My normal Saturday afternoon ritual consists of heading to the Moose Lake Public Library and then over to the Sonshine Closet in hopes of finding new and used books to purchase for my thriving Amazon business called, appropriately, “Wick Fisher Books.” It was at the friendly thrift store that I found myself waiting in line behind one of my former postal customers.
She thrust forth her hand and said, “This is an old Patsy Cline 45.”
While looking at the small vinyl disc, neither of us recognized the main song or its counterpart on the flip side. That didn’t deter my friend from purchasing it. Her Saturday morning ritual consists of breaking out her old turntable phonograph and playing 45 and 78 rpm records, mostly oldies from the 60s. Shortly thereafter, she heads to downtown Moose Lake and stops by the Sonshine Closet to peruse a fairly good-size collection of musical vinyl that can still be found in abundance at thrift stores throughout America. Often old records from our youth are the first thing to go when cleaning closets, storerooms and garages.
“Where do you get a new needle when you need one?” I asked her.
“I don’t know, I’m still using the original,” she replied. “Fortunately the old one still works. I can probably order one online if I need to.”
Ah, the wonders of the Internet. In this modern technological age we live in, a person can literally type in key words (i.e. phonograph needle) and find just about anything you can imagine for sale by someone somewhere.
Having just had my curiosity piqued, I went back home and down to the basement to look though my old record collection. I had a couple of 45s from the Beatles' first recordings and several Elvis Presley singles, including “Love Me Tender.” Mainly I had old 78 rpm albums that each carried with it a whiff of mold. What most interested me though were the 45 singles by artists that would be categorized by the term "one-hit wonders."
Do you remember any of these songs and the artists who performed them? Here are some holiday tunes and others from my collection.
“I saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus,” by Jimmy Boyd.
“I want a Hippopotamus for Christmas,” by Gayla Peevey.
“All I Want for Christmas is my Two Front Teeth,” written by Donald Gardner. Unfortunately, I have the obnoxious version of this holiday favorite performed by Alvin and the Chipmunks.
One of my favorites in my LP collection is the album featuring Norman Greenbaum’s “Spirit in the Sky.”
I had the 1969 version of the number one hit “Venus” by a Dutch band named Shocking Blue. Ten years prior, Edd Byrnes had his one super hit titled “Kookie, Kookie (Lend Me Your Comb).”
From 1958 we had the “Purple People Eater” by Sheb Wooley and “To Know Him is to Love Him” made popular by the Teddy Bears.
The all-time worst one-hit wonder comes from The Baha Men. In the year 2000 they recorded one of the most obnoxious songs ever to get airplay. It was titled “Who Let the Dogs Out?”
My all-time favorite one-hit wonder was recorded in 1964, the year I graduated from high school. It was called “Ringo” by Lorne Greene. The only word sung in the entire tune is the songs’ title, "Ringo." The rest of the words are a spoken narration about legendary outlaw Johnny Ringo.
Looking online, I found most vinyl records have little or minimal value, even to collectors. However, don’t just throw those albums away or donate them to the local thrift store without first checking their value. There are always exceptions to the rule. The 45 rpm single “Can’t Buy Me Love” by The Beatles can fetch $2,500 or more, but you must have the record sleeve with it. The monograph version of the Jimi Hendrix album called “Axis: Bold as Love LP” is selling for $2,000 and The Supremes' first recorded album called “Meet the Supremes” can easily go for $1,000.
Mostly their value appears to be in listening to them on a Saturday morning.