Since the internet came along a couple decades ago- there would be no reason to do this but back in the day I did this often- have any of you? What I am asking is have you just ‘heard’ of an artist/ band and without actually hearing any of their music went out and bought their album?
The first time I ever bought an album from an artist I hadn’t heard- was back in 1978. A friend of mine called Grant came to school one day and was raving about this guy named Elvis Costello. “This guy is great etc..” I can’t actually recall all he said- it was forty years ago but it was a grand recommendation. That evening when I got home I went to the mall and saw that this Elvis Costello character had two albums out and he kind of looked like say Buddy Holly on speed. My younger brother was with me. I was still in high school and had limited funds. I had enough for one album so I bought This Years Model-which I found out was his second album, and I talked my brother into buying My Aim Is True. We went home and listened to them and I was immediately taken. Forty years later I would still put Elvis on my personal Mount Rushmore of Favorite Artists. The Elvis albums from My Aim Is True to Imperial Bedroom are probably my most listened to albums outside of The Beatles. A couple months later in the steal of the century- I had a pizza and there was one last piece left and my brother offered me up his My Aim Is True for the piece of pizza. He still reminds me of that trade.
In those years I would read about artists in the music mags and occasionally experiment on buying stuff I’d never heard. The Pittsburgh area radio stations weren’t the most experimental- a lot of Led Zeppelin, Lynyrd Skynard and of course the pop stations but you weren’t going to hear any punk or new wave or anything really cool. A few artists who come to mind that I bought without hearing- The Velvet Underground, The Clash[one of my top ten favorites} The Jam- those are the ones that come immediately to mind I know there were others. On a whole I think my batting average was pretty high. There were some clunker albums but it was always kind of fun trying to discover new stuff that my friends had never heard etc.
Note- One day my friend Dale walks in the house and we had both HEARD of The Jam but had never actually HEARD them. It was 1980 and I had the new Donna Summer album “The Wanderer”- I told Dale I had The Jam and put the needle on Donna’s great “Cold Love.” Now Dale hated anything that he thought was disco. The introduction to “Cold Love” is really rocking and Dale is smiling and going on about “This is great”–and then Donna’s singing starts. A look of confusion comes across Dale’s face. It was like I had told him Santa Claus was a fraud. Then I laughed and told him ‘You like a Donna Summer song.”.. and then he went on “Oh I hate this.” Sure. I finally did find an album by The Jam later that year.
Today if I read about a band/ artist their music is just a click away- so I guess in a way it is a good thing not to run out and buy something and maybe not like it but overall I think it was a lot more fun the old way- discovering on your own.
Have any of you in the past experimented on unheard music? What artists?