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Greatest Hits – Part One

In 1984 when I purchased my first compact disc player, I was both thrilled and sorrowful. I was excited about the sound quality and feature filled possibilities that the new technology offered, but I was forlorn over my 600+ album collection that had instantly become obsolete.

I knew it would be cost prohibitive to try and replace all of my albums with the CD version, so I did the next best thing and purchased the greatest hits collections of all my favorite artists when they were released on CD. The record companies weren’t idiots and knew that millions of audiophiles were in the same boat as I, so the market was instantly flooded by greatest hits collections. The Beatles, Rolling Stones, the Who, Aerosmith, BTO, Queen, Cars, Led Zeppelin, Billy Joel, Yes, Elton John, ELO, Journey, the list goes on and on. The only exception was THE BOSS, Bruce Springsteen. I had to have each of his individual records on CD.

I continued to listen to my vinyl albums off and on until 1990 when our family moved from Georgia to Arkansas, forcing all of my albums into storage boxes. Because the home we moved into didn’t have bookshelves to display them, my albums remained sequestered in a dark closet until just recently.

For a while I was perfectly content with relying on my greatest hits CD’s when I became nostalgic and yearned to hear some vintage tunes, but I realized on numerous occasions that something was missing. More and more I was feeling unfulfilled. It didn’t take me long to figure out what the problem was…..the hidden gems. You know what I’m talking about, the songs that never play on the radio or make Casey Kasem’s infamous top 40 list, but yet harmonize with your soul. The song between track number five which was a #1 single for twelve weeks straight, and track number seven which won the MTV award for the most sleaziest video. It didn’t matter that nobody else seemed to care for that song, it moved something in you. Hidden gems are what any self respecting music collector is constantly in search of.

Contemplating this makes me wonder how many other times in life we focus on the most popular parts and ignore all the rest. We are a cut and paste society after all. Today’s youth download all of their songs into their IPod and engineer playlist full of favorites, allowing the less popular songs to fade into obscurity. Writing this blog I’ve found myself doing just what I’m trying to describe. As I think about events or feelings to write about and I concentrate on the highlights. It isn’t that smaller, more intimate moments aren’t any less important to me, but for the sake of time and space I condense it all down into what I think is entertaining and enjoyable to read. In essence what I’ve done is edit out some memories that were special only to me. Moments such as staring at Boo’s peaceful face as he slept soundly in his sleeping bag on one of our camping trips, remembering feeling so much love for him that it was literally impossible to describe.

I know that as the years pass me by, intimate memories such as that will be harder to hold onto as they compete with grander, more life changing ones. It may not be a greatest hit, but it is a treasured one none the less.

As the title of this post suggest, this is the first of two parts. In my next posting I’ll try to be less metaphorical and talk about actual music that comprises the sound track of my life.

I’ll also tell you how both of these posts ultimately formed the foundation for my first book.

Until then, I hope that those of you who celebrate Thanksgiving (hey - I could have some international readers), have a safe and happy holiday!

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