Original Vinyl

Our K-Tel team has loved releasing thousands of songs on thousands of albums over the last 50 years! It has been an honor to have been the soundtrack of so many peoples lives. With vinyl making a come back, it seems like everyone is reminiscing about their childhood days when they picked up their first K-Tel record. This also seems to be stirring up conversation of how one compilation or another allowed many people to sink their teeth into great music for the first time. From talking about their favorite K-Tel releases, to providing a gateway to the classic K-Tel ads that were aired back in the 70s and 80s, people are still talking about K-Tel. Here is some of the chatter we’ve found online:

The Vinyl Voyage: an online radio show devoted to playing original vinyl. Also airing the program “Adventures in Vinyl” highlighting some K-Tel releases played in there entirety.


Some classic K-Tel commercials, like our Block Buster and Pure Power compilations as well as the Record Selector and Record Vacuum:


A review of the heavy metal compilation Axe Attack (damn we were cool, if we don’t say so ourselves):


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The Monkees

Posted By Janie Webber – The heart & soul of K-tel UK

Back in the mid 1980’s K-tel released an album Hey! Hey! It’s The Monkees Greatest Hits. The album sales were going quite well, and The Monkees re-formed (without Michael Nesmith) and did a UK tour.

At the London Show in the Hammersmith Odeon a few members of K-tel Staff were lucky enough to be invited along, myself included.  The Show was absolutely brilliant – I had been a massive fan of The Monkees as a child and wanted – along with millions of others – to “marry Davy Jones when I grow up”!!!  The following Monday Jo Riggs, my assistant, and I were chatting about the band, and Jo happened to mention that she’d do “anything to actually meet the Monkees”.

I’m a great believer that if you want something to happen enough, then you can actually make it happen – so I got to thinking, what would be the best way to meet the band…and after a while I came up with my plan.

It was a Monday morning, and The Monkees were playing another gig at Reading on the Thursday evening.  I checked sales of the album – and they were in the region of 80,000 units – 20,000 units short of the sales required for them to get an official Gold Disc.

I went to see Peter Morris, the Managing Director of K-tel and said to him “if I can get sales up to 100,000 units by Thursday, can I get a Gold Disc made and can Jo and I go to Reading to present it to the Band”?

Peter didn’t believe this would be possible, but agreed to let me have a try anyway.  I confidently placed the order with the company that made the Gold Discs for us on the Monday afternoon, and told them it had to be delivered to K-tel no later than mid-day on the Thursday.

I then relocated from my normal office into the Telesales area and set about getting the whole Telesales Team on the phone to every customer they had on their list.  The Team did an incredible job, and by the Thursday morning the album had “gone Gold”…!

Towards the end of the Show that night, an announcement was made and Jo and I walked on stage with the Gold Disc and presented it to the Band.  It was quite a surprise to them, as they had no idea the album had reached the 100,000 sales mark.

It really was a thrilling experience meeting my life-long heroes, and will go down as being one of my favourite K-tel memories!

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Gold Rush ’79

J.Jones, was kind enough to send us this missing album from our K-tel archives. Thanks for jogging our memory with this terrific vintage K-tel package.

“Gold Rush” was aptly named as eleven of the twenty four tracks on this compilation achieved gold record status. In typical K-tel fashion this double-album from 1979 is chock full of major pop/rock classics. Many of the ‘70s popular chart-topping groups are represented by their biggest hit – Blondie with “Heart Of Glass”, Gerry Rafferty with “Baker Street” and Rick James with “You And I”. This best-selling album also features many up-coming acts from the day like Amii Stewart, Orleans, Foxy and Firefall. All but one of the songs on “Gold Rush” was a Top 15 hit! (“Prisoner Of Your Love” by Player is the lone exception). Click here for a complete track listing.

If you see a missing album from our archives, please send it in!

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How Great is K-tel’s 20 Rock & Roll Greats?

This 20 track compilation features many of rock & roll’s true pioneers along with one gigantic exception.

“20 Rock & Roll Greats” was released before the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame was established in Cleveland, Ohio. I must admit K-tel did a pretty good job of picking the selections on this album as fifteen of the twenty artists currently reside in the Hall Of Fame – Chuck Berry, The Everly Brothers, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bill Haley, Little Richard, Bo Diddley, Gene Vincent, The Coasters, Dion, Carl Perkins, The Platters, Bobby Darin, The Drifters, Gene Pitney and Wanda Jackson. All of these rock & roll legends are well-represented by one of their major hits. So far so good.

Other worthy inclusions are “Kansas City” by Wilbert Harrison, “Dizzy Miss Lizzy” by Larry Williams, “To Know Him Is To Love Him” by The Teddy Bears and “Red River Rock” by Johnny & The Hurricanes. There are a couple one-hit-wonders in this grouping but their hits were huge and influential. Hard to argue.

Track 20 is the head-scratcher – “Poor Boy” by The Lords. That’s right – “Poor Boy” by The Lords! It would be somewhere between a million years and forever before anyone would say The Lords belong in this illustrious mix.

This is just Wrong, Wrong, Wrong:

  1. Wrong Country – All the artists on this package are American. The Lords were a German group.
  2. Wrong Time Period – Every artist on this collection experienced their first success in the fifties, long before the mid-sixties when “Poor Boy” charted.
  3. Wrong Song – “Poor Boy” was a poor selection. Every song on this collection is a rock ‘n’ roll classic making “Poor Boy” stick out even more.

Curious why a track like this was included – A favor?  – Someone needed to slap a 20th track on to meet a deadline? – One of The Lords was dating a K-tel employee?

Nothing against The Lords – they just belong on a German “One Hit Wonders” package, not this one.

I give “20 Rock & Roll Greats” 19 out of 20 stars. What do you think?


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Welcome to the K-tel Blog’s first post!

Welcome to the K-tel Blog’s first post!

Our legacy began in the ‘60s hey-day of TV advertised music compilations and home products and still here today. We have read all your email suggestions (thanks!) and have built this website with all our beloved K-tel fans in mind. We are very excited about our new blog and website and hope you will enjoy it.

Our founder, Philip Kives, will be sharing some of the colorful stories from K-tel’s illustrious history. For example, Philip once had to close down an entire street in Las Vegas in order to shoot a Sammy Davis, Jr. commercial! You’ll also be able to view classic K-tel style TV commercials, link to fun articles and blogs on K-tel and hopefully start some serious discussions – like what songs should have really been on our Super Bad albums or how many hamburgers were you able to stack on your Patti-Stacker?

Thanks for checking in and come back often – let us know what you think.

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