Friday, December 07, 2012

K-Tel: Tinsel And Trash

This is the time of year when I get nostalgic for the tinsel and trash of my childhood holidays. Christmas was when the K-Tel schmaltz factory would infiltrate my cartoon afternoons with commercials hawking the "hits" from the likes of Mac Davis, Mouth & MacNeal and Donny Osmond...

But for my seventh Yuletide I caught the buzz from another K-Tel classic compilation: Superstars! The year was 1974. I was in grade two at HT Thrift in South Surrey and I was ready to rock to the sounds of BTO, Paper Lace and...The Three Degrees. I begged my parents for the album, declared that I was going to be a "rockstar," and on that magical morning when I ripped open the tinsel trash *voila!* Superstars awaited.      

It wasn't until years later, after my double album and my collection of 8-tracks had disappeared, that I learned K-Tel was a Canadian company founded by Philip Kives, a native of Saskatchewan. K-Tel got started in the late 60s with blockbusters like Twenty-five Polka Greats, which, according to their website, "sold a million and a half in Canada and [sic] USA."

Those were much simpler times, indeed.


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