1 of the reasons I got hooked on buying 45-rpm singles back when I was growing up was Bcos of the mostly-neat places that sold them. 1 of the 1st places I ever bot 45's was at Tacoma, Wash.'s famous B&I -- a sorta cross Btween a flea market & a Turkish Bazaar, with 100's of stalls selling everything from jewelry 2 furniture ... + there was an indoor zoo & a game arcade.
Every week Mom & Dad would load my Sister & I in2 the car, haul us in2 town 2 wander around the B&I 4 an hr or 2, mayB followed by dinner at McDonald's. Mainly it was just an Xcuse 2 get out of the house at least 1nce a wk.
During 1 of these wanderings I stumbled over the records section, at 1st not even realizing what it was. My eye was at least partially attracted by huge posters 4 then-fairly-current album releases like Santana's ABRAXAS (hard 2 miss that 1 or not B attracted....), CSNY's DEJA VU, & a big gaudy pink&green day-glo poster of Frijid Pink (remember them?).
The next time we visited, the records section had been moved -- & Xpanded. Not only did they have LOTsa albums (which I couldn't afford then) -- they had the Top 75 singles on sale in a huge singles section that took up three "walls" of the records dept or booth or whatever.
R local Top Singles list each wk totaled 100 titles -- many of which U can B sure I don't remember ever hearing on the radio, & some of which I've never heard since. Wouldn't I love 2 C those lists now, & I wonder who compiled them back in the day...?
When I started buying 45's in late 1970, a single ran 77 cents at B&I. Sometimes U could find them cheaper -- my closest local grocery store had a few not-current 45's arranged in a couple of little cardboard boxes, 4 69 cents each. That's where I found a copy of Chicago's "25 or 6 to 4" in the summer of '71. The local grocery also hadda coupla singles on the Moody Blues' Threshold label that'R probly worth some $$$ now. Wish I could remember who they were by....
If anything, B&I had TOO MANY CHOICES. Imagine Bing an 11- or 12-yr-old music fanatic without even an allowance, whose parents might grudgingly LET you buy a single or 2 1nce or 2wice a month. Then yr faced with 75 possible choices on how 2 spend yr $$$.
Some purchases were immediate no-brainers: "Joy to the World," "American Pie," "Signs," etc. Others hadta B put-off. I thot the Rolling Stones' "Tumbling Dice" was GREAT, but it came out at the wrong time, there were other songs I wanted more (& now I can't remember what they were) -- so it hadta B put-off til the next trip, & by then copies were either gone off-sale or there was something ELSE I wanted....
(The B&I still Xists, but it ain't the same -- tho there R even MORE little stalls & stores there now, & the records section is long gone, needless 2 say....)
Then my parents discovered K-Mart. This was not so much fun. This K-Mart store kept their 45's in a locked cabinet, so you hadta go find the records dept guy w/ the key. The 1 time I remember buying NEthing there, the guy w/ the key was talking over current pop trends w/ my Dad -- it was 1 of those "What kind of weird shit are kids listening to NOW?"-kinds of conversations. The guy was describing the Buoys' hit "Timothy," which was a thinly disguised cannibalism tale, a song which had hit #1 locally without ever getting played on the radio as far as I knew. The song was a mystery to me.
But my Dad topped him: My Mom had signed us up 4 Capitol Records' 8-Track Tape Club, & 1 of the tapes we received was a Capitol-label various-artists' best-of that included Bloodrock's gruesome "D.O.A.," 1 of the ugliest pieces 2 ever make the Top 40.
& my Dad told the guy: "Ever hear that song 'D.O.A.'? It'll blow your mind."
(My Dad hardly EVER said something would "blow your mind" -- in 44 years I've heard him use that phrase twice. & Bsides, there was 1 great song on that Capitol best-of -- Linda Ronstadt's "Long Long Time"....)
4 awhile my folks listened 2 everything I bought -- making sure I wasn't getting corrupted by that heathen rock&roll, I'm pretty sure. But after "Joy to the World" they pretty much gave up. Probly a good thing they never heard "Signs." Or "Maggie Mae." I still remember their reaction a few yrs later when we sat down 2 dinner w/ Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" playing on the radio in the background. When it got 2 the "opera" section toward the Nd, my parents both said -- almost in unison -- "What in the hell is THIS shit?" My parents weren't big rock& roll fans....
-- To be continued....