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My first ever CD that I received was Bon Jovi’s ‘New Jersey’. And it is a moment I will not forget, as it signalled a new era not just for me as a music lover but also HOW I would listen to music.
Let me rewind a little to explain how this all happened.
It is 1988. Bon Jovi is one of my favourite bands and I own the New Jersey tape, which is frequently played in my room. I guess it was getting close to being ‘used up’ and ‘on its way out’ but still working fine, for now.
This was also the year where my mum and I were talking about Hi-fi’s and how it would be cool to own one with a built in CD player. Up until that point I owned a portable radio with a tape player in it, which was pretty common back then. Little did I know my mum was secretly plotting behind the scenes to surprise me for Christmas!
I don’t remember pushing to own a Hi-Fi and being happy with how my ‘set up’ was back then, as long as I was able to listen to music, I was a happy introverted B.
Christmas is coming around and as always, I am excited for this time of the year, not necessarily for the presents but just the whole vibe of it (that was back in Switzerland with snow and the lot – so wonderful!).
I don’t recall exactly how it all happened, but I do remember my mum bringing in a brand new black colored Hi-Fi into my room; it had an LP player at the top, a double tape player at the bottom and in the middle, between the LP player and the amplifier was a CD player!!! Oh my, I was speechless and screaming because of joy at the same time. I could not believe my luck that my mum had organised this for me for Christmas. What a gift this was indeed!
For any music lover that listens to music a lot and has grown up in the 80s and 90s knows that the sound quality of tapes wasn’t always the best and not being able to skip songs or play them in a different order was frustrating. To now be in possession of a CD player allowed me to listen to my favourite songs on a whole different level, in the order I wanted, when I wanted and even have a song on repeat! I couldn’t wait to buy my first CD and test it all out, I was over the moon!
But wait, my mum had another surprise waiting for me – my first ever CD!!!!
I opened the wrapped-up CD and it was…. Bon Jovi’s New Jersey album. Yes!!! This Christmas was the best ever! I opened the CD case, and I found the CD on one side and a small booklet on the other.
I slowly pulled the CD out of the sleeve, popped open the CD player and inserted the CD into it, pressed ‘play’ and waited. Slowly I can hear the first song being played, very faintly I can hear the drums becoming louder, followed by what sounded like shouting and guitar being played, then some ‘hey’ being shouted again, more drums & guitar, until the keyboard kicks in and eventually Jon Bon Jovi says:
“They say that to be able to free your body
You gotta free your mind
So come on“
Silence, then Jon singing ‘Lay your hands on me’ and then ‘BANG’… the song really kicks in!!!!
It is a little hard for me to fully describe what listening to this song alone on a CD felt like. These days all the music seems so crystal clear and the audio super on point. Back then, we did not have that and CDs were a step closer to better audio quality.
So to have this particular song being the first one player on a CD player, well, it had blown my mind!!! My whole body and mind could not fully take it in, I think I was almost a little paralysed and frozen because I have not heard music like that before.
From that moment onward, I discovered music in a new way. A way for me to feel it more on different levels. I was able to absorb more details, more feelings, more intentions from the artist and on top of that able to skip and keep a CD on repeat without having to do much myself. My new Hi-Fi was doing the heavy lifting for me.
This moment on Christmas Eve has edged itself into my heart and memory forever. One that I cherish and think about often, making me grateful not only for my mum for being so thoughtful but also how it has allowed me to form a deeper bond with music.