Monday, July 25, 2005

Music to shop by!

1960's Kresge stores background music--click here to cue the muzak! (off-site)

Hey everyone out there in retro Shopping Land! Today I'm sharing this great find (link is above) from the archives of one of my favorite weird/odd music sites, Oddio Overplay. This is beautiful stuff. Rescued from a department store demolition site is this recording of genuine 1960's in-store MUZAK! This was played in the background of Kresge department stores (anyone else remember those?) back in the said '60s, and is the very music you might well have heard as you and mom wandered the aisles back then.

This particular recording is simply titled "Background Music No. 123" (if anyone out there has more in the series--or anything else at all like this--please drop me a line!), but what great music this is, especially for the wonderful images and warm memories it evokes.

The recording was created by Special Recordings Inc., in Detroit (yeah baby, the Motor City!), for the S. S. Kresge Company. Keep in mind this note from the originating site: "This record is in the worst condition. Recommending that you not play it with headphones." Good advice.

Enjoy, and happy retro shopping everyone!


Blogger Jon Konrath said...

Great stuff!
I still have nightmares about the piped muzak they had at the Monkey Wards store I worked at in the late eighties. The worst was the holiday music. And to add insult to injury, the tape was something like 5 or 6 hours long, so if you worked all day on a Saturday, the stuff repeated on you.
Luckily this was some proprietary tape format that is hopefully at the bottom of a landfill now.

Tue Jul 26, 08:55:00 PM  
Blogger The80'sMan said...

Wow! Simply priceless. For all that is wonderful in this world, you must continue to update this blog! What a rush to find this! The only thing better would be having one of these to spin on my new Crosley turntable. If you find more, let us know! This stuff's awesome!

Wed Jul 27, 10:29:00 PM  
Blogger Keith said...

Jon: Though I feel your pain re: the looping Muzak you endured, I'd still love nothing better than to find that landfill. :)

80'sMan: Welcome and thanks for the nice comments! I do have more and will trickle it out as we go along here (gotta give ya something to look forward to and a reason to keep returning, heh).

On a related note, does anyone know of a good online file storage site (one that keeps the files hosted for longer than just a week or two)? I actually have lots of cool audio I'd like to post here (and on my other blogs) but no space to put the files. Bummer. Any tips or points in the right direction would be appreciated (wish Blogger let you host MP3's).

Thu Jul 28, 07:02:00 PM  
Blogger Skinny Robbie said...

I'm a little bit late responding here, but I just had to say thanks for the pointer here. This is just too good. Ideally, one could play this in their ipod while shopping and have a retro-cosmic experience! I'd almost consider buying an ipod just to try out this new drug.

Sat Aug 06, 05:37:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this is a great site! I love to read about old vintage shopping malls and the Kresge muzak was very cool! What a find!

Thu Aug 11, 12:11:00 AM  
Blogger The Oddio Overplay Team said...

What fun to stumble upon this, and to read your stories! I am so glad you enjoyed the record. When I found it, I knew I had to share it with the world. Yours, Katya of

Wed Sep 07, 03:18:00 PM  
Blogger Chris Sobieniak said...

Though I know I'm TOO late for this, I just want to point out I've identified the first track of the Kresge's Background LP to have been used in a old "TV Funhouse" skit on Comedy Central some 6 years ago. It was used in a piece that spoofed 50's hygene films, though rather overtly Christian-oriented about the dangers of bowel movements.

Quite possibly this might mean this recording is probably still being licensed, perhaps in Associated Production Music's library or such.

While the recording itself is terribly staticy and/or hissy, I bet I could clean it up well on my end to make a more professional-mastered copy.

Sat May 13, 01:33:00 PM  
Blogger RenĂ© Vis said...

This must bring back memories for many Americans. And though I'm from the Netherlands, it still gives me a feeling of long ago. But what happened to all the other records for the Kresge Company, considering that this is number 123 ? The USA is a large country, so there must be something in some place.

Thu Mar 15, 06:04:00 PM  
Blogger Sitora Nekto said...

Wow! Great stuff!

Sat Apr 07, 12:46:00 PM  
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Blogger Pokey said...

The looping Muzak must have been better in the late 80s than the shit like Prince and NKOTB that passed for clean pop did; those recordings are practically public domain and should still be used. Anyhow, I've identified a few of the tracks-(AND, generic Viagra, I too grew up then...) -

Number ONE is[the one that Christopher Sobeniak] named is "Bicycle Bells" by Sidney Torch

4 is Invitation Waltz by Richard Addinsell
6. 7th Heaven by Robert Farnon.

One of the others has turned up in the Retro Shopping Music site that I think is still around here. AND I THINK some of those appeared on shows like mine, or, Gumby's.:) SteveC

Tue Dec 10, 09:18:00 PM  
Blogger Pokey said...

PS Date of posting, December 10, 2013.

Tue Dec 10, 09:20:00 PM  
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Wed Sep 19, 10:49:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Fourteen years late to the party but this party has got some legs. The phenomenon of ambient music lives on YouTube. Thank you, Keith. I'm posting on Saturday October 5, 2019 at 10:51 AM EDST.

Sat Oct 05, 10:51:00 AM  

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