of waiting to get that disc on to your stereo when you got it home.
To be honest, it makes you yearn for the good old days, doesn't it?
- Mark Radbourne
- Cromer, Norfolk, United Kingdom
I'm a former hospital radio/club/mobile DJ, avid record collector and amateur musician (playing guitar, keyboards, recorder, harmonica and percussion.) I've even filled in on bass guitar for a couple of local bands as well (although that was quite a few years ago). Also interested in Motorsports, Wrestling/Mixed Martial Arts and Classic Television and Radio from the 1960s - 1980s.
Why am I on here? Well, I'm just trying to make some sense of life before it's too late...but who cares anyway?