2018 – Collections: my old 45s, sleeves and boxes
(Ignore above publish date – this was published on December 17, 2018)
I have lots of collections that I don’t do anything with and haven’t added to in ages, so I guess it’s time to put them on the blog and find out if it’s just me or does anyone else have similar groups of things. If so, let me know in the comments.
I recently came across a manila envelope that contained a bunch of sleeves for some of the 45rpm records I bought in the 1960s. Many of them had old Scotch Tape discolorations on them, so I guess I must have displayed them on my bedroom wall, which sounds like something teenage girls would do. I guess the difference is that I didn’t feature dreamy idols like Frankie Avalon or Fabian – I liked the tougher sounds of car aficionados like the Beach Boys and the British Invasion bands, especially the Rolling Stones.
OK, so there’s ONE idol in the bunch, but Bobby Rydell’s “Good Time Baby” sounded pretty cool back then.
There are some instances where a band used the same picture on front (“A” side) and back (“B” side) and I’ve shown the “B” side one and that’s because the “A” side was in worse shape. That happened on a few of the Beatles sleeves. And I did try to make all the sleeves look as good as possible (thank you, Photoshop), but sometimes, the tape marks could not be removed either because it would harm the image under it or because removing the yellow/orange-y color left it with black marks. Everyone knows what tape marks look like, but if they’re made black, no one knows what could have caused that. Stick with the familiar.
Here are my old sleeves (alphabetically and in order of release):
I still keep all the singles jammed into the same five bursting-at-the-seams record boxes I had back then. Two of them still have the dividers with hand-written band names on them.
Besides all the singles I bought as a teenager, there’s a whole bunch I didn’t buy. During my career in the music industry, I was given a lot of 45s and 45-sized records, many of which I had no interest in, but I saved them anyway and – if for no other reason than to be complete – included all of them that I could find in this post.
Let’s start with the main 45 box. For the record, the listed bands are: The Four Seasons, Beach Boys, Rolling Stones, Animals, Yardbirds, Turtles, Strangeloves, Music Machine, Herman’s Hermits, (Tommy James and the) Shondells, Hollies, Young Rascals, Left Banke, Searchers, Kinks and the Beatles:
The other segmented box contains the following: Dave Clark Five, Paul Revere & the Raiders, Supremes, Doors, (Smokey Robinson and the) Miracles, American Breed, Sonny & Cher, Buddy Holly, Bob Dylan, Mamas and Papas, Otis Redding, Ritchie Valens, Frankie Avalon (shhh!), Lloyd Price, Jan & Dean, Everly Brothers, Elvis Presley, Ricky Nelson, Sandy Nelson, the Regents, Chiffons and the Shirelles:
You can see how all the other singles wound up. In total, I gave new meaning to the term “jam sessions” – 5 times!
You can also see the music hot spot where I bought two of these boxes: Two Guys. If you remember Two Guys, you’re old. There was one about a mile from where I lived, so…………..
If you look closely, you can see that I went out with a girl named Holly who liked to write her/our name(s) on things. She was very tall, model-thin, gorgeous……………and 16. I was almost 21.
It didn’t work out.
As mentioned earlier, I received a whole bunch of 45s during my career. Aside from all the ones with picture sleeves, there was a pile of 20 or 30 in regular sleeves. There’s no point in featuring all of those, so they remained a pile and are in the picture – ALL under the one with the blue Mercury sleeve.
Additionally, I have these 45-sized records that might be EPs or something else:
The charming centerpiece came out of one of my ‘60s MAD magazines. I haven’t heard it since then, but just found it on YouTube:
I didn’t miss much.
It was referred to online as a flexi-disc, but that’s a misnomer since it’s like a piece of cardboard. However, if you look in the lower right corner of the previous pic, there’s a whole shirtload of flexi-discs that were in issues of Trouser Press, which I used to shoot for. Some pretty cool bands were featured, including XTC, which is shown on the top of the pile.
Lastly, there’s one other single sleeve that I MUST feature because……….it’s “MINE”!
No – I didn’t sing on it, but I took the cover picture. There’s even a hard-to-read credit on it that I’ve blown up a bit and made slightly more readable:
The whole story is on http://bobleafe.com/ under “Squier”, but to semi-capsulize it: Remember Tom Snyder’s “Tomorrow” show? Billy was on it and the record company sent me to shoot it. He was sitting in what was, essentially, a barber’s chair in the show’s makeup room when I took the shot:
(Yeah – I know it’s small………..I just stole it off my site)
Another interesting thing is the “B” side of the single: Billy’s “Christmas Is The Time To Say I Love You”. I’m sure you’ve seen the video where Billy’s singing that song with the original MTV VJs and a whole bunch of industry people sitting behind him.
I was there and it was a great time (I again refer you to the story on my site). Before the taping, I had Billy sign the sleeve for me:
So that’s it for the collection. I’m not gonna give my thoughts on the merits of individual singles because it’s too subjective, boring, would take forever and is WAY too pretentious for my tastes. I will, however, mention TWO whose stories will stick in my mind forever:
1. “Russian Bandstand” – 1959, Spencer & Spencer (but I’m told it’s really Dickie Goodman)
This is the song I always use to stump know-it-alls. It hasn’t failed me yet. I even stumped two DJs at WNEW-FM in NYC: the late, great Thom Morrera and Pam Merly, when I dropped in on them at the station one night.
Give it a listen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RRq7phYWS7U
2. “La Bamba” – 1958, Ritchie Valens
On her deathbed (sorry to be dramatic), my mother told me that I used to go up to my room, shut the door and play this song as loud as I could so no one would know I was singing to it over and over and over and over and…………………
I think the whole neighborhood knew.
On a personal note:
Christmas is next week. As far as I’m concerned, Christmas is the time to say “thank you” to you all for reading and reacting to all this stuff that pours out of my head and onto your desktop. It’s also the time to warn you that I plan on continuing to do so, so I hope you’ll stick around.