The first 45 I ever bought was “Shop Around”, by the Miracles. “Who’s Lovin’ You” was on the reverse side. Since my father’s turntable was designed for 33 1/3’s, I had to buy the yellow plug that snapped into the middle of a forty-five to make it fit the record player.
Shop Around was released in 1960, so I had to be 10 years old. Don’t try to date me. I am still Boomacious! If Smokey Robinson can go to the Grammys, without a strand of gray in his head, then I’m as young as I want to be.
Anyway, I played that song 50 times before I went to bed that night. I knew every word of “Shop Around”. Finally, I got tired of it and turned the record over to see what was on the flip side. What I discovered blew me away. “Who’s Lovin’ You” was extraordinary. That was the old Miracles when Claudette was still in the group. I liked that the Miracles had one girl because I could imagine I was her as I sang along. (Sample the You Tube recording and come right back).
There was a theater called the Regal in Chicago, located on 47th and South Parkway (later known as Martin Luther King Jr. Dr.). On any given Saturday you could catch the entire Motown Review there: The Miracles, The Four Tops, The Temptations, The Marvelettes, Mary Wells, Marvin Gaye, Gene Chandler, and Little Stevie Wonder. Every act would perform all of their hits, so we might be there all day long — into the night.
Later, we’d walk home singing and imagining what it would be like to be a star. We all formed singing groups and practiced in our rooms or in the hallways of buildings where the echos made exceptionally good acoustics.
What was your first record? Who was the first performer you ever paid to see? Where?