Tuesday, March 20, 2012


Long before there were CDs and MP3 players there were record players and vinyl records.  A person had a machine, that had an arm with a needle on the end, that when placed in the groove of a long playing record magically played music.  The record sat on a turntable that spun at 33 revolutions per minute (RPMs) or at 45 RPM for smaller records that played just a single song. 

This in itself was a miracle; but low and behold someone came up with an idea to make this record player “automatic” and you could stack up to six records on a spindle and they would drop down one after another and play.  There was a bar that held the stack of records on the spindle and if you put just one record on the turntable and left the bar up, it would play the same record over and over again until you stopped it.

Whenever I would purchase a new record album I often would set the machine in this mode so that I could listen to my newly acquired treasure over and over until I knew it by heart.  I would often read while I listened; multi-tasking at its best.  This produced an interesting phenomenon.  The music would be so engrained on my brain that I associate the music with what I was reading at the time.  As I have gotten older there aren’t too many of these subliminal connections left, as my mind has been filled with so many other things.  One does remain quite strong though.

I discovered the Lord Of The Rings trilogy after being assigned to read the Hobbit in school.  I became so enthralled with Middle Earth that I devoured the books one after another, enjoying every one of the thousands of pages.  It was about this time that Simon & Garfunkel released their masterpiece album, “Sound of Silence.”  I carefully put the record on my machine.  I started it playing in “repeat mode,” and got back to reading about Frodo and his ring.  I was so caught up in the story that I was almost oblivious to the music as it played over and over, but my brain heard it just fine.  I read for hours as the brilliant S&G album poured from my speakers.

Today, anytime I hear a song from that album on my MP3 player at home or in my car or even as background music at a local store or restaurant; like “Pavlof’s Dog” I am transported to Middle Earth and memories of the Fellowship and Tolkien’s fantasy come flooding back.  Over the years, when I have re-read the books, I always try to listen to that music also to keep the connection going.  It enhances the activity and also reminds me of a simpler time, before technology exploded into our lives, when reading was a major part of my day, and music was played through a needle.