You went and tried other types of cheese, like those "Now!" music series, but somehow the cheese didn't have the proper flavor. So you went to your local music store and tried all of those dozens upon dozens of other cheeses, but yet, the flavor was still off, or it smelled funny, or the texture wasn't the same.
So you went back home to wallow in your misery because deep down you just know, that the original was still the best. It was the most cheesiest, the most flavorful, the most lip smackingest, tongue teasiest cheese you ever had.
You savor the memory of listening to groups like the Hudson Brothers, Gunhill Road, The Ohio Players, and Reunion. You salivate at the prospect of being able to listen to music from Billboard's Top 200. But then you get sad when you realize that K-Tel doesn't do music anymore, but instead does pharmaceuticals.
Then suddenly out of the blue, you have a vision, a hallucination, that yes! you do have the cheese! But where? The storage room! You run to the storage room and rip the door off the hinges (for you know that the need for cheese is always insatiable). There, buried somewhere deep in the far corner of the room, is your beloved K-Tel music.
Furious, you dive into the clutter, digging through the debris like a dog possessed, you throw pots, pans, yarn, tools, books, tables, rackets, trees, the flower bed, the vegetable garden...until you hit THE STORAGE TUB with your head. Ravenous, you tear the lid off with your teeth and jam your head in to inhale the delicious moldy cheesy aroma. Delirious, you close your eyes and slowly drift away.
In the 1970's, if you wanted one of those weird compilation albums, chances are you were able to find it from K-Tel Music. For the majority of the 70's and into the very early 90's, K-Tel music was the premier label for any and all types of compilations in the major genres of rock, pop and country.
No matter what you liked for music, you were able to find it with K-Tel. Be it novelty, on hit wonders or well known pop schlock, you were able to find it through K-Tel. They were the first (along with the original Sessions Music, not the punk label of the same name) to use television as a exclusive medium for advertising.
When I was old enough, I was able to purchase some of these compilations through the mail or more likely than not, through my local department store. Eventually I wound up with a collection of about two dozen or so albums, and these today remain the only exception to my personal rule of avoiding greatest hits packages.
But as they say, all good things must come to an end, and so did K-Tel music. People eventually found other types of compilations to play in the new format of the compact disc, and I believe that signaled a major death blow for K-Tel because they didn't change with the times.
The brief comment in that little story about pharmaceuticals was based on a search I did about five years ago when I got to wondering about K-Tel music, since I had a tape compilation from the mid-90's that was produced by K-Tel. The initial search found that K-Tel was now producing pharmaceuticals for the health food industry, and had gotten out of the music biz.
However, while doing research for this post, I decided to Google K-Tel music again, and this is what I found: a fantastic business story about the rise, fall and rebirth of K-Tel music, and this funky little blog about K-Tel records (unfortunately, it hasn't been updated for over a month, so I don't know if it will be around much longer).
So if you ever see any of these bad boys at a tag sale, pick a few of them up. You just might be surprised at what kind of music you'll find on it. Who knows, you might find a deserving artist that tickles your fancy and spurs you to go on a search that ultimately expands your horizons.