You may not realize it, but all of us still have the original albums we bought after hearing one of its songs for the first time on that local rock radio station. And they have us.
What we didn't know at the time was, that vinyl disk came with something much more valuable than words and music. Long before hard drives, chips or clouds, that vinyl disk came with unlimited memory storage. Not the random access kind -- very specific memory storage. Memories of us; who we were, where we were, what we felt, what we were into and what we hoped one day would be.
From the first moment we exchanged our currency for their creativity, that vinyl disk began downloading memories.
At first it began storing anticipation, excitement and the promise of escape, even before sharing its sonic stories. The colorful cardboard container (itself a work of art and the invitation to other worlds) must have entered an access code to a very specific part of our essence, and as its contents began to reveal itself to our soul, an everlasting connection was formed.
As days passed, these songs were woven into our lives, and we into theirs. Side one, cut one on that album was playing when we met. Side two of this album got me through a rough patch with the promise of endless possibilities. Remember how we used to sing (badly) the last cut on this one over and over again all night long? This cut opened my eyes to inequality, that one to the tragedy of war. And what was it exactly about cut 3 on this album that seemed like the perfect name for our daughter? Oh, everything.
Days turned to weeks. Weeks to months. Months to years. The songs remained the same, but as the vinyl began to expose its own mortality, through its infinite wisdom, the imperfections seemed to reveal even more pieces of ourselves, long forgotten.
Decades later, all it takes is a song on the radio and pow! From across space and time comes the stored knowledge of that mystical disk; the vinyl, the jacket, the sleeve and all. Even if its physical manifestation is long gone, those long-playing vinyl record albums will always be with us, spinning through our lives at thirty-three-and-a-third revolutions per minute.
In case you're wondering... that Fifth Dimension album (pictured above) is the first LP I bought with my own money. And I still own it - and all the memories it holds.