PhonoLinks 2006


HDTV: It's like going from records to CDs

Headline in article about HDTV from The Rocky Mountain News 01-14-06

"It's kinda like when we went from vinyl records to CD in terms of the impact it has on people. The improvement is really dramatic in terms of the sharpness, color of picture and sound quality." - Phil Murray of Listen Up Audio/Video.


Jim Cramer's Other Predictions for 2006

Going beyond Wall Street, Mad Money's frenzied host delivers a USA WEEKEND exclusive. Jan 13-15, 2006

Are record albums dead?

"Totally. My kids only know iTunes. They want Kanye West to be president. I was a total vinyl guy, into Hendrix and Cream. But all of my records were stolen. I like Beethoven and Mozart, too -- they never go out of style. But the album is dead."

Upshot: Albums a sell, iTunes a buy. Beethoven and Mozart are buys, too. And Kaney West. We think.




Double LPs were simply di-vinyl

CDs don't match the glory and kitch by The Boston Globe, January 17, 2006

So double albums are making a comeback? Big deal. They're still CDs, and they're still packaged in a case the size of a cocktail napkin.

Massive pop ambition isn't something you should be able to hold in one hand.

The double albums of the vinyl era -- and their cousins, single albums that came packaged in a gatefold cover -- were someting else entirely: gloriously bloated statements of hipness, artistic worth and kitsch.

Beyond the music it contained in its petroleum grooves, a gatefold album created by a graphic designer who had clearly gone the chemical distance was meant to be a conversation piece. You opened it, read the lyrics (or the pompous liner notes), fiddled with whatever extras were stuffed inside.

The packaging itself became the band's gestalt.

Consider some of the classic relics of the gatefold era: the Beatle's single-disc "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" (1967) positioned the lads as groundbreaking collage artists, while Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention's brutal parody of the "Pepper's" cover with "We're Only in It for the Money" (1968) deflated those same pretensions (as the Beatles themselves would do later that year with the anti-design of "The White Album").

Click here for the rest of the article.

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967)




PhonoLinks 2006

2006 Walking down the street - a Nipper sighting

While walking down a street in Luzem, Switzerland, Doug Fink, a Friend of the Phonograph, photographed this painting of Nipper on a building.

Click HERE to go to a larger image





Why vinyl records are back in style

The nostalgic appeal of black discs in a world of iPods and mp3 files

T O P S T O R Y - By Meghan Sheffield, Staff Writer

When Nich Worby of the band Tomate Potate began planning his solo album, he made the unusual choice to make it available on vinyl only.

In a world of invisible music files, iPods and CDs, vinyl record albums are making a comeback. According to, sales in Great Britain were up by almost 90 percent in 2005, compared with the previous year’s figures.

In part, this increase is due to the recent influx of young vinyl enthusiasts like Worby, ArtSci ’07, who have become disillusioned with high-tech music mediums.

“I have this sort of fear that music is becoming disposable, with mp3s and things like that,” he said. “You can download something and delete it, even CDs [have] a shelf life. Vinyl seems to be one of those things that is always around, and it doesn’t make music convenient.”

The fact that vinyl sales have continued, let alone risen, in the post-CD era is bewildering. While oodles of original records from a time when vinyl was the only option are crowding stores like Brian’s Record Option on Princess Street, new pressings from bands like Coldplay and the Arcade Fire are being released. Worby, whose own collection of 40 albums ranges from vintage to new artists, says that most people who listen to vinyl are involved consumers.

“The people who buy vinyl are more interested in music,” he said.

What does it mean to be more interested in music? And why are they more interested in vinyl? With some very scientific investigation, I’ve narrowed modern day vinyl purchasers into four categories.

The audiophile will look like Brian from Brian’s Record Option in about 30 years (beard optional). The audiophile is into a wide array of genres and artists, the more obscure the better. He or she is known to overuse the words “artifact” and “lo-fi,” claims to listen to post-jazzcore neo-robot rock, and may say things like “I thought the Thrills’ last album had a Laurel Canyon vibe without sounding too transatlantic.” The audiophile loves vinyl for its ‘warm’ sound, for its authenticity and for its venerable rock snob appeal.

The indie pop/rocker’s collection consists of artists like Smoosh and The Hidden Cameras. These individuals may be seen avidly blogging their playlists and saying the word “dance,” and may often be mistaken for Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs—regardless of gender. They buy vinyl because it is so much more indie and quirky and because they absolutely must hear the new Test-Icicles single, and it is available only on vinyl.

The wannabe DJ is ... well, a wannabe DJ. Such people may list their favourite genres as house, trance, techno, drum and bass, dancehall, break beat or hip hop. The wannabe DJ (and actual DJs, for that matter) loves vinyl because it allows the DJ to control the flow of the sound. It can be scratched, mixed, beatmatched, or backspun.

The second generation Woodstock fan may be a little more secretive about his or her habit. Do not be fooled—under that facade of normalcy lurks a closet Arlo Guthrie or Jefferson Airplane fan, with all of dad’s old records stacked under the bed. The new Woodstock generation uses vinyl because it is available and because they often have little choice. There is also some novelty in owning the original Blonde on Blonde LP.

Though these types are extreme (and maybe a little exaggerated), most vinyl listeners are a combination of all four. Regardless of their preference, they share a common love for the entire experience of it. There’s more to vinyl than just the music.

There is something about the physical presence of vinyl album which endears itself to music fans. With vinyl, music has mass—you can hold sound in the shape of a wobbly black frisbee. Having that collection of 50-album take up half of your bedroom shows real commitment.

Vinyl also sports memorable album art. Johnny Cash’s face spread across a square foot, looking down from the stage at Folsom Prison, leaves a lasting impression not made by most four-inch CD covers.

There is also something about being involved in the intricate process of listening to vinyl. With each pop and crackle, with the hum of the needle moving back to its base, we hear not just the music but the method of sharing that music. In the silence after Side A is done, when you realize you need to get up and flip the record, the music engages you in a way that isn’t found in most media forms. This engagement is something that Worby says motivated him to pursue a vinyl release.

“This way someone can’t pick up my record and jazzercise to it or something,” Worby laughed. “I want to make sure someone’s actually listening to it and it’s not just background music.”

While vinyl albums have their flaws, there is a certain sense when listening to them, that one is a part of a long musical heritage. Artists like Worby bring that heritage to a new generation, the magic of vinyl will continue.

“With vinyl, there’s a bit of mystery,” Worby said. “You can always search for treasures.”




The worst song of all time

Click here to read CNN article

By Todd Leopold, April 21, 2006


The worst song of all time, part II

Click here to read CNN part II article users pick their (least) favorites

By Todd Leopold, CNN

Wednesday, April 26, 2006; Posted: 1:28 p.m. EDT (17:28 GMT)

Some songs bring back fond memories, and others remind us of someone special. However, some songs evoke a more violent reaction -- they are the songs we hate and will always hate. asked readers what were the worst songs ever. We have sifted through thousands of e-mails and narrowed the list to the top 5. Read's users responses and what songs they voted as the worst ever.

Song: "You're Having My Baby"

Artist: Paul Anka

"You're Having My Baby" spent three weeks as Billboard's No. 1 in 1974. "

'What a lovely way of sayin' how much you love me' -- If that isn't the most egocentric, solipsistic, revolting line of all time." -- Stu S. and Andi S.


Song: "Muskrat Love"

Artist: The Captain and Tennille

The Captain and Tennille made 14 appearances on the Billboard charts, including a stint in 1976 for "Muskrat Love."

"I would pay good money to have its lyrics, tune, and even the fact of its existence erased from my memory." -- Dave C.


Song: "You Light Up My Life"

Artist: Debbie Boone

"You Light Up My Life" spent 10 weeks at No. 1 in 1977.

"The musical equivalent of being keel-hauled." -- Michael R.


Song: "I've Never Been to Me"

Artist: Charlene

"I've Never Been to Me" was No. 97 on the charts when it was released in 1977, but rebounded to reach No. 3 in the United States in 1982.

"Even the mush department at Hallmark would puke." -- Eric and Linda


Song: "Seasons in the Sun"

Artist: Terry Jacks

"Seasons in the Sun" sold 11.5 million copies worldwide and is featured on several collections, including Rhino's "Super Hits of the '70s."

"Having to listen to it is a season in hell." -- Bonnie D.


From Cylinder to MP3 Player

UCSB Makes Earliest Sound Recordings Publicly Available

January 31, 2006

Santa Barbara, Calif.) – The Library at UC Santa Barbara has opened up the world of historic sound recordings by mounting thousands of digitized cylinder recordings on an immensely popular new Web site, making this little-known era of recorded sound broadly accessible to scholars and the public for the first time.

Click here for link to full UCSB Press Release

Examples of historic cylinder recordings, the first commercially produced sound recordings. Click here for link to cylinder recordings at


Old Records Go In, CD's Come Out


The New York Times, August 17, 2006

ARE you over 30? Sorry to hear it. That makes you part of the Transition Generation, those who have witnessed the world’s shift from analog to digital recordings. You therefore probably have a collection of phonograph records, audiocassettes and videotapes sitting in a closet somewhere at this very moment.

Illustration by Stuart Goldenberg

RETROMODERN The Teac GF-350 can play vinyl records and make CD copies of them at the same time.


Maybe you still maintain a turntable and cassette deck, which you use to listen to your tunes just as you have for decades. If that’s your situation, congratulations; you may skip to the next article.

But it’s more likely that you’ve been staring at those piles of records and tapes and wondering if there’s some easy way to transfer them to shiny new CD’s. You imagine how nice it would be to have your music collection on convenient compact discs that can play in your car, home stereo or portable CD player — without having to buy them all over again.

The answer is yes: there is now a single machine, the Teac GF-350, that can turn your records into CD’s. (Most people spot it in the Hammacher Schlemmer or SkyMall catalogs for $400, although you can find it online for as little as $330.) It’s a heavy, stand-alone cabinet, handsomely clad in black wood; lifting its lid reveals a standard, no-frills record turntable. The back panel has stereo inputs for connecting a tape deck. And the clean, silver front panel harbors an AM-FM radio, stereo speakers — and a sliding tray for the CD player/burner.

Now, any old geek can tell you that not everybody needs some $400 machine to transfer records and tapes to compact discs. If you already own a turntable, you can set up a less expensive transfer system — but you’ll need a preamp, cables, software, a computer and a good deal of technical knowledge. You can also ship your old records and tapes away to a music-transfer company (a Google search can find them) — but you might wind up paying more than you would for the Teac.

THE beauty of the Teac machine is that it doesn’t require a computer, a stereo or technical expertise. Here, in fact, is the entire routine:

1. Put a record on. The Teac can operate at all three standard playing speeds: 33, 45 and 78 r.p.m. (Actually, clean the record first, using a cleaning kit. Remember, your finished CD will dutifully replicate every scratch and pop.)

2. Insert a blank CD. But not just any CD; the Teac cannot, unfortunately, record onto standard, cheap computer CD’s, like the ones you use to back up a Mac or PC. Instead, it requires a subspecies of recordable CD, bearing the tiny words Digital Audio beneath the CD-R or CD-RW logo. According to Teac, these discs are individually (invisibly) watermarked to prevent mass duplication, and all consumer audio CD recorders are required to use them. Unfortunately, these discs are harder to find than standard blanks and more expensive, thanks to a royalty that goes to the Recording Industry Association of America for every blank sold.

(And speaking of antipiracy hysteria: To further appease the record companies, Teac built in a sort of copy protection to the discs it burns. You can make one copy of each CD produced by the Teac, and no more. Perhaps this form of copy protection, bearing the Orwellian name Serial Copy Management System, requires these special discs.

(Computer owners should note, however, that you can easily copy the resulting CD into a program like iTunes, just as you would any ordinary CD. That’s a wonderful feature, because it means that you can name the tracks, rearrange them, touch them up in other software if necessary, and finally transfer them to an iPod or another music player. So much for copy protection.)

3. Using the remote control, specify how you want the machine to divide up the music into individual tracks on the CD. You can denote such track breaks manually while the record plays, if you like, or you can ask the machine to do the job automatically by inserting a track break every time it hears at least two seconds of silence. (More on this feature in a moment.)

4. Press Record. At this point, you’re in Record Pause mode. This is your chance to adjust the volume level; you play a little bit of the album and turn the Rec Level knob until the graphic meter dances far as possible to the right without entering the zone marked “Over” (which would mean distortion on the final CD).

5. Start playback of the record (or, if you’ve connected a tape deck, play the cassette). You have to lift the tone arm and place it on the LP manually, although it does lift and swing home automatically at the end of the record.

6. Press Play; the recording begins.

So how’s the result? This, of course, is the detail that matters most, and it’s the first thing most people want to know when they hear about this machine.

The answer depends on your expectations. The Teac is decidedly not a piece of audiophile gear. When you play back your freshly minted CD on a stereo, you’ll hear sound quality reminiscent of a car radio. The music is eminently listenable, the lyrics are crystal clear, and you can hear all the instruments — but there’s practically no bass. If you own a subwoofer, well, it won’t get much of a workout playing these discs.

Another clue that the Teac is not aimed at the golden-ears set: incredibly, it has no audio outputs on the back. In other words, you can’t hook it up to your stereo. Why on earth would Teac, once a respected name in stereo components, omit so obvious a connector? (Yeah, yeah, we know. To prevent piracy, blah, blah, blah.)

The quality problem may stem from the fact that the Teac’s turntable uses a ceramic stylus (needle) instead of a magnetic one. Well, whatever. The point is that this is not a record player for the $5,000-speaker crowd — or even the $500-speaker crowd.

There is one exception. Recordings you make from a tape deck (or something else plugged into the back of the Teac) do not suffer this quality problem. In fact, they sound terrific — nearly indistinguishable from the original. From a quality standpoint, in other words, the Teac actually does better with audio tapes than it does with records.

An even bigger disappointment is that automatic-track-break business; it just doesn’t work very well. Sometimes the turntable sails right through four seconds of dead silence without noticing that a song has ended; other times, it hacks a single song into seven different “tracks.”

In other words, if having the resulting CD accurately divided into tracks is important to you — so that, for example, you can use the next track/previous track buttons on your CD player or iPod — you pretty much have to baby-sit the transfer process, manually marking the song beginnings by hitting the Track Increment button after each song.

It’s also worth noting that you can’t record onto CD from the Teac’s built-in radio, although you can record from a radio you’ve plugged into the back. Finally, the stylus is expected to last only 50 hours before requiring replacement (available from Teac dealers and’s parts section).

Nonetheless, the Teac GF-350 is a one-of-a-kind machine, meant for a very large nonaudiophile, nonexpert audience: people who want a very simple, one-piece, ready-to-use way to liberate those old vinyl recordings and confer on them the conveniences of the digital age. Within its limitations, the Teac works extremely well. And if it’s been awhile since you’ve even listened to your old records and tapes, baby-sitting the transfer process might not be a chore at all; in fact, it might represent a few Saturdays of pure pleasure.

Now all the world needs is equivalent machines that rescue all our VHS tapes, reels of movie film and 5.25-inch floppy disks.


A Pilates trainer that fits in a pocket

Instructor puts workout gides on MP3 players

August 28, 2006 by Kim Hart The Washington Post

"sounds like a broken record..."

This article is about a woman, Sarah Christensen, who guides dozens of students every day through their Pilates workouts using MP3 players. "The idea struck Christensen, of Fairhaven, Md., after she lost her voice teaching 10 hours of Pilates a day. Then her husband gave her an iPod."

"I had no idea how to even use one of those things," said Christensen, 50, who took up Pilates to unwind after selling her laser-manufacturing company five years ago. "And then it dawned on me: I sound like a broken record, so why not become a record?"


"like a corrupted MP3 file" - The analogy may be there but not the poetry

2006 Reader's Digest

"like a broken record..."

"like a corrupted MP3 file..."

When a teacher used the expression "broken record," a young man next to me asked, "What's that mean?"

"Endless repetition," I explained. "If a record were scratched, the needle would skip and play the same piece of music over and over."

His face brightened. "Like a corrupted MP3 file?"


Annette Bening

Running with Bening: Family keeps her busy

October 18, 2006 - By Scott Bowles, USA TODAY

The Sony movie promotional photo (to the right) was included in an USA Today article about Annette Bening. It features a reproduction Victor Talking Machine that plays modern records (with 33 1/3 record albums below the machine. For Friends of the Phonograph, it's better than nothing but we do prefer the real thing.


  Annette Bening and Brian Cox in "Running with Scissors." Photo © TriStar Pictures. All Rights Reserved.
  PhonoLinks 2005

Splendid Magazine, 12/27/2005 Review by Mike Meginnis

Andrew Goldfarb used to lead a quintet called The Slow Poisoners. For one reason or another, the other four musicians left, leaving Goldfarb to his own devices -- which explains the band's slight name change. It also explains their (or rather, his) sudden sonic resemblance to The White Stripes -- the Poisoners always favored tunes with a rootsy, bluesy, country kind of gait, but the singular Poisoner is challenged to provide not only guitar and vocals, but drumming! Goldfarb's solution? He operates a bass drum with his foot, yielding results only slightly less nuanced than Meg White's notoriously simplistic work. There's also the matter of a piano -- which, though Goldfarb pushes the "I am a one man band who gives a great performance while being one man and a band" thing pretty hard, appears frequently, and occasionally at points when he clearly cannot be playing it, assuming he's serious about the whole real-time thing. There's nothing wrong with that, of course -- and the piano is nice, so he should keep it -- but this only makes comparisons between Fatal Floral Phonograph and De Stijl harder to resist. Goldfarb even does coy, surreal, faux innocent lyrics and sings in an endearingly inept manner.
Listen to Soundclip "Fatal Floral Phonograph"  
  Pragmatically speaking, the similarities make his music an opportunity to experience the joy of old White Stripes albums without losing your indie cred -- but of course, that's selling him short. While the resemblance is undeniable, Goldfarb has a sound and a style all his own. Opener "Come To Me" matches twangy western guitars and saloon piano with a militant beat; the finished piece would be perfectly at home on a Quasi album if not for Goldfarb's particular flair as a performer. There's something distinctly theatrical about his work; if you have kids, it might occur to you to hire him as a birthday party entertainer. His absurd, seemingly meaningless lyrics communicate a strange sort of wholesomeness, as does the conviction with which he retreads guitar tropes and simplistic beats that might seem tired and stale in other hands. Again, this sounds a little like Jack White, but they're quite different, we promise. If nothing else, Goldfarb has few if any of White's experimental urges; from a musical perspective, Fatal Floral Phonograph is gleefully conventional, without a discordant chord or distorted animal yelp within earshot.
  As a whole, Fatal Floral Photograph is intriguing and entertaining. What it lacks, unfortunately, is length and substance. Whimsical but musically conventional artists usually need a little extra time to make a lasting impression -- certainly more than the eleven minutes that Goldfarb fills here. A record that leaves you wanting more is generally a good thing, but you may wonder why Goldfarb didn't hold the EP back 'til he had a few more songs ready to go.

World Groove - Music industry aims to deliver tunes at all times

USA Today 01-24-05, Jamey Keaten, Associated Press CANNES, France — In the music business, it's a vision that may soon be consigned to history: Grandpa slumping into the recliner, closing his eyes and enjoying a favorite rendition of an operatic solo.

For music lovers these days, the sedentary lifestyle is out. A generation after the birth of portable tunes on the Walkman, technology has made music available nearly everywhere for today's on-the-go consumer — and the recording industry sees a new wave to ride.

The buzzwords Sunday at the Midem music industry conference in the French Riviera resort town of Cannes were mobile music, seen as the great hope for an industry that has suffered shrinking sales in recent years. The offerings are nearly limitless: music through a wristwatch, hits played on a literally loud shirt or New Age themes on underwater headphones at the gym swimming pool during a hard-driving backstroke....

But does anybody really listen to music anymore? "Try and go a day without hearing music," said John Kennedy, who heads the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry. Like elevator music of old, listening today is mostly a "secondary" activity for consumers as they work, commute or work out, Kennedy said...

"They want more immediacy — they want to share it in a much more viral way than we've seen before," said Ralph Simon, chairman of the Americas division of Mobile Entertainment Forum. "The most fundamental change is that people are experiencing this (music) without being tethered to a phonograph, a PC or a laptop," said Simon....

"The most fundamental change is that people are experiencing this (music) without being tethered to a phonograph, a PC or a laptop,"

"Payola" may explain Celine Dion

Excerpt from The Denver Post 07-26-05, Al Lewis

Payola is as old as the radio industry itself. It has been illegal since 1927. The term, however, was not coined until 1938, when entertainment industry publication Variety combined the words "pay" and "Victrola." (For those with iPods, Victrola was a phonograph. I mean, a record player. Oh, forget it.)



Hallmark Ornament - Christmas 2005

Hallmark offered a record player ornament in 2005 titled "Rockin' with Santa." It was an ornament featured on Hallmark TV commercials, with a little girl examining the record player ornament and remarking, "Oh, so this is a record player. I thought they were bigger."

The following is the Hallmark Description:

Battery-operated music and light. Listen to three different holiday classics--"Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree," "A Holly Jolly Christmas," and "Have Yourself a Rock 'n' Roll Christmas"--with this nostalgic record player ornament. Select a record, place it on the turntable, and then move the arm over the record to hear the song. Lights will flash around the turntable to simulate spinning motion. There is even a pocket for storing the records. By Sharon Visker. Gold Crown Exclusive. Dimensions: 2 3/4" W x 3" H

Click here to View Hallmark Video of how it works

Can you see the music? As album cover art shrinks with high-tech gadgets, bands and labels try to keep it alive

By Ricardo Baca Denver Post Pop Music Critic, April 2, 2005 The Denver Post

Album cover art may be in transition, but it's far from dead.

There has always been an intimate connection between music and the art on its cover. Album art, a long-celebrated vehicle for visual and musical artists, has changed dramatically over the past three decades as its canvas has shrunk. But, with apologies to Mark Twain, reports of its death are greatly exaggerated.

Imagine album art traditionalists today, looking on in revulsion as their children see, for the first time, the artwork for the new Yeah Yeah Yeahs, roughly 1 by 1 inch on the miniscreens of their iPods.

Click here for the complete article






10 Best Dishes of 2005

By JONATHAN GOLD Thursday, April 27, 2006 - 6:00 pm

#4 is Pljeskavica, a Balkan hamburger, as big and round as a phonograph record,

4. Pljeskavica is a thin, Balkan hamburger, as big and round as a phonograph record, flavored with salt and onions and peppers and briefly cooked over a hot charcoal fire, a chewy meat patty that still has all its juice. In Los Angeles, pljeskavica is served more or less exclusively at Aroma Café, a Westside coffeehouse that serves probably the only Bosnian cooking in town. Tucked into its sturdy, focaccia-style bun, a steroidal construction that bears the same relationship to a supermarket roll that Barry Bonds’ right arm does to the musculature of a ballerina, Aroma’s pljeskavica is as daunting in its appearance as it is difficult to pronounce. 2530 Overland Ave., West Los Angeles, (310) 836-2919,
  PhonoLinks 2004
In a NY Times article Tape of Kennedy's Killing Is Getting Digital Analysis (8-3-2004) the only known audio recording of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963, in Dallas is discussed along with its digital future. The recording was made on a cylinder Dictaphone record, classic Edison phonograph technology. Analysis of the cylinder using advanced technology may provide evidence of how many shots were fired on that tragic day. For additional information on the technology, see the article below titled New Technology Rescues Phonograph Recordings.

Say Goodnight Gracie

In August, 2004 we attended the Broadway Hit "Say Goodnight Gracie" starring Frank Gorshin as George Burns. In the program magazine Applause there was a brief biography of George Burns which included the following:

He was born on January 20, 1896, a time when sound recording was a new medium and records consisted of wax cylinders played on wound-up gramophones. When Burns was about three months old, Thomas Edison publicly unveiled his first projected film program in a Manhattan theatre, launching a great industry that would grow to shape the history of the 20th century.

As a side note, in 2004 one CD holds 72 radio episodes of Burns and Allen using the MP3 format....54 hours on one disc verus the 2-minute wax cylinder recording of 1896.


New Technology Rescues Phonograph Recordings

Berkeley scientists rescue historic sounds - by Glennda Chui, Knight Ridder Newspapers, August 12, 2004 (excerpt)

Sound clips of restored recordings - Sound Reproduction R&D Home Page

Figure to the right is imaged data of scratched groove field on a 78 rpm recording acquired with a commercially available laser confocal scanning probe (size is 2.35 x 2.19 millimeters) - Source LBNL Report 51983 March 26, 2003, Reconstruction of Mechanically Recorded Sound by Image Processing, Vitaliy Fadeyev and Carl Haber



The Phonograph's Impact on Music Consumption: CNN Timeline and QuickVote

On-Line Music Revolution - Special Special Report August 2004 included a History of Recording Technology Timeline and a CNN QuickVote which asked the question:

Which device do you think has had the biggest impact on how we consume music? Phonograph, Compact Disc or MP3

Click here to see the non-scientific and history-challenged results.



Internet advertising August 2004: Hotmail

While opening up e-mails in my Hotmail account, this Ameriquest "hidden value" ad was displayed to the right of my e-mail, opening with the image of the gramophone and then changing to the pleased couple who recognized value...ironically, the machine pictured in the ad has some characteristics of the infamous reproduction known to collectors as the crap-o-phone. See The for additional information on phonofakes and forgeries. Is this value hiding or does it simply not exist? :-)






Nipper Lives

Excerpt from Paul Begala's Debate Blog, Presidential Debate Number 3, October 13, 2004

"Finally, Kerry says citizens should have access to the same health plan that politicians give themselves. Amen. I was on that federal employees health benefits plan, and it's better than what I've got now in the vaunted private sector.

Kerry owns this issue. Bush tried to make a joke about media reports that have said Bush is misleading people...then oddly stopped and chuckled to himself. All across America people are looking at their TV's like the old RCA dog looked at the phonograph -- head cocked, brow furrowed, with a quizzical look on their face."

Paul Begala, co-host of CNN's political debate program "Crossfire," provided a view from the left on the third presidential debate through this blog

All across America people are looking at their TV's like the old RCA dog looked at the phonograph -- head cocked, brow furrowed, with a quizzical look on their face."

MasterCard - Priceless 45rpm Memories

In this February 2004 magazine ad for MasterCard, two 45 rpm records are displayed along with some associated memories. I call songs that trigger a memory the "Our_Song" phenomenon. But it's the tag line of this ad that is classic, because the Next Generation (Generation X et al.) didn't grow up with the phonograph. So often, at best, the record player is simply an icon of the past. Which is why "Friends of the Phonograph" and "Memories of the Phonograph" are important galleries of this web site. Indeed, winding up an old phonograph and telling your grandchildren about this Wonder of the Nineteenth Century? Priceless.



Like a Broken Record...

It's a metaphor that continues to live, even in the age of CDs and DVDs. A USA Today People article in the November 1, 2004 edition headlined the story of Ashlee Simpson with the phrase "Like a Broken Record" to underscore how many times the story of her Saturday Night Life lip-synching episode had already been reported. The article was referring to CBS's 60 Minutes being the most recent playing of that story, on Halloween night.

The phrase "Like a broken record" has an additional meaning since one might say Ashlee's problem was a recording repeating something that it shouldn't - in this case the wrong tape being played to "help" her in her live performance.





Old Technology....

In the Denver Post in October 2004 a newspaper ad for Laser Lasik surgery wanted to make the distinction between old technology and new technology. To make its case, its first comparison shows an open horn gramophone opposite a CD.














Christmas Nostalgia and Holiday Marketing

The Antique Hardware and Home company featured a gramophone for its 2004 Holiday catalog cover with the caption "Take A Trip Back In Time With This Nostalgic 'His Master's Voice' Gramophone." I don't know what it is in 2004 but maybe Ameriquest (see above) and this company used the same advertising agency. Can't anyone afford (or take the time) to use an authentic gramophone for some authentic nostalgia? Once again, a reproduction fake-o-phone victimizes the public with fraudulent history.






Phonograph Record Metaphor for Basketball Season

Lincoln Journal Star 12-31-04

This is not a typo: Husker men win with free throws KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — The enthusiastic, on-key singing within the Nebraska men's basketball team's locker room following a wild finish in Thompson-Boling Arena here Thursday night came only after the Huskers found the most unlikeliest of ways to bump the needle to their sad-tuned, skipping record.

Huskers found the most unlikeliest of ways to bump the needle to their sad-tuned, skipping record.

In January 2003, the Library of Congress included a trio of cylinders from the Edison National Historic Site (ENHS) collection in the new National Recording Registry. The National Recording Preservation Act of 2000 requires the Librarian of Congress to select recordings annually that are “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” The three Edison cylinder records typify Edison's "exhibition recordings" which introduced practical sound recording and reproduction to the public during the years 1888 and 1889.

Click here for the National Park Services web page describing the selection. Click here for ENHS page individually describing the recordings (Courtesy of National Park Service). Click here to listen to one of the selected recordings: The Fifth Regiment March.


WFMU Podcasting features recordings Edison left behind in two weekly shows: The Antique Phonograph Music Program and Thomas Edison's Attic archives.

To "subscribe" to either WFMU show, simply copy the XML link, open iTunes, select Subscribe to Podcast under the Advanced menu and paste in the link. When a new episode is available, iTunes will download it automatically.

What is WFMU?

WFMU is an independent freeform radio station broadcasting at 91.1 fm in the New York City area, at 90.1 fm in the Hudson Valley, and live on the web at


Antique Phonograph Music Program - Antique collection of Pop, standard, and ethnic music acoustically recorded on discs and cylinders and played on period machines circa 1895-1925.

Thomas Edison's Attic archives - The audio curator at Edison National Historic Site rummages through the archives of the legendary Edison Laboratory of West Orange, New Jersey. Tune in for Edison cylinder and disc record rarities, many not heard since "the old man" himself stashed them away, featuring: Tin Pan Alley pop songs, ragtime, vaudeville comedy sketches, flapper dance bands, old-time country tunes, historic classical music, laboratory experiments and other artifacts - all dating from 1888 through 1929.

  PhonoLinks 2000

Sounds like a broken record

This newspaper advertisement in the The Denver Post, March 8, 2000, displayed overall ratings for Victory Funds' mutual fund choices as 4 star, 4 star 4 star 4 star 4 star. There conclusion: "Forunately there are some things you don't mind hearing over and over again..."

  PhonoLinks 1996

Husker Football has opponents spinning...

During the Nebraska vs. Texas Tech football game on October 20, 1996, the ABC television announcer described Husker running back DiAngelo Evans as follows:

"He was turning around like a record on a turntable."


"He was turning around like a record on a turntable."
Arthur Information from

Episode Number: 10 Season Num: 1

First Aired: Monday November 11, 1996 Prod Code: 1-10

#11002 "Francine Frensky, Superstar"

Francine has always gotten the worst roles in school plays, so everyone in the Ratburn class asks Mr. Ratburn to give her a good part in the next one. The play is about Thomas Edison, and Francine is given the role of Edison himself. She takes her role very seriously, to the point where she starts to trying to run everything her way and insults her friends. After the hurt and the anger, they set out to show her that she can't just forget their needs.


The following Notes and Quotes about the show are from


Mr. Ratburn's line about Thomas Edison inventing the record player can be heard echoing in the remixed version of the main title theme available on the Arthur's Really Rockin' Music Mix album






In the Edison play, the characters have the following roles: Francine plays Thomas Edison, Arthur is the first phonograph, Buster is the first incandescent lamp, Sue Ellen plays a kinetoscope, Binky is the train in The Great Train Robbery, Jenna, Fern and Steve (the gray-rabbit boy) are news reporters, and Muffy is a cowgirl

Francine: Prepare to be amazed.

Arthur: (he is supposed to be playing a phonograph) All operators are busy. Please hang up and dial again.

Francine: (she hisses in his ear) You're a phonograph. Play music.

Arthur: If you are calling from a touch-tone phone, press one now.

  PhonoLinks 1985

Educational Cracker Jack Prize

Another example that proves you never know how you might learn about the phonograph. By placing the Magic WIndow (blue plastic) over the special text, the following was revealed solving the Cracker Jack quiz:

Q. "Who invented motion pictures? Who invented the phonograph?"

A. Thomas A. Edison invented both.

Cracker Jack prize, Series 58 - #15 of 24



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