Show #5: The CD Turns The Dirty 30

CDs

Since this is the first show that’s part of the “Conversations in Music” series, I thought I’d try a new method of  posting the show by laying out an edited transcript of the full show, with some other added goodies as well. Let me know what you think!

Good morning, good morning, vast Planet Earth. Thanks so much for joining me on The Rock Renaissance for the next hour here at Party 934 and 94.9 FM in the Hudson Valley. I’m glad you’re here, because the show today is a great one. We’re finally goin gto venture into the series of “Conversations in Music,” the intellectual crux of this program. That means we’re going to chat a little bit, about some serious business in the musical world. What exactly is so serious today? I’ll let you know once this killer jam is up.

  • The Heavy – “How You Like Me Now?” – (2009)

That was one of my current jams, a Neo-Funk band named The Heavy, with their best-known song, “How You Like Me Now?” It has absolutely nothing to do with the show at all, I just felt like playing it. That’s how I roll, Earth.

So last week, we talked about the vinyl record and the differences between how music is consumed now versus 40 or so years ago. That got me thinking a little bit about the CD. In my thoughts and research, I found out a fun little fact about the CD. It just had a birthday! That’s right, on October 1st, 1982, the first ever commercial CD was released in Japan. I know it’s a bit of a belated birthday, but 30 years is quite the feat and can’t be understated. Can you guess who the first ever CD released artist was? Hmmm, no Jeopardy music magically started playing, oh well. It was…the Piano Man himself, Billy Joel! Well before his years of driving through living rooms, The Piano Man was awesome, and released a great album in 1978 called “52nd Street.” For some reason, that album was re-released on CD four years later and is now in the history books. Let’s jam to the opening track, “Big Shot.”

Billy

  • Billy Joel – “Big Shot” (1978)

Damn Billy, you are a big shot with your place in the CD’s dirty 30 b-day bash. Now the CD was invented many years earlier, back in 1974. Oddly enough, both Phillips and Sony were working on developing the CD independently from each other. Fortunately, they agreed to play nice, and combined forces, with both companies helping lead to the eventual release. But way back in ’74, lots of great tunes were happening, and little did the artists know what were in the works by the evil CD scientists. I don’t think Lynyrd Skynyrd knew what was about to happen with their future albums when they released the aptly titled, “Workin’ For MCA,” that same year.

  • Lynyrd Skynyrd – “Workin’ For MCA” (1974)

Even once the CD was released, it took a little while to catch on. Back then we had these crazy things called cassette tapes. I still have all of my first cassettes from when I was a lad, which just so happen to be all Billy Joel. I don’t know why I loved Billly Joel so much, but I did, and no, I’m not ashamed. Anyway, tapes were cheap, but they sounded cheap, and people weren’t about to give them up for pricey CD’s. The first CD players released in Japan sold for the equivalent of almost two grand today. Hey, I really wanted an iPod when they first came out, but I wasn’t about to drop a hard double grand, you know?

It definitely took a little while for CD’s to take off. It wasn’t until the late nineties when CD’s took over tapes. Not until 1985 did an album go platinum with CD sales outdoing vinyl. The album was Dire Straits’ “Brothers In Arms.” Here’s the big hit from the album, “Money For Nothing,” which is probably better known for being one of the most played music videos on the then brand spankin’ new MTV. Sting is also given a song-writing credit on the very 80’s sounding, but otherwise rockin’ great track.

  • Dire Straits – “Brothers In Arms” (1982)

So why is a CD 74 minutes long you randomly asked yourself right now? Rumor has it that the length was chosen to fit Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. Don’t worry, I’m know going to play the entire 74 minute symphony, but listen, I know this is the Rock Renaissance, but a little Classical won’t hurt you, okay? Not only is it considered his best symphony by musical scholars, very, very nerdy musical scholars, it’s also considered to be amongst the greatest music ever written. Apparently these people haven’t heard Journey. I kid, I kid…

Beethoven’s the man. I don’t think there was a test I studied for back in college without jamming to some of his killer piano sonatas. With the help of that, I was able to fool the professors into giving me passing grades and thus graduating. Who would have thought that some Beethoven jamming was key a slacker’s success?

Speaking of success, if you want to be successful in life, you definitely need to drop some capital into the Party 934 collection jar. Hit up the donation link from the Party 934 webpage and then shuffle on over to the podcast page to listen to an archive of tons of great shows from all of my mixologist pals. Also make sure you checkout the facebook.com/party934 page and twitter.com/party934. And last, but certainly not least, I must also ask if you’ve seen my blog? It’s over at therockrenaissance.com, so since I have my own web address, it must be legit, right? Tons of awesome stuff there, from diving into new shows to reviews and everything in between.

Okay, enough of that stuff, let’s get back to business. The CD. The compact disc. Is it done and gone? I sadly must admit that I think The CD is dying. What killed it? I think it’s pretty obvious the iPod replaced the CD and has helped move technology to where we are today with streaming content. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the future of the music industry is Spotify. Younger people nowadays are going to be accustomed to streaming music, along with the ample variety and volume of music. The idea of having a physical entity to call your own will soon be a thing of the past. These of course are my predictions, so don’t hesitate to tell me what you think killed the CD. I’m at therockrenaissance.com/contact, or of course you can comment to this post and give me your thoughts.

Anna

In looking back, having the actual physical copy of the CD was my favorite aspect of all. Streaming music is well and good, but I miss holding that disc jacket in my hand, flipping through the liner notes, and waiting for whatever mysteries were about to unfold through the speakers. How about we go down memory lane, and I’ll reminisce about some of the things I miss most about the CD:

  • The Entire Album

Yes, I talked about that quite a bit last week. How about that foreshadowing, writer nerds? The CD, much like it’s elder pal the LP, was meant more for listening as a whole than individual songs. But I must point a finger at our 30 year-0ld pal and say they are part of the reason we now skip songs. Sure you could life the tone arm on a turntable and fast-forward and rewind with a tape, but skipping CD’s was as revolutionary as MJ’s dance moves. With the click of a button, you could go back and forth between your favorite tracks. Now, streaming music is much more single track based, and so are iPods, iPhones, iTunes, and i-All of that. So in short, we miss you, entire albums.

  • The Record Store

Well, I’m one of the few that rocks me a record store or two, but nowadays, it’s only to snag vinyl. I have my master collection of tons and tons of tuneskies in iTunes, but I like to snag some favs on vinyl when I can. Back in the day, I was at the record stores quite a bit more, either to buy the brand new album I couldn’t wait to be released, or to peruse through the used CD’s. It was usually the latter, mainly because I’m super cheap, but I was still one of those music nerds who would always be at the record store the day some big album was released. So in short, we miss you, record stores.

  • The Booklet

I loved the booklet. On the front was the album art, which is definitely one of the most important parts of the album. Inside were printed lyrics, so you could follow along with your favorite tracks to some lyrically inclined artists. On the inside were more album art selections, with the all important back inside cover and the CD itself. You could look at the artists that made the great music and really connect beyond simply pressing play on a computer. So in short, we miss you, booklets.

  • The Burned CD

Back in the day, I was all about burning CD’s. I wasn’t really on the piracy bandwagon, but more the “let’s save some cash” bandwagon. I  would borrow CD’s from friends, family, and the library. The library is awesome; they’ll hook you up with tons of stuff…fo’ free. I would burn those bad boys, then buy jewel cases and print all the covers. It was pretty OCD, until I started selling some of my CD replicas. I know, it sounds like some sketch business deal from a street vendor in a third-world country, but I really missed the booklet. I definitely shouldn’t have ripped off my favorite artists and instead should have bought the actual albums. Either way, burned CD’s were great, because they opened the door to so much new music. My music collection doubled and then tripled, until I had to ditch the jewel case idea and get everything on the then new iTunes. The rest, as they say, is history, because I really haven’t gone back to buying new CD’s or burning them. I guess I’ve moved right along with technology. So in short, we miss you, burned CD’s. Apparently I’m not the only one that loves to burn CD’s, my man Neil Young does too…

  • Neil Young – “Love To Burn” (1991)

So before we move on, we have to ask, what does the future hold for CD’s? Can they see the same resurgence we’ve seen with vinyl, or they destined to die like cassette tapes? It’s hard to say, since vinyl sales have continued a nice steady rise, hopefully saving record stores. Yet CD’s are digital, not analog, so why not just stream or use MP3s? I again must reiterate that I see CD’s slowly fading away, even after 30 years. I still remember my first CD. It was the poppy alternative band Third Eye Blind’s self-titled album from 1997. Before that it was just a few tapes and listening to my parent’s vinyl. I’m a bit ashamed of my first CD, but it still sits on my shelf as a relic of my past. Many others have been sold, shared, recycled, or scratched beyond recognition. I’ll always hold a special place in my heart for CD’s, and will leave you with some tunes that I remember jamming to on CD. What was your first CD and some of your favorites? Drop me a line and let me know, as we celebrate a belated dirty 30 bash for the compact disc.

30

The Dirty 30 Bday Bash Throwback Playlist:

Sublime – “Santeria” (1996)

Is there anyone that grew up in the 90’s that didn’t jam to Sublime? They were a great band with a cool mix of Punk, Ska, and Classic Rock.

Smashing Pumpkins – “1979” (1995)

I’ll defend til the end of my days the fact that Billy Corgan is one of the best songwriters out there. I listened to this album so much, it wore out the burned copy and I (gasp!) had to actually buy it. A very cool track that shows the diversity of this monster double album, which awesomely enough was just reissued as a deluxe package this week.

Red Hot Chili Peppers – “Breaking The Girl” (1991)

Definitely their best album, featuring such a wide array of songs you can’t even believe they fit together perfectly within the stylistic confines of the great band.

Nine Inch Nails – “Complication” (1999)

This was one of the albums I got right when it was released, and the masterpiece from Trent Reznor doesn’t disappoint. I’ve listened to it thousands of times, but each new listen brings about new surprises.

Nirvana – “Smells Like Teen Spirit” (1991)

I remember when I got this album in the late 90’s and on its first playback, recognized almost all of the songs. It’s crazy how prominent this CD was back in the day, though I still don’t get why they were so popular, there’s no doubt that Nirvana were nothing short of extraordinary. 

nirvana

And there you have it, Earth. That’s how you throw a birthday extravaganza. Good tunes, a little chit-chat, and then move on and forget the guest of honor. Sorry CD, but iTunes and Spotify are just so cool! Don’t you move on past this page unless you’ve heard the show! The download and stream links are below, and all of the other shows are posted right in the “Show Archives” page above. Rock on, Planet Earth.

Show #5 (Stream)

Show #5 (Download)

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1 Comment

  1. Steven Thompson

     /  December 5, 2012

    First CD was “Delaney and Bonnie Live With Eric Clapton”. Don’t have it anymore, sadly, but fond memories!

    Reply

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