Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Episode 300 - Peter, Paul, & Mary: Puff The Magic Dragon

It is my 300th episode of “Reading Before the Grooves” and today I am retracing my musical steps back to the first 45 rpm record that I ever owned. In fact it was my first serious record, although I did receive a number of 78s with my Mickey Mouse® record player that I got for Christmas in 1961.

When I used the terminology “Mickey Mouse,” it is not denigrating – it was an actual brand record player that had a picture of the famous mouse – actually, it was the “Mickey Mouse Club®” brand record player that was made by the Lionel Toy Company. It had two speeds 45 & 78. This was before the later plastic models and the even later close and play type turntables. Mine was the real thing – genuine chipboard. My, I loved that record player.

Those first records were 78s on with the Golden Records imprint – not on a paper label, but the blue and silver label was printed directly on the record itself. The only one I remember is the Three Stooges doing “Wreck the Halls with Boughs of Holly.” I may have to feature this at Christmas time – it may qualify as my first record – at least the first one I can remember.

The first single and first serious record I received about a year later. Peter, Paul, and Mary’s “Puff the Magic Dragon” had just been recorded and released in late 1962 and I asked my brother Chuck to buy me the single for my 7th birthday – which occurred about five weeks following my father’s death. In the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas break when Chuck came back home from college, he remembered that all I did was sit in front of that Mickey Mouse® record player – playing that song over and over and over.

I don’t remember any of this with the exception of asking for the record and knowing all of the lyrics of the song. As a seven-year old, there was one line that Peter Yarrow sung that puzzled me. It was “and frolicked in the ‘ottomiss’ in a land called Honalee.” What and the heck was an “ottomiss” anyway?  And peradventure, how does one frolic in it?  It was years later that I realized that the mystery words were actually “autumn mist.” Hmm, misunderstood song lyrics – now, that’s a topic for a future Wednesday post.

In my time of grief, I found solace in this sad song of coming of age, and of course there was my Mickey Mouse® record player. Come to think of it, and I hadn’t planned this, but tomorrow would have been my dad’s 97th birthday had he lived – but, he never made it to 50 – pity.

I didn't have a good picture of my dad playing guitar, so I made one

Through him, I gained the love of music and the gadgets that go with it. We were the only house on our street (perhaps in the entire neighborhood) with a reel-to-reel deck in the late 50s. Dad played numerous instruments and had a wide variety of musical tastes – so I guess he continues to live on in me and the rest of his progeny here in this “land called Honalee.”

RBTG’s 300th Post Retrospect

Like I had reported with the 100th and 200th posts, I took a look backward on how we are doing visitor wise. I began this blog on September 26, 2009, but did not start monitoring the visits until October 16, 2009. Since that time, we have had the following:

Unique Visitors5,378
Times Visited6,703
Number of Pages Viewed11,503
People Visiting 200+ Times366
People Visiting 101-200 Times105
People Visiting 51-100 Times99
People Visiting 26-50 Times76
Number of Visitor Countries Represented88
Percentage of Visitors Referred from Search Engines55.76%
Percentage of Visitors Referred from Other Sites31.54%
Percentage of Visitors via Direct Access12.79%

Without much promotion and largely based on my own views about music, it really amazes me that so many have found these pages – even once. By the time I started counting, I had one declared follower. There has been incremental growth in the number of followers as well. At 100 posts, there were four. By 200, seven were following. Today, there are 12. While the numbers of declared followers are relatively low, the number of people visiting this blog remains higher than I ever expected.

The Top Ten Charts

As one would find in music trade magazines, I have prepared some Top Ten Charts for "Between the Grooves."

The Top Ten Visitor Countries

It is interesting to note that visitors from nearly every European country have visited “Reading Between the Grooves.” The smaller countries such as Andorra, Gibraltar, Malta, Monaco, San Marino, SMOM, and the Vatican are not tallied in the results. Too bad, I was hoping that the Pope was a regular visitor; but alas, we'll never know. Those which are counted included every country except Albania, Lichtenstein, Moldova, Montenegro, and Svalbard.

The same countries made the Top 10 at the 200th anniversary; however, the order changed somewhat.

1United States4,087
2United Kingdom480
10The Netherlands76

The Top Ten Pages via Direct Access

While most people (1,222) have visited the home page for “Reading Between the Grooves,” others enter distinct pages through page specific links and via search engine returns. These are the top ten pages bypassing the home page entering the site through a specific daily post. The list is very similar to the one at the 200th anniversary post with only two additions: The Moody Blues and Walter Egan.

The Top Days by Total Visits

This chart represents the days that encountered the most visits and the content that was featured on those particular days. Only three of these were in the Top 10 at the 200th post anniversary: Elvis, Springsteen, and the Byrds. Three of the additions were posts made during the last two weeks.  

The Top Days by New Visitors

This chart represents the days that encountered the most visits by first time visitors and the content that was featured on those particular days. While the #1 song remained the same since the 200th episode, every other position was replaced. Four of the top ten are from the last two weeks.

I want to take this time to thank all of you for your support of this site and the encouragement to keep going forward. Thanks again for Reading Between the Grooves.

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