I have to tell you these facts in the proper sequence.
When we moved on from collected nursery rhyme record albums, my mother bought us these records that had like one contemporary novelty song (“Itsy-Bitsy, Teeny-Weenie, Yellow, Polka Dot Bikini”, “Alley Oop” or “Purple People Eater”) and a bunch of children's’ songs. We bought them at Ralph’s or Vons or some local grocery store.
My first contemporary pop record album was “The Beatles’ Second Album”. I wish I could remember what the next album I got was. I used to keep all my record albums in the order I acquired them – it was very important to me for some reason – and when I’m feeling stressed I have the urge to pull them all out and put them back in that arrangement.
We began getting Beatles albums 1963 or 4, which was when Susan and I started taking over the car radio. As pre-teen rebels we no longer consented to spend every car ride singing together from the Mitch Miller songbook. My parents had taught us drinking songs like “There’s a Tavern in the Town” and “She Wore a Yellow Ribbon”, so they was no concern over us being corrupted any further by godless rock and roll, and Mom caved. Besides, the Beatles were the gods of rock and roll then (“more popular than Jesus Christ”). We saw “Hard Days Night” three times in 2 days.
I have no idea what Mom would have chosen on the radio, if she had any power in the family dynamic, but we got to listen to The Beatles and Chuck Berry and whatever else was on 93 KHJ and KRLA. I also had a transistor radio that I hung on the handlebars of my bike while I delivered papers, so I could listen to the 93 KHJ Boss 30 hits, of which 20 were Beatles songs on any given week.
Through gifts or baby-sitting money I eventually acquired every Beatles album. And it was very important to me to have them in order – when I stopped keeping them by acquisition date, all my various LPs went alphabetically by group and within the group, by release date. I’m not sure if that’s OCD or anal-retentive but, either way, don’t touch my records, EVER! The fact that the U.S. Beatles album releases were totally screwed up, in that they didn't follow the progression of the original British products, was maddening. I had 6 years of therapy dealing with where “Something New” should be filed, because it wasn’t anything new; it was old singles and other songs Capitol had left off earlier albums.
Forty years later the technology of mp3 players resolved my psychosis: the songs are stored digitally and no one can put their grubby hands on them and erroneously file “Sgt Pepper” in front of “Help!”. My albums are stored in the cabinet where I don’t look at them, but I know they remain arranged appropriately.
Then, a couple weeks ago, for my birthday, my in-laws gave me the complete boxed set of remastered Beatles albums (on CD) – every one of The British releases – and all packaged in the order of release. This is awesome because, even though I have all the songs on my iPod, I now have the comfort of having these albums lined up properly. Neatly inside a box. In my house. Of course “Let it Be” is there, after “Abbey Road”, where it was released, instead of before, where it was produced, and that makes me slightly edgy. The thing that triggers the real angst, though, it the CD they put at the end of the set: rarities and singles that weren’t on albums.
I am going through the box listening to each CD in order, even listening to the songs I never really liked that much, like “Within You and Without You.” I’m serious; I even listened to the entire “Yellow Submarine” album which has two decent songs, 4 crappy ones (“Only a Northern Song” has lyrics that say “you may think this song is f-ed up, but it’s okay, it’s only a Northern song.” WTF? – and BTW the movie sucked too) If I were to skip the Yellow Submarine sound track music orchestrated by George Martin (not actual Beatles songs) no one would know but me. Yet I have to do it correctly.
I listen to the CDs in my car on the way home from work. So what should I do with that last CD? I feel like I should keep it handy and listen to each song off of it, in between the others, at the point where the single was released. Switching the CDs while driving could lead to an accident, but at least I’d obtain the serenity of having listened in an orderly fashion.
Maybe I should just put all the CDs in my car and drive direct to the hospital. They could put me in a nice room where I could listen to the CDs in every possible order so I would know that at least one time through I had it right.