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Radio Facts:

Today’s Millenials and Gen Zers may completely miss the “experience” of music that their grandparents had. Here are some of the best label designs from back in the day.

45 Record Label Designs: Ahh the smell of the incense burning in the record store. The racks behind the counter with the wall of fresh 45 singles that had static when removed from the paper sleeves. The other walls filled with new albums wrapped in plastic. The turntable on the counter with the latest 45 playing with that yellow clip in disk adapter in the center.

The Top 45 green, blue, red, yellow or whatever color paper this week with the list of the current music being played on the hot radio station (“Hot Radio Station, Top 45 Singles, I know what you’re thinking) We used those lists as a reference to buying the latest 45’s. Your mother or father (“father” that concept is for the white readers only) probably embarrassed you by trying to sing a song they wanted to buy but could not remember who the artist was or the name of the song. So they made up words or said something like “He keeps saying ‘YOU’ throughout the song.

You know what I’m talking about…” as the confused clerk behind the counter with a huge afro looks puzzled at the ridiculous request. Buy 5 get 1 free was the thing back east and every Friday I made my mother take advantage of that deal. We both loved going to the record store when I was a kid because we both loved music.

There was a science to buying records, it was an amazing experience that the last two generations of kids have missed out on. The inside sleeves of album cover used by the label to market their other product, the words to the songs included. Some people where I was from handled their records like jewels. Careful NEVER to touch ANYTHING but the edges and scraping the needle of the record player with their finger to get the dust off before gently placing it on the record. The sound of the needle on the vinyl, especially worn vinyl before the music was undeniable.

I NEVER want to be one of those old bitter people who can’t move past yesterday and the reason I am writing this is that there is a new surge for vinyl to return per today’s generation. Oh, joy. Stories are popping up in various newspapers nationwide and those computer turntables have gotten MUCH more progressive and stylish…OK, I have one and I made sure I introduced my son to the concept (he likes movies much more).

For this story, I wanted to take some of you fossils over 35 down memory lane to show you some of the best-designed record labels. I based this on the creativity because when I used to DJ my mother’s parties at 2 years of age on a stool, I could not read but I knew which record was which by the label. Ironically I remember her friends thought I was so cute and they would say, “He’s gonna grow up to be a DJ.” Yes, they cursed me. Why WHY? Enjoy, go to next page…Kev


45 Record Label Designs: Berry Gordy is nothing less than a genius and an icon. He does not get enough credit for the monumental achievement he made with this label. I met him once at a party for his son, that I almost didn’t go to.

He casually walked in and I am rarely impressed with anyone (except myself) but this was a moment frozen in time. The great Berry Gordy? He was/is a visionary and a man WAY ahead of his time who had to go through insurmountable challenges to do what he did back in those days. His team and his creativity were exceptional.

I would love to sit down and interview Berry for a couple of hours to get some insight first-hand on what it was like back then. Upon moving to LA in the early 90s, I also had a chance to meet Norman Whitfield and had a long conversation with him about the MOTOWN songs and legacy. Norman was another iconic producer.

The blue MOTOWN label spoke volumes for smash hits. Arguably the most recognizable of all the labels, especially because of the Supremes who were the biggest group of Motown for a large part of the 60s and the Four Tops. I was telling my good friend music historian Scott Galloway that I have seen Supremes records on other labels besides MOTOWN at an occasional garage sale and he had a hard time believing that. Well, I managed to find not one but TWO labels online where the Supremes were on another label at Motown as well as Marvin Gaye… go to the next page

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  1. The GORDY label lasted up until the early 90’s I believe, but definitely throughout the 80’s as Rick James, Teena Marie, Switch, Debarge, and many other lesser known artists continued to release products on the GORDY label during their tenure on Motown.


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