Remember Your First Time?

I do ! The first time I went down to the record store and bought my first record! The record store was Pedrinis Music on Eagle Rock Blvd in Eagle Rock Calif.  The Masterpiece I wanted was “Venus” by Frankie Avalon. A beautiful, overproduced, ballad, sung by one of our first “Teen Idols” Today, you’d call it a “Chick Record” But I loved it, it touched me, it spoke to me. I know, you know the feeling. It happens to everyone who truly loves music, at least once. You hear a song or artist and BAM! It’s yours, You own it! And then you take emotional possession of it Yes, it’s yours…You Found it, You “Hear it”, You understand it and you appreciate it  as only YOU can ! And no one else does.For me, it was “Venus” by Frankie Avalon ! and  It was time Jan. 1960.Now I had to actually own it.  I’d saved my Xmas money, and I finally had the 98 cents I needed to buy my first record.  So me and my best friend Louie are off on the one hour walk to Mecca (Pedrinis) Louie didn’t have a clue.

Why would he? “Venus” by Frankie Avalon was made for me…Just me….Only I understood it etc. blah, blah, blah! But, in no time, were there. Excitedly I’m in the store, browsing the record bins, and I see every record I’ve ever heard on the radio. Except! You guessed it “Venus” by Frankie Avalon. Of course, this record is way to rare and exclusive for Pedrinis in Eagle Rock But, just then, old Mr. Pedrini comes over, looking as un-cool as any old guy can look. He absolutely will have no clue as to what I’M looking for…..So he asks “What can I help you with?” And I unload,expecting the worst…”Well, you see sir, there’s this amazing record I heard called “Venus” by Frankie Avalon, It’s really cool, I heard it on KFWB  Channel 98 at 8:30 in the morning today and Friday and, blah, blah, blah, blah. Mr. Pedrini wisely raises  his hand to shut me up and says simply “So you’d like a copy of Frankie’s latest single “Venus”? YES I nod. And then Mr. Pedrini says, “step over here, I have a box behind the counter”  Hunh? what kind of universe did I just enter? Not only did old un-cool Mr. Pedrini know what I was talking about, he had a “box of ‘Em behind the counter.

But wait, that suggests Mr. Pedrini expected someone else may know about Venus and want to buy it as well. Unfathomable! So, should I bag one up? he sez, Yes sir, I reply. “Would you like to hear it before you take it home ? Of course I would, but I hesitate. What if he cracks it or scratches it’? But I agree to take the risk and there we are, awash in ” Venus” by Frankie Avalon. When Louie interrupts and blurts out ” Hey I know this song, I just heard it on KFWB” AHHHH..Shut up Louie….Too late, The Dream is over, for now. Because, in little over an hour I’m home sitting in my room and for the first time dropping the needle on “Venus” by  Frankie Avalon and my bedroom is transformed into a radio station AND I’M THE DJ. But something is different, the record sounds different, but in a good way. Even on my official Bozo the Clown record player “Venus sounds different The Voices are more clear, I hear cymbals, bells etc. I later learn why. I had only heard “Venus on KFWB a.m. 980 and with its limited band width, I wasn’t hearing much of what was on this great record. But ole “Bozo” came thru in semi Hi-Fidelity.

Now, time to send Louie home and figure out a way to talk to Frankie Avalon, Thank him for “Venus” and comfort him with the knowledge that I now own the record he made for me…..

HOW WAS YOUR FIRST TIME ?  (Meanwhile, Here’s Frankie with “Venus”

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  1. Riding my Schwinn to the record store to buy the 45rpm of Little Bitty Pretty One by Clyde McPhatter.

    • Hey Fred,
      Great to see you show up here at SMS!
      “Little Bitty pretty One”….Yeah! That’s one of those songs that “Nobody doesn’t like” In fact I’ve been humming and singing that song to my daughter Eva since the day she was born 21 years ago! And I’ll bet that’s the case with most dads and their girls!
      But Fred we gotta know, where did you get that classic?
      A local record store?
      “Mmmm mm mm mmmm mm mm mm’mm”

      • Hi Rick,
        There was a local record store in Toluca Lake that I would ride my bike to every Saturday and spend my 50 cent allowance on a 45.
        I used thumb tacks to hang the records on a cork board I had in my bedroom. Mostly Motown. I believe the first album I bought was Meet the Beatles. Like yourself, I was a frequent visitor to Hullaboo after hours and saw The Doors, The Seeds, The Music Machine, The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, and one of my all-time favorite bands, Love.

        • Hey Fred,
          Thanx for filling us in, I like your idea of hanging your 45’s on a cork board….
          What a great way to showcase your treasure!
          As for The Hullaballo club, my band The Spydres was the opening act for everyone of the bands you listed! It appears to me that you and I were hanging at the Hullabaloo at the same time!
          I loved that place…
          Thanx Fred!

          • I would try to get to the Hullabaloo every weekend, but please don’t tell out mutual friend :0)

  2. Wow…Libbie Jo,
    We love this story!…
    They say, “Life is all about negotiations” So, let’s see…You got a Stan Kenton record and your boyfriend got a BRIDE !
    We’re huge Stan Kenton fans, but we believe your boyfriend got the better part of the deal!
    Thanx Libbie for adding to the conversation and sharing your “romantic” ? Story

  3. I remember this. I had a mad crush on a guy who brought me an LP of the Stan Kenton record “Artistry In Rhythm.” That was my first record from a boyfriend. I had never heard anything like it! I went crazy! I wouldn’t let anyone in my family speak to me if I was listening to that record. Eventually, I married that guy, which turned out not to be as good an experience as the LP, but I remember him for that record, forgot the rest.

    • Excellant…I’ve got that one in my collection as well. However I’m a little surprised I would have thought your first L.P. Would have been a Beatle record….No?

  4. Dear Publisher of Love: the first 45 I owned was “Oh, Pretty Woman!” by Roy Orbison. But the first record I BOUGHT with my hard earned 78 cents was “Hanky Panky” by Tommy James and the Shondells. I remember agonizing over my choice: “Wild Thing” by the Troggs or “Hanky Panky.” My eight or nine year old brain finally rationalized that I’d probably hear “Wild Thing” more often on the radio so I’d better pick up “Hanky Panky” while the getting was good. “Hanky Panky” was slinky and weird and cool. Of course I didn’t know what TJ was talking about, but I got it anyway.

    • Parthenon, always great to see you show up here at SMS. First, what’s the story behind “Oh Pretty Woman? Did you steal it? Gift from aunt Bessie? We gotta know. For us, your first TWO records are a great study in diversity. But what we like best about your post is the way you rationalized and prioritized your music choices. A great early lesson on compromise, especially in music.
      By the way, my aunt told me that “The Hanky Panky” was something you did when you caught a cold?…….Ahhhh youth!
      Thanx P-Man

  5. GREAT article Rick! My first time, gotta be one of the sweetest songs EVER, The Four Seasons “Candy Girl” Man, I played that thing OVER and OVER again for DAYS. Vee Jay Records 1963.

    Also, picking up on Jeff Maxwell, there’s a knockout version of “More” by Bobby Darin which is absolutely worth checkin’ out.

    • Jimmy, Whoa! Your preaching to the choir when you talk to me about The 4 Seasons. “Candy Girl” the Grand Slam after back to back singles, “Sherry,” “Big Girls Don’t Cry”, Dawn”, ” Walk Like a Man” and “Ronnie “Candy Girl”which sounded to me like a transitional record for them, maybe it was that strange sounding organ trill that comes in and out when the guys sing the title! It also didn’t feature a “Tom Tom break as their other singles did…….Great call Jimmy. Shall we listen to Frankie and the guys?

  6. The Ventures did it for me. For one year somewhere in the early 60’s I bought everything they did. But I think my very first was “Up on the Roof” . . . by the Drifters?

    • Oh yes Jim…. I wore out “Walk don’t run” and “Walk don’t run ’64” ( a song so nice, they did it twice)….The Ventures were the first “Guitar Gods”
      And of course “Up on the Roof” is easily at the top of the all time top 10 songs of the Sixties! ( or all time)
      Thanx Jim

    • Terry……”The King” Are you kiddingl?…..You get the prize ( if there was one !) Thanx for joining in the conversation


    • Kevin…absolutely one of my “all time faves” Great call ! By the way, I went to your website…..Who knew? Everybody should check it out . Kevin, so much great stuff !…..GREAT MUSICIAN! And Music!
      So glad your part of the conversation!

  7. RICKY,,,Rick Nelson’s First album, still it,he was my teenage idol, New all the songs,, Never missed the Adventures of Ozzie&Harriet. ..Wow, that was a long time ago..

    • Hey Tom…Great to see you back here.ya know as a fellow musician in our band, I so recall seeing the “Ricky” influence! Thru the years I never thought he got the credit for the super star he was. Consider this, Those one song performances that concluded most of the Ozzie and Harriet shows were truly the precursors to MTV ! He made exciting interesting records!
      Thanx for sharing your ” First time”

      • Also lets not forget,James Burton played lead guitar for Rick,long before he played with Elvis,most people forget that,some of his licks on thoese earl albums r awesome…

        • Oh Tom ! You are Sooo right. James Burton is one of the greatest “Guitar Slingers” in history. The brilliance behind Ricky, Elvis and dozens more especially in the 50’s and 60’s
          By the way SMS has learned that you were a damn good Bass instructor, back in the day !
          Thanx for being part of the conversation…

    • Tom, if I recall you were partial to the Everly Brothers. BTW thanks for the base lessons you gave me back in 1968.

      • Hey Jim, SMS has gotta know… How much did Mr. Andersen charge for Bass lessons back in 1968 ? And then, of course with Tom’s teachings, what year was your first tour?

        • Wow,I thought the name sounded familiar, ,Woody’s friend,right Jim.Wow,what a trip.Man,coming up on 50 years,im getting all misty, ,Thanks Rick,love u man,,,Great site..

  8. Even though my all-time favorites are The Beatles the first album I owned was “Glad All Over” by The Dave Clark Five. My Mom gave me the chance to get one album. It was the drums that got me. I later learned to play the guitar because there was no way my parents were going to allow a drum set in a house with four kids.
    My first music industry-related job was in the record department at Pedrini Music in Alhambra, located behind my high school.

    • Hey Jim, You know I’m with you re: The Beatles, but I agree The DC 5 got my heart pumpin like nothing else ( cept The Fabs, of course) If Daves powerful drumming and Mike and the bands foot stomping didn’t grab you, you simply were’nt human ! And Wow, you worked at Pedrinis in Alhambra? I’m not worthy! We had one in Eagle Rock, but the store in Alhamba was “Ground Zero” for new music !
      Kudos to you my friend, thanx yet again for sharing your experience and being part of the conversations!

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