Red Sector A

Part 306: Happy Birthday to Me

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RECORD STORE TALES Part 306: Happy Birthday to Me

Today is my birthday!

20 years ago…20 YEARS AGO!…I was hired at the old Record Store. It wasn’t 20 years ago today; I don’t remember the exact date. But it was mere days before my birthday, two weeks at best. I was given some money for my birthday, and I remember the exact CD that I bought on July 19, 1994. It was Rush. Chronicles.

So here’s a confession, something I’ve never admitted to here before. Privately yes, but not publicly. That Rush Chronicles that I bought 20 years ago today was my first Rush album. Ever.

I was pretty late to the Rush party. I didn’t really start to pay attention to them until the 1990’s. Growing up in the late 1980’s, in my age group, none of my friends liked Rush. As far as I could tell, nobody liked Rush. They simply were not in my hemispheres. I had seen their music videos on Much, but for the most part I didn’t like what I saw. A funny looking guy, keyboards, a guitar player wearing a tie…I overlooked Rush.

I did like one song. “Subdivisions”. That song was undeniably cool, with that slick synth part as the main hook. This song, I dug. Way more than “Tom Sawyer”. Way more than “Red Barchetta”. Definitely more than “Time Stand Still”, which I considered an embarrassment at the time. “Subdivisions” stuck with me, through highschool, through university. I decided I needed to get it, so I finally started exploring the Rush repertoire. And I started with Chronicles.

I would have got it sooner, but I didn’t have the money. Now I had money, a staff discount, and access to hundreds of used CDs in great condition. I had arrived in my own musical paradise!

I was soon enthralled with Chronicles.  Many songs that were new to me were quickly becoming favourites: the new-to-CD live version of “What You’re Doing”.  The silly but instantly likable “The Trees”.  Most of all though, “Red Sector A” from Grace Under Pressure.   For a brief while, this song unseated “Subdivisions” as my favourite Rush track.

On this day, I’m going to extend a hearty virtual handshake to the man who gave me a chance at that job, the owner-founder of the store. He did it just because he knew my dad, and my dad asked him to help me out. He didn’t have to, he didn’t even ask for a resume. He just asked me to come down one afternoon and talk. That one talk irreversibly changed my life, and I look at that moment as the end of one life and the beginning of another. It was one of those proverbial turning points.

Thank you.  Now, I’m off to party!

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