Nothing new

November 9, 2010

Music magazines like “Uncut” and “Mojo” still put a “free” music CD on the cover each month. I wonder how much more/how little time will have to elapse before that becomes seen as a quaint thing to have done ? Before CDs were available the pop newspapers “Melody Maker” and “New Musical Express” sometimes gave away cassettes or those flimsy flexidiscs. (And of course Flexipop magazine was huge in the 1980s). Just to prove nothing is new, it seems the concept was tried in the early 1960s with “free” singles with (quite expensive for the time) issues of the short-lived “Give-a-Disc” magazine.

Although I can’t say I’m familiar with “Give-a-Disc” magazine I am familiar with the name Albert Hand. He was a neighbour (and contemporary) of my mothers. He was also a massive Elvis fan running the UK branch of the Elvis fan club and producing “Elvis Monthly” throughout the 1960s from his printing works cum record shop in Derbyshire. He also found time to edit “Teenbeat Annual” amongst others. Alas Albert died in 1972 at the relatively young age of 45.

Albert also produced various other publications. Many were exclusively related to Elvis (who he met) and are probably quite collectable now. He was also responsible for a number of magazines related to pop music in general with titles like “Pop Ten” monthly magazine which was launched in 1962 and swiftly turned into “Pop Weekly” magazine which although it ran from August 1962 until at least 1966 is now almost completely forgotten. (I don’t even have many copies myself. I saw them in the local newsagents but my money was then reserved for Fantastic Four comics….) The similar mid 1960s pop monthly “Teenbeat” came from this same source. It may have been a cottage industry but they were certainly busy. Although these magazines were printed on glossy paper they were usually a small 7″ x 10″ or that digest size of 5″ x 7″ like his “Elvis Monthly” magazine. Magazines specialising in The Monkees and The Beatles would shortly appear from other companies in a similar format.

Oh how we take the Internet for granted as a source of information. In 1962 you had to write in to Albert to find out info regarding which records were still available !! (No doubt you received a reply offering to supply you with the single you were seeking !)

Better known are the “Pop Weekly Annual” and “Pop Ten Teenbeat Annual” edited by Albert Hand. Available in the usual hardback format and published by World Distributors through most of the 1960s they are familiar to many people who were teenagers in that decade. (Incidentally this “Teenbeat” was prior to and bears no relation to the “Teen Beat” magazine published in the USA from 1976 onwards).

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