Amoeblog

Amoeba Bloggers Answer: What Was Your First Album?

Posted by Billy Gil, March 6, 2012 07:09pm | Post a Comment
I recently was at Amoeba Hollywood and overheard a customer telling an employee Davy Jones had died. I hadn’t heard the news yet. She brought it up because she was buying Katy Perry records for her daughter. She said her daughter didn’t even have a record player — she just wanted every bit of Katy Perry merchandise she could get her hands on.
 
The only artist I can ever remember being that obsessive about was The Smashing Pumpkins, but that was in high school. But it got me thinking about those first tapes, records, singles etc. that everyone got as a kid.
 
For me, the first album I ever bought on my own was Ace of Base’s The Sign on cassette. I had always liked music, but at 11, I had just started to pay attention to what songs were on the radio. A friend made me a tape from the radio and “The Sign” was on it. I loved it. In the coming weeks and months, albums by Nirvana, Guns N’ Roses, Stone Temple Pilots, Green Day, and my beloved Pumpkins would follow, but really it all started with Ace of Base for me. Though if I’m being technical, I had a cassette single of Paula Abdul’s “Promise of a New Day” that I listened to constantly when I was like 9, but I didn’t buy that — I won it at a cousin’s music-themed birthday party, at which my dad dressed himself and me as Simon & Garfunkel. I had no idea who they were. I think I was Paul Simon.
 
While I’m embarrassing myself, I thought I’d extend the question to the other Amoeba bloggers: What was your first album? Not kids’ music, but not just the cool stuff, either — the tapes we once listened to repeatedly and then put away in a drawer somewhere once we realized how lame they were, though I’m still on the hunt for The Sign on vinyl. Here are their answers:
 
Eric Brightwell
the cure kiss me kiss me kiss meMy first record was Luciano Pavarotti's My Own Story, a compilation of “musical highlights of his spectacular career.” They used to heavily advertise it on TV when I got home from school, and I was hooked. My first cassette was Peter Gabriel's So. I'd liked the singles from it, but when “Big Time” came out, I was obsessed. My first CD was The Cure’s Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me. I was introduced to it by a German exchange student named Ina. Before she left I rode my bike into town to a Wal-Mart to get a blank cassette to dub it. I loved it so much, I thought it warranted being purchased on CD. 
 


Job O Brother

First vinyl album: Chipmunk Rock The Chipmunks
First vinyl single: Crush On You The Jets
First 8-track: Street Player Rufus
First cassette: Mesopotamia The B-52's
First cassette single: Been Caught Stealing Jane's Addiction
First CD: Upstairs at Eric's Yaz
First CD single: Makes No Sense At All Hüsker Dü

I still listen to and love all of these albums. I would be remiss if I didn't give an honorable mention to the Superscope Storyteller Series, whose fairy tales were backed by beautiful classical music, which made me the lover of the genre forevermore.
 
Ricky Frystak
My first single was “The Cattle Call” by Eddie Arnold. My mother got it for me in the late ’50s.
 
As I was completely enthralled by the yodeling on the record, and as I had a record player of my own already at the age of  5 or 6,  I played the hell out of it. The other thing around that time was a Sandy Nelson album called Let There Be Drums, as I had been given a snare drum and cymbal by my parents, and was playing percussion on all the pots and pans in the house to boot.
 
Then The Beatles hit and the rest is history.
 
Joe (The Vinyl Beat)
Paul Revere and the Raiders Here They ComeI'm a little older than most of the bloggers, so I'm going back a little further. The first album that I bought was Paul Revere & The Raiders Here They Come.  I still think it’s a great album.  It had tunes like “Louie Louie,” “You Can't Sit Down,” ”Money,” and “Do You love Me,” and it rocked real hard. I listened to it over and over because it was the only album I had! I got a few more while in high school, but couldn't afford many. I didn't start collecting until I went to college at UC Berkeley. On Sunday a few of us would go to the Alameda flea market at a drive-in near the Oakland Coliseum. I'd come home with a pile of scratched up LPs that I had spent a total of $5 on. Soon I had many crates full and I never looked back.
 
Gomez
kiss destroyerMy family did not have much money. So whatever one of us got we all shared. When I was in first grade, my father took my sisters and I record shopping. I wasn't into music and I remember all the surfer/hippie freaks in the record store scared me. Together, my sisters and I decided on getting KISS Destroyer over Aerosmith's Toys In The Attic. We eventually got the “Walk This Way” single from Zody's, so that sufficed our need for Aerosmith.
 
We would play the album when our parents weren't home and grab some tennis rackets to play air guitar while Destroyer blasted in the background.
 
The first single I bought was years later when I was in eighth grade. It was Fun Boy Three's “The Telephone Always Rings” I saw the video on MV3, a local new-wave video show that I couldn't stand but would watch daily. I liked the song because it was weird and it had the guys from The Specials in it. By then, I was into buying LPS and cassettes. I couldn't find the The Fun Boy Three album so I settled on getting the single. I bought it at Spider Records in Gardena, Calif., where later I got all my early punk records.

Rachael McGovern

I remember CDs being expensive — or at least perceiving that they were expensive — when they were first introduced. It was just me and my mom for many years when I was growing up, and CDs were not something we could afford, as much as we both loved music. My mom remarried when I was 12 years old, and we moved to New Delhi, India, where my stepfather was working on assignment. This is important for one reason — the accessibility to new American music was pretty slim during that time overseas. The details are a little hazy, but I remember my stepdad coming back to India after a business trip to the States with two CDs for me and my stepsister to choose from — EMF's Schubert Dip or Boyz II Men's Cooleyhighharmony. She and I shared a room so, in effect, we got to share the albums. But I choose Cooleyhighharmony. “Motownphilly back again...” Oh man, did I love that record. Still do. It was way, way better than that EMF album.
 
(Also of note that year: During a stay in a New Delhi hotel while our house was under construction, I was able to watch Asian MTV, and that's where I first heard/saw Right Said Fred's “I'm Too Sexy” and Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”)

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Live to Tell Like Madonna, or Just Smell Like Her

Posted by Kells, February 28, 2012 12:15pm | Post a Comment
Madonna claims to "have always been obsessed with fragrance" but scent-conscious consumers must wonder what Ms. "candy perfume girl" wants the world to smell like. I think it's safe to say that we know it won't stink of hydrangeas.


In fact, it is reported by Fragrantica.com that Madonna was "deeply involved in the process of making her perfume". Working closely with Stephen Nilsen, Givaudan perfumer, they created a "composition of white flowers on an intensive gourmand background. The scent is both a light and dark, opening with notes of gardenia, creamy tuberose and neroli. The heart consists of jasmine, benzoin and white lily, based on vanilla absolute, caramelized amber and sensual musk" without a even a hint of hydrangea whatsoever.

Come May 2012 Truth or Dare by Madonna, a fragrance that queen Madge claims is "something personal that was an expression of me but that other people could relate to as well. Something honest, and yet daring, hence the name" will be made available to the masses and marketed as part of a larger Madonna sanctioned Truth or Dare lifestyle label. Good grief. At least we were spared the same of Miss Debbie Gibson's Electric Youth campaign, though I know of at least one young-at-heart who still bleeds for the stuff. However, seeing as Truth or Dare by Madonna is for women 25-45, with the 35-45 age group being the primary market aim for the fragrance, could it be that all the Debbies-come-Deborahs who once embraced the "youth is energy" Electric Youth credo are now being urged to re-embrace the girl-talk slumber party appeal all over again with Madonna? Take a look at this:



I admit that there was a time that I'd strive to look like that and, yes, even smell like that; I truly wanted to buy what Debbie was selling. But then I could say the same about just about any pre-1990 Poison or Mötley Crüe video (I bet if they had marketed fragrances it would smell like booze mixed with Flame by BK - that "scent of seduction with a hint of flame-broiled meat" cologne that Burger King created). Also, Electric Youth kind of smelled like a puke-y blend of citrus and other fruit essential oils threw up all over your pop-dance maxi-cassingle collection, that is to say it reeked of l'allure pre-teen which definitely gives the edge to Madge's seemingly classier modern offering. How she's selling it, however, remains to be seen in my opinion. I vote she rides the throw-back wave not only in name but in overall style all the way back to her Blonde Ambition/Sex days and gives us something a little more truthfully daring than the print ad at the top of this post. Maybe something more like the first ten seconds of this video:



Give them glamor and garbage, girl, fame and infamy.

12 inch die cuts

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, July 11, 2009 12:35pm | Post a Comment

The art of the 12" company sleeve can really be quite entertaining. The middle sleeve above is not a Big Beat sleeve-- does anyone out there know what company made these? The Alicia Bridges and Travolta sleeves below are not company sleeves, but are good examples of the disco die cut promotional sleeve popular in the early years of the 12". Experiments with the 12" single format began in 1974 and by 1975 a decent amount of promo 12"s had been released. Within a couple of years the 12" single would become the format of choice for promoting dance oriented tunes. By the 80's, 12" records were pressed for most every mainstream hit, dance oriented or not. Springsteen w/  "dub version" b-sides, etc.





Above we have a couple of die cut sleeves used to market LPs, not 12"s. Below there's a Russian example. This sleeve may have been used for either LPs or 12"s, but this particular release is a disco-ish LP.