Monday, January 25, 2010

Hip-Pocket Records

Hip-Pocket Records were just a brief blip in the wild woolly history of music formats. No radio station ever played Hip-Pocket Records. It was a series of very tiny flexi-discs. They sound pretty bad, and they are easily folded permanently rendering them unplayable. But what do you want for 69 cents? More here.The audio quality is surprisingly good considering the plastic is less than paper-thin. The tiny discs were usually two-sided, and each side had a whole three minute single. Hip-Pocket Records were introduced by Philco, the electronics division of the Ford Motor Co. in 1967. early singles included: The Doors. the Beatles, Tommy James & the Shondells, Mitch Ryder, The Buckinghams, Neil Diamond, Etta James, Aretha Franklin... More here.

Primarily they released records by Atlantic, Mercury and Roulette. The company Americom produced it's own Pocket discs which were sold in vending machines for 50 cents creating competition in the narrow marketplace. It was Americom that cut a deal with Apple Records and got the rights to release some Beatles singles. These are worth boku dollars today. The fad died out in the late 1960s after issuing some singles by the Isley brothers.So here we have a shoddy, kitchy piece of media, made by Philco, a company previously known for quality. Most attributed that to the bad influence of Ford. Ford had purchased the company in December of 1961. While making car radios seemed a fine lot for them... these Hip-Pocket Records were demeaning. Ford sold Philco to General Telephone and Electronics in 1974. In 1981 they sold the brand to Phillips who just wanted it to end a long-standing brand name confusion. The continue to the the brand name today for retro electronics. Everyone had forgotten that Philco was the number one seller of radios in the US from 1930 through 1950. What a strange way for them to end.