Image: From Amy’s personal collection, not to be copied without permission.
Amy next to the family stereo, circa 1965 (she’s workin’ that leopard print!)
Glued to Sis’ Transistor Radio
We had a stereo at home
One of those looks-like-furniture
big honking wooden pieces
It was fine, if you bought the records
But who bought every record,
and who knew what to buy until we
heard it on the radio, on my sister’s
tiny transistor, huddled round it
Bound to hear the latest
Beatles, Dusty, Petula Clark…
Radio was alive with sounds and
smooth voices on the intros
First time we heard a new tune, we’d
break into mad dancing, flipping the dial
until we found the song again, screaming
when the new cut was (ah!) Beatles-born
Today, I still listen, as videos turn me off
I like to create my own videos in my mind
With videos, it’s a full-out performance and
the musicians must lip-synch at concerts
trying to recreate the video moves, wearing
unearthly metallic outfits, arriving in plastic
eggs or flying over the arena like Peter Pan
on acid. There’s a word for that action:
© 2013 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
For Imaginary Garden With Real Toads, we were “treated” to a Rob Zombie song about “Dead City Radio.” The song was on a video, which made me think of the connections between the two. Many otherwise throwaway songs became classics because of the video performance via MTV. But Jo’s transistor radio was our savior, listening out back by the pool. Those tinny classics became some of our favorites. Then we’d go buy… the 45! This is also at my other poetic station, Poets United. Peace, Amy
May 10, 2013 at 11:47 am
Sounds like lots of good fun memories around the transistor! Amazing how the stereo was once the size of a piece of furniture and now you can just toss an ipod in a draw when you’re done listening to the music!
L. Edgar Otto
May 10, 2013 at 11:55 am
Amy, that picture could have been me… hi fi, stereo, a stack of old 45’s… it was an interesting time
May 10, 2013 at 11:58 am
nice thoughts, and classic photo! ahhh how the radio ruled my childhood, too. though i will say that i’m a straight-up Rob Zombie fan and really love that video, too, there’s room for both audio and video in my music-oriented brain. 🙂
May 10, 2013 at 12:07 pm
I think we must be close in age, but I was the one with the radio and records.
May 10, 2013 at 12:17 pm
Amy, what memories! Definitely glued to the transistor radio–and you were rocking the leopard print for shore 😉
May 10, 2013 at 12:20 pm
Memories of yore, in galore………….
May 10, 2013 at 12:28 pm
I think that we had that same stereo!
May 10, 2013 at 2:12 pm
Some things in life are irreplaceable – and old radiograms and vinyl records are just two. This generation can keep their ipods etc.
May 10, 2013 at 2:17 pm
I’d almost forgotten about those old radios. Sounds like a century ago now, lol. Thanks for bringing that memory back to life. Your imagination makes it sound even more fun. Does not sound boring at all!
May 10, 2013 at 5:50 pm
We had a stereo like that, well almost. Those were the days, weren’t they, Amelita?
Kay, Alberta, Canada
May 10, 2013 at 8:52 pm
Fabulous photo, Amy! My parents and grandparents had “furniture” radio/record players in the 60s. And you’re so right, who knew what records to buy unless we first heard the songs on the radio?
May 10, 2013 at 9:30 pm
Videos turn me off too …. my CD collection keeps me happy. I love that enchanting image of ‘girl in leopard.’
May 10, 2013 at 9:33 pm
I had my first transistor radio at age 13. I hooked it onto the handlebars of my bicycle, and it was playing from early morning until after dark. I never got off of that bike–I think I even ate lunch on it…didn’t want to miss any of the tunes!
There were two great music videos, as far as I’m concerned. One was “Take On Me” by Aha, and the other was ” Money For Nothing” by Dire Straits (I want my MTV…) You couldn’t hear those songs on the radio without picturing the videos in your mind. Nothing else was that memorable.
You ended the poem perfectly: “Borrrrr-ring.” That’s what Lady GA GA and the rest of her ilk are to me. And you can’t just sing anymore…you have to also be dancing simultaneously…gyrating around the stage like someone who desperately needs to find a rest room within the next 15 seconds!
May 11, 2013 at 1:39 am
The radio was all important in my childhood too (still is for that matter – we leave the TV set tuned to music radio until it’s time to sit and watch a programme in the evening. You took me back to some good memories)
May 11, 2013 at 9:04 am
Peter Pan on acid …. nice!! Wonderful poem. I used to love going through my parents’ old records. Staring at the Sgt. Pepper’s cover was the best.
Sherry Blue Sky
May 11, 2013 at 12:45 pm
Oh it was so much fun back in the day – the lp’s, the 45’s. I’m with you TOTALLY on listening rather than watching a video which is so much about showmanship. Give me my music plain, please, so I can HEAR it without my mind being so busy! Love this Amy. I remember those honking big pieces of furniture!
I HAVE A VOICE
May 11, 2013 at 3:34 pm
I promise, we had one! Great poem!
May 11, 2013 at 3:42 pm
Painted vividly in your poem, Amy! I love the energy and life in this and the good ol’ days you portray! 🙂
May 11, 2013 at 3:52 pm
What a big radio ~ Those were the days we had to imagine the songs ~ I get you on the mtv- its very mechanical and over the top ~
Thanks for sharing your picture Amy~
May 11, 2013 at 4:47 pm
There’s some song half running through my head about transitor radios; it’s driving me crazy…
May 12, 2013 at 8:32 am
I so agree! Our family had a radio like that, too, and I loved it. I was heartbroken when the record player part broke! As the youngest in my family by nine years, I mostly absorbed other people’s music until one day in 1966 when I absorbed my brother’s portable radio and carried it around with me all day, listening to “At The Zoo” and “It Takes Two” and “Western Union” all day long. My mother thought I must be sick, but I was just starting a lifelong love affair with music.
You rockin’ da animal print! 😉