Here is a pristine poster from RCA’s 1975 compilation, Best of Dolly Parton. Featuring the same artwork / photo from the album’s cover, this poster has laid dormant for 40+ years and was just discovered the other day by yours truly. She’ll likely lay dormant for another 40+ years, or whenever the kids get their grubby little mitts on it.
Let’s play the adjusted for inflation game! A quick bit of internet research nets this advert in the 1966 range, which would bring the “new” AG 4100 model (original price of $39.95) to only $296.98, while the monster, GF 340, with original price of $99.95, to a whopping $743 today. Portable phonographs certainly were a premium during the ol’ British Invasion days, am I right? And I can’t help but think how Smash Records, a company I’ve heard very little about, teamed up with Mercury for this frame-worthy advert. A few clicks back on the ol’ interwebs and as it turns out, Smash Records was a subsidiary of Mercury Records starting in 1961, so, that solves that useless mystery.
If Glen E. Friedman ever took a bad photo, I’ve never seen it. Early Fugazi, featured here from the insert to their 1988 12″, Fugazi, features a front row view of this vigorous band in violent, full swing. Spend the rest of your day Googling Glen E. Friedman’s work, then spin this album. Your Tuesday morning will thank you.
You have to go way back to July 17, 2013 for the first Groove post on fine quality Columbia Phonograph ad-serts. As you’ll recall, “Listening in Depth” is a buzz term used by Columbia sound laboratories to promote their seemingly revolutionary Directed Electromotive Power (D.E.P.) phonograph console. Featured here is Model 535 which boasts and brags about all the same cabinet wood finish variations as Model 532, but ups the ante in overall power and sound quality (if only marginally). This beautiful piece of 1958 machinery would go perfectly in any (or every) room in my house, and I’ll personally shake the hand of the first person to send me one. Email me for shipping address.
Event 2 checked through interplanetary security some 13 years, a decade (+) some would say, after the initial ignition of innovative insanity spawned the red-eyed cloud of sophisticated satisfaction. Muddy your mind, and tap your toes, ’cause Deltron Zero and Captain Aptos have been serviced, and are accessible for all of your control-alt-deleted needs.
The artist’s signature looks to be either a forgery, or an afterthought, but really what the hell do I know. Likely some child relation to Speedo based on the last name. Anyway, on a completely unrelated note, binge-watch your shows responsibly!
Not unlike the London / Parrot / Coliseum advertinsert from last April, this London / Parrot / Deram insert features, once again, Them, the Stones, and The Zombies under the “teen beat” umbrella, but this time around sporting a seasonably fashioned blue trim. My SO mentioned the other night how I hadn’t done an insert post in a while. Truth be told, I’m desperately running low on inserts, so… off to the local brick and mortar I go for another blaze orange hunt for early Kinks, late Hardin, and vibrant record inserts. Happy Friday, kids!
If it’s uncouth to double up on back-to-back days worth of Dillinger Escape Patton (even though it’s still spinning, much to the chagrin of my patient and tolerating significant other), then let’s gaze upon the mystic wonders of this beautiful promotional sleevsert (sleeve + insert) touting the many achievements of Mr. Donovan Philips Leitch.
What you’ve got here is a South Korean insert from the 1987 album, Appetite for destruction, by LA’s Guns N’ Roses released by the Oasis Record Co., an overseas distributor for Geffen Records. This exclusive version features a 9-track song list instead of the usual 12. Omitted are Nightrain, Mr. Brownstone and My Michelle (for those interested). I guess, by way of GNR in South Korea, anything goes.
Dead only a month after his final album’s release, Elvis Presley, and his insert to Moody Blue, serves as a bullet-pointed checklist of entertainment tombstones celebrating this legendary performer’s luxurious career. Not a fan per se, I acknowledge his esteemed importance throughout recorded music history, and although his music has never connected with me, appreciation and respect must be given.
Back, wayyyyyyyyyy back in the day when records were housed in nothing more than paper sleeves (the high cost of colored board be damned!), companies, such as the 1929 founded Decca Records here, saw a blank paper sheath as an advertising opportunity to sell more of their product. Makes sense, right? I mean, why not utilize every square millimeter of space to keep the bellies full? No, it wasn’t the act of garnishing repeated consumers that struck me as aloof, but instead the terms in which Decca described their catalog.
Absent, and apparently a lavish afterthought, were the artist names for each of the 20 different recorded sound categories. Instead, the customer was given a series of genres (complete with color-coded label), with which to make their money-offering decision. Have a look at the wealth of universal genres offered by Decca Records, and tell me you aren’t breaking windows and stealing cars out of sheer excitement for Series 8500.
London Recordings, with all her lofty divisions, offered a red, white and blue window into the mid-60s English Assault, and was home to some pretty significant acts producing some pretty extraordinary cuts. Their mainstay, and supplier of the label’s flowing honey, were, as you’ve probably guessed, the Rolling Stones, but what I didn’t recognize until earlier today was how many other British Invasion favorites, or in this case Teen Beat favorites, also strolled under the London Recordings umbrella. Unit 4+2, the Moody Blues, the Zombies, and Them all saw early offerings on London, or one of her sisters, and in such a short amount of time, helped propel this label into the upper, heavily coveted realms of rock n’ roll history.
Either Capitol Records was exceptionally hard up for decent songwriters in 1961, or their “Songs Without Words” contest was one of the most dream-fulfilling opportunities ever to hit the record-hoarding public. American Idol for songwriters, and some 41 years prior, Capitol’s “Songs Without Words” contest was an unprecedented marketing ploy that boasted a $500 advance against royalties for publication rights to the Better Homes & Gardens reading, fuel pump-changing, plastic hat-wearing, Leave it to Beaver-style, June and Ward Cleaver-minded entrepreneur with aspirations for stardom, and a little free time on their hands.
The skinny, in a sleeve-shaped nutshell is this… all the enthusiastic, future Paul Simon had to do was acquire the “Songs Without Words” contest album (Capitol Records T-1601 and ST-1601, mono and stereo respectively), listen to the ten, instrumental tracks of varying genres (6x popular, 2x Country & Western, and 2x Rock ‘n’ Roll), isolate the one, don’t mess this up or your future is doomed track that spoke to the lyric-writing demon inside of them, and print or type their lyrics in the space provided on the entry blank located on the back of this sleeve (sleeve desecration was required, and scissors were necessary for cutting along the printed, dotted lines).
Entries were, quite stylishly, judged against three separate categories, each based on a 33 1/3 point system (all totaling 99.9 possible points… I see what you did there, 1961 Capitol Records. Kudos to you!) based on the following:
– Appropriateness and suitability (the manner in which the structure and content of the lyrics fits the melody)
– Composition, distinctive style and poetic flair
– Commercial appeal (suitability for presentation to today’s listening audiences)
Apparently nobody (on the internet) knows who any of the 10 winners with executive-pleasing lyrics were, but little forgotten moments in record publishing history like this are certainly entertaining to discover on an otherwise, calamitous Thursday morning.
Perhaps I offer too much attention to something as trivial as a record insert… perhaps I should just slap myself in the face for questioning this practical, record-saving, overly simplistic, introverted device (folded piece of paper) that offers a blank canvas for throwaway designs of yesteryear. Somebody designed this insert. Furthermore, someone paid someone to design it, and somebody probably rejected 24 previous versions before signing off on this teal, squared off lasso of reoccurring R’s (they kind of look like a series of interconnected R’s, right, or is that just me?).
Protect your records in style, and appreciate the nameless, faceless artisan who ingested a plain sleeve, and turned it into subtle, seldom seen art.
One word… Superposter. It’s not just your routine poster. Standard posters are for coupon cutters and puddle jumpers. Superposters… now, that’s the bees knees, you dig? Got a neighbor with a bum knee who can’t will himself to the kitchen to boil an egg? Give ‘em a Bob Dylan clown head Superposter. Want to grease the wheels with your kid’s 2nd grade math teacher because your kid keeps bringing home C’s? Give Mrs. Fractionstein a Moby Grape Superposter. Before you know it, little Suzysucksatmath will be merrily skipping home with her justly deserved B-. (Allow three weeks for delivery. Offer expires 12/30/69.)
Superposters… putting ordinary posters to shame since the late 60’s.
By now, we’ve all been schooled in the revolutionary ways of stereophonic sound (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3), but there have been significant advances since mid-March that will set the standard in audio technology. Ladies and Gentlemen, stereophonic sound is now available in the color PURPLE! That’s right! At no additional cost to you, the color purple has been integrated into the RCA Victor demonstration insert. Discount blue RCA Victor stereophonic sound demonstration inserts are currently on sale to make room for this year’s fall fashion purple extravaganza. With the holidays coming up, why not give the gift of blue, or if you’re one of the lucky ones whose ship has come in, why not spring for the new purple model? Discounts on the discontinued blue will be applied at the register.
This is 1959, and size matters. Until the launch of “the remarkable Everest sound”, we’ve all been, collectively and obliviously, shortchanged when it comes to the quality of our audio recordings. You see, standard tape size for recording audio (that will later be transferred, then pressed into a platter spinning, groove disc) is ¼” or 6.35mm. Conventional stereo recording is ½” or 12.7mm (feel free to view the picture for tape scale). But Everest, with its 1) No distortion from print through, 2) No distortion from lack of channel width, 3) Absolute minimum of “wow or flutter”, 4) Highest possible signal to noise ratio, and 5) Greatest quality and dynamic range ever recorded, well tape stock used by Everest clocks in at a whopping 35mm! How you feeling now, standard and conventional stereo recording? Not so good, huh? Once you go thick, you’ll never get sick. Once you drop thin, you can’t help but grin. Or how about, once you go fat, you’ll never look back… I give up.
This is Everest… the peak of achievement in recorded sound!
On exhibit today is another fantabulous record sleeve design. This pleasing little eye-catcher consisting of a simplistic, yet instantly recognizable repetition of logos (and essentially horizontal and vertical lines… for which I am a sucker) would make for great wallpaper (in your living room as well as your computer’s desktop).
Finding beautiful inserts like this has forced me to reevaluate my thrift store rummaging. Before, I’d skim through the often bruised and battered stack of LPs until something grabbed my eye. Now, I dedicate a little more time and check out all the timeless inserts. This, of course, takes some three to four times longer to hunt, but the rare find, such as this sleeve from Elektra, is well worth the further exploration.