auditory memory.

When I was driving into town for my Saturday outing, the radio in the car was tuned to a station that was running an Eighties hour.  On the way to West Lebanon, I listened to stuff like “Lucky Star” and “Cover Me”, and I had a sort of auditory flashback.

When I was in my early teenage years, I didn’t have money to buy all the latest tapes and records, so I went the Poor Kid route, and made my own mix tapes off the radio.  This process involves waiting for the song you want to tape, and then frantically dashing to the boom box and mashing the Record button.  The songs on the mixed tapes were usually missing the beginning (because you couldn’t hit that button fast enough), and the end (because the DJ started yakking over the last bit of the song to introduce the next one, so you had to rewind and record the beginning of the next song just before the yakking starts.)

To this day, when I hear one of the Eighties songs featured on my homecooked mix tapes, my brain can still peg the point in the song where the tape cut to the next one, and recall the song that followed on the tape.

Odd thing, that mushy computer between our ears…


13 thoughts on “auditory memory.

  1. Yeah, it’s weird how the rememberizer works.
    I used to have 8 track tapes, & when I listen now to a CD or whatever, I anticipate the click/snap of the track change after the appropriate song.

  2. Epijunky says:

    I went the poor kid route as well. I still come across them from time to time, those tapes that still have the last two seconds of commercial between songs or even the ones where the first ten seconds of a song were lost because I was furiously trying to hit record on the tape deck.

    Good times 😉

  3. MarkHB says:

    I still can’t remember the first line to “Every rose had it’s thorn”.

  4. MarkHB says:

    Googled it.

    We both lie silently still
    In the dead of the night

    Kinda feel a bit poorer now. Frak it. I’ll sing it anyway. Heh.

  5. johnmxl says:

    Yeah, Pat Benatar’s cover of the Beatles’ “Helter Skelter” isn’t quite the same without the fade out, program change clunk, and fade in that I recall from my road trips with ‘Precious Time’ in the 8-track deck.

  6. Tam says:

    What’s interesting is certain of my mix tapes (and later, mix CD’s) became such fixtures of my auditory landscape that when I hear certain songs in their natural environment (ie played in order on the album from which they came), it sounds weird.

    Every time I hear U2’s “Where The Streets Have No Name”, I expect it to be followed by “Sunset Grill”, by Don Henley and am a little befuddled when it isn’t.

  7. crankylitprof says:

    Yup, I did the same thing.

    In fact, I am so lame that when I hear one of “my” taped songs on the radio, I occasionally segue right in to the next song on my tape — and get thrown off by the snap back to reality.

  8. It’s kinda funny how many of us went the poor kid route. There be many a common thread…

    When I hear “We Built This City”, I can still hear the entire conversation in the middle of the bridge when the DJ was supposed to be recording for the next song request.


  9. crankylitprof says:

    Spoken by Rick Dees, no less!

  10. Regolith says:

    I’m probably a member of the very last age group that had to do that. When I was a wee lad, I caught the tail end of the usefulness of tapes, just before CD-R’s were widely available for cheap.

    By my early-to-mid teens, CD-R’s had become available and I was able to use a somewhat more reliable method of obtaining low cost media.

  11. wheels says:

    When *I* was a kid, I’d record from the radio onto my 3″ Aiwa reel-to-reel (holding the microphone in front of the speaker). I didn’t have access to a boom box until I was out in the work force.

    I did make mix tapes then, though, often from LPs that friends owned. I’ve still got one with an Elton John track with a skip in it – I remember the doubletake my daughter did the first time she saw me bang the dash at the right time to get it to stop skipping.

    Can’t do that anymore – the car I have now doesn’t have a cassette player.

  12. Tam says:

    I used a mic plugged into my dad’s tape recorder. I put my GE clock/radio under my nightstand and used duct tape on the bottom of the nightstand to suspend the mic by its cord over the radio speaker…

  13. I have one tape for each year of high school. Certain songs ended up on each one (Wham “Careless Whisper,” Don Henley “Boys of Summer”). For some reason, the songs sound strange on oldies radio without the DJ breaking in. I can still hear the DJ, “Don’t tell Ronnie that’s not the name of the song–she’s all over!” I have no idea anymore what he was referencing, but it belongs at the beginning of Rick Astley’s “Together Forever.” Strange brain waves, indeed.

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