Riding with Records on Wheels

It is the early summer of 1965. School’s out in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

You’re cruising Main Street, your car radio blasting away. You’re plopped down on the bed, listening to the tinny sound from your tiny transistor radio.

Then you hear a certain song.

But which stores have that 45? Stiller’s? Shopko? Prange’s? Woolworth’s? Snyder Drug? It’s a hassle to run downtown on the spur of the moment.

Still, you really dig it that song. You gotta have it. Like right now, man.

So you pick up the phone and dial 432-2333. You call Records on Wheels.

Records on Wheels ad, June 17, 1965

A Chevy panel truck pulls up outside the house. Someone gets out, comes up to your door, collects your money and hands you the 45 you just gotta have.

You paid a premium for that service, of course. That record you so urgently needed cost $1 — 97 cents plus 3 cents sales tax.

Depending on which store you shopped, and which sale you shopped, 45s sold for three for $1 … or two for 49 cents … or a bag of five for 39 cents … or 88 cents each … or 77 cents each … or 50 cents each … or 29 cents each … or 10 cents each.

Records on Wheels was ahead of its time. Decades ahead of a time with next-day delivery from Amazon.

The only evidence of its existence are 11 days of newspaper want ads touting the service in February 1965 and the ad above, which was curiously dropped into the paper four months later, on Thursday, June 17, 1965 — 55 years ago today.

And, of course, the records that were wheeled to homes all over Green Bay.

What was Green Bay listening to this week in 1965? The Beatles are between singles — it’ll be another month before “Help!” is released in the States.

That week’s Top 10 at WDUZ radio isn’t all that adventurous. It’s topped by Dino, Desi and Billy, who are followed by the Byrds, Herman’s Hermits, Sam the Sham and the Pharoahs, the Dupries (a local group), the Sir Douglas Quintet, the Vibratones (another local group), the Beach Boys, Gene Pitney and the Yardbirds.

It won’t be long, though, before the Green Bay kids are digging this:

Four Tops I Can't Help Myself 45

“I Can’t Help Myself,” the Four Tops, 1965.

It just takes two months to make it to Green Bay after its release.

1 Comment

Filed under June 2020, Sounds

One response to “Riding with Records on Wheels

  1. Charlie Ricci

    WOW! It’s an extremely good thing this service wasn’t available to me. I may have gone broke on my limited allowance.

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