January 16, 2018:
I bought my first little transistor radio in the final week of summer, 1965. It was a palm-sized GE with a strap, and I remember vividly exactly how it smelled: ozone and aluminum, the smell of rock 'n' roll. On the advice of the older kids I tuned it to KCBQ, which at that time in San Diego was the rock station. The song that played every thirty minutes was "Like a Rolling Stone". I had no conceivable idea what in the world it meant, but I could feel the excitement sparking off it from the opening snare hit to the fade six minutes and thirteen seconds later. It was like a door opening into an alternate and altogether superior universe. I was seven years old.
I'm listening to it just now on my iPhone. Roughly the same size box although much thinner. The radio had a larger speaker with more punch. The iPhone has no smell and not really any texture to speak of. With adult ears the band's tuning feels a little iffy: garage rock at Columbia Studio A. The excitement is still palpable. The universe it opens is even more superior today than it was then. Way more. There was positive change happening then. Today you sense the world gasping for air.
How does it feel?