As I began amassing my record collection as a Sixties era teenager, my “inner scientist” began to wonder what the life expectancy of vinyl LPs might actually be.
That’s why I started logging each album’s purchase date.
That’s how I know that I bought my copy of the Who’s Who’s Next album on this very 18th day of August… way back in 1971.
Right from the initial playback, I had become immediately, immensely impressed by songsmiths Pete Townshend and John Entwistle’s lyrical / musical sensibilities and the entire band’s mastery of their instruments. Everyone having turned in such a stellar performance… well…
To me… this day in history became akin to a “where were you when moment”. As such, I still harbor enduring, fond, vivid recollections of that long ago day.
On this Sunday afternoon, It only seemed right to recreate that moment… i.e., by playing back Who’s Next in its entirety. I carefully dusted all the grooves with a preener and then revved up my turntable. All was going well until Side 1’s closing moments when, all the sudden, the stylus encountered an ungroovy groove problem… which caused the needle to get stuck in one place.
I found myself chuckling at the irony of a how a track titled, Song Is Over, could not possibly end… not “Even if it takes a million years”. <— Attribution: Townshend lyrics from this very song.
Well… it took an LED flashlight’s brilliant beam and high powered magnifying glass to eventually track down and correct this tracking problem… yet… part of me wanted to leave this unfixed. More about that in a moment.
Keep in mind that, up until today, this particular, well cared for vinyl record had a half century’s worth of absolutely no previous tracking issues. So, how, pray tell, had that suddenly become a problem?
Keep in mind, too, that I’ve oft used “the song is over” as a metaphor to concede hopelessly irresolvable problems.
My awareness of these facts caused me to sense something far deeper than groove deep was in play.
Whether we choose to drag religion into this… or not… would you not agree that there’s a lesson to be learned from that stuck stylus, which flat-out refused to let the song end? The sweet song of a meaningful, happy, healthy life must never end.
We can only hope that all who regularly travel life’s high road will harbor such resolve within their heads and hearts… and apply such stick-to-itiveness while working towards the betterment of our global society.