It was thirty years ago today, Billy Joel taught the world to play.
On October 1, 1982, the first album to get a commercial release in the all-new Compact Disc format was made available to people in Japan. Billy Joel is the 'Big Shot' whose multiplatinum '52nd Street' album, first heard in 1978, got released in the new digital medium.
In the early days, the format catered mostly to the classical music audiophiles of the world, who presumably had the extra income to spend on the costly new players and discs.
Eventually, CDs would overtake vinyl and cassettes as the preferred music choice, offering a lifetime of listening with no depreciation in quality (if properly taken care of), even after repeated plays - something that can't be said for those of us who saw our favourite albums warp and cassettes wear out.
Philips and Sony joined forces to help create the revolution. Originally, one CD could hold up to an hour of music. Sony insisted on an increase to 74 minutes so that one 12 cm disc could hold an entire performance of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.
CD sales hit an all-time high around the turn of the millennium, with over US$28.6 billion in sales globally. (To compare, in 2011, physical album sales were down to US$10.2 billion. These figures come from the IFPI, which represents the worldwide recording industry.)
George remembers the very first compact disc he ever bought: Public Enemy's 'Apocalypse 91... The Enemy Strikes Back'
Do you remember the very first CD you bought? Are you still buying CDs? And did anyone ever figure out a way to get the cellophane wrap off those plastic CD cases without losing their minds?