Studs Terkel

Memories of the Phonograph

 

By Studs Terkel, 2005

 

The following was quoted in "Selling Sounds" by David Suisman (1) in discussing classical music and "the feelings elicited by Red Seal recordings" which could be "as intense in a workingclass home as in any other. As Studs Terkel recalled."

On a few occasions, [my father] brought home a Victor record and ever so gingerly placed it on the phonograph. It was twelve inches in [diameter] and easily breakable. One side was blank. 'How much did it cost?' My mother was curious. He held up two fingers. "Dollars?' He nodded. She was furious. My father wasn't much for words. He simply said, 'Caruso.'" (2)

Suisman's book also says the following related to Terkel and Caruso:

A Victor publicity photograph from 1916 showed Caruso singing into the fingertips of Helen Keller, whose enraptured expression suggested something transcendent about the experience. Studs Terkel later claimed that listening to Caruso records cured him -- "where the doctors had failed" -- of his childhood asthma." (3)

 

The Studs Terkel Show, FM radio station, WFMT, Courtesy APWU.org

 

 

 

(1) David Suisman, Selling Sounds - The Commercial Revolution in American Music (Harvard University Press, © 2009 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College, Harvard University Press), 113-114.

(2) Studs Terkel, And They All Sang: Adventures of an Eclectic Disc Jockey (New York, 2005), xvii.

(3) Studs Terkel later claimed that listening to Caruso records cured him --- David Suisman, Selling Sounds - The Commercial Revolution in American Music, ibid. p. 126