Where are the Discs of Yesterday? | Page 9 | Newberry

Where are the Discs of Yesterday?

People are still sending us records. Another box of 45s arrived last week, the box grundgy from numerous years in the basement, but well-padded. So the records were in reasonably nice shape, barring where the original owner had written her name on the label. (You did this to keep things straight when a bunch would get together, all bringing their records, so each person could get back…no, dear, they couldn’t just attach the link to their next phone message; phones didn’t have 45 rpm apps in those days. Yes, life was cruel.)

Anyhoo, I now have the largest collection of singles by ? and the Mysterians the Book Fair has ever seen. I hope you will not knock over any small children or people in wheelchairs to get in to buy these, come July.

I have also started to delve into that massive collection of pop instrumentals which came over in August. I have made it through the first hundred LPs, and found that this stack involved only six artists: Andre Kostelanetz, Ray Coniff, Mantovani, Percy Faith, Billy Butterfield, and Carmen Cavallaro. For the record (sorry) I did put the Billy Butterfield albums into the Jazz instead of the Easy Listening section. But that album “Billy Butterfield Meets Ray Coniff” was a close call.

It’s an amazing thing to look at so many albums by the same headliner. You get to watch him gain and lose weight, see his hair change contour and color, and see him disappear and reappear on the jacket of his albums. All these men had careers long enough to go from the Star-On-The-Cover stage to the Beautiful-Girl-On-The-Cover stage to the Words-Only-On-the-Cover phase and back again to Star-On-the Cover. The Beautiful-Girl-On-the-Cover era is the most collectible among record jacket lovers today, and it was pretty popular at the time, too. Jerry Lewis had a gag about buying a record with a pretty model on the cover, only to get it home and find it was General MacArthur’s Farewell Speech. But the cover model was so lovely, he put it on the Hi-Fi and danced to it anyhow.

(No, Peachburger, they couldn’t swap tunes using WiFi. I said HiFi. This was a kind of record player that…go ask Grandma, willya? I’m blogging.)

I’m just pricing these and putting them in boxes for you to peruse, by the way. If I had all the time in the world, I’d be comparing playlists, to pick out songs that turn up on every LP. These lads also stretched pretty much from Stardust to Yesterday, and there wasn’t the emphasis on one performer to a song; that came in with the singer-songwriter era. I believe “Yesterday” still holds the record (sorry again) as the most-covered song in history, with over 2,000 different versions available. Surely not ALL of those are available on YouTube, iTunes, or what have you. And maybe you’d rather poke through and find all the different versions of Hut Sut Rawlson On the Rillerah.

After all, I have another 1300 records to go, just in this collection. That’s more tunes that you can fit on your iPod, Peapod, or more than even Mantovani could shake a stick at.

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