My First LP

I was trying to remember what would have been the first LP I owned. My first pop or rock album was probably Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron by The Royal Guardsmen, a group from Ocala, Florida whose only hit singles concerned the World War I exploits of the Peanuts comic strip’s funny-lookin’ dog with the big black nose. I loved the “Snoopy Vs. The Red Baron” single (and, later on, the subsequent hits “The Return Of The Red Baron” and “Snoopy’s Christmas”), so I may have received the album as a gift in 1966. I know I brought the album in to my first grade class that year at least once.

The album was also my introduction to a number of familiar rockin’ pop standards, which I heard for the first time via The Royal Guardsmen’s covers: “Li’l Red Riding Hood,””Peanut Butter,””Battle Of New Orleans,””Bo Diddley,””The Jolly Green Giant,””Road Runner,”and “Alley Oop.” The album also contained a cover of “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance,” but I’m pretty sure I already knew Gene Pitney‘s original version from my older siblings’ record collection. The LP also included a song called “Bears” (which I only recall hearing here), plus “Sweetmeats Slide” (later the B-side of “The Return Of The Red Baron”) and a lovely pop tune called “Baby Let’s Wait,” which was also recorded by The Young Rascals.

But the album’s title track was the main attraction. Years later, I realized that the instrumental break was actually a rip of “Louie Louie” by The Kingsmen, and I remain okay with that.

Before that, my first album may have been Secret Squirrel and Morocco Mole in: SUPER SPY, a tie-in to Hanna-Barbera’s Secret Squirrel cartoon TV series. There were always lots of albums around the house, but I don’t think there was anything prior to Secret Squirrel that I could call my own. I couldn’t even begin a guess at identifying my first 45, since I was accumulating them before I started grade school.

And my second pop album? Gotta be California Nights by the lovely Ms. Lesley Gore. There would be many, many more albums added to my collection after these….

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