Put the Needle on the Record

The vinyl resurgence came and went. Now, it is more of a surge because I cannot keep up with all of the awesome releases that are coming out, in particular, the film score.

Since my youth (not that I’m old), I have always been a big fan of movie scores and soundtracks. The difference? Well, you know, various artists and such that “influenced” the music of the film. My dad had a small vinyl collection, two of which were the soundtracks to Close Encounters of the Third Kind and, wait for it, Star Wars! It was my first experience listening to a soundtrack in its entirety, and perhaps my love for both film music and the greatest space opera. When I was old enough to make purchases on my own without having to beg my mom and dad to buy me a new release, CDs were on the rise and vinyl records were on their way out – or so we thought. My biggest obstacle was (drum rolls, please) – MONEY!

So, my biggest questions were:

A. how can I make money;
B. where can I find a job that didn’t exploit kids new to being a teenager and;
C. is said job in a safe area?

At this time, we’re talking about maybe 1993(ish) when the CD was already out and about in the world for consumer consumption. I was content with owning movie scores and compilations featuring some of my favorite composers with the likes of John Williams, Ennio Morricone, James Horner, Alan Silvestri and more on a cassette made and produced by yours truly (more on this later). Plus, there was that barrier that was stopping me ($$$). Then, there was my “knight in shining armor” – high school! Perhaps a poor choice of words being that I went to an all-male Catholic Academy! Still, it was here where we were allowed to purchase lunch, from a menu! No more frozen pizza or canned vegetables. No, we had options, and options meant we had to pay for this wonderful privilege of starches and carbs. This also meant that mommy and daddy would give me cash for lunch! I would starve myself and mooch off of leftovers from my buddies’ styrofoam plates. The sacrifice was well worth it in that I had saved enough money to reward myself with a soundtrack that weekend. And, thus, my first unofficial “job” was born – no exploitation needed.

Living in New York City, I was privy to many music stores that I fancied, what with the likes of Sam Goody, the Virgin Megastore in Times Square, Coconuts, Tower Records, HMV and The Wiz (I know, more of an electronics vendor). I’m sure there are a ton of others.

I would spend hours looking for that one “special” CD. I never knew what I wanted, but I knew that once I saw it, I needed to have it – much like the days perusing the aisles at Blockbuster Video. Whatever the purchase, it was imperative that I chose wisely or the sacrifice of missing out on hamburgers, fries, pizza and hot dogs for lunch all week would have been for naught. Most of the time I would find something for the sake of not going home empty-handed. I can’t say, for sure, but I want to say that the first film score I purchased on CD was Tim Burton’s Batman, composed by Danny Elfman.

Of course, I could be wrong. Knowing me and my adoration for compilation CDs it could have been such CD that won the $20 that was burning a hole in my pocket. I mean, come on, how could one go wrong with a CD that contains various soundtracks from some of my favorite movies. I discovered that a lot could go wrong with buying such a CD. Most of the music on such CDs were re-recording’s of some of my favorite film scores. No, I prefer the original recordings.

If they weren’t available on CD, I would do the next best thing. I would hook up my dad’s VCR and/or (eventual DVD Player) to his stereo deck cassette player and record specific cues from any given soundtrack while the movie played on the TV – mostly the opening and end credits as they would not feature any dialogue or background noise. I would make my very own compilations and film score mixtapes!

And so, my CD collection grew. Sure, it wasn’t the biggest, but it was semi-modest.

Anf then, there as Napster. What can I say, I was in college and Napster allowed for “free” music! Of course, it wasn’t free but I knew nothing (at the time) of copyright and the laws that govern such material – I thought that only applied to movies, you know, FBI Warning Disclaimer and all. This opened up the floodgates, and my hard drive became home to scores and scores or, well, scores! Yes, I know it was wrong, but I didn’t have full albums, mostly opening and closing credit themes. I know, still not cool but I ended up purchasing them, eventually… I swear!


And now, here we are, 2017, and vinyl is back – with a vengeance! With record labels such as Waxwork Records, Mondo, Lakeshore, One Way Static, Invada and more reissuing and releasing new soundtracks on vinyl we are living in a time of a vinyl and soundtrack haven. I’m sure I’m not alone when I say my pockets are hurting… bad! I’m better now, being both mindful and extremely picky about what I’m spending my money on but, the temptation will always be there.

More and more grails are being reissued such as the upcoming reissue of the Hellraiser soundtrack by Christopher Young and release of Creepshow 2, it is only a matter of time before The Evil Dead is released again to the masses. Although I own the soundtrack on CD, I am eager to own this beast of vinyl but, being a rarity, the price often soars above the $200 mark and, in my opinion, no record is worth that much – unless of course, I have disposable income, which I do not! But, as Wayne Campbell would say, “That vinyl will be mine, oh yes, it will be mine!”

That’s the beauty of it all is that the current climate dictates that if a vinyl has been long out of production and there is likely a demand for it, there is a chance that there will be a repress. Or, if said vinyl never existed, there is now a likelihood that it will get pressed. And how great is it to say,

“I’m going to check out the record shop today. Wanna come?”We are, indeed, living in good times.

In my area, here in the Hudson Valley, vinyl is not plentiful but sufficient what with stores like Darkside Records in Poughkeepsie and Jack’s Rhythms in New Paltz, both just a few minutes’ ride through the scenic valley always makes for a great short trip with the family. Then there’s FYE and Barnes & Nobles who also carry records, not the best selection (soundtrack-wise), but enough to get your fix. We are, indeed, living in good times.

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