Ask me what some of my favorite albums are and you’ll get a short list of ones that I would make it to the desert island with me – Tattoo You by The Rolling Stones, Beauty and the Beat by The Go-Go’s, Kings of the Wild Frontier by Adam and the Ants. I know these records up and down, and I never get tired of them.
But ask me about important records, ones that take me back to a time and a place, ones where when I see the cover of them a smile comes across my face . . . that’s another story.
Many of those records looked something like this.
And this for the lighter, easy-listening moments in your life.
And especially this.
I loved my K-tel record collection.
K-tel records were the original “Now, That’s What I Call Music” compilation albums of the greatest (and maybe not so greatest) hits of the time, the company has been cranking out records since the 1960s.
Besides having amazing hit singles, K-tel also had amazing television commercials.
The joy of these albums was the insane variety of music that was on each and every one of them. Hard rock, soft rock, pop hits, and instrumentals; sometimes they even snuck a country song on there.
These records were sold at record stores as well as drug stores; I have vivid memories of walking up to Woolworth’s with my grandmother and buying one.
One year I purchased this:
Talk about an important album . . . oh my God. The Who, The Police, and The Go-Go’s? And I’d never heard Devo’s cover of Working in a Coal Mine. Throw in Rapture by Blondie and a little Hall and Oates, and you’ve got vinyl magic.
And variety! Where else could The Commodores hang out with The Moody Blues?
This record was so important to me that I couldn’t get the cover out of my head. I even considered getting the guy holding the two lightning bolts as a tattoo (don’t worry, I didn’t) or the music out of my head . . . even as an adult. I have often wished hard that I hadn’t purged it from my collection.
So I got a new copy of it. And now it lives in a place of honor. It’s music and art, all in one, hanging in our guest bedroom.
Thanks K-tel records, for the greatest hits soundtrack of my youth.