CBG Memories: My First Music Purchase

As I mentioned previously, I’ve decided that every once in awhile I’ll tell a story from my life that (hopefully) my kids can enjoy some day when they’re older. It could be a funny story, a love story, a coming-of-age story, a morality tale, or even just a bunch of memories about a certain place or person. In the end, they’re just random stories that will ultimately give my kids an idea of who their father was.


I’m pretty sure that I’m not alone when I say that I used to be VERY familiar with the old Columbia House Records & Tapes club.  I mean, these advertisements were everywhere…you just couldn’t escape them.

So here I was…an eleven year old kid…and I had dreams of listening to the music that I wanted to listen to, not the country music that my parents listened to (love the Oak Ridge Boys and all, but I had differing tastes even at a young age).

I remember (vaguely) filling out my first form without telling mom and dad.  I mean, 11 cassettes for only a penny!!  How awesome was that??  I could afford that, right?  And realistically, buying the remaining 9 cassettes over three years at “regular club prices” didn’t seem that difficult to me.

You can only imagine my parents’ surprise when the wrapped box arrived with my name on it.

I don’t remember all of the cassettes that I ordered in that first shipment…I only remember ONE:

Without a word of lie, I’ve still got this cassette somewhere in my shed.  All the others are gone, but for whatever reason I just can’t seem to bring myself to throw it out (forgetting the fact that I don’t even have a cassette player anymore).

I joined and canceled Columbia House numerous times over the next decade…thinking it was a steal of a deal.  I can’t tell you how many times I’d forget to send back their form in the mail and ended up receiving a cassette (or later a cd) that I didn’t really want.  It was quite the operation they had going.

But I remember with 100% certainty that “Lick it up” was my first musical purchase.  I’ve always wondered why it stuck with me and how I was able to remember.  So I guess that leads me to a question for you…

Do you remember your first musical purchase? If you do, what was it?


7 thoughts on “CBG Memories: My First Music Purchase

  1. I bought 2 albums with my birthday money. Joan Jett and the Blackhearts I love Rock and Roll and Supertramp. I was 7. I still have those records 30 years later.

  2. I remember signing up for columbia house when I was 14 or 15. The only cassette I can remember from my first shipment was MC Hammer’s “The Funky Headhunter” and it wasn’t even for me it was for a friend. The first album I ever saved up my pennies (and yes I paid using them in the store) was Van Halen’s “For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge”

  3. And the thing is with Columbia House that I found out is that if they ever sent you the CD/Cassette you could send it back (unopened) even if you forgot to send the form.

  4. I’m older than most of you, and my taste in music was not too good. My first 45 was the Theme from Hawaii-Five-O and my first album was Golden Greats… both by the Ventures. I used to love instrumental hits for some reason. I think I bought the album because of the girl in the gold bikini on the cover.


    I never joined the Colombia House Record Club, but I did buy records for a while in the very early 70’s from the Record Club of America. This was a weird operation that seemed to manufacture their own disks in Mexico or something – no cards to send in, cheap records. They eventually went belly up.

  5. I was 10 in ’92 when I bought the first CD player in our family with Christmas money. A Sony component at Majestic in Ottawa, and all Sonys came with a coupon for some free CDs from Columbia House. I ended up joining their club (and movie club) many times, and even joined once or twice for tapes because I was still using a tape Walkman. I never went in for the ad psychology or looked at it like getting anything free or for a penny. I always just looked at the total price I would be paying and pretty much do the whole thing at once, or within a couple months, when I already knew I had all the money saved.

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