Saturday, February 5, 2011
I don't know about you, but these round discs ruled my life from 1962-to the early 70's. I had my small phonograph with the flip top and a bunch of records from my older brothers, mostly doo-wop and pre-Beatles. Then in 1964 I asked my Mom to take me to buy a record at the local store in my home town of Newark, New Jersey called "Melody Records". I was in vinyl heaven surrounded by bright colors, records, albums, posters, all while listening to the greatest sounds of the day. I recall the feeling of wanting just to stay in the store and hang out. Everything was so clean and neat and as you went up to the counter, there were 100 slots against the wall for the top 100 songs of the week. They were numbered and in the position each particular song held that week. Mike Zigarelli, the owner, would get the song you wanted and play about 30 seconds on his turntable to make sure it didn't skip. He would always be whistling while the song played. I always felt Mike was our local Dick Clark who always had a cool hip way about him. Watching the record play was the most exciting thing I ever saw and each label looked cooler than the next. But the best by far was the Capital Label "pictured above" with the red and yellow hurricane design that sort of hypnotized me. The experience was much more than just going to the store to buy a record. The smallest of details were larger than life for a young boy enamored with Pop Music. Somewhere in the late 60's, I graduated to a cooler phonograph which was the grooviest thing I think I have ever gotten. It was a portable record player that you carried around like a suitcase. The 45rpm slid into a small opening and the record automatically played while you were carrying it..... and it didn't skip even if you were rough and were swinging your arms. When the song was done, you simply ejected the record. I remember when I got older visiting their other stores in Passaic and Union, but the Newark store on Bloomfield Ave and Broadway, which was really close to my house, will be forever imprinted in my mind.