Freebie me away or how Best Buy once flew At the Speed of Sound

Welcome once again to the blog that never ends!

Today I take a look at freebies (well, not really free but advertised that way) from Best Buy that have crept into my collection.

You see, once upon a time Best Buy stores actually carried CDs, lots of them. They used to have rows and rows of them and believe it or not they used to be THE place to buy them. These days if you can even find one row of CDs you’d be lucky as CDs are now as cold as yesterdays leftovers.

BUT Best Buy at one time was a great place for Beatles fans. I think it first started with the release of The Beatles Anthology CDs in 1995.

Let me take you back if you will. My oldest brother, nine years my senior but his wife’s family STILL think we’re twins! – was home for Thanksgiving break and after having watched the first installment of The Beatles Anthology TV special on ABeatleC we went to our local Best Buy at midnight to wait in line to buy the first CD set associated with the show called The Beatles Anthology 1.

Best Buy had a free 4 CD set as a giveaway with the new Beatles set and of course I was going to be there come hell or high water, despite my sister-in-law thinking I had lost what little mind I had lol.

Anyway, over the years Best Buy gave away several freebies associated with The Beatles or the solo Beatles especially Paul McCartney.

Some of my favorite freebies have come about in the past few years actually – a trend that is sadly ending as the store no longer really supports CD sales that much.

Below are a few of may favorites – free singles with Best Buy’s exclusive release of the Paul McCartney Archive reissues of “Venus and Mars” and “Wings at the Speed of Sound”.

You filled out an online form and they sent the 45’s to you for free. Well, not really as the CDs cost more but they are pretty cool looking 45’s!

Btw, I’ll do several more posts about 45’s in the future so set your Blog Bat Channel appropriately.

The other really fun things Best Buy have given away with their McCartney Archive releases were the tote bags they packaged with their exclusive releases of the “Tug of War” and “Pipes of Peace” CDs. Of course these magnificent tote bags sit unused in their respective boxes but they sure do look purdy!

I’m sure I’ll do more posts about freebies as I’m positive I forgot some but these will do for now.

In the meantime, take a gander at some of my favorite Best  Buy goodies below:








Surfin’ on the British Isles on such a winter’s day …

“Help me Rhonda, help, help me Rhonda …”

During the past year, I’ve happened to stumble across UK pressings from two quintessential California pop groups of the 1960s – The Beach Boys -“Summer Days (And Summer Nights)!” and The Mamas and the Papas – “Hits of Gold.”

Now, normally you want to collect pressings of albums from the country where the groups originated because back in the 60s especially dubs of the master tapes would be sent over to other countries making them a generation or two removed from the master tape which tended to make them sound flatter with less bass, etc.

BUT seeing as how I’ve said before on this blog that I suffer from Collectoritis (my own loving term) I just couldn’t resist picking these two albums up because I LOVE British pressings from the 1960s.

I have a friend named Pauline who grew up in the UK (Hi Pauliney!) and I’ve told her many times that the Brits knew how to make records and these two pressings are no exception!

First off British albums from the 1960s just look better! They are covered with clarifoil lamination on the front covers making them very shiny and pretty much resistant to finger prints.

Also, British covers have a flipback style back sleeve which, unlike US covers at the time, made for a bit sturdier cover.

US records were made with back cover artwork folded over cardboard and then the front art was pasted over that leaving the folds covered up on the front.

UK covers were folded over to the back leaving three parts of the cover flipped over the cardboard and since they are covered in clarifoil lamination they leave these three big folds over the back – thus flipback sleeves.

Just a novelty here in the States but pretty damn sturdy and just plan fun – to collectors like me anyway.

The Beach Boys pressing, despite looking  like it was used in a football match (UK meaning which is soccer in the States) and covered in dirt sounded excellent!!!

Once cleaned up, it was surprisingly very quiet and retained all the fidelity of a US pressing. Probably better as UK pressings were made a bit better than the US counterparts and tend to survive abuse better.

Two of my favorites songs from the album, “Let Him Run Wild” and “Girl Don’t Tell Me”, really did sound terrific. Mmm, I might have to track down an original US pressing as well to compare.

The Mamas and Papas sounded good too but because it crammed 16 songs (8 to a side) it sounded a bit more muffled than US copies of the songs I’ve heard but really not too bad. It has a nice track selection which at the time it was released was a good deal.

Well, there you have a mini sermon on UK records from the 60s and if you’re still with me take a glance below to see what I’m talking about.

Until the next blog wave rides up, catch some rays and hang ten. (Yikes, I couldn’t resist!)

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A little hype can be effective – or sticker, sticker everywhere …

Okay, take a deep breath.

This may seem like the height of being anal retentive or horderism (is that a word?) but to some record collectors like me this is actually fun.

You see, there is some hidden disease, known only to a select group of psychologists in outer reaches of Sweden, that propels collectors to save everything that comes with a first issue album or CD.

Why you may ask? I honestly don’t know but some people, including me, do it. Probably the same thing for stamp collectors or book collectors – same disease, different material!

This post I am going to talk about what is called the “hype sticker”!

The hype sticker sometimes comes plastered on the outside shrink wrap of a new vinyl Lp, or even CD for that matter, and usually promotes the latest single release from the album or highlights songs on the album that aren’t listed on the cover.

Sometimes collectors will just slit the side of an album open and keep the shrink wrap on the Lp thus keeping everything including the hype sticker pristine but most of the time people rip off the shrink wrap and the obsessives gently cut the sticker off and save it for posterity.

And believe it or not some of these stickers are more valuable than the Lps they came on! Yes, you see since most sane people throw these things away they become very rare. Albums with a rare hype sticker can sell for much more than an issue without it.

Two really rare hype stickers from The Beatles “White Album” are listed in value in a current price guide as being worth $900 each and that’s just for the sticker!

Okay, not that value is why I saved them. The collector’s disease came upon me young and I was just compelled to save them.

So, below are some examples of a few of the hype stickers I own. The first photo is just stickers alone and the other photos contain albums still in the shrink wrap with their stickers on them.

I make it a point to look for albums still in their shrink wrap with hype stickers even if they’re not particularly valuable as to me it’s a great artifact of the times. I really love it when (as in the photo of “Wings Wild Life” below) an old store sticker from say Ayr-Way or Kmart is on the shrink wrap as well.

Enjoy! Or, at least take a look without running away from your computer screen.



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Picture disc, picture disc on the wall …

Here’s another side item that seems to crop up from time to time in my record collection – picture discs.

Picture discs have been around since the 1930s or maybe even earlier I believe. Most picture discs that were first popular were releases of children’s records but in the 1970s and 80s picture discs made a big comeback with record companies releasing some of the most popular rock and pop albums of the rock era in the picture disc format.

Though I was never a huge fan of picture discs I did enjoy some of the more popular ones that came out in the seventies like The Beatles “Abbey Road” and “Sgt. Peppers Lonely Heart Club Band” discs but I was never one of those avid collectors of the admittedly cool looking discs.

For one thing most picture discs don’t sound as good as regular vinyl issues and another they are usually much more expensive so I tend to only buy the odd shaped and interesting ones or ones that have unique song mixes or stray songs that aren’t available anywhere else.

With the advent of Record Store Day in the last ten years record companies are aiming their greedy little sights on weak aging collectors like me so every now and again I do get suckered, or shall I say tempted, into buying a new one.

Here’s a few I really like. See that Monkees disc from 2016, isn’t it purdy lol:


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OmiGod, Gag Me with a Cassette …

Today my friends let me take you back to a time when the mullet ran free, sweaters were king, hair was big; to the decade where I learned to drive and attended high school – the nineteen eighties!

Seems like the eighties went through a bit of a revival in the last decade or so, and just by listening to oldies radio it still seems to have a gripe. So, I thought this might be a fun post to look into some of my eighties cassettes.

Just as an aside I’ve read recently that cassettes and the Sony Walkman (a popular cassette player for those on the go) are making a slight comeback. Jeesh, I guess everything comes around again!

I went to high school from 1980 to 1984 and if you’ve ever seen the film “The Breakfast Club” that wasn’t far off from what I experienced. The film was set in the Midwest and filmed in 1985 so it’s pretty darn close for me having an acid reflux flashback if you know what I mean.

Anyway, when I was learning to drive my parents car did have a cassette player in it so that’s when I really began a short love affair with cassettes.

It was the age of the mixtape and for teens like me it was a great way to hear what you wanted to hear in the car before the time of portable CD players and Ipods.

I created a ton of mixtapes featuring either full albums I wanted to hear or a selection of great tracks side by side so I could really program my own radio station. Radio wasn’t quite as bad then as far as hearing the same 10 songs over and over but it was the beginning of that automated, DJ-less format that we have now (on free radio anyway).

I did manage to purchase a few store bought cassettes too (naturally lol!). I even have a few cassingles which were a fad in the mid-80s which was basically two songs on a cassette with a cardboard sleeve. These really didn’t last too long which shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone.

I have mostly Beatles and solo Beatles cassettes remaining and a slew of my mixtapes (see  below). Though looking through my cassettes I do see a couple of Beatles cassingles from 1995-96 so they must have been a thing longer than I remember.

Again, here’s another peek at – well I won’t say typical because I really wasn’t the norm lol – a 1980s teen/young adult cassette collection.

OmiGod, like enjoy!