INNER SLEEVES

Rudy

¡Que siga la fiesta!
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We had two very large record stores in this area that had huge displays of LP's and they would have tons of the reduced albums as well as many bins of cutouts and I hit those very heavily in my younger days.
Harmony House was our popular local music chain. Prices weren't always the best, but they were always lower than the mall-based Musicland stores we had in the area. (Towards the end of the 70s, they used to hold a Gran Prix sale, as the race was downtown on the Isle, and they put their entire stock on sale for a couple of weeks. It was not uncommon for me to buy a dozen or more titles during the sale.)

We only had maybe two Peaches stores in the area, but they introduced me to cutouts. Back then I didn't know what they were, other than records that were $0.99 or $1.99 and I could buy a lot of them. It was a cool, large store compared to what I was used to. I was sad when they closed up. In fact, I bought new copies of Whipped Cream and Going Places (on the white/silver label) during their closing sale, since all I'd had were my parents' beaten mono copies.
 

Michael Hagerty

Well-Known Member
Contributor
As I've probably written here before, in Southern California, it was Wallich's Music City from its opening in 1940 until the real competition rolled into town in the form of Tower Records and The Wherehouse (both 1969).

wallichsmusiccity.jpg

Wallich's was founded by Capitol Records co-founder Glenn Wallichs, who handed it off to his brother Clyde in 1946. The place was HUGE---taking up the entire northwest corner of Sunset and Vine in Hollywood. Records, record players, TV, musical instruments and sheet music, they were the big dog. Trouble is, they acted like it. Albums and singles sold for full list price. A sale was was a buck off an album (so, $2.98 for a $3.98 mono LP or $3.98 for a $4.98 stereo LP)---and that only happened for a few days a few times a year.

The Wherehouse and Tower both upended that. Mono was gone by the time they arrived, but stereo LPs were $3.59 at The Wherehouse and $3.29 at Tower. The Wherehouse only got traction in SoCal by expanding rapidly (they were up to nine or ten locations by 1971) and advertising constantly while Tower, for a long time, was just the one location on Sunset. Wallach's, by the mid-late 60s, had locations in suburban shopping malls, which helped a bit, but they were in trouble from the discount competition. They closed in 1978.

And---I know I've told this story here before, because we heard from two A&M Corner members who worked for this guy (Terry Lattimer and Mark Potampa), but it's been eight or nine years and there are some new members---in Inglewood, and later a couple of other neighborhoods (Torrance and Venice), there was Crane's Records.

George Crane was a rackjobber---he'd buy caseloads of records from the labels at wholesale and then service chains whose regular business wasn't records, but that had record departments (mostly department stores like Sears, May Company, The Broadway, White Front, Fedco, KMart, Zody's).

Crane realized that he could make a ton of money by selling records direct to the public at the same prices he sold them to his chain clients. So in late 1969, he leased a dingy little storefront on a side street half a block from Inglewood's main shopping district and Crane's records was born. The rent, the power bill and an employee behind the counter was pretty much the overhead. Instead of bins to hold the albums, he just stacked the boxes on the floor to about waist height and cut open the top one.

$4.98 list albums were $2.49. $5.98 list albums were $3.29. Singles were 53 cents. Literally nobody could beat the prices, because this is what THEY were paying (generally they marked that up to $2.98/$3.98---which undercut Wherehouse and Tower, but the selection wasn't as good because of space limitations). And Crane supplemented the income with full list-price items like posters and replacement phonograph needles and cartridges.

According to Terry, Crane's eventually grew as far as Isla Vista, the community that the University of California, Santa Barbara is located in before it all blew up in a messy divorce proceeding around 1974.
 
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rockdoctor

Active Member
Harmony House was our popular local music chain. Prices weren't always the best, but they were always lower than the mall-based Musicland stores we had in the area. (Towards the end of the 70s, they used to hold a Gran Prix sale, as the race was downtown on the Isle, and they put their entire stock on sale for a couple of weeks. It was not uncommon for me to buy a dozen or more titles during the sale.)

We only had maybe two Peaches stores in the area, but they introduced me to cutouts. Back then I didn't know what they were, other than records that were $0.99 or $1.99 and I could buy a lot of them. It was a cool, large store compared to what I was used to. I was sad when they closed up. In fact, I bought new copies of Whipped Cream and Going Places (on the white/silver label) during their closing sale, since all I'd had were my parents' beaten mono copies.
As I've probably written here before, in Southern California, it was Wallich's Music City from its opening in 1940 until the real competition rolled into town in the form of Tower Records and The Wherehouse (both 1969).

View attachment 5921

Wallich's was founded by Capitol Records co-founder Glenn Wallichs, who handed it off to his brother Clyde in 1946. The place was HUGE---taking up the entire northwest corner of Sunset and Vine in Hollywood. Records, record players, TV, musical instruments and sheet music, they were the big dog. Trouble is, they acted like it. Albums and singles sold for full list price. A sale was was a buck off an album (so, $2.98 for a $3.98 mono LP or $3.98 for a $4.98 stereo LP)---and that only happened for a few days a few times a year.

The Wherehouse and Tower both upended that. Mono was gone by the time they arrived, but stereo LPs were $3.59 at The Wherehouse and $3.29 at Tower. The Wherehouse only got traction in SoCal by expanding rapidly (they were up to nine or ten locations by 1971) and advertising constantly while Tower, for a long time, was just the one location on Sunset. Wallach's, by the mid-late 60s, had locations in suburban shopping malls, which helped a bit, but they were in trouble from the discount competition. They closed in 1978.

And---I know I've told this story here before, because we heard from two A&M Corner members who worked for this guy (Terry Lattimer and Mark Potampa), but it's been eight or nine years and there are some new members---in Inglewood, and later a couple of other neighborhoods (Torrance and Venice), there was Crane's Records.

George Crane was a rackjobber---he'd buy caseloads of records from the labels at wholesale and then service chains whose regular business wasn't records, but that had record departments (mostly department stores like Sears, May Company, The Broadway, White Front, Fedco, KMart, Zody's).

Crane realized that he could make a ton of money by selling records direct to the public at the same prices he sold them to his chain clients. So in late 1969, he leased a dingy little storefront on a side street half a block from Inglewood's main shopping district and Crane's records was born. The rent, the power bill and an employee behind the counter was pretty much the overhead. Instead of bins to hold the albums, he just stacked the boxes on the floor to about waist height and cut open the top one.

$4.98 list albums were $2.49. $5.98 list albums were $3.29. Singles were 53 cents. Literally nobody could beat the prices, because this is what THEY were paying (generally they marked that up to $2.98/$3.98---which undercut Wherehouse and Tower, but the selection wasn't as good because of space limitations). And Crane supplemented the income with full list-price items like posters and replacement phonograph needles and cartridges.

According to Terry, Crane's eventually grew as far as Isla Vista, the community that the University of California, Santa Barbara is located in before it all blew up in a messy divorce proceeding around 1974.
Harmony House was our popular local music chain. Prices weren't always the best, but they were always lower than the mall-based Musicland stores we had in the area. (Towards the end of the 70s, they used to hold a Gran Prix sale, as the race was downtown on the Isle, and they put their entire stock on sale for a couple of weeks. It was not uncommon for me to buy a dozen or more titles during the sale.)

We only had maybe two Peaches stores in the area, but they introduced me to cutouts. Back then I didn't know what they were, other than records that were $0.99 or $1.99 and I could buy a lot of them. It was a cool, large store compared to what I was used to. I was sad when they closed up. In fact, I bought new copies of Whipped Cream and Going Places (on the white/silver label) during their closing sale, since all I'd had were my parents' beaten mono copies.

We had Peaches but prior we had a store called Tracks which eventually became Wherehouse Music long after Peaches pulled out of the area.
Peaches had a "Six Pack Deal." Buy 5 records and the 6th was free. I bought a lot from both stores in my day but most were from the cut out bins.
 

DAN BOLTON

Well-Known Member
Records got hit with a double-whammy in the 70s---the price of the petroleum needed to make the vinyl and overall inflation itself.

Oil Crises I (1973-74) and II (1979) are kinda self-explanatory, but the year to year inflation in the 70s is staggering.

Start with something that cost a dollar in 1970. Here's what it cost in each year of the decade:

1971: $1.04
1972: $1.08
1973: $1.14
1974: $1.27
1975: $1.39
1976: $1.47
1977: $1.56
1978: $1.68
1979: $1.87

And in 1980---$2.12.

Obviously, oil prices are figured into those numbers, but the price of everything rose substantially.

The 1971 Ford Pinto had a base price of $1919. The 1980 Pinto, which had big bumpers, an uglier nose, and a marginally redone instrument cluster, but otherwise was the same car, had a base price of $4,605.

Record companies had another problem to go with petroleum prices and inflation. There was a severe shortage of quality vinyl during the first months of the first energy crisis because many independent labels depended on vinyl suppliers that suddenly couldn't get the quantities of vinyl that they had been able to procure before the crisis. There wasn't enough petroleum available to produce it, and what was available to many independent labels was of inferior quality...many singles from the smaller labels were good for maybe a dozen plays, and then they were junk. Many radio stations, my college station included, transferred singles to carts as soon as they got them. This wasn't a cure-all, because the carts themselves were also made of plastic. Since vinyl was in short supply, the prices for it went up. Way up...

Another thing that a lot of people forget is that transportation costs skyrocketed for nearly all goods and services because fuel prices increased dramatically during that period. Some industries were better able to absorb some of those costs better than others; other companies had difficulties shipping their goods to market. Prices went up as a result.

I bought a 1969 Dodge Monaco just a couple of weeks before the first crisis. Trips back and fort from college were a real blast for a few days(I loved to cruise with new Caddys on the freeway), then, like a bolt out of the blue, I was afraid to drive faster than about 60 mph, and once made a tank of gas last for over a month...of course, it was about 25 gallons; but still...


Fun times!
 

rockdoctor

Active Member
The "London" group of record labels also had inner sleeves depicting albums in their catalog.
Later on many companies started adding lyric sheets on the sleeves and other pictures of the artists and band members.
 

Michael Hagerty

Well-Known Member
Contributor
The "London" group of record labels also had inner sleeves depicting albums in their catalog.
Later on many companies started adding lyric sheets on the sleeves and other pictures of the artists and band members.
That was a thing that happened to most companies over time. The inner sleeves were advertisements for the label, like this one from Columbia in the late 60s:

columbia-31-qpt.jpg

Eventually, the artists demanded that space---and got it.

It's the same basic thing as LP cover design. The big label logos that were uniform for a label regardless of artist were shrunken, banished to the back cover or wiped away entirely to allow for the artist's vision. And it happened pretty quickly.

1969:

41n2k45V3pL.jpg

1971:

5657020_so.jpg
 

rockdoctor

Active Member
That was a thing that happened to most companies over time. The inner sleeves were advertisements for the label, like this one from Columbia in the late 60s:

View attachment 5942

Eventually, the artists demanded that space---and got it.

It's the same basic thing as LP cover design. The big label logos that were uniform for a label regardless of artist were shrunken, banished to the back cover or wiped away entirely to allow for the artist's vision. And it happened pretty quickly.

1969:

View attachment 5943

1971:

View attachment 5944
The Barbra Streisand album "Stoney End" had a sleeve that read like a newspaper with reviews of upcoming albums and recent releases of their artists.
 

GDB2LV

Well-Known Member
In the early 70’s I could buy most new releases at Singer, the sewing machine company, for $3.98. That’s what I paid for the Carpenters Tan album. They had a small section for current albums and 45’s. Their 45’s were 69 cents. I don’t think they made any money on music. Especially being a store in the mall. Rents were high. I went in to buy Mud Slide Slim, and left with the tan album instead. Best chance I ever took. It changed my life too. You could buy music there, or at Broadway Department Store, Sears, Payless Drug Store, and a chain music store called Discount Records, all in the same mall. They were expensive though. We usually didn’t buy much there.
 

GDB2LV

Well-Known Member
I just saw Michael’s post about Wallach’s Music City. We would go there before catching a movie at the Cinerama Dome across the street. I went to the back area and knocked on the door to see if they had any picture sleeves for sale. They handed me a huge box and I found a dozen or so Carpenters and a few others I wanted for 50 cents each. It was sad when they closed. Too much competition in the area. Tower, Music Plus, Wherehouse, Big Ben’s, Licorice Pizza, plus fun independent stores like Rene’s and Aaron’s on Melrose, Moby Disc in the valley, and a couple of stores in Westwood, along with a smaller 3 level Tower Records there. It took all day to hit up those stores! They had great imports and soundtracks you didn’t find at the chain stores.
 

Michael Hagerty

Well-Known Member
Contributor
In the early 70’s I could buy most new releases at Singer, the sewing machine company, for $3.98. That’s what I paid for the Carpenters Tan album. They had a small section for current albums and 45’s. Their 45’s were 69 cents. I don’t think they made any money on music. Especially being a store in the mall. Rents were high. I went in to buy Mud Slide Slim, and left with the tan album instead. Best chance I ever took. It changed my life too. You could buy music there, or at Broadway Department Store, Sears, Payless Drug Store, and a chain music store called Discount Records, all in the same mall. They were expensive though. We usually didn’t buy much there.
I remember the Singer stores doing records, but I only remember their having 45s. Could be my memory or it could be a location-by-location thing.

Given that I could get singles for 53 cents and LPs for $2.49 at Crane's, Singer didn't have much for me in terms of records. And, for a 14-year-old boy, going into Singer's Sewing Center was a conflicting thing---it was for GIRLS----but that meant there would be GIRLS inside. Hmmmmm....

The tie-breaker---while Crane's had the weekly KHJ Boss 30 playlists available, Crane's had "The Survey of Hits of Southern California", a folded paper eight-page weekly playlist for not just KHJ, but KGFJ (soul), KMPC (MOR), KFOX (country), KBCA (jazz), KWKW (Spanish) and XERB (soul):

download.jpg

I've found pages from most of the stations (from different weeks) on Google:

survey_580.jpg
KMPC-Play-list.jpg
soulsound_580.jpg
unnamed.jpg

XERB_1970 a.jpg

For a young man with eclectic musical tastes, these were killer---you get KHJ plus MOR, Jazz and two R&B stations.

Living in Bishop (where we didn't have a Singer Sewing Center) and only visiting L.A. every six weeks or so, I probably only went a few times before Singer ended its experiment in record sales.
 

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Michael Hagerty

Well-Known Member
Contributor
I just saw Michael’s post about Wallach’s Music City. We would go there before catching a movie at the Cinerama Dome across the street. I went to the back area and knocked on the door to see if they had any picture sleeves for sale. They handed me a huge box and I found a dozen or so Carpenters and a few others I wanted for 50 cents each. It was sad when they closed. Too much competition in the area. Tower, Music Plus, Wherehouse, Big Ben’s, Licorice Pizza, plus fun independent stores like Rene’s and Aaron’s on Melrose, Moby Disc in the valley, and a couple of stores in Westwood, along with a smaller 3 level Tower Records there. It took all day to hit up those stores! They had great imports and soundtracks you didn’t find at the chain stores.
Wallach's could have stayed alive--they just reacted way too late to the pricing pressure from the competition.
 

GDB2LV

Well-Known Member
I worked part time at the Jolly Roger Restaurant next door, do I spent a lot of time at the mall. It was weird shopping at Singer, but the prices were great and I was only 14. Couldn’t drive anywhere then.
 

Michael Hagerty

Well-Known Member
Contributor
I worked part time at the Jolly Roger Restaurant next door, do I spent a lot of time at the mall. It was weird shopping at Singer, but the prices were great and I was only 14. Couldn’t drive anywhere then.
The Jolly Roger! Oh, man that brings back memories! I guess I should get over to the restaurant discussion!
 

GDB2LV

Well-Known Member
Yes! The British Burger, Pineapple Boats, Rueben Sandwiches, and Fresh Baked Bread right out of the oven, were so good. Now I’m hungry.
 
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