My First Time…

“You never forget your first time”… or so the old saying goes. There was a thread in the DVD Talk forums the other day asking readers what their first album and\or CD purchase was. I took the topic and ran with it – here’s my response:

My first single: “King Tut” by Steve Martin. Yep – there’s no accounting for taste sometimes.

My first 8-track: Crusin’ by the Village People. I probably got it in 1977, when I was 6. My mom had a ’77 Lincoln, and the car was still pretty new when I got the tape, so that’s how I date it. Anyway, I was blissfully unaware of the whole “gay” thing. I just thought it was fun, poppy music. And if you think about it, to a six year old, there really isn’t much of a difference, on an intellectual level, between Barney and the Village People.

My first album: Duran Duran by Duran Duran. Interestingly, the band was almost completely unknown in the US at the time – late December of 1981. I was almost 11 years old back then. I went to an Atlanta-area mall with my grandmother so she could return\exchange some unwanted Christmas presents. There was a Record Bar store next door to the Piccadilly Cafeteria where we had dinner, and I talked her in to letting me go in. I looked around for a few minutes and found a British copy of Duran Duran’s first album – the original first album, mind you, not the 1983 U.S. re-release – in the bargain bin for $5.99. It looked cool, and I begged her to buy it for me. She did, and my love affair with Brit New Wave was born.

My first cassette: I have no idea, although two K-Tel cassettes stick out as being possible “firsts”: Hooked on Classics and some K-Tel’s Best of 1981 tape with Sheena Easton (“Morning Train”), Melissa Manchester (“You Should Hear How She Talks About You”… uuuugh!) and Steel Breeze (“You Don’t Want Me Anymore”). I honestly don’t remember cassettes that well, because: a) I went through them like tap water (I know I had at least 4 copies of Never Mind The Bullocks on cassette) and b) some neighborhood kid stole all my tapes back in 1983. Actually, if blank tapes count, then my first tape might have been blank. My Dad bought a cassette recorder, and I got my Mom to buy me some blank tapes. I made some fake radio shows, took the recorder into the woods to record nature sounds… and eventually hooked it up as a storage device for my Apple ][ computer. Saving computer programs to cassette tape? God, I’m old!

My first 12″ Single: “Rio” by Duran Duran. This one’s kind of funny, actually. I had no idea that 12″ singles even existed, so one day I walked into my local Turtles Record Store (damn, I am old!) and saw this mysterious British record. It was large, like an album, but it only seemed to have 3 songs on it. And one of them was almost 6 minutes long! What the hell? Was this some new Duran Duran album? Did the British version of the Rio album only have 3 songs on it? If so, why did the American version have 9 songs? And why did the American album have a nice cardboard sleeve while this one had a cheap paper sleeve? Wait – the songs are played at 45rpm? Why was this record only $3.99? It just didn’t make any sense at all! I ended up buying it – my extreme confusion notwithstanding. I soon became friends with a guy named Don who had just opened “Skip’s Records” in a nearby strip mall. He explained that 12″ singles were played by DJs at nightclubs and they had these versions of songs called “remixes” on them. He also explained that although his name was Don, his Dad had fronted the money for the record store and his name was Skip, hence “Skip’s Records”. Don was a helpful guy.

My first CD: it’s kind of hard to say. I got a CD player from my parents for Christmas in 1985, and my uncle and grandparents got me CDs of Duran Duran, Rio and Seven and the Ragged Tiger as presents so I’d have something to play on it. So those were my first discs… but I think The Cure’s Staring at the Sea was the first CD I actually bought myself. Wait… Staring at the Sea was the CD, right? And Standing On a Beach was the cassette? Or was it the other way ’round? Bah – stupid Cure making things all difficult!

And while we’re at it:

My first concert: My parents took me to see The Beach Boys at Lanierland Music Park in the late summer of 1983. It wasn’t my choice, but it ended up being kind of cool ‘cos Dennis Wilson died a few months later. The first concert I actually chose to go to was Men At Work, also in 1983, at the old Omni in Atlanta. I still have the ticket stub – it was only $11.50 per ticket! I remember being miserable before the show because I was going to get braces in a week or two and so the orthodontist had put spacers in my mouth earlier that day. I remember my mom taking me to some fast food place at the Omni International before the show. I remember almost crying while eating ‘cos my mouth hurt so bad! But as soon as “the Men” came on stage, it was all forgotten! What a great show that was!

Ahhhhh… good times!

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