On Monday I was working in our lab when an E.L.O. song played on the radio.
(Our lab constantly plays the “oldies” station– and evidently the 70’s an 80’s are now old.)
Anyhoo, the song was “Livin’ Thing”, and with the first notes of that gypsy violin melody I was instantly transported back to 1980, and my first “boom box”.
It was a Craig, and looked much like, if not exactly like this:
It took me months of scrimping and saving up my earnings from my paper route (pronounced ‘root’) on order to be able to purchase it.
I remember we got it at the ‘personal stereo’ department of Sears. I had done my research and this was the boom box for me.
It was solidly built and had great sound, with mono, stereo, an stereo wide settings. I exclusively used “stereo wide” of course.
The five, red, round LED lights on the left would show radio signal strength, battery power remaining, or danced as a one bar graphic equalizer.
The only feature this boom box didn’t have that I coveted was “soft eject”. It was a trade off I was willing to make, especially for the recharging feature.
This stereo was capable of using and recharging (in-situ!) six D-cell Ni-Cad batteries. Which I had.
This made it very practical to port my portable stereo anywhere and everywhere.
I loved that fucking thing.
But why does E.L.O. bring back such a strong memory of all this for me? Well, because one of the very first two cassette tapes I purchased when I got my steel Craig beauty was E.L.O.’s Greatest Hits.
The other cassette was the soundtrack from the movie “Xanadu” (which also features E.L.O.)
I wore those two tapes OUT! Mostly listening to them with my ginormous Pioneer over-the-ear headphones. Headphones that I still own to this day:
(What? They’re decent cans, and I’m nothing if not sentimental.)
Many many years later I accidentally tripped over the cord and yanked the Craig off my night stand. It landed on the recharging plug-in and shattered the board inside.
It could not be repaired– and believe me, I tried. The Sears service department had it for months, to no avail.
Eventually it was replaced with a Panasonic )with soft eject), detachable speakers, and a built-in graphic equalizer.
But it just wasn’t the same. Nothing ever is.
P.S. Any time I hear a track from “Xanadu”, the same memories flood back.