From the Archives | Back in the Day, We Couldn’t Even Rewind

Article by Shirley Stickle


Shirley Stickle

EDVILLE—So, the other day my niece came to the Archives because she wanted to have a gander at our record collection. She’s on this big retro Fleetwood Mac kick nowadays, thanks to that Ticky-Tok app of hers.

Well, she says to me, “Aunt Shirley, I think I was born in the wrong decade! I should have been born when you were, so I could have lived in the the 70’s and listened to Fleetwood Mac when they were big!”

It got me thinking, you know, those were good times and music was far better than it is now. But I have to say that when it comes to sheer variety, we’re living in the best of times. I mean, come on kids, you get to hear every song ever made, quite literally in the palm of your hands, and all it takes is a monthly subscription of 10 bucks.

Back then, well, we had to go to a record shop and buy our records and cassettes in person. If you liked a song you heard on the radio, like Abba’s Waterloo, you had to buy the whole gosh-darn album! I paid $6.99 for that trash record, and all I wanted was that one dang song.

Now if you factor in inflation, that’d be about $47 today. That’s 4 months of subscription to that Spotify app that gives you every song ever. And you don’t even have to listen to the ones you can’t abide.

Speaking of which, another thing my niece didn’t get was the unholy hassle it was to skip the songs you didn’t want to listen to. Moving the needle on your record player was one thing but trying to maneuver your way around an 8-track in my Pinto—honestly! Those things didn’t even have rewind! Thank gosh you could fast-forward through Honey Honey and What About Livingstone to get to the English version of Waterloo. But if I wanted to replay it again, it was no quick button press or even a 35-second rewind, I had to go through the other 7 songs again!

Yes, life was hard. Not nowadays though.

Now when I’m cataloging down in the basement with my iPod on, I can press that handy little repeat button and listen to Abba until I’m waterlogged with Waterloo.

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