Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Goodyear tires = Christmas

Countdown to Christmas 11 days

How old are you? Do you remember snow tires? Do you remember records? Do you know what snow tires and records have in common?

The annual Goodyear Christmas Album!

Goodyear started offering a free record with purchase of snow tires in 1961. 17 albums were released in total. There is a great website that can tell you more about the history of these Christmas records and their tire sponsor (The Great Songs of Christmas).

My dad and my grandfather both worked for an automotive parts store (oddly called "Automotive Parts"). They sold everything even some tires. To this day when I walk into a shop to get my car tires rotated or serviced, I take a deep breath and the smell of oil, grease and tire rubber transports me back to being ten years old sitting at the counter waiting for my dad to get off work and give me ride home from downtown.

But, Automotive Parts did not sell one thing that I needed every year to complete my idea of the perfect Christmas, The Goodyear Tires Christmas record! Luckily, my dad knew people at the Goodyear tire center. He also knew people at the Firestone tire center. We got every tire related Christmas record ever made.

Who would have guessed this crazy future kid who couldn't wait to get the tree decorated each year, was also crazy excited for the snow tires to get put on the car each year.
Check out the headband on Barbra Striesand

There were always 3 great songs, 2 sad sappy songs, a couple of duets, some choral numbers and then some orchestra filler that your parents would enjoy but would bore you. For instance, here's the line up for album 7:

Santa Claus Is Coming to Town (Tony Bennett) - good song.
Toyland (Sally Ann Howes) - sad sappy
The Christmas I Spend With You (Robert Goulet)
Deck the Hall with Boughs of Holly (The Cleveland Orchestra, George Szell Conductor) -orchestra filler
Do You Hear What I Hear (Diahann Carroll)
The Christmas Song (Tony Bennett)
'Twas the Night Before Christmas (Steve Lawrence)
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen (The Brothers Four)
The First Noel (John Davidson)
The Lord's Prayer (Barbra Streisand)
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer (The Harry Simeone Chorale)
Home for the Holidays (Jerry Vale)
O Little Town of Bethlehem (Sally Ann Howes)
Let Me Be the First (To Wish You Merry Christmas) (Steve Lawrence)
Patapan (The Cleveland Orchestra, George Szell Conductor)
O Come All Ye Faithful (Jerry Vale)
Here We Come A-Caroling (The New Christy Minstrels)
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing (John Davidson)
Christmas Is (The Harry Simone Chorale)
Silent Night (The New Christy Minstrels)

You get the idea. We would play these records over and over all Christmas season. Even though a new one came out each year, we still had personal favorites on last year's record, or the year before that. And the records would get taken out of their sleeve, back in their sleeve, needle dropped on too early, too late... These records suffered abuse!

Years later many of the songs were released in new compilations on CD or mp3 and the sound quality was finally clear and amazing. Except it lost a little something for me. My friend Rachel and I were talking one year about how it just didn't feel the same without scratchy sounds in the background. And so as the music played crystal clear from my iPod in the background, we took turns making noise for the other, "pop, scratch, hiss, pop, scratch, hiss...."

Listen carefully to the first video, you can hear the pop, scratch, his ever so faintly in the background. Now that, is the sound of my childhood.

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