Dear Diary – Page 30 (Late 1950’s – Classical Music)

Dad had always loved classical music and had quite the collection of 78rpm records.

When we first moved into our house, the record player was an old HMV model with a wind up motor. It worked quite well as long as it was kept wound up otherwise everything would slow down …….. including the music being played!

1957 HMV Record

It was built into a cabinet similar to the one in the photo, and the cupboard beneath was totally filled with Dad’s records! I had a lot of pleasure out of it. I used to watch with fascination as the four chrome balls spun around (the motor “flywheel”). It was also fun to put little railway people on the turntable and give them a bit of excitement by spinning them at 78 rpm and watching them go flying off across the room! I also remember deliberately letting the motor run down so the music would slow down, and then wind it up again so the music went back the normal speed of playing.

This was also my introduction to Classical music although it did not get off to a very auspicious start. Playing a symphony which was recorded on 6 records was not very convenient in that you were always getting up to change records or turn them over. I cannot recall how often we had to change the copper needle which “played” the record, but it was very often. Perhaps after every 4 or 5 records?

It did not last for very long as someone broke the motor spring. I was blamed although I have no recollection of doing it. I think I may have been a convenient scape goat as the situation gave Dad all the necessary arguments to convince Mum that they should get a new electric record player! This was placed on top of the old one so Dad could still use the cabinet for record storage.

1957 HMV Record player2Playing records was now much easier however, long pieces of classical music  were still a problem. Those records were numbered such that they could be stacked but, to Dad, stacking would ruin the playing surface when they dropped onto each other for playing. This practice was therefore forbidden.

When vinyl LP’s (33-1/3rpm) were introduced, which allowed a symphony to be recorded on a single record, Dad clearly had a goal of slowly replacing all his old “78’s”. He had a problem however. I don’t fully understand how our family finances worked, but do know that Dad gave Mum a weekly allowance to cover her areas of responsibility. In contrast however, she seemed to have the final word on purchases (note my theory about the “broken” record player).

There were many occasions when Dad would come home really happy; take out a new record and play it. Mum would typically come in and say “What’s that piece of music? I haven’t heard that before.” Dad’s response was a standard “Oh…… that was bought some time ago. I just haven’t played it for awhile” (winking at us kids).  I don’t think that she ever realized just how frequently new LP’s were being brought into the house!

Note: Both photographs courtesy of Google

10 thoughts on “Dear Diary – Page 30 (Late 1950’s – Classical Music)

  1. It’s so wonderful to run into a fellow record player fan – and fan of old records. The record player in our house was ALWAYS spinning. And with a million styles of music. We were rather obsessed. And even though we no longer use it, I still have an old player and I still have all my dad’s (and most of my siblings’) favorite old albums. I can’t seem to get rid of them. Not yet. They’re still too special.

    A lovely post, Colin. Thanks for the memories!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I don’t remember the old players but we did have a record player for 33-1/3. One day I took the player outside and my cousin and I danced all afternoon (I was about 7) and didn’t realize the sun was making the records buckle. Let’s just say my Mom was VERY angry. Good times (except for the ending of that afternoon).

    Liked by 2 people

  3. My parents were fanatically religious and I grew up with gospel music (the only music I don’t allow in my home today). I was so chuffed with records that I received from my friends as birthday presents (which means not even my parents could force me to get rid of them). I remember my very own first 78 ‘Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport’ -Pat Boone in 1963; my first 33 vinyl ‘Love is a beautiful song’ – Dave Mills; my first seven single ‘She was just seventeen’ – Beatles. In my early twenties I slowly fell in love with opera and musicals, but I’ll never forget these “firsts”.

    Liked by 2 people

Comments are closed.