These albums could be found at record stores, of course, but were also available at department stores and even pharmacies, often prominently displayed in stands with that little red box ("As Seen On TV!"). I recall convincing my mother to buy my first one at a JC Penney's ( the Ronco "Get it On" shown here ). Chances were you would find several favorite songs among the track list (in this case, I wanted it for Jim Stafford' "Spiders and Snakes"; the store was sold out of the 45 but the song was included on this record, along with sooo many others!). Sure, there would likely be a few cuts that made you grit your teeth, but overall you got a pretty good mix- rock, pop, soul, disco, even an occasional country crossover or novelty hit.
|Get It On!, 1974|
|Check out that track list...|
Of course, there was a down side- sometimes the songs would be edited versions, trimmed down to about 2 minutes or so. This was frustrating to a music fanatic like myself, but in those pre-internet days, it beat wading through a dozen radio stations trying to tape your own variety mix (believe me, I tried). And the track mix was varied enough to provide exposure to some unfamiliar music- not every song was a top ten hit. My favorite tune off "Get it On!" turned out to be "Painted Ladies" by Ian Thomas, a song I'd never heard before getting that lp.
At any rate, that lp started a love affair with compilation albums that, for me, continues today. Now my cd shelf is filled with "Billboard's Greatest Hits" discs, Time/Life discs, and countless others. Yet those old K-Tel albums from the 5-and-dime still hold a lot of charm. In fact, I have them recreated as playlists, complete with scans of the album covers. Below are a few more from my archives. Do you have any fond memories of these albums; favorite discs, songs you first discovered within the paper sleeve of a Ronco record?