Gone are the days of television promoted albums like Freedom Rock

When I was coming along back in the 70s and 80s, I watched A LOT of TV. And I watched a lot, even though I had a hobby that took a lot of time in the afternoons. I was a veritable television fiend back in my early days and I’m sad to say, nothing’s changed in terms of my television viewing habits. In fact, I even tend to watch a lot of the same shows I watched thirty years ago if I can find them on the boob tube. Case in point, I still watch multiple episodes of The Brady Bunch every afternoon, unless something else, like a particularly compelling episode of Jerry Springer, has otherwise caught my attention.

One thing I have noticed, however, is that the era of compilation albums being promoted on TV is now apparently over. I’m sure that’s because nowadays, a lot of people, myself included, download individual songs instead of purchasing compact discs. In fact, it looks like a lot of people aren’t even bothering to buy music the way they used to. I notice a lot of my Facebook friends listen to Pandora or Spotify or any of the other Internet radio stations that are now available to everyone.

I can’t help it, though. I miss the ads for compilation albums. Fellow Pop Rock Nation writer and Facebook friend George Bounacos sometimes engages me in games of SongPop. He once marveled at my skill at that particular game. I have to admit, a large part of the reason I’m good at SongPop is because besides having very eclectic musical tastes, I learned an awful lot about music trivia by watching ads like the one for Freedom Rock.

Remember this ad? It used to air all the time, with its scrolling snippets of classic songs that were popular before I was born or when I was too young to care.

Freedom Rock was not the only ad that educated me about music. There were so many of them. I remember back in the late 1970s and early 80s, there would be ads for K-Tel records. I have heard that K-Tel compilations were of somewhat dubious quality. I wouldn’t know from personal experience because I never owned one. But I remember the ads…

I don’t remember this specific ad, but I do remember so many like it. Actually, as a fan of 70s music, I’d probably love to own the collection being advertised here. I love me some Starbuck, after all.

Some of the ads were hilarious. For instance, check out this commercial for a music collection directed to those who enjoy R&B and soul music.

I’ve been an adult for well over twenty years and I’ve never known any of my friends to get all dressed up and have a group date at someone else’s apartment where they slow danced to an album they got in the mail. However, I have to admit this commercial kills me, especially when the guy at the end says, “No, my brother! You’ve got to buy your own!” Some friend, huh?

If you preferred more Wonder bread style music, you could purchase Lost In Love.

Looks like the folks in this ad were more interested in sitting on the couch, drinking wine, necking, and listening to some of the love song classics of the late 1980s… Hey, that compilation even had Donny Osmond’s comeback single, “Sacred Emotion”. Haven’t heard that one in a long while. I remember how people made fun of Donny in the late 80s for trying to reclaim his music career. Bear in mind that I was a teenager back then!

For those who loved southern rock, there was Goin’ South. I would have liked this album, too…

I actually own a couple of albums that were once hawked on TV. I purchased a “highlights” version of Easy Rock in Columbia, South Carolina back when I was in graduate school. It’s actually a great CD. I would have liked to have bought the double disc set advertised here…

I used to listen to this all the time while writing and editing public health articles for the bureau of epidemiology where I worked at the time. It was great for concentrating.

I also own Pure Funk, another great TV compilation disc. But besides being a great mix of music, Pure Funk had a hilarious commercial that went with it!

Pure Funk was made by the same folks who brought us all three volumes of Pure Disco… also great fun!

I know these types of ads haven’t gone away completely. I’ve seen the infomercials for the Time-Life Singers and Songwriters collection, for instance.

This particular compilation has been hawked for at least twenty-three years. I remember when I was a freshman in college, someone who lived in my dorm had actually ordered the double disc set that was being sold back then. It must have done well, since they’ve expanded it. I would probably buy this if I weren’t already a compulsive music collection who downloads at the drop of a hat. I don’t know that I want to see a whole infomercial dedicated to it, though.

Freedom Rock is probably among my favorite of all the compilation album ads. Time marches on, though, and with the decline of albums we’ve seen the decline of other associated things. I remember when I bought my first copy of the soundtrack for Purple Rain, it was on vinyl… and I got a free poster with it! LPs also allowed for some impressive artwork. I remember when I first bought Michael Jackson’s Thriller, it had drawings MJ had done in the liner notes. CDs don’t lend themselves as well to that. And digital downloads pretty much eliminate art. Even the downloads I’ve had that came with digital booklets pretty much get ignored. When I was younger and bought a record, I’d listen to the music and pore over the innards… if they came with them.

I know I’m a Luddite. Oh well. George can take comfort in the fact that I don’t listen to newer music as much and don’t get exposed to it as much because the compilation ads have declined. That makes me less of a SongPop contender. And I can take comfort in the fact that Amazon sells a lot of those albums that used to not be available in stores!

Freedom Rock

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