Format Wars

Feb 23, 2008

The first record player I ever saw was a suitcase- sized portable that just played 78rpm records. No mains power. You just wound up the main spring with a fold-out handle at the side and carefully placed the needle on the 10″ shellac disc. I was given this to play with when I was 8 years old and proceeded to wreck various Bing Crosby/Glen Miller/Doris Day records.

Eventually I got my own Dansette. Mains power! It played 45rpm singles! The trouble was, aged 10 I only owned a handful of Beatles and Manfred Mann singles. They lived in a trendy wire metal toast-rack thing that was all the rage in the mid 1960s.


Over the years the collection of singles grew thanks to birthday record vouchers and pocket money. As a student most of the money that wasn’t spent on beer went on 33rpm LP  records. The purchase of an open reel-to-reel tape recorder meant I could make copies of friends’ LPs and tape favourite songs from the radio.  

My first car came with a 8 track tape player and two 8 track tapes which were always jamming. Talk about wow and flutter…..


I soon replaced it with a compact cassette player and began buying all my favourite music all over again in pre-recorded tape format.

Once CDs were established I bought my favourite music all over again.  Now music is on your computer/mp3 player/SD card/USB stick/mobile phone.  I refuse to buy all the music  I like in yet another format.However I am re-visiting my old singles and albums whilst my record player still works. There are so many of my favourites that I have copied from disc to reel-to-reel, to cassette tape, to recordable CD and now to mp3. I like the phrase “digital preservation”.

Meanwhile I notice you can now buy an mp3 player that has a little handle on the side that you use to charge it up. We’re back where we started………………………… 

Good Paul Sylvan is an enigma. This song  titled Stop Making a Fool of Me sounds like a hit to me. It was a B side in 1970. Its from Paul’s self-titled (and only?) LP from circa 1969/1970 which was also released in the States on the Colossus label. I believe that most of his subsequent career was as an actor.


Shattered Faith were a punk band from L.A in the early 1980s. I find this high energy song Right is Right superior to most punk before or since..even better than the Ramones… 

Brenda Lawson. The A side of “I’m the one who loves you” is quite good but the B side I’m the one who loves you (version) is a great example of a backing track version where less becomes more.