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What if you accidentally left a record playing on your turntable before you left for the long weekend?

Trevor was so anxious for the Canada Day long weekend that he made plans to start early. As he prepared to leave the house, he put his treasured copy of Nirvana’s Unplugged on the turntable–and forgot about it. It just spun and spun and spun.

And that wasn’t all. Once the stylus tracked to midway through “Polly,” it got stuck. That meant from the night of Wednesday, June 27, to the evening of Monday, July 2, the stylus followed exactly the same path, cutting a deep groove and ruining the record. That’s what happens when you drag a diamond through a narrow plastic trench.

Here’s what Trevor found upon returning home Monday night.

Trevor writes:

I know how to handle vinyl. I’ve been collecting for years and have some rare records. And no, I don’t have a rare/fancy “cool kid” record player. I have three kids under four. Things get broken.

This time I can’t blame this one on the kids. In the day and age where one button turns 99.9% of home theater equipment on and off, I got caught with the 0.1%. We were listening to Nirvana Unplugged while playing Hot Wheels and mini hockey sticks with the kids in the basement. I pressed the universal remote off button and marched the circus of kids upstairs for bedtime.

Unknowingly, the record was still turning. We left for Canada Day weekend holidays the next morning, the record was still turning. This was this past Wednesday around 7 pm.

Fast forward approximately 120 hours later. I headed to the basement and something caught my eye. The turntable is on. I look closer and its stuck on track seven, “Polly,” And its got vinyl dust lining both sides of the groove (pictures don’t do it justice as this was post wipe). About 120 hours’ worth of dust.

It hits me what happened. Somehow the track didn’t run out, at which point the tonearm would have been automatically been kicked back up to a resting position. So it just sat in an endless loop for the entire time.

Oh, well. Good thing it wasn’t a copy of the Sex Pistols “God Save the Queen” on A&M.




Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 38452 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

2 thoughts on “What if you accidentally left a record playing on your turntable before you left for the long weekend?

  • As a father myself, I had the exact same thing happen to me when my daughter proceeded to press play on the turntable and it was going for a week before I noticed! That stylus was toast.

  • Trevor’s tonearm and cartridge were obviously out of tune, or had a problem with his Nirvana record. I spun records for 30 years and never have the stylus stuck indefintely on one spot. Keep your turntable and records in good working order.


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