“I just recently watched the documentary about Tower Records, All Things Must Pass—it was so amazing (and everyone should go watch it). I wish I could’ve been a fly on the wall when they first opened up.”
“I loved the stories about Elton John being the first one in the store in the morning before everyone else and how he’d buy several copies of albums he liked for each one of his houses. And Dave Grohl worked there (are you kidding me, how cool is that?) Apparently the record companies never thought it would work, but supported the store and then it did really well. It seemed to have been built on this genuine passion for music and a respect for it; something to be shared. That’s what I think of with records. It’s not so much about finding something commercial or popular, but finding something rare, special. Each album embodied, quite literally, the artist and a period of time they captured. It’s tactile and lived in—that’s what I love about them.
My main memories of vinyl stem from my parents record collection. Their favorites were John Prine, Linda Ronstadt, and Bonnie Raitt. We often played those records and danced around in the living room as little kids. However, the record that comes to mind the most and probably the one in heaviest rotation was a Christmas album, Mitch Miller & The Gang, Holiday Sing Along With Mitch. That’s when Christmas really felt like Christmas (and that album was a big reason why). My sister and I were actually at a bar back home over the holiday and asked the bartender to change the playlist to the Mitch record. It seemed like a good idea at first, but it definitely did not have the same effect being played from his iPhone.
My favorite thing to play are two treasured 45s of my grandmother singing original songs she recorded at NBC studios in the ’50s. I only heard the songs after she passed. I feel like I’m her a lot of the time—feeling the same things she felt and writing about similar things. She really had a knack for writing. They’re SO good and the fact that she wrote them and went to New York on her own and recorded them blows me away. Stylistically, they’re standards, something you’d hear Frank Sinatra or Etta James sing. They’re incredible. And they’re like little treasures that hold so much for me.
I’ll admit, I do enjoy having unlimited access to music. I have two streaming accounts and love them. But there’s nothing like a record—it captures a time and a human spirit in a tangible form, something an mp3 doesn’t have room to hold. The liner notes, the credits, so much of which now is lost and overlooked in digital mediums. There’s a permanence there that the internet will never compete with.
“Not That Into You” will be available for purchase tomorrow, January 27. Emma White’s self-titled EP arrives in stores on February 3. Pre-order the EP right here.