Ads #71: Record Ads

Before iTunes and music videos, the way to promote a record was to have it played on the radio.  I guess that's still true to some extent.  Unfortunately, the record companies today own the radio stations, so there's a weird congenital thing going on that kind of makes me vomit.

But I digress.  The other way a label could support their artist's new release was to slap an ad in Billboard, Rolling Stone, Creem, or even Omni and National Lampoon.  Well, I've collected a bunch of ads for your viewing pleasure.  Enjoy.

"One Tin Soldier" was a modest hit for the Canadian group The Original Caste; however, you probably know the version from Billy Jack which was recorded by Coven.

Coven was a rather interesting group.  They are credited with introducing the "Sign of the Horns".  Don't believe Alice Cooper, Gene Simmons or Ronnie James Dio when they stake their claim to the invention; it was undoubtedly Coven.

And unlike Sabbath and other so-called satanic rock groups that used the satanism shtick as a gimmick, Coven were actually into to, going so far as to sign their record contract in blood.

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I never understood how there were so many ventriloquist albums - it seems like that is such a visual medium. The same goes for a mime LP.  I just don't get it.

The album's producer (Dickie Goodman) had a deal with the glass bottle industry which was starting to lose ground to plastics in the soda market.  Hence the name.

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Wrestling fans will know the guy at the top of this ad.  "The Mouth of the South" was the vocalist for a group that charted "Cinnamon Girl" earlier and higher than Neil Young.

I saw these guys on VH1 a few years back, and my God they were a sad lot.  Apparently, the mother was being abused and they were all miserable wretches.  What was with the fathers of these family bands back then? The Beach Boys, The Jackson 5, The Cowsills,... all had domineering douche-bag dads.  If only The Partridge Family really had Reuben Kincade instead of bi-polar dad Jack Cassidy, things might have been different.

Perhaps only notable for the fact that it was produced by Todd Rundgren.

Named after a T.S. Elliot poem, Mungo Jerry is known above all for "In the Summertime" - a hit across the entire planet.  The group continued to bask in popularity in the U.K. with "Mungomania" actually becoming a word.  In the U.S., they faded into the domain of one-hit-wonders.

Not to be confused with the Kinks classic "Where Have All the Good Times Gone" (later covered by Van Halen.

An old song from the 1950s given that hippie flare with it being released in other languages.  Groovy.

One of the big differences between McCartney albums and Beatles albums was that Beatles albums had no throw away tracks.  From Rubber Soul through Abbey Road, there isn't a single song I'd throw onto the cutting room floor (yes, I'd even keep "Wild Honey Pie").  Not so, the McCartney and Wings albums.

That being said, there's a shit ton of McCartney tracks that are just incredible that don't get much play these days.  "Junk", "Too Many People" and "Every Night" are my favorites at the moment.

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Well, this Cleveland horn band has been called "the greatest band you've never heard". I wouldn't go that far, but they certainly have an interesting story and a respectable following in 2013.  Oddly enough, their downfall may have been the groove depth of the vinyl itself.  To stick more songs on each side, you compress the grooves and sacrifice depth - in other words, if you want to stick 30 minutes of music on each side of a record which is optimized at 15 minutes a side, the audio quality is going to suck.

Thus, when the record was played over the airwaves, it sounded awful.  The songs played before and after on the radio sounded crisp and loud; Rastus sounded flat and muted.  Certainly, some of the tracks should have just been scrapped; but the band recorded it in a mini-mall next to a Baskin-Robbins, expecting the record company to edit the music.  They didn't even change the order of the songs - they are in the order as they were recorded.

And who debuts with a double album anyway?  Rastus claims they received a minimal stipend from the record company, but then never got another dime.  A story that was all too common back in the day.


  1. I remember those ads. I have a few stacks of old music magazines.

  2. AnonymousJuly 05, 2013

    I'm fairly sure the ad for Marcel Marceau is an old joke advertisement, maybe from National Lampoon.

  3. I remember The Glass Bottle from The People Next Door soundtrack ("oh Mama don't wait up for me") and I'm pretty sure the Feliciano ad was in an "Evergreen" mag.
    I think that Marceau album was for real.

  4. Album art is gaining more interest, and so it should, some of these covers are fab!

  5. I've played the Marceau album at a friends house one night. One side was about five minutes of silence followed by clapping. We didn't play the second side... no way it could have added to the experience.

  6. The Cowsills were my FAVORITE group growing up. They had a strange, twisted, and rather melancholy story. I recommend a post comparing them to their TV knockoffs - The Partridge Family - should be interesting - especially the pics of Susan Dey (that might make for an awesome mini-skirt Monday all by itself!).

  7. AnonymousJuly 05, 2013

    It's difficult to tell whether the photos on the Rastus ad are actually of the band or from the FBI's most wanted list.

  8. The American Dream got heavy air play in Philadelphia, my home town, since they were a local band. I don't think I knew they were produced by Todd.

    "In the Summertime" may have been a big hit but I have always hated that song with a passion. When it came on the radio I couldn't change the station fast enough.

  9. Ventriloquism albums go hand in hand with 'learn how to type' albums. Here's one made by Brother that I posted on my blog:


  10. AnonymousJuly 07, 2013

    I have a Marcel Marceau album, each track is silence followed by applause.
    Proceeds went to charity.

  11. Magic KennyJuly 08, 2013

    "Every Night" is a great McCartney track - no wonder, considering he'd started working it out (along with "Junk" and a few others) with the Beatles prior to their break up.

  12. I don't think you mean "congenital." Has no meaning there.

  13. Just stumbled across your site. Great Stuff.

    In answer to your question, "Who debuts with a double album," that would be Frank Zappa.

    Mike Nomad

    1. My thought exactly.

      Freak Out! (which is pictured in a photo in a vinyl post elsewhere)

  14. Cactus are an absolutely amazing early early 70s boogie rock band, with Carmine Appice on drums they couldn't go wrong.