A whimsical look at life growing up in the small town of Waldron, Arkansas in the 1960s and 1970s, plus occasional observations from the present. Want to start at the very beginning? Click HERE.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Stars on 45

It's too bad that young folks today don't get to experience vinyl records.  In the days when music was spun instead of downloaded, an inexpensive way to get to hear anytime the latest hits that WLS in Chicago played was to buy a 45 rpm record.  There were a few places in Waldron that sold records, but sometimes you had to go to Wal-Mart in Booneville or maybe Fort Smith to get the very latest.  By the way, for those youngsters who happen to be reading this, a "45" was so named because the vinyl record made 45 revolutions per minute as it turned on the record player.  An LP, or long-playing record, spun at a rate of 33 and one-third revolutions per minute.  And the generation before me listened to records that played at 78 revolutions per minute. 

Of course, if you found yourself with a surplus of funds, you might splurge on an entire LP, or "album" as we called them.  Madcats Music Seller in Fort Smith's Central Mall was a great place to look at albums.  It was easy to forget about time as you perused the "stacks"; looking at the fantastic art on the covers and reading the liner notes on the back of the album. 

I'm not sure where my older brothers bought their records back when I was in elementary school.  We didn't have many, but we practically wore the grooves off of the ones we did have, playing them endlessly on the little record player that we ordered from the Sears catalogue.  My sister and I loved to mime along to the records, while accompanying ourselves on our "guitars", which were actually badminton rackets.  (My sister Janet later became a skilled guitarist, but I, sadly, lacked the talent to advance beyond the badminton racket.)

So, while looking through my box of old 45's, I pulled out these records that we listened to in those days (all songs listed are linked to YouTube, so you can click and listen at any time; just don't forget to come back...):

The Universal Soldier (Glen Campbell)
Venus in Blue Jeans (Michael Reed)
Telstar (The Tornadoes)
Wondering (Roy Orbison)
Crazy Little Guitar Man (Red Foley) - featured lots of great badminton; er, guitar, solos...
Ruby Ann (Marty Robbins)
and, our particular favorite...
Sing a Goofy Song (Dave Seville and The Chipmunks)

Later, in junior high and high school, we put away the badminton rackets and put on headphones, to listen to records on our new stereo unit, also ordered from Sears.  In looking through my collection, I see a lot of country records from this particular period, as well as pop hits.  Digging deeper in the box, I found great songs like:

Why Me (Kris Kristofferson)
Leave Me Alone (Helen Reddy)
Paper Roses (Marie Osmond)
Danny's Song (Anne Murray)
Funny Face (Donna Fargo)
The Most Beautiful Girl (Charlie Rich)
You're Sixteen (Ringo Starr)
Stuck In The Middle With You (Stealers Wheel)
Hey Loretta (Loretta Lynn)
Sing (The Carpenters)
Jolene (Dolly Parton)
The Entertainer (Marvin Hamlisch)
When Will I Be Loved (Linda Ronstadt)
Let Me Be There (Olivia Newton-John)
Dueling Banjos (Eric Weissberg)
The Cover of "Rolling Stone" (Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show)
You're So Vain (Carly Simon)
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (Elton John)
Mockingbird (James Taylor and Carly Simon)
After the Goldrush (Prelude)
Lonely People (America)
Midnight at the Oasis (Maria Muldaur)
Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Ole Oak Tree (Tony Orlando and Dawn)
Help Me (Joni Mitchell) - one of my all time favorite records...

Yes, it's a collection that can best be described as eclectic.  With college and my high-paying student janitorial job, I was later able to greatly expand my 45 collection by making frequent stops at Madcats.  I have countless records from this period (mid to late '70s), but I'll not list them, since that era is a bit past the scope of this blog, although they are probably some of my favorite records.  But, rest assured, I still have every 45 that I ever bought, along with all my albums, and I even still have a record player to listen to them if I want.  But, sometimes it's easier to take the modern route, so feel free to click on any of the records above and visit the YouTube version of these old 45's.


  1. Lots of great memories in those songs you mentioned. Well, most of them, anyway. Whatever became of Dr. Hook? They were one of my favorite groups at one time. I'll have to see if I can find something on Wikipedia.

  2. Yeah Sully, I can’t quite get a mental picture of you putting on the headphones and listening to Paper Roses. Hey, in fairness to myself, some of those records had to have been bought by my twin sister. Please, God, let some of them have been bought by my twin sister.

    I got to see Dr. Hook when they came to Arkansas Tech University in about 1978. I remember that the lead singer, Dennis LaCourie or something like that, was astounded that he heard someone in the crowd calling out his name. They put on a good show.