American Morning

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March 30th, 2009
01:00 PM ET

A walk down musical memory lane

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption=" Amid news of the closing of Virgin Megastores, AM staffers reminisce over their first cassette tapes."]

The closing of Virgin Megastore got me thinking about the first cassette tape I ever purchased. I had diligently saved up my allowance money for nearly a month (forgoing popsicles and Now-n-Laters from my neighborhood’s ever-present ice cream truck) to purchase New Edition’s sophomore effort. I played that tape out. Every afternoon after school, singing “Mr. Telephone” man at the top of my lungs, rewinding and rewinding until I mastered the rap in “Cool it Now,” dreaming about my inevitable marriage to lead singer Ralph Tresvant.

I asked my colleagues about the first cassette/albums/CDs they ever purchased. The walks down memory lane are as sweet as they are comical.

-“Kris Kross’s 'Totally Krossed Out', that was my first cassette tape and my first concert,” says Nailah Ellis Timberlake, our divalicious executive assistant. “I played it every single day and I used to wear my clothes backwards like they did—only in the house though. My mother would never let me leave the house looking like that.” Listen to "Jump" on YouTube.

-Erica Fink’s first CD purchase was Alanis Morrisette’s angst-ridden “Jagged Little Pill.” It worries me that someone so young was listening to songs like “Oughta Know,” but Fink, one of our associate producers, assures me that Morrisette’s male-bashing didn’t make her hate men. “I was 11. I’m not sure I really understood what I was listening to.” Listen to "Oughta Know" on YouTube.

-What were our anchors listening to? John Roberts says the Beatle’s “Help.” Kiran Chetry’s first purchase was Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” “But someone gave me Olivia Newton John’s ‘Physical,’ so technically that was my first album.” Listen to "Help" and "Physical" on YouTube.

-Justin Dial, our show’s no-nonsense senior producer, was all about the seminal rap duo Salt-n-Pepa and their smash, “Push It.” “It was my first concert too,” he says, beaming. “Me and my mom at the Forum [in California]. We were the only white people in the room.” Listen to "Push it" on YouTube.

-For Chris McElveen, one of our most culturally astute producers, it was Milli Vanilli’s “Girl You Know It’s True.” “I am proud of that, man,” McElveen tells me as his face turns a lovely shade of crimson. “My favorite song was ‘Blame it on the Rain,’ but I would really jam to the entire record.” Listen to "Blame it on the Rain" on YouTube.

-Senior Producer Mark White says, "Oh boy, mine was 'This is the Modern World' by The Jam. It had to have been 1980 or thereabouts. I bought it with money I scrimped and saved by pulling neighbors weeds and washing cars – I often got paid in chocolate by one man, but managed to strike a deal to get cold hard coins (on this occasion) in order to buy my prized Jam single (my first ever)."

-My office roommate, Stephen Samaniego, says his first CD was a Christmas gift. “Santa gave me Megadeath’s ‘Countdown to Extinction.’ I was 11. My favorite song was ‘Symphony of Destruction’. I was a very angry youth and I liked that song because it was about brainwashing, death and destruction. That was cool to me then.” Has young Stephen mellowed since? “No, not really and I’m still a total metal head.”

Like I said… sweet and comical.

Filed under: Pop Culture
soundoff (One Response)
  1. Jomokee

    Your story reminds me of a time I stole 20 something dollars out of my moms sock drawer and went to the local Sam Goodie to buy me and my girlfriend both a copy of Boyz 2 Men, Cooly High Harmony. I know I was bad!

    April 3, 2009 at 8:15 am |