TV record offers you can't forget (even if you try)

The phrase “hand clapping Mahalia” popped into my head this morning. For whatever reason, I remembered the ad for this double album Mahalia Jackson collection that appeared every commercial break on BET in the mid 90’s. Even though I haven’t seen the ad in 15 years, I still remember that one album was yellow and one was blue–and the above pitch line. And right after that ad, they’d have another compilation album that featured ZZ Hill’s “Cheating in the Next Room” and Clarence Carter’s “Strokin’”. What commercials for TV only albums stick in your mind due to sheer repetition?

I remember the Slim Whitman commercial and only the sweet relief of death with free me of it.

“Hey man, is that ‘Freedom Rock,’ man?”

“Yeah, man!”

“Well TURN IT UP, man!”

Jeeps. I remember that too.

Hey, not a TV commercial, but one of my friends once received…

  • An 8 track tape…
  • Of a cover band…
  • Singing the songs of … The Village People!

Does. It. Get. Any. Worse? This was 20+ years ago, but man it’s still funny!

Of course, I came here to say that.

I still have memories of SMALL SNIPPETS of songs from many compilation commercials. Every so often, I’ll hear a song I had never heard before, then it gets to the 5-second snippet used in some ad, and I’ll say “Oh! This is THAT song!”


Nat “King” Cole “Unforgettabe”, a seven-record compilation from the Longines Symphonette.

I also recall those old K-Tel commercials on late-night TV, although they were all so alike that they kind of ran together, and I couldn’t specifically recall any two songs that I guarantee were on the same album. I did often wonder one thing about them: Since K-Tel showed video clips of a lot of the songs (sometimes from even before MTV), why didn’t they ever offer to let me buy a videotape with videos of “the Greatest Love Songs of the Sixties,” and such-like?

I don’t know if it was just a compilation of the band’s songs, or some other collection, but I can clearly remember an offer for “CREEDENCE Clearwater Revival!”

For me, the K-Tel commercials were an inescapable part of afternoon TV programming. Courtesy of YouTube, here are the ones for “Pure Power” and “Stars” from 1977.

“All the classical music you will ever need!” . . . on one disk.

Ooh, I kind of remember that - according to my arithmetic at at the time, every classical piece on it was an average of 3 minutes long.

I was joking with a friend recently that I think every kid, black or white or other, who grew up in the 1970s or 1980s knows approximately 8 seconds of all the great songs of black gospel. Highlights include “Soon and very soon/we are goin’ to see the king…”, “in that great gettin’ up mornin’…” and the absolutely dreadful and horrible musical mother of guilt trips “For the nine months I caaarrrrrrrrrrrrried you, growin’ inside me… no charge!”, which people in their 30s and 40s (down here at least, no idea if it was a national ad) can all sing along with before realizing, “that’s all I know…”. It was one of the K-TEL and it seemed to come on 5 times every afternoon.

Really dating myself, but does anybody remember a novelty song called “The Telephone Man” from the '70s? I still remember that commercial and how annoying it was (“hey la di da di…”).

One I used to love was hosted by Steve Allen and wife and was for songs from HIT PARADE. It was always interesting hearing my aunt (now 83) and my mother (10 years younger), neither of whom could carry a tune in a tow truck, actually singing along with Teresa Brewer, Jo Stafford, Keely Smith, etc., and others from the late 40s/early 50s. I’d have gladly gotten the CDs for them but neither of them ever listened to music.

There was also a novelty hit collection- Monster Mash and One Eyed One Horned Flying Purple People Eater and other such songs- that used to play each afternoon. Those songs (or the excerpts) seared into the brain.

I remember Zamfir, MASTER OF THE PAN FLUTE, mostly because I wondered what sort of people would buy something like that.

You can have it with a buzz, you can have it with a ring. And if you really want it, you can have a ding-a-ling.

“And remember: this record is not available in the shops.”

The Telephone Man

And Meri Wilson’s “sequel” to that song, Peter the Meter Reader.

To this day, when my son starts messing around with his recorder while I’m trying to watch TV (or do anything that doesn’t involve listening to an eleven year old playing random notes on a recorder), I’ll shout: “Put a cork in it, ZAMFIR!”

My Mom. Don’t ask, because I don’t know why.


The only one I remember is the last line to the commercial. It went, “No my brother, you’ve got to get your own.” I think it was a Time-Life offering.

and really, have you yet NEEDED more? :slight_smile:

My personal favorite: the late, great , lamented Boxcar Willie. You just don’t get Hobo music like that anymore.

“Poor old Kawliga, he never got a kiss.
Poor old Kawliga, he don’t know what he missed.”
“I saw the liiiight! I saw the liiiight!”
“Hey, good lookin’! Whatcha got cookin’?
Howzabout cookin’ somethin’ up for meeee?”