RECORD STORE TALES #1029: Lick It Up (In Bed)
When I was a kid I used to rock myself to sleep with music. I missed doing that in my adulthood. I don’t find headphones or earbuds comfortable to sleep in, and I’ve never found a really good device like that to fall asleep in. I have a pair of “sleep headphones” which are basically little speakers inside a headband. But I basically have to tie something tight around my head to get the little speakers close enough to my ears to be effective, and then the whole thing becomes too uncomfortable.
I remember my mom had this “pillow speaker”. You could plug it into your Walkman, and it would convert the stereo signal down to mono, and you’d put this little speaker in your pillowcase. But that wasn’t really a good solution either.
The best way to fall asleep then was with a tape or CD in the deck, and let your speakers rock you off to la-la-land. Having a spouse might put a cramp in that tradition, as it has mine. But nowadays, with Jen’s different health issues, we are on vastly different sleep schedules. I’m usually in bed by nine and up by six. She might be in bed by 2:00 AM, after all the late night hosts have signed off. I might try returning to the “rock myself to sleep” method as an experiment.
I took a Saturday afternoon nap, but I was just too wired to get a good solid sleep. I brought the laptop into the bedroom, put on “Lick It Up”, and tried to get some shuteye. Unlike my youthful days, I didn’t fall asleep during the album, though I did doze off shortly after.
Sure enough though, memories of childhood came rushing back. I think got Lick It Up for Christmas of ’85, the same year I was given my dual-deck Sanyo with detachable speakers. I remember the Sanyo came with a sample cassette. It had “Spanish Flea” on one side, and the other was blank for recording. I think I tried to put “And On the 8th Day” on the second side, and I think it just fit.
Back in those days, I didn’t know most of the words to the songs, so I just kind of made up my own. It’s probably a good thing I didn’t know the words. In fact, only on the recently released Creatures of the Night box set can I clearly hear all the words to “Not For the Innocent”. Otherwise, it was cool to hear Lick It Up, in bed like when I was a kid, but with perfectly clear sound, no tape hiss, no side change, and at perfect speed with no drag. If only my 13 year-old self could have imagined that. The sound quality, with my little laptop speakers, wasn’t great so I ordered another pair of small externals from Amazon. That’s the next step of the test.
Lick It Up has been a favourite for a long time. Back when I only owned one or two cases full of cassettes, it received frequent spins. I remember accidentally dropping it into a bucket of wallpaper water. My dad thankfully bought me a brand new copy. I’d buy it again if Kiss offer another deluxe box set as they have recently.
We’ll see how my sleep experiment goes, but I definitely picked the right album for the first try.