The vinyl countdown
I was four years old, not allowed to watch or play with He Man, and had been raised on classical music. I can’t remember how or where I first heard it, but The Final Countdown by Swedish big hair rockers Europe made an indelible impression on my young mind, and I harangued my mum into buying me the LP on vinyl. I still remember holding the thing in my tiny hands driving back from kindergarten. It was so big and shiny, the image something a kitsch street painter would draw on a touristy boulevard, with gaudy colours and the band members’ likenesses hurtling through space. The album was chock full of songs about space travel, ninjas, cherokees and dangerous strangers that filled my juvenile mind with magical images. I would play it over and over, driving my parents to insanity. Looking back now, my musical tastes have perhaps matured (or at least changed) to the point that I don’t listen to Europe that often anymore. But what that disc of vinyl instilled in me was a love for the album. I didn’t just listen to the hit, I listened to the whole set of songs, and to this day I still enjoy discovering hidden gems by artists presumed to only have one or two good songs. A well-crafted album can take you on a journey, transport you to a different place where you experience a range of feelings conjured up by the music and where you, as a listener, are at that point in time, both physically and mentally. And when you have an album on vinyl, it’s like a play in two acts, which adds an interesting dynamic. You get two openers and two closers, and you are forced to participate physically, in taking the album out of its sleeve, dropping the needle on it and changing sides. It makes you listen in a different way, it commands your attention in a way that infinite online streaming music can’t. So do yourself a favour - the next time you’ve got an hour, get your favourite vinyl out from when you were a kid, and relive that magic you felt when you first listened to it. I know I will.
Joey Haynes (banjo, vocals)