You Spin Me Right Round: Vintage Kiddo Records

Faced with a very rainy weekend, we tried to dream up some fun things to do that involved staying cozy in our home. As I surveyed the crazy mess that we call the living room, I glanced over at our turntable and realized we hadn’t played any records since Christmas. I have a pretty decent sized collection of old kid’s albums and so we spent a wonderful afternoon building Legos, making a cardboard house for the cats—and listening to records. It was awesome! And it got me thinkin’….

image: jaxonista ( alas this isn’t mine. we have a grown up turntable…)

One of the main reasons I love vintage (aside from the CRAZY GOOD design) is because I’m all about the nostalgia. I love listening to the same records I listened to as a kid and sharing them with my little guy. It makes me giddy to the point of tears. I’m not kidding, I got totally verklempt when Wolfie decided he loved Free to Be You and Me, the Marlo Thomas 70s extravaganza. (As an aside you MUST get this on DVD for your kiddo. It’s the best show ever….groovy music, adorable animation, fun songs, rad 70s stars. I LOVE IT.)

OK. Back to business. Like most vinyl junkies, I love that crackle as you gently plunk the needle on the record, but I also love the ritual of sitting cross-legged on the floor and checking out the album art. Vintage kid’s records are a treasure trove of amazing artwork. You’ll find cool illustrations, bright colors, amazing fonts and genius type treatments. Since you all seemed to enjoy our little trip down memory lane with vintage Fisher Price, I thought it’d be fun to check out some awesome records covers. C’mon, let’s go!

First up, Romper Room. I love how formal these kids are—little bow ties and riding caps? Where is this preschool?? The songs on this album are all pretty adorable, even those Know-It-All braggers on the Doo-Bee Song. (click to take a listen) Hmm, I should write a new version of this song for bloggin: “Doo-Bee a Comment Leaver!” “Don’t be a Lil Lurker!” hyuck hyuck.

image: the awesome *julia

The line art on this next one is super duper, but let’s face it….any record that’s all about helping mommy at clean-up time is aces in my book. Ya hear that daddies??

image: tweedlebop (who is a pal of mine and an amazing illustrator in his own right!)

Look how super stylish these kiddos are. The cute lil pigtails on blue dress girl, that fab green stripey shirt on the little “A” boy—and check out that jaunty hip action on the kid on the right. I love him! I can just hear him shouting, “C is for CHARO!”

image: neatocoolville

The Disneyland record and book combo was a personal favorite of mine. I had so many of these little “read-a-long” books and can still hear that British woman saying, “You will know it is time to turn the page, when you hear Tinker Bell ring her chimes…..LIKE THIS.” They usually hired different illustrators and I even like that record/book logo in the top left. I never had this particular record, but  I’m so glad I found it. Who knew the wolf was such a groovy guy??

image:  *julia

OK, this one is from my personal record…..and while the music was ok, I remember thinking the album art was brilliant. Ernie, Bert and Cookie Monster as the Bee Gees?? Amazing. I remember all the teens in the neighborhood were groovin’ to “How Deep Is Your Love?” but they didn’t have anything on me and my disco Sesame. I felt like I was SO COOL. The cover was a fold-out and the inside art work was hysterical….Grover doing his best John Travolta dance moves. Check it out here, but then please come back….I’m not done with you yet!

image: Alix, modernkiddo

Sometimes I’ll find a great album cover but then the music is just kinda “meh.” Lemme tell ya, Sesame Street and Disney single-handedly produced some of the best records…I swear they had great artwork AND amazing songs.  How can you go wrong with a musical Monster-Osity?? That’s a whole lotta fun fur goin’ on.

image: Alix, modernkiddo

The artwork on this album is just the tops….I love the scripty way they’ve written “Puff” and his little sparkling scales are so adorable.

image: leifpeng

I’m not sure if this is very PC….I guess it should be called the Ten Little Indiginous Peoples….but….well….I just can’t help it. I think the font on “Ten Little” is fab and the little I.Ps are adorable.

image: Picture_Books

These illustrations make me crazy, they’re so good. They look like they were plucked straight out of a children’s book….that little boy and the little city?? Amazing.  I want a whole book like this. Also, that little crazy space age bubble head logo character in the red square?? I don’t know who or what he is, but he’s AWESOME.

image: wardomatic (a genius illustrator with the coolest wife ever, hula70)

This is another one that looks like a storybook. The playful little train is like charm on wheels. I’m intrigued by the “dramatic play and participation” bit. How dramatic can a play get?

image: wardomatic again

I remember when I spied this one in the record bin at Thrift Town … my eyes bugged out. LOVE that Veruca Salt’s little pink dress…and who knew Violet Beauregarde led a secret double life as ANNIE???

image: Alix, modernkiddo

OK, we take a break from illustration for two SPECTACULAR photographic covers. The hipster kids on this one are so bad ass. Like, “What? Yeah that’s right. I’m about to watusi to On Top of Old Smokey, now I suggest you step off, jack.”

image: Alix, modernkiddo

Hewwwww. Oh Marcy. Where do I begin….the waxy complexion? The vacant look in the eye? THE FREAKIN’ WEIRD DOLL holding her hand?? Honestly I don’t even know which one is “Marcy” but all I know is gingham has never looked creepier. I’m surprised they didn’t call this one, “Lord have Marcy.”

image: The Retro-Spectre

OK, now that I have the heebie jeebies, I feel like we need to end on a happy note. The sweet simplicity of this one is a personal fave. “La la la!” We La La LOVE you Bert.

Tha-tha-that’s all folks! (“Great Alix, first the Ten Little Indians, now you’re making fun of people with a stutter?? NICE.”) Aw you know I’m just joshin’ ya. I hope you enjoyed this little jaunt down the vintage record store aisles! Do you remember any of these? What were some of your favorites?

MODERN KIDDO TIP: You can easily  find vintage kiddo records at thrift shops and on ebay. The tricky part is making sure they are in great condition. Most vintage children’s records are sadly a little trashed, but you have to remember that these are albums that are well worn and well loved. I’ve been pretty lucky to score many that are in primo condition, and it makes a difference! Be sure to check (or ask questions) when buying! If you don’t have a record player, that’s ok….you can frame the albums and hang them in your kiddo’s room. If the record label is cool, or it’s pressed on colored vinyl, you can even hang the record itself!

27 thoughts on “You Spin Me Right Round: Vintage Kiddo Records

  1. Thanks for this post. I’ve got several of these in my personal collection from my childhood (including Marcy Sings.) I haven’t thought about these for years but am going to dig them out tomorrow. Could be great wall art in the play room now.

  2. That is amazing! I remember dancing around in my basement with my friend Katie to The Pink Panther. This mornings post had me cracking up our “dance routines” to that record… lots of tip-toeing and hiding behind things.

  3. marcy sings! i have a marcy record with a different cover! i made a dishtowel with marcy on it but it got a “neutral” rating on etsy! what up with that?? i should do another for someone who will appreciate! hee hee! marcy!!

    love the sesame records! i just scored the roosevelt franklin.

    when i first played “really rosie” for truman, i called my brother and we BOTH cried, you’re not alone.

    love the post as usual

  4. we have a friend who is/was obsessed with little marcy.

    i have the bert album! and “C is for Cookie”! i loved those things when i was a kid. i really need to get a vintage record player so my kids can start listening to them.

  5. Alix, I’m dying over these!

    I love that the MONSTERS! musical has the exclamation point after it—it is so Andrew Lloyd Weber! Like CATS! Pure genius.

    And Bert looks like a muppet Pavarotti with that album pose. I’m dying over these!

  6. i love these all! as a family who appreciates vinyl, we can’t get enough kids records!! the art alone makes it worth it. i need to find the puff the magic dragon…..the kids and i just watched 3 times in a row. i remembered the words to all the songs. and my kids kept saying i can’t hear mom. stop singing!

  7. Amazing post!! We had SO many of the Disney vinyl albums, and a tiny little Winnie-the-Pooh turntable. And I DO remember the British woman telling us when to turn the page.

    I really thought that Marcy was some crazy-ass repressed memory of mine, as I’ve never heard another single adult talk about her. But yeah, I had *several* Marcy albums. Creepy is the word.

  8. Marcy…too funny! I never had that album, but so many of these others. Sesame Street Fever was definitely a favorite. But my all-time fav was Peter and The Wolf! I can’t find the exact album I had (and I’m sad that I just recently got rid of it) but it was the best! I just think of all the amazing pictures I dreamed up in my head while listening to that story!

    Great post! Love it!

  9. why do i get the feeling that burt’s blockbusters would really be things by liza or barbra streisand?

    these are so awesome, such great illustrations! i’m really sad i was born just in time for CDs, so i never had any kids LPs 🙁 maybe i should be making up for a deprived childhood, now…

  10. Hey! Thanks for the mention, girls! I really appreciate that. I have lots of fun vintage vinyl in my collection, with a few I’ve scanned and posted in my Flickr. Here’s a set some of you might like: Fun Vinyl.

    Also, you can check out The Retro Kid and do a search for “record” – see what you can find. Fun!

    Thanks again!

  11. Woowee! I have most of these in my collection. Some were mine but most passed down from my older sibs. “Free to Be” was not however and mom had to get me my own copy, I CRIED for that one. I started thrifting for these at a young age on vacation in Lake Tahoe, I remember the specific Sesame Street Album too. 25 cents, why I have 25 cents and from then on a monster was born. I will have to start scanning up the art on the really funny ones. I have also framed some great covers that the records were just to trashed I mean loved to listed to anymore.

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