Bang The Drum All Day. Photo by Peter Skiera.

Photo by Peter Skiera.

They looked like albums. They were the same size as albums. They were sold in record stores. Yet these series of “records” weren’t records at all. They were essentially a series of large greeting cards made to look like records. Instead of containing a vinyl record you could play, each contained a thin, 12” cardboard “record” with the printed message: “I bought this Album for you as a gift… sorry, I couldn’t afford the record!’ (a blank “From” area at the bottom was provided to write a personal message to the recipient).

Photo by Peter Skiera.

Long playing vinyl record sales were really taking off in the 1960s. A company by the name of Kanrom saw an opportunity to cash in by selling gag “records” as unique gifts for Birthdays, Wedding Anniversaries, etc., or just to give to a friend (or a former friend) for a laugh. The company promoted them as “Wild, Whacky, Bawdy…and Screamingly Fun!…A Truly Wild Group Of Conversation Pieces.”

A record company that wasn’t a record company. Photo by Peter Skiera.

There was a total of 12 “records” in the series, released under the name High In-Fidelity Records. As the “label” implied, most of the titles had a sexual theme and featured naked or partially naked women on the covers (I used puzzle pieces in my pics to obscure the nudity). The Rated-PG artwork (remember, this was the 1960s) definitely took some attention away from the real records. They didn’t chart like real records did, so how much of that attention turned into actual sales isn’t known.

Each “record” cost $1.25. That seems impossibly cheap, but adjusting for inflation, that would be almost $13 today. That’s not that far away from the cost of an actual record.

Swing Out Sister. Photo by Peter Skiera.

The back of each “album cover” listed “suggested [song] titles suitable for enclosure” that played off of the album’s title and artwork. For example, Songs For Swinging Mothers, the cover of which featured four very pregnant women on a swing set, included suggested songs like Get Me To The Church On Time, Things We Did Last Summer, Careless Love, and Don’t Blame Me.

The cover says it all. Photo by Peter Skiera.

Some of the other titles in the series included Victory At Sea (featuring four couples on the deck of a boat), Music For Casual Affairs (picturing a pair of male and female bare feet at the end of a bed), Great Piano Pieces (depicting four naked ladies strewn across pianos), Music For You (the cover of which showed a horse’s rear end), and a similarly-themed Music For Half-assed Friends (featuring ½ of a toilet on the cover). The “suggested” songs for that latter title included Just In Time, Doing What Comes Naturally, At Last, I Gotta Go Now, You Go To My Head, and Just A-Sittin’ And A-Rockin’.

Politicians are the same all over. Photo by Peter Skiera.

Perhaps the most controversial “album” of the High In-Fidelity series was Communist Party Music, complete with a Nikita Khrushchev look-a-like along with several topless ladies. A few of the “suggested” songs for this release included Cuban Love Song, How The West Was Won, West Of The Wall, Who’s Afraid Of The Big Bad Wolf, and He’s A Devil In His Own Home Town.

It’s fun to look back on these risqué fake records from 60+ years ago. Even with the resurgence of vinyl, with our politically correct environment, I’m not sure you could get away with something like this today. That said, I can definitely imagine some amusing album covers poking fun at various news headlines…

My thanks to musiceureka for some of the information featured in this article, and my thanks to my Patreon members for helping to make this blog possible.