The International Writers
I remember when I got
my first transistor radio. It was a birthday present. I had just turned
ten. I had yearned for one for months. My older brother already had one
and it was about the coolest thing around. Of course, as older brothers
are wont to do, he tormented me by never letting me listen to it. That
was a long time ago but I remember tearing open that wrapped package to
this day. My transistor radio was small, about a third the size of a paperback
book. It had a black leather cover and a telescoping antenna. It took
a nine volt battery and had small, plastic, knurled dials. It felt good
in the palm of my hand and when I turned it on the world opened up to
me. Let me say that again; the world opened up to me when I turned it
Lennon once said that the transistor radio made him what he was.
If that is true, then I say "thanks!" to whoever invented
the transistor radio.
(Bell Labs Dec 1947)
Read how here
It sounded tinny, scratchy, a lot of static, sometimes I had to hold it
just right, point the antenna in just the right direction, sometimes I
even wrapped the antennae with a little aluminum wrap. But it made sound.
That was the important thing. Sound. Music. Roy Orbison, Bobby Darrin,
Wolfman Jack howling across the airwaves. Man, it was great!
The first transistor radio came out the year I was born, 1954. I didnt
get mine until 1964. The price had dropped from the original $49.95 to
well under $20.00, making it more affordable. The great thing about them,
at least to all of us, is that they brought music to us and we could take
that music with us anywhere we wanted to go, even down to the beach (at
least until the battery died). It became our way of not only discovering
music (and thus, through the music, discovering ourselves), it became
our way of listening to our music away from our parents, and in my case,
away from my older brother.
Homework, dinner, feed the dogs, a nightly routine. Seven PM, go to bed.
We had bedtimes back then. Seven PM? Go to bed? But I looked forward to
it. It became the best part of my day. I had my own radio; my brother
couldnt keep it from me. I would crawl into bed, pull the covers
over my head and turn my radio on low. The world would open like the night
blooming Jasmine outside my bedroom window. I would hide under the covers,
my ear on my transistor radio, volume so low only my ear pressed to the
tiny speaker could hear it. Scratchy. Static. But it brought me Puff
the Magic Dragon, Unchained Melody, Pretty Woman, Mack the Knife.
It was better than anything I had done throughout the day. Arithmetic,
spelling, touch football, lunch. Listening to my transistor radio was
even better than the bus ride home sitting next to Margie.
There had always been music in our house. My father turned me on to Miles
Davis and John Coltrane, Mingus, Monk and Brubeck. I grew up digging the
syncopated jazz beat, the sultry, amber sound of the saxophone, the soaring
trumpet. My mother always had Nina Simone, Tony Bennett, Frank Sinatra,
playing while she did the house work. Sometimes, when she would drink
wine late into the evening, she would put on Beethoven, Fur Elise or Moonlight
Sonata. We had Rachmaninoff and Chopin, we had Mozart. Day music, night
music. For me, night music became J. Frank Wilson and the Cavaliers singing
Last Kiss, or Ray Petersons, Tell Laura I love Her.
It became Leslie Gore singing Ill Cry If I Want To or Jackie
DeShannons, Put a Little Love In Your Heart or Richie Valens
La Bamba or The Ventures Pipeline or Walk, Dont
Run. Surf Music. Jan and Dean. Surf City. The Little Old Lady From
In a way, I miss those days, discovering all that new music and listening
to it through my own transistor radio. But music has been great all through
the years and there is something nowadays that is even better. Now we
have the iPod.
*Lennon soon now Apple
Corp and Apple inc are talking.
a great thing the iPod is! Way better than the transistor radio.
Way better than the Walkman. Just click the song you want to hear
and there it is. No rewinding, no cassette tapes to carry around.
Just click and there you are wherever you want to be. I now have
all the music I have discovered since those early years with the
transistor radio days under the covers; Eric Clapton, The Derek
Trucks Band, Hendrix, Santana, Al DiMeola, Led Zeppelin (cant
name em all).
I have Miles and Monk,
Sinatra and Simone, Mozart and Bach. But I also have the same music that
made me what I am today. Beyond The Sea, The lion Sleeps Tonight, My
Boyfriends Back, The Leader of the Pack. I have it all. The
Righteous Brothers, Dusty Springfield, Bob Dylan. I can carry my whole
music library around with me. I carry the world around with me and rediscover
the world and myself wherever I go. And the iPod sounds better, too. There
is no static, no antennae, no commercials. Just clear, smooth, resonant
music. I say a big "thanks!" to whoever invented the iPod.
(Apple Inc - Steve Jobs directing team with other Californian electronic
specialists such as Wolfson sound)
It was a renaissance time back then. Music was changing. Music was new
and fresh. When four guys from England who called themselves The Beatles
came along and changed the face of modern music, my transistor radio brought
them to me as well. The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Dave Clark Five.
We were young and the world was opening up to us and the transistor radio
brought it all to us. The transistor radio. John Lennon once said that
the transistor radio (if I may paraphrase) made him what he was. The transistor
radio also made me what I am. You and me, John. Not bad company.
© Jeffrey Beyl
all rights reserved - all comments are the writers' own responsibiltiy
- no liability accepted by hackwriters.com or affiliates.