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Revolutionizing Children's Records

The Young People's Records and Children's Record Guild Series, 1946-1977

David Bonner

Young People's Records and Children's Record Guild were the first commercially significant record clubs in the world. By applying proven book club methods to the field of phonograph records, these two related companies attracted some hundred thousand subscribers at their peak and serviced perhaps a million members in their existence. Revolutionizing Children's Records: The Young People's Records and Children's Record Guild Series, 1946-1977 tells the history of YPR/CRG, explaining how these two labels intersected important developments in the histories of mass marketing, recording technology, educational philosophy, folk music, contemporary composition, and Cold War politics. David Bonner covers in detail the history of YPR/CRG, tracing its influences back to the beginnings of music education in the 19th Century and incorporating the impact of the American folk music revival on music educators.

The narrative follows the career paths of the company principals, such as its progressive founder Horace Grenell; the musicians who recorded for him, like American folk music revival pioneer Tom Glazer; and the record industry offshoots they created in the process. Bonner considers advances the club made in recording technology as the first record label devoted exclusively to "unbreakable" vinyl discs and provides a comprehensive summary of record club marketing, including the application of "music appreciation" to phonograph records. He also charts the commercial, critical, and political response to these endeavors, including an historical footnote to the "Red Scare" unavailable in existing Cold War literature. A complete and detailed discography listing every YPR and CRG recording, including all known writers and performers, concludes this excellent reference for scholars, nostalgists, and phonographic fanatics.
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Scarecrow Press
Pages: 480Size: 6 1/8 x 9
978-0-8108-5919-7 • Paperback • November 2007 • $88.00 • (£60.00)
978-1-4617-1938-0 • eBook • November 2007 • $87.99 • (£60.00)
David Bonner is a music consultant and supervisor in Austin, Texas and an authority on esoteric recorded music.
David Bonner's fascinating look at the nostalgic world of Young People's Records takes the reader far beyond memory lane and into the political and philosophical worlds of those who planned them, wrote them, and performed on them. The complicated history of a host of record labels that sprung from those children's discs, which Mr. Bonner recounts, adds to the tremendous value of his book. Anyone who grew up with these priceless records must read what's on these pages.
Peter Bay, Conductor, Austin Symphony Orchestra

Thoroughly researched examination.
.; Dirty Linen, August/September 2008

I grew up with Young People's Records. "The Funniest Song In The World" featuring Groucho Marx and "By Rocket To The Moon" with Raymond Scott helped mold the mind of the boy who became Dr. Demento. Here's the whole story of how those and hundreds of other YPR favorites were created by some of the most progressive thinkers and artists of their times, how they became a target for those in the McCarthy era and later those who sought to repress and confine the minds of young Americans, and how their spirit of joy in knowledge perseveres.
Dr Demento, Syndicated Radio Personality

This book will be a treat for anyone interested in the history of the music industry. Highly recommended.

• Winner, Association for Recorded Sound Collections (ARSC) 2009 winner for Best Research in Record Labels - Best History