50 years ago today, on Wednesday, Sept. 1, 1971, this long, tall ad in the Green Bay Press-Gazette proclaimed that “The Record Event Of The Year” was happening at Woolworth’s.
For just $3.68, you could get any one of these three record albums by Rare Earth. (That’s $24.62 in 2021 dollars, and some new records go for that these days, so not much has changed for record buyers in 50 years.)
In the newspaper business, this was known as a co-op ad. In this case, the record company — the Rare Earth label — ponied up the money to hype its records via an ad from Woolworth’s. The label may have paid for part of the ad or all of the ad. Fairly common stuff.
Even though Rare Earth was mostly a singles band as September 1971 began, and even though free-form FM radio was in its infancy, the ad hyped some of Rare Earth’s popular long jams.
“#1 One World contains the hit single ‘I Just Want To Celebrate’ and a seven-minute version of the incredibly funky ‘What’d I Say.'”
This was the newest Rare Earth album featured in the ad. “One World” had come out three months earlier, at the beginning of the summer of 1971. It eventually went gold, but didn’t chart as high as the other two albums hyped here, peaking at No. 28 on the Billboard 200.
“#2 Get Ready contains the full 21 minute version of the hit ‘GET READY.'”
“Get Ready” had been released two years earlier, in July 1969, went platinum and reached No. 12 on the Billboard 200. “What’d I Say,” of course, was a Ray Charles cover.
“#3 Ecology contains the complete 10 minute version of the hit ‘(I Know) I’M LOSING YOU.'”
“Ecology” had been released in the winter of 1970, so it was a year and a half old. It went gold and reached No. 15 on the Billboard 200. “(I Know) I’m Losing You,” of course, is a Temptations cover.
Rare Earth’s next record? The mighty “Rare Earth In Concert,” a double LP released in December 1971. It features LONGER versions of everything here except “What’d I Say.” Whether the studio version or the live version, all were free-form FM radio staples in the ’70s. I dug them then and I dig them now.