The Farr Side: the hunt for 80s vinyl

I have often said that music is a healer. If you have been a faithful reader of my column, you will know this to be true. Music has always been an important part of my life and has been my saving grace countless times.

I know I’m not the only one defending his power. It allowed me to escape from my thoughts from time to time, good and bad, or happy and sad.

Can you listen to a song and go straight back to a moment in your life? Sometimes a lyric alone can do it. I know, for me, a song can trigger memories, even if it’s one that I would like to forget.

Over the past two years, I have found a renewed love for vinyl records. Pandemic isolation may have played a role, but I collected music long before that – 45s, vinyls, cassettes and CDs. I’ve even progressed over time and done digital downloading and creating killer playlists.

I remember going on my bike to go to garage sales in the hope of earning a few pearls. I used to do that too. For the most part, these people were getting rid of their vinyl to make way for tapes. Later, I did the same.

Long before I arrived, there were records. It was the first way people could own a copy of their favorite music. So came the record collector whose collection might today be considered the earliest playlists. Think about it – if you gathered at someone’s home who was lucky enough to own a record player, you might have heard their Glenn Miller collection. LOL! Thanks Elvis!

I was a kid in the 80s, so my heart will always believe it was the best time for music. Reconnecting with my past has been fun again. It’s cool to get copies of my favorite albums from when I was younger. I tell my friends on social media that I go vinyl hunting when I need to get out of my head a bit.

As we have all experienced from time to time, I was heartbroken this summer. We are all human and this has to happen. Our song was Berlin’s “Take My Breath Away” from the movie “Top Gun”. We’re both 80s fanatics, so the song fits perfectly. What was cool was that “Top Gun” came back this summer and the song seemed to get played a lot more often. The sad thing is that it was played a lot more too.

Like many of us, my social media posts showed my sadness. My friends jumped into action and did what friends do – they started picking me up. Of course, it was the music that did it.

Friends I hadn’t seen since high school were back in town. It was as if the years had not passed. To my surprise, they brought me an album that I had been looking for for two years: “Picture Book” by Simply Red. Turns out I also have a couple they were looking for. In this conversation, we discovered that we each had wish lists. Imagine my surprise when I received a text that they had found a blank copy of “OU812” by Van Halen. Yes! Thanks, Jamie!

I was not the only one of my friends to have pain this summer. Our heartaches have rekindled a great friendship since kindergarten. We enjoyed a night of 1980s fun attending the Boy George & Culture Club. It was just what was needed. During the show, she was looking for record players online. She also had a love for this period of her life.

My Labor Day weekend vinyl hunts proved successful. I was able to collect excellent albums from Foreigner, Kool & The Gang, Crowded House, U2, Bon Jovi, The Cars, Tone Loc, Pet Shop Boys, Duran Duran among others. Oh, and I might have found a great copy of Culture Club’s “Colour By Numbers” for my friend, since we saw the band live recently.

David T. Farr is a newspaper correspondent. Email him at [email protected].

Jack L. Goldstein