March 2022 Newsletter
Our grandparents and parents seemed to be stronger than us. After all, they included “The Greatest Generation”. This may be true or not, but the reason why it may be correct is music. That’s right! Music.
In the very early part of the 20th century, the only way to hear music in your home was to play it yourself or turn on a radio where someone else decided what you should hear, or you could lug around a bulky gramophone which you had to sit next to, to hear. At least you could choose the songs you would hear on that contraption, first with cylinders that would spin, then with something different, the record.
In 1930s and 1940s, the fitness trend really came about as people began buying and playing records of popular bands and singers. Big, thick, and heavy vinyl records. These circular beasts would play one, brief song while turning at 78 RPMs (revolutions per minute) and then must be picked up and flipped over to play a second song or replaced with another platter.
If you were a fan of a particular musician or band you might buy a batch of these things and carry them around in a large, hard-backed book with sleeves for each of the records. This packaging, which appeared like books that stored photos, became known as the record album. The name stuck. I have such an album, with three records of Glenn Miller, totaling six songs and weighing several pounds.
Laziness returned in the 50s with the advent of the “45” (so named for its RPM speed), a much smaller, lighter record. It also featured one song per side, but you didn’t need an ox cart to transport your collection to your best friend’s party.
Soon afterward, the old record album morphed into the LP (long-playing 33 RPM) album, that featured five or more songs per side and, in the 1960s, stereo sound appeared.
Records never lent themselves for use in a car or outdoor setting, so we went through stages of portable music recording including eight tracks, cassettes, and finally CDs that offered all the benefits of the previous forms in one light and compact disc.
Apparently, these were still too heavy and bulky for us, so more recently the trend seems to have us going back to the beginning and having someone else choose and play our music for us via Pandora, Sirius, Spotify, and what have you. The artistry that developed in creating multiple songs that told a story, e.g., Tommy or Aqualung has largely died out.
I can assure you that I, along with others in the Rebel Alliance, still maintain our collection of LPs and CDs. I may not be fitter as a result, but I can pretend that I am.