Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Fantastic, a K-Tel Classic from 1973

In 1973, Vicki Lawrence had a hit with "The Night The Lights Went Out in Georgia." Of course, who knew that a decade later she would be starring in Mama's Family.  Most people know her from her stint on the Carol Burnett Show.

It was also a big year for Elton John:  "Rocket Man" and "Crocodile Rock" were quite popular.  Gary Glitter had "Rock and Roll Part Two."  Tony Orlando was tying yellow ribbons on oak trees.  Donny Osmond was singing something about the "Twelfth of Never,"  whatever that means.

K-Tel's 1973 compilation Fantastic had these hits and many more.  As the commercial states:  "22 Original Hits! 22 Original Stars!"

This is a very interesting album.  It has some great hits and many misses---typical K-Tel actually.  I was 5 years old when this album came out.  I remember listening to some of the songs--Elton John and Tony Orlando in particular.   As I listened to it again recently, I realized there were many songs that I simply do not remember.  Blue Mink?  New York City?  Gunhill Road?  Whatever happened to these bands?

More than any other K-Tel album I own, this album suffers from short versions of the songs.  K-Tel managed to fit a lot of music onto their vinyl.  This was often accomplished by making the gaps between the songs shorter and the grooves not as wide.  K-Tel albums were not known for their fidelity.  Many of the songs on this album fade early or are edited shorter.  Some of the songs are less than two minutes long. 

But that's okay.  They still manage to give us almost 45 minutes of music on a single album.  And the thing that Fantastic demonstrates about K-Tel is the eclectic variety that often appeared among the tracks.  Nothing like going from Maureen McGovern with "The Morning After" to Rod Stewart's "Twisting the Night Away."  K-Tel was the early version of the iPod "shuffle."

Join us in the month of June for a nostalgic trip to 1973, complete with music and movie trivia and much more. Fantastic will be featured on Adventures in Vinyl:  the only show dedicated to the lost art of the K-Tel record compilation.  We'll play the entire album---and we'll even flip it over for you.

Adventures in Vinyl can be heard Saturday mornings at 11 am (central)  and on Sunday afternoons at 4:00 pm (central).  And, as always, this program is completely commercial free.


  1. Thank you for bringing back some fond memories of this record from when I was 8 years old. I have 2 vinyl copies of Fantastic-sentimentally, it is the most important record I have.

  2. It was my very first piece of music media (8 track tape). Since, I've bought it in both vinyl and CD. I LOVE THIS ALBUM!