June 8, 2023

Happy (Belated) Birthday, CDs!

Hi friends! Today* is a special day: it’s the 30th birthday of a previously notable but now nearly defunct music icon! (I tried to find a shitty singer born on 11/12/1982 but there aren’t any (just pretend I made a good joke (just please love me))). Well I’ll tell you.

The CD!!!!



So the first commercial CD (compact disc for you bozos out there, i.e. anyone who actually reads my posts) was Billy Joel’s “52nd Street”. It was released in Japan and people liked it, so they made more. Fittingly, the first CD player was released on the same day. A couple more CD-related facts from CNN:


  • The first test CD was Richard Strauss’s “Eine Alpensinfonie” and the first CD pressed at a factory was ABBA’s “The Visitors” (which wasn’t released commercially until later)
  • CDs didn’t outsell cassette tapes until the late 1980s
  • The first album to outsell its vinyl version AND sell 1 million copies was Dire Straits’ “Brothers in Arms”. It was released in 1985
  • The first CD player sold for $730 inJapan(that’s about $1,750 USD today)
  • Steve Jobs liked to use CDs as Frisbees


My first CDs were Elton John’s Greatest Hits, Mariah Carey’s “Daydream”, and The Lion King soundtrack. I also had a used copy of Kris Kross’s “Totally Krossed Out”. My fashion sense is still heavily influenced by all 4 of these albums.



MP3s/iPods are indisputably more logical, but I do miss a few things about CDs. I was always in awe of my dad’s CD collection, which he kept in a behemoth glass-covered shelf. As you can imagine, my brother and I weren’t allowed to touch it. I was pissed off at the time, but now that I’m a grown up and have nice things (Beanie Babies with their original tags, matching socks, and half a bag of beef jerky under my bed) I understand. My dad ordered a lot of CDs through HMV. The catalog was a big sheet of CD covers printed on stamps. If you wanted a particular album, you ripped out the corresponding stamp, licked it, and stuck it on the order forms. I used to collect stamps for the artists I liked and stick them to my notebooks. In case you missed it after reading my list of first CDs, I was really cool.


*The anniversary of the first pressed CD was actually yesterday, 11/12, but I couldn’t post due to computer issues. Forgive me.

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