Thursday, January 6, 2011

THE ROLLING STONES GET WARPED

Most of my friends were music lovers as I was.  We listened to syrupy top forty as well as raw sounding blues based rock.  between all of us we had quite an impressive record collection.  We would use any occasion as an excuse to go out and buy a new album so it was no surprise that when Scott's dad recruited us to lay down concrete blocks in his backyard for patio one summer day that we felt like new music was required for the task.

The local K-Mart was within walking distance from Scott's house so we headed up there for some serious record shopping.  When I say serious record shopping, we would spend an hour or more in a record store trying to decide what we wanted.  on this particular day I bought a double record set of Rare Earth In Concert while Scott bought the Rolling Stones Sticky Fingers.  Sticky Fingers was a great album with cuts on it such as Brown Sugar, Bitch, Wild Horses and You Gotta Move.  Basically it was a blues/rock album that had a hard cutting edge to it.

We walked back to Scott's house to begin laying out the patio.  Before we did anything though, Scott brought his stereo out so we could listen to the new music.  The turntable was one of those old ones with the record changer on it.  It was a tall post that you could stack records on and when the current disc came to an end it would automatically drop the next record down and begin playing it.  This particular turntable also had a plastic dust cover over it to help keep it clean.  We decided we would listen to the Rare Earth first saving the Stones for last and so Scott put my two disc on the changer and gently placed Sticky fingers on top and closed the dust cover as we began the afternoon's work.

We worked steadily enjoying the sounds of Rare Earth and that sound that only a live recording can give you.  It was good music and the time seem to fly by as we continued to lay the concrete blocks down for the new patio.  As the second disc of the Rare Earth album was finishing the tone arm lifted and moved out of the way to drop Sticky Fingers down for it's initial playing.  Our work stopped suddenly when we heard the sounds skipping and the tone arm jumping.  Something was seriously wrong.

Scott ran over to the stereo and opened the dust cover to reveal a record that looked like it came out of a Salvador Dali painting.  It had melted a bit under the hot summer sun with the heat trapped inside the dust cover.  We moved quickly to try to fix the disaster.  Scott put the record back in the jacket which was bowing about an inch wide as it tried to hold the droopy disc.  We then began stacking concrete blocks on top of it hoping that the weight would flatten the disc out while it was still warm.  We went back to work with Scott being very disgusted at what had happened to the Stones.  He muttered and cussed under his breath for the next hour or so as we began to finish up the patio.

After the patio was completed, we went over to the stack of concrete on top of the record and began removing them and putting the blocks in their proper place of the patio.  As we continued to remove the bricks the record stayed flat.  Was it a success?  Scott was confident that it had worked until he lifted the last concrete block off of the record and we saw the jacket spring back up holding the ruined warped disc inside.

Scott said there was only one thing to do and that was to take it back and get a replacement.  I knew in my mind that it was a long shot at best but once Scott made up his mind to do something, it was pretty well going to get done.  Scott pushed the disc in as best he could and got the sales slip for the return.  We then began walking back to the K-Mart.

As we arrived at the record department Scott searched out the sales lady.  Telling her he had a problem with this new album he had just purchased that morning she asked to see the defective record.  Scott explained to her that when we had arrived home and tried to play the record we discovered it was warped.  The lady smiled as she took the record jacket that was billowed out about an inch.  She said but one word and that was "Really?".  Scott assured her that the record was just a little warped and he would like another one.  She wasn't buying it for a second and told us that there was no way we had bought this record in this condition without noticing something wrong.

Scott was a master with words and manipulation and he pulled out all his tricks trying to convince her that the record had indeed been bought in that condition.  She was not believing it though and I think Scott knew as well as I did that this was not going to happen.  The Rolling Stones had melted and were warped beyond repair or listening.  If we had perhaps listened a bit better in science class perhaps we would have been able to foresee what trapped heat would do to vinyl.  We had shut that dust cover as if we were inside and left the Stones to cook..  Later that year the Rolling Stones released a greatest hits collection called "Hot Rocks".  I bought it for Scott.  In a way, it was his second record of hot rocks from the Rolling stones.

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