Unknown, Aerobics Country, Upstart Records UPS-1, 1982
Another day another fitness routine. And if you thought yesterday’s entry was obscure, this one really, um, takes the cake. Not only does no one fess up to being the “artist” here, but this is the one and only apparent release for Upstart Records. The record is billed as “the down-home way to aerobic fitness with easy to follow vocal and visual instructions”, as if I needed any motivation to bend over repeatedly while listening to You’re The Reason Why God Made Oklahoma.
Besides some generally boring liner notes and general heath statistics about heart rate and body mass index, there really isn’t much instruction on the jacket. And while the blue bathing suit and cowgirl hat wearing model looks good, I doubt she relied on this record for her body type, no matter how much she loves a rainy night.
But I still love upstart records, like this one from Upstart Records of Arlington Texas. I hope they weren’t under any illusions of outselling The Beatles, or even Slim Whitman, but it is an accomplishment to get this far in the record business. No matter how awful it turns out.
Cost: $2, $518 Remaining
June LaSavia, How The Waist Was Won, Plantation Records PLP-52, 1982
Fitness records were all the rage in the early 80s. Jane Fonda sold millions of records, and soon there were a million copycats. This is one of the worst ones I’ve ever seen. Mainly because it is so rare and there is literally zero information available about Ms. LaSavia, I am amazed that I even found such a thing. There are probably more still sealed copies of Revolver floating around out there than used copies of this.
It doesn’t happen very often, but June LaSalvia has no wikipedia page. Discos.com, the awesome record database and eBay style market has this record listed, but that’s it. There are exactly two discographies of Plantation Records, and this record isn’t listed. Discogs has it listed, and it appears that this was the last Plantation release of new material. There were five more releases for the company, but they were all re-issues or compilation albums. The company appears to have folded in 1983.
Despite the horrible name, Plantation did have a number one hit in 1968 with Jeannie C. Riley’s Harper Valley PTA. But once that novelty wore off and she left the label, they only put out records sporadically from then on.
Cost: $2, $520 Remaining
Richard Simmons, Reach, Elektra E1-60122, 1982
It’s a new year and that means resolving things. If you’re like me, that means working on being fit. And if you’re really like me, that means listening to cheap fitness records. Laughing and trying 35 year old exercises totally counts as cardio.
There really isn’t much here that helped me break a sweat. I may not have Nick Jonas’ abs, but I can put both hands over my head and breathe. I hope that means that I’m more of a Jane Fonda client than a Richard Simmons patient.
But there’s no denying that Richard Simmons was on top of his game. This record came out on a major label, Elektra, that went all out for it. Any gatefold cover is twice as expensive to make as a regular one, and at the time, he was able to promote it on his now daily talk show. It’s a real trip to listen too. The music has the same early 80s electronic sounds as the hits of the day, until you get to the shrill vocals that try to motivate you to keep breathing. If I ever get to DJ an 80s party, I might throw in a track or two from this just for a laugh.
Cost: $2, $522 Remaining
Dr. Charles A. Bucher, Slimnastics, Decca 734546, 1959
No, Jane Fonda did not invent the workout record. Richard Simmons was in grade school when Dr. Charles A. Bucher created the nonsense workout Slimnastics. Make this record a must if you have a strong desire to touch your toes to public domain songs like Pop Goes The Weasel, and Tea For Two. All played for meekly for you by an anonymous orchestra while the good doctor leads your through your paces.
A quick Google search for Dr. Charles A. Bucher tells me he was on President Eisenhower’s council for fitness. This record came out in 1959, so he must have had some credentials to get the record deal with Decca. Betty Draper probably had this record…
Men and women each get their own side of the record, men on side one. I’m sure there’s a joke in there somewhere, but I’ll let your imagination create your own. This is all just the most basic fitness routine, and I can’t imagine anyone needing this record once they learn what a sit-up is. And, oy, the music is just so corny.
My absolute favorite part, though is the back cover. The exercise tips are nothing more than the silliest common sense advice, especially my favorite, #7: “Include time for a shower or bath after your slimnastics”.
I actually did the routine (for MEN, thank you very much) twice and felt no slimmer. But I promise you, a record like this is amazing to have in your collection or frame for your workout area. Just be sure to have enough room to do it (no obstructions)!
Cost: $1, $972 Remaining