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Bat Out of Hell and AOR Radio 

When I was in the 8th grade..I would say that would have been circa 1977 a slew of great music was released. Records by artists like KISS, Foreigner, The Doobie Brothers, Styx and many more allowed music lovers to bask in some great great tunes. One of those records released was Meatloaf-Bat Out of Hell. Now this record would prove to be very different than any other recording released to AOR radio and to the rock genre in general. Why did we like it so much? It is not traditional in the rock field by no stretch. The songs are long for the most part and quite frankly a bit weird. This was one of the first rock "opera" records made. One particular single though helped launch Meatloaf's career, catapult the record sales, and also allowed us young teens to find interest in it. That song was "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad." This was the token ballad on this otherwise conglomeration of songs ranging from harder edged rock to simple middle of the road adult type music. The ballad was one in which we slow danced to at the middle school dances. We played it at the parties hoping to steal that kiss from a girl or boy we had our eyes on. Then Album Oriented Rock (AOR) radio began playing a lengthy song from the release called "Paradise By The Dashboard Lights." There were two stations in my area that I listened to. One was WQDR out of Raleigh NC. The other was WKZL out of Greensboro NC. KZL was the go-to station for us. What was so cool about this station and the other one was that every night at 11:00 pm they would play an album in its' entirety with no interruptions except when side 1 was over they would run some commercials. Then they would spin side 2 until it's completion. My friends and I could listen to an entire record start to finish and then decide if we would then go out and by it! It was simply....awesome! 

 

Now one cool factor I had going for me was that my Electrophonic Stereo system was complete with AM/FM stereo, record player, and 8-Track tape player/recorder (The pic below is the exact stereo I had minus the cassette player with it). So I would go down to the nearby department store and buy a few blank 8-track tapes. I began taping every record these stations played at night. I was building my 8-Track collection, although it was quite illegal! My 13 year old mind didn't know it was nor did I care. I wasn't selling these tapes. I was simply thrilled that I could now listen to those records anytime I wanted. However, I still wanted to buy the records so I could stare at the covers and read the liner notes. And most times that is exactly what I did. If I had a tape I liked, I bought the record. For those I wasn't exactly thrilled with, I just wrote the name of the record on the tape and put it in my tape holder. I only wish I still had those tapes today. I was able to salvage one of those 8-tracks which was KISS "Dressed to Kill." There is likely some more music on it as well. My goal is to one day find an old 8-Track player at an antique store and then I will have it if ever needed.

 

Because of the radio station playing Bat Out of Hell in its' entirety, I bought the record. I then realized what a great record it is. It still stands the test of time. Jim Steinman wrote all the songs on this record. Jim came from a theater background so this type of writing makes sense. The album was produced by the great Todd Rundgren. Every song is great. My personal favorites are "You Took The Words Right Out of My Mouth" and "Paradise By the Dashboard Lights." I actually like every song on this release. 

 

Personally I think the mid to late 70's gave us some of the best music ever. When I buy vinyl from that period, I try to buy the original releases. Yes these releases have been remastered and re-released and sound great. However, for me I like the original sound these records gave us at the time. I also wish AOR radio would return and play entire records start to finish. It is just not practical today and there is just too much red-tape and headaches for that kind of thing on a legal end nowadays. Nonetheless, I'm glad I was around during that time to experience those great albums and radio stations. There is nothing quite like good ol' nostalgia! 

 

So...until next time...keep digging for vinyl

I Gotta Get a Record Player! 

I am fortunate in some sense that I grew up when records were the main medium for listening to music. At the same time 8-track tapes were as popular. I drove a 1976 Toyota celica when i was a teen and there was a player in the car. I had my KISS and my Ted Nugent and everything else in that car. But it was the vinyl records that were sacred in my bedroom. If I had one regret from the past (I have many actually!)  it would be that I got rid of my all my vinyl collection. Who would have thought it would return? I gave in to the CD craze. Such is life and life changes. I also remember my Technics turntable that I had all the way iinto my 3rd or 4th year of marriage. Eventually it gave out on me and to the curb it went. 

 

A few years ago, I had made the decision that I would get back into collecting. I found this USB compatible turntable at a pawnshop and brought it home. It was cheap and also used. It was in very good shape as well. I got excited and hooked it up to my Sony receiver along with my JBL bookshelf speakers. I was just anticipating placing that needle on the first Foreigner record. "Feels Like the First Time" was ready to go. The needle drops and....oh no..the sound was not good. It did not have what I knew it should sound like.  So i tried a few other records and the same results. I was so frustrated. I boxed that thing up and decided that I would buy a vintage turntable which I knew would do the job.  One of my favorite record stores is Remember When Records and Tapes in Greensboro, NC. The owner John and his wife. who are in their late 70's have been the sole owners and clerks at this store for over 30 years. It is simply amazing. If John ain't got it, it probably don't exist! He also sells turntables. They have been set up, calibrated, and are completely ready to go. I could not wait to get to the store! After looking at several I chose a vintage 1978 Fisher machine. I ordered a higher grade needle and replaced it as well. I have to say it sounds amazing. For my dollar, vintage will always be the way to go. You can see this TT in the pic below.

 

There are many great players out there. Stay away from Crosley and the like. They are merely toys. I guess they are ok for the young pre-teen or early teen girl who just wants to get into the ""fad" as some people say it is. She or He may buy a few records by their favorite pop star but eventually my bet is they just stick with their phone for their music choices. Nothing at all wrong with that. I still use a streaming service for when I am not at home. I still play CD's in my car as well as my streaming service. My point is..do yourself a favor and spend a little money on a good turntable. It will also help preserve your record collection. The stand alone players such as Crosley have a tendency to dig into the vinyl and destroy it over time. Again this is just my own opinion. The point is to get something that will help you enjoy the vinyl experience. Now if you decide to go this route you will also need an amp/receiver and speakers. But hey..that's part of the fun also! I have 4 different sets of speakers and I often change them out. Right now I am happy with my Bose 201 bookshelf speakers. They are vintage from 1983. I found them at an antique mall and paid the guy pennies for them.


Ok..go get started! Get yourself a turntable! I gave my son one for Christmas. I bought him a Audio-Technica on Amazon. It plays great and sounds great. I got it for around $165.00. Alright ya'll, I'm going to now throw on some Rick James and do whatever else I have to do! Until next time..Keep Digging For Vinyl!

 

 

 

KISS ALIVE! 

I'm sure most people who know me figured I would start with this one! And most people know I am a major KISS fan. Let's set the stage back to 1975. A friend at my school had this album with them. When I saw the cover I about lost my mind. I had no idea about this band other than the fact that I had heard others talking about them. My dad was gracious enough to buy me a copy and that's when it all began. My all time love for KISS started right then and there. I was only 12 years old.  This record and band was instrumental in my life because it showed me the value of entertainment. As my career as an artist would evolve other the years, I always wanted people that listened to my music to be glad they did. Even though I wanted to send a message with my music, I also wanted people to be entertained. 

 

When I would listen to this record, I would be transfixed looking at the front and back cover as well as the inside cover and the booklet included with the packaging. I knew every word of every song. I began plastering my walls with KISS posters. I was not any different than thousands of other young people across the world. This was my band and they understood everything about me. It would be a year later before I got to actually see them for the first time. I saw them on New Years Eve 1977 at the Greensboro Coliseum in Greensboro, NC.  I will never forget it as it was my first real rock concert experience. I've seen them upwards of 14 times at this point and I have tickets to the End of the Road farewell show in April. Now on to the record!

 

This was the record that finally put this band over the edge. The first 3 records, KISS, Hotter Than Hell, and Dressed to Kill, while really good records, did not sell like the record company hoped for. The recordings just did not match up to the live show. Actually the idea of doing a live record was shunned but management and the band prevailed. What was once thought of as a disaster waiting to happen ended up being the thing that caused KISS to become the worldwide superstars they became. To date that record alone has sold more than 9 million copies and is considered one of the greatest selling live records of all time! It somewhat set the bar and standard for others. 

 

So-my favorites on this record are Strutter, 100,000 years, Black Diamond, and Cold Gin. I have had an original copy of this from back in the day but somewhere along life's journey all of my vinyl disappeared. I then owned it and still do on CD and cassette. About 2 years ago I went back and bought another copy of the vinyl in it's original pressing. 

 

So tell me what the record meant to you! What are your favorite songs? Something interesting..you see the pic of the back cover from 1975 and then there is a pic of the same guys, Bruce Redonte and Lee Neaves again in 2009. They are also holding the very same banner they originally held for the back cover. The show was recorded at Cobo Hall in Detroit but there are also parts recorded at other venues as well. And no..it is not entirely live. KISS had to go in and "clean up" mistakes and so forth in the studio. However, it is still a live record for what it's worth. 

 

So this is my first blog post here. Not everyone will have any kind of detail about the records. But for a start, I hope you enjoyed reading and will continue to come back to my site and my blog page. Keep digging for vinyl everyone!

 

Welcome to the Fun World of Vinly 

Ok..this part of the site is more hobby oriented than actual music and message. This is where I get to indulge in all things related to my love for collecting and finding vinyl records. So this is where you can see new records I have added to my collection as well as simply talking about certain recordings, etc. This will be primarily just a bunch of fun! So tell your friends and stop by to read whats up in my world of all things Vinyl!