History's Dumpster Mobile Link

History's Dumpster for Smartphones, Tablets and Old/Slow Computers http://historysdumpster.blogspot.com/?m=1

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Mail-Order Records

Along with the many vinyl products of K-Tel and Ronco, there were also albums you simply couldn't buy in stores. Like the K-Tel & Ronco compilations, they were also advertised on TV, but they were by mail order. 

They were HUGE sets (3 or more records/tapes), and offered mostly classic hits and songs from your youth. Or a totally bygone era.

They usually sold for $12.99, but were PACKED with hit songs (you actually became dizzy watching the selection titles/artists rolling up the screen.) All of them full length, on surprisingly good vinyl.

In less than 60 seconds, your mind was made up and you quickly looked for your checkbook (or if you were smarter, you waited until the address appeared on the screen.) Credit cards and toll-free numbers didn't become standard until the '80s.

I remember one collection my mom bought. She was a HUGE Big Band music fan and she actually had me watching her crummy TV shows until I was able to get the address for this record set written down.

And my reward for HOURS of boredom was having to hear this set played ad nauseum on her console stereo for years....
 Well, the set finally arrived and she went berserk over it. Looking back now, it was actually a pretty good compilation. Whoever put it together knew what they were doing and aside from the weird "Glenn Miller-Style" track, it pretty much covered all the bases. Even the labels on this set were colourful.

The biggest mail order record company of that time was Sessions. Sessions specialized in various compilations of mostly Adult Contemporary and Easy Listening music. With a few oldies collections scattered throughout. 

The Sessions sets were often bigger. Sometimes covering as many as SIX records. And sometimes the commercials themselves were as memorable as the albums they offered.

(When KZOK-FM Seattle switched to Classic Rock in the late '80s, the long running joke then was it became the "Freedom Rock" station. Because it seemed like every song they played then came from this collection. And their listeners then LOOKED like these guys....)

And it wasn't just classic rock and pop ballads that were in these collections. You could also get a crash course in classical music as well.

(This commercial was hosted by John Williams. And since he was the guy who gave us THIS, he could even make classical music COOL.....)

As time went by, Time-Life got into the business. And while their vinyl and CD sets were HUGE and far more thorough, they began to dominate late night TV with 30 minute infomercial marathons that really became annoying.

They still make mail order albums, but they're on CD exclusively today. And musically today, well, they're really not my thing......



  1. My favorites were the knockoff LP hit compilations, with all the big hits performed by "Dynamic Sounds" (or some other knockoff band). Seriously, who was fooled by these shameless ripoffs???


Spam messages will be automatically deleted