Today I offer an eclectic bunch of platters–a group of treasured releases that, many, many years later, still hold a place in my vinyl heart, starting with a snazzy looking, special box set for Suzy and the Red Stripes’ “Seaside Woman,” released by A&M records in 1977. Suzy and crew were, of course, Wings. The yellow vinyl 45 in the box sported a hypno label and came with 10 “saucy” postcards and a red-striped badge. The box, too, was adorned with red stripes. I purchased the box at a Beatlefest in the early 1980s in excellent condition. It’s still one of my most-prized Paul McCartney-related possessions.
Speaking of Wings, here are two more nifty collectors items that have pride of place in my collection. The first is the rare picture sleeve for “Spin It On” b/w “Getting Closer.” The sleeve, with its showstopping, commanding and dazzling font effect makes the visual pop. Next is the picture sleeve for Wings’ “Mary Had a Little Lamb” b/w “Little Woman Love” (Apple 1851). This sleeve may actually not be as rare as I once thought it was, but I love it and I’m glad it’s in my collection.
In 1982, Saturday Night Live cast member Joe Piscopo recorded a great, funny medley of rock songs (listen below) as they might have been sung by Frank Sinatra. Saturday Night Live fans will remember Piscopo’s hysterical Sinatra impersonations as a highlight during his time with the show. Piscopo was promoting his medley at various record stores in Manhattan. One day, he appeared at Crazy Eddie’s on 57th Street, so I walked from work and found Joe behind one of the sales counters, with nary a fan waiting to speak to him. I shook his hand, told him I was a big fan, and got him to autograph my 12-inch record. This was just one of my brushes with stardom–remind me to tell you about the rest some day!
In 1986, my wife and I made the first of six trips to London and various towns in England and Scotland. One of my main concerns, other than making sure to visit every last Beatles-related landmark I could find, was, of course, shopping for records. We walked everywhere, and every time we saw a record store, we stopped in. My memory tells me it was in Kentish Town, in northwest London, that we spied a small record shop down a side street. I was on the hunt for Eric “10cc” Stewart’s 1982 solo album, Frooty Rooties, released on the Phonogram label. I had been looking for it since it was released, to no avail. We walked into this particular shop and I asked the clerk if he had a copy. “I think we have that one, yes,” he said, and in mere seconds pulled it out of the stacks and handed it to me. I thought I had discovered buried treasure! And it was a promo copy. Score!
Here’s a weird one: In 1970, Buddah Records released a two-record set to promote its releases. Titled N.E.C. Convention Memphis/February 15-18 1970 – Rock and Roll with Buddah and adorned with the Buddah logo on the front and the song titles and artists on the back, the record, to the best of my recollection, was not released commercially (I remember it being advertised in a print publication, possibly Rolling Stone). I think it cost two dollars. The content varied wildly: Bill Haley’s “Rock Around the Clock” and the Lovin’ Spoonful’s “Younger Generation” appeared alongside the Tokens’ version of “Don’t Worry Baby” and the Edwin Hawkins Singers’ “Oh Happy Day.” I’ve tried to find details on this release, but all roads lead to dead ends. Any details would be greatly appreciated. Was this created with an ear toward beating Warner Bros., with their Loss Leaders program, at their own game? A great curiosity, for sure.
Tomorrow, I’ll take a look at the aforementioned Loss Leaders program, and how getting my drivers license helped fuel my mad hunt for all available entries in the series.
– Alan Haber
Trax on Wax, in Catonsville, Maryland, is the official record store of Pure Pop Radio. When in the Baltimore area, we recommend that you make Trax on Wax your number one vinyl destination. Visit Trax on Wax’s website by clicking here.
(Photos of Joe Piscopo’s record, and Eric Stewart’s Frootie Rooties, were taken by ace Daily Planet photographer, Janet Haber; 45 scans by Alan Haber)