Zero to 180 – Three Minute Magic

Discoveries of a Pop Music Archaeologist

Category: K-Tel Records

"Misadventures of the Campaign Kids"
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When Indie Becomes Oldie(s) via K-Tel

I was ready to abandon K-Tel for greener pastures, when I recalled with great amusement a K-Tel hits collection that someone (okay, Tom Avazian) once tenderly pressed into my eager hands.  I can’t imagine anyone would be shocked that a label famed for recycling older tunes had thieved its title

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"Come Back to Me"
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Streisand’s “Experimental” LP

Just for fun, find a casual fan of Barbra Streisand‘s music, and study her/his reaction closely when you play a fairly obscure track – “Come Back To Me” – for his/her virgin ears: “Come Back to Me” by Barbra Streisand (1973) Believe me, Zero to 180 is just as stunned

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"Candy Store Rock"
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True or False? Led Zep on K-Tel

True or False?  Led Zeppelin have appeared on a K-Tel album. Answer: ⇓ ⇓ ⇓ ⇓ ⇓ ⇓ ⇓ ⇓ ⇓ ⇓ True! The band that famously refused to do TV appearances did not, generally speaking stoop to K-Tel‘s level of crass commercialism.  Led Zeppelin cultivated such a mystique amongst

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"She's So Fine"
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Jimi Hendrix (and Beatles & Stones) on a K-Tel Album?

It still boggles my mind that Ronco somehow found a way to compile an album featuring tracks from top pop acts – Jimi Hendrix, Buffalo Springfield, The Beatles, and The Byrds – one would not normally associate with TV-advertised hits labels, such as Ronco. Jimi Hendrix — 3rd artist listed

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"One Way Ticket"
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Helen Reddy’s (Non-LP) Debut 45

Melbourne-born, Helen Reddy would begin her career in 1963 laying down vocals for a Consulate cigarette jingle with Bob Young and His Orchestra. Reddy’s win on Australian Bandstand would, according to Discogs, spur her big move in 1966 to the United States, where two years later, she would make her

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"I Love Monsters Too"
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Alex Harvey Loves Monsters, Too

Most music fans in the US (and even quite a few in the UK) are unaware that a major 1970s British rock star put out an album on K-Tel (!) during a period of peak popularity – one entitled Alex Harvey Presents the Loch Ness Monster, no less.  There’s a

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"Get Off the Bus"
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RC Mob: Transit Advocates?

You may recall me telling you how Tom Newbold dragged me to see Great Plains despite my misgivings.  My young befuddled spirit had not yet cottoned onto the ‘radical’ notion that great music (gasp!) isn’t always about great musicianship.  In fact, sometimes all the hemi-demi-semi-quavers and musical gymnastics can get

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Bossa Country -or- Honky Nova?

On my one and only visit to Northampton, Massachusetts (NRBQ’s 35th anniversary show in 2004), I ducked into a second-hand vinyl shop and came away with a K-Tel country collection from 1976:  Country Superstars – 20 Greatest Hits. This collection of early-to-mid 70s hits includes 1976 dieselbilly hit “Roll On

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A Canadian Defends America

I own 50 or more K-Tel (and Ronco) hits LPs that were issued from the late 1960s to the early 1980s.   I almost passed on Music Power recently, since the cover looked so similar to K-Tel’s other offerings from the early 70s, but upon closer examination, I had to admit

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“Wacky Wacky Wacky”: Humor’s Unfulfilled Promise

Blue Mink is a British musical group that enjoyed 6 Top 20 hits in the UK from 1969-1973 but only one chart appearance (“Our World” #64) here in the US.  I had assumed from the appearance of their #9 UK hit “Randy” on K-Tel 1973 hits album, Fantastic 22 Original

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