K-tel Vinyl Records: Listening and buying them in the 1970’s in Chicago.

K-Tel Hit Machine Album. Released in 1976. First and the only album I have ever bought.

Hello everyone. If there was one record collection that stood out with the rest, it was K-tel records. In the 1970s, as a kid, music was part of my life every day. Listening on the radio every day on WLS-AM 890 was one the best times of my life. The 1970s had music in different categories that appeal to all age groups. The one strange thing was that if you like a type of music or artist, chances are someone you knew would ridicule you. Back then, most kids weren’t open-minded. I didn’t care what they thought or said. I stuck with my guns and enjoyed all kinds of music.

The first one of the K-tel records that I remembered was called Fantastic. Released in 1973 and, I remembered the TV commercial. It listed the most popular song at the time and, it had songs that had little airplay on the radio. K-tel records also had records for a specific artist based on their popularity. Donny Osmond was a perfect example. In school, all the girls idolized him with his good looks and voice. His TV commercial was aired frequently on television.

The other compilation albums that I remembered advertised on television were Music Power, BlockBuster, Sound Explosion, Music Express, Believe in Music, Right On, Dynamite, and Super Hits of the Superstars. Disco exploded in the 1970s and, K-tel also had records released for that genre. Disco Nights, Disco Mania, Disco Dynamite Disco Fire and, Disco Express. Some albums consisted of silly songs. Looney Tunes, Silly Songs, Goofy Greats, Kooky Toones and, Dumb Ditties aired their commercials on TV as well. Pop, Country and, Love songs album were released too.

I only bought one album from K-tel Records and, that was Hit Machine. I loved the commercial and the songs listed on the album. I went Kroozin’ Music Record Store on West 79th St across the street from Bogan High School which I graduated in 1981. I bought the album there in 1976 and brought it home. I played that album on my record player every day. I loved the songs and heard them on the radio. That was the first album I have ever bought with my own money.

K-tel stopped making records about 1984. The TV commercials weren’t as memorable as they were in the 1970s. The company also manufactured other products during that time. There were Mood Rings, Brush-O-Matic, Miracle Brush, Whizbee, Record Selector, Veg-O-Matic, E-Z Tracer, Sno-Block Maker, and last by not least Fishin’ Magician. Their TV commercials were very entertaining and memorable. The company is still in business but, it isn’t as prominent as it once was. I admit the TV commercials were cheesy and repetitive, but they fall under pop culture history. If you have a favorite album or memory, please comment here and on my social media accounts. Thank you. Pete Kastanes. Admin for Vanished Chicagoland Facebook Page.

One thought on “K-tel Vinyl Records: Listening and buying them in the 1970’s in Chicago.

  1. I bought prob 10 of those albums in the 70s, more mid 70s

    I remember they would often lop off about 30-40 second of music, and the tracks were so small it was close to impossible to cut
    it up to a song you liked

    They got the songs fairly quickly enough after they came out, quick enough that people were still interested in them

    Actually, some of the collections were incredible. I remember DJ ing a party in 1977 and played one of them with Kool and the Gang as background music and people loved it!

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