DJ "Wizard of M" on the Wheels of Steel

Like usual, I’m late to the party. Or maybe it’s because I live in South Florida, which, according to Tom Tancredo, is “a third-world country,” and we just don't hear about these things.

Whatever the reason, I’ve just learned that tomorrow (Aug. 12) is Vinyl Record Day. That being the anniversary of the day in 1877 when Thomas Edison first put the Rolling Stones to vinyl. I’m kidding of course. Aug. 12, 1877, is the day Edison invented the phonograph. (The Stones would remain unsigned for a few more years.)

Now that I’ve managed to insult Stones fans (of which I am one) and South Floridians (ditto), let’s move on, shall we?

To mark this day in history, JB at “The Hits Just Keep on Coming” blog is organizing a Vinyl Record Rundown. To quote him, “This weekend, a crateful of music bloggers is banding together to celebrate Vinyl Record Day.”

Be sure to visit his site so you can read up on Vinyl Music Day. He also has links to other participating blogs.

Here in the Licorice Pizza Corporate Headquarters, I have cast aside other plans and decided to celebrate my first real rock and roll album – purchased, of course, on vinyl, from the K-Mart back in my hometown. A slice of double-album goodness that didn’t even cost me $10.

Alive!, the first of several live Kiss albums, will always be one of my favorites from the band. Not only was it my first Kiss record, it was the first real rock and roll record I bought (I’m not counting 45s or the scratched-up Beach Boys albums my dad gave me). The critics tore Alive! up when it was released: “It's awful. Criminally repetitive, thuddingly monotonous,” wrote Alan Neister in Rolling Stone. (Ironically, 28 years later, Rolling Stone would name Alive! as the 159th greatest album of all time.)

I didn’t care. I listened to that album over and over. And over and over. I memorized not just the lyrics, but also each note of each song, and the entire Paul Stanley “Cold Gin” monologue (“I wanna know – how many people here like to take a taste of alcohol?”).

It was Alive! that set the foundation for the rest of my musical life. Kiss was either loved or hated; there was no in-between. I chose my side, high school popularity be damned. Later, I took the same stand with punk rock: I don’t give a shit what you think; this is the music I like. Now, I shun Top-40 and couldn’t begin to tell you who Jay-Z’s latest protégé is. I like what I like and I don’t care what you think. And it’s all because of Kiss.

Hotter than Hell.mp3
C’mon and Love Me.mp3

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