Columbia Record Club


The Columbia House brand was introduced in the early 1970’s by the Columbia Records division of CBS, Inc. as an umbrella for its mail-order music clubs, the primary incarnation of which was the Columbia Record Club, established in 1955.  It had a significant market presence in the 1980’s and early 1990’s.  In 2005, longtime competitor BMG Direct Marketing, Inc. (formerly the RCA Music Service or RCA Record Club) purchased Columbia House and consolidated operations.  (More from Wikipedia)
Even before I played Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era, 1965-1968 the first time, I knew I would love it, because I was already familiar with a lot of these bands.  In fact, I picked up the debut albums by Blues Magoos and the Electric Prunes in the same shipment from Columbia Record Club back when; and it wasn’t long before I also had the first album by the Shadows of Knightwith their killer cover of Van Morrison’s “Gloria”.  The Seeds’ “Pushin’ Too Hard” was another favorite, though it was awhile before I got an album. 
(January 2011)
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When I first realized that I was a record collector – which happened while I was still in high school, maybe even junior high – I had many “dreams” of what I wanted to accomplish.  I was an instant Bob Dylan fan from the first time I heard Like a Rolling Stone, so naturally, I wanted to get all of the Dylan albums; and I started ordering those albums from Columbia Record Club soon thereafter.  That sounded easy enough to do back in the 1960’s; but as it turned out, Dylan’s first album came out a full 50 years ago, and he has been releasing albums continuously over that period.  I am probably still missing several of them, because I started to get careless about keeping up sometime in the 1980’s; however, I have really been enjoying his recent releases, from Time out of Mind on. 
Another artist that I loved a lot is the Rolling Stones, and getting all of their albums was a little tougher, since I didn’t really start buying them in earnest until around the time of Let it Bleed.  The early albums in particular were not that easy to find.  I did locate an original copy of their first album, The Rolling Stones and another that was almost as old for $2 each as I recall.  Like those that I ordered through Columbia Record Club, they were mono copies (that was a simple decision for my junior-high self:  Stereo albums cost a dollar more, though with some records I definitely wish I’d have bitten the bullet). 
(April 2012)
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My introduction to the tougher sounds of surf music was on one of the compilation albums of that period, Shut Downs and Hill Climbs that I picked up from Columbia Record Club when I was ordering Jan & Dean records and other such.  There are two Jan & Dean songs, “Hot Stocker” and “Little Deuce Coupe”; both are on one of their better albums, Drag City, with “Little Deuce Coupe” being a previous hit by the Beach Boys (and also the name of one of their albums, Little Deuce Coupe).  There are other cool numbers on the album also, such as “Six Days on the Road” by Dave Dudley, “Seven Little Girls Sittin’ in the Back Seat” by Paul Evans, two instrumentals by the Ventures (more about them later), and a cover of the Rip Chords hit “Hey Little Cobra” by a band called the T-Bones


(December 2014)

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The accompanying album by Blues MagoosPsychedelic Lollipop was one of the first albums to have “psychedelic” in the title.  I wound up ordering both Psychedelic Lollipop and the Electric Prunes’ first album, The Electric Prunes in the same order from Columbia Record Club, so that was my introduction to psychedelic rock


(July 2015)


Last edited: March 22, 2021