This post first appeared last week on A Sound Day, a great blog by Dave as part of his fun Turntable Talk feature, where he invites contributions from other bloggers on a topic he proposes. His latest ask, which he playfully titled ‘Feels Like the First Time,’ was to write about the first album we ever bought. In this republished version of the post, I altered the feature image and added one of the embedded images. I also adjusted the formatting of the post to fit the style of this blog.
Thanks, Dave, for inviting me back for another Turntable Talk contribution. Your recurring feature truly is a gift that keeps on giving. I particularly enjoy reading the posts from fellow bloggers and the insights I gain in both their music tastes and personalities. And since I love writing about music, of course, it’s also fun sharing my own two cents.
This time, Dave asked us to reflect on the first album we bought, whether on vinyl, CD or in other formats. Jeez, I oftentimes can’t recall what I did the previous day, so remembering what I did some 45-plus years ago seems to be impossible. So, I decided to take some liberty with the topic.
While I really can’t remember the first record I bought with my own money, which to be clear would be my monthly allowance or any German Marks I received as a gift for my birthday or Christmas, I’m fairly certain three records were among the very first I owned and still do to this day!
Two of them are pictured below.
I believe The Beatles compilation I bought with my “own” money. The greatest hits sampler by The Everly Brothers, on the other hand, was a gift.
Obviously, I could have picked The Beatles, my all-time favorite band. But I’ve written multiple times about them, including once for Turntable Talk. That’s the main reason I picked the following record. Plus, given Elvis Presley was my first and only childhood idol before I discovered the four lads from Liverpool, there’s a high probability I owned Elvis’s 40 Greatest prior to getting the Beatles compilation.
Before I get to the record, let me tell you a little bit about my obsession with Elvis as a kid back in Germany. While my six-year-older sister introduced me to some of the greatest music ever recorded, such as Carole King’s Tapestry, Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s Déjà Vu, the “King of Rock and Roll” was my own discovery.
I must have “met” the man for the first time on the radio. We’re talking about 1976 or 1977, when I was 10 or 11 years old. I can’t recall specifically what it was that grabbed my attention in ways no other music had done before then. Mind you, I didn’t understand or speak any English, so I was reacting to Elvis’ amazing voice, as well as the cool groove and incredible energy projected by tunes like Tutti Frutti and Jailhouse Rock.
I became truly infatuated with Elvis and wanted to know everything about him. Obviously, there was no Internet back then, so I couldn’t simply ask Mr. Google or check Wikipedia! I do recall reading a bio published in paperback but sadly don’t remember the author or the title. Mr. Google didn’t help either, but since that bio included Elvis’ death in August 1977, obviously, it must have appeared thereafter – I assume sometime in 1978.
I also watched Aloha from Hawaii via Satellite on German TV. Given the original broadcast aired in 1973, it must have been a re-run, likely in the wake of Elvis’s passing. I also recall watching the Western Flaming Star (1960). Elvis starred in many movies, most of which were forgettable. I would say Flaming Star and Jailhouse Rock (1957) were among the best ones.
My obsession with Elvis culminated in attempts to impersonate the King in front of the mirror. I would even put grease in my hair. Once I also “costumed” as Elvis during the so-called Karneval season, which is prominent in the Rhineland, the area where I grew up, especially in the cities of Cologne, Bonn, Düsseldorf, Aachen and Mainz. Costuming, dancing, parades, drinking and happiness (or is it really forced silliness?) are part of the celebration, which reaches its climax in the week leading up to Ash Wednesday when ‘everything is over,’ as the Karneval fans say.
Once I started picking up the guitar as a 12- or 13-year-old, incorporating the instrument became part of my Elvis impersonation package. One of the first Elvis tunes I learned was (Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear. My poor parents really had a lot to endure!
Okay, I think you get the picture. I idolized Elvis, of course in an innocent childish way.
Time to finally get to some music and the aforementioned compilation, which according to Discogs was released in 1978. I know I got it as a present for Christmas, and we’re likely talking about the holiday that same year.
As also noted above, I still own that copy. While a bit worn it’s still playable. To prove it, I’ll leave with clips of four tunes I captured myself, one from each side of the double LP.
Side 1, Track 7: (Let Me Be Your) Teddy Bear (1957) – of course, I couldn’t skip that one!
Side 2, Track 2: Hard Headed Woman (1958) – this song just rocks; love the cool guitar solo by the great Scotty Moore!
Side 3, Track 10: Can’t Help Falling In Love (1961) – call it schmaltz, but that tune is a true beauty, which literally has brought me to tears!
Side 4, Track 8: Suspicious Minds (1969) – one of my all-time favorites I couldn’t skip!
While since those days back in the second half of the ‘70s I’ve become a bit more mature (I think!) and no longer idolize Elvis, or anyone else for that matter, I still enjoy much of his music. I also think Elvis was an incredible performer, especially in the ‘50s before joining the U.S. Army in March 1958 for his military service.
Sources: Wikipedia; Discogs; YouTube