I Was There. This Is How It Was

A K-Mart in-store holiday music tape from 1974. 

There’s a K-Mart company song at the very beginning and a couple of store announcements along the way; otherwise old old old school commercial Christmas music. Just for verisimilitude! Enjoy.

(Hat tip to Saladin Ahmed for linking to it on Twitter.)

24 Comments on “I Was There. This Is How It Was”

  1. Ahhh… Elevator music circa 1970’s! Reminds me of walking the isles with my mom and a cart with squeaky wheels!

  2. Wow does this take me back!
    Those smooth tones of André Kostelanetz and his Orchestra, and let’s not leave out the 101 Strings Orchestra.
    Does anyone else remember how the big businesses in town used to release their own annual Christmas LPs? (I assume it wasn’t just our town where this happened.)
    In Akron Ohio, the big companies were Firestone and Goodyear, and you went to the tire store to buy that year’s album. Maybe if your dad worked in the factory, he brought home a free copy; mine didn’t, so when we could afford it we bought both – no company loyalty to hold us back!
    Must share this: Although I and my whole family were huge fans of the wonderful Lena Horne, her version of “Let It Snow” from those albums was probably the least Christmas-y song in that whole era. It starts out well, but the sultry big-band bridge halfway through is just … jarring. Gotta love Lena!
    Good time, good times…

  3. “Will security please report to section 3. Security to section 3, please.” What do you think? Shoplifters? A breakout in the pet store?

  4. Not only was I there, I was in THAT STORE, on Lake Street in Minneapolis in the 1970s, though I can’t speak to 1974.


    How it was. I believe that was the year I got a plaid polyester double-knit three piece matching suit, and a plastic attache’ case for Christmas.

    Warped for life? Why…. yes, in fact. Yes, indeed.

  5. There’s at least one junior high class photo showing all of us kids dressed like the cast from “That 70’s Show,” because, well, it *was* the 70’s. Yeah, bell bottoms when they were first in. Qiana (or however you spell that) fabric shirts. The hair. The long collars. Funky, man….

    There is probably NOT still a photo of me as a kid with (ahem) a denim leisure suit…that my parents got me…for Christmas one year, I think…and I wore to church and got compliments. (It might have been one of the few times, even as a kid, I ever dressed casually for church.)

    Kmart — Several years ago, Kmart pulled out of Texas and AFAIK, hasn’t been back. We have Target and Walmart/Wal-Mart/WalMart, though. No more Woolworth’s or Kriesge’s (I am sure I’ve got the spelling wrong on that one; it’s been too long). Those two went out, and so did Monkey Wards.

    It is truly a different world these days, for better or for worse. Some of both.

    (You know, actually, those Qiana shirts were OK….)

    There are also photos of me with 80’s hair, feathered in wings, parted down the middle, like every other boy and girl in the 80’s. Oh, yeah.

    Far out, man!

  6. K-Mart was such a big part of my childhood–it was the local store where you could buy everything before grocery stores became supermarkets and that weird new Walmart moved in to the building once occupied by Woolworth’s. Yes, Woolworth’s. But I can still remember the lighting, the dressing rooms, and the Icee stand. The overall beigy-ness of the place.

    That particular K-Mart is still there, but I’m honestly not sure how it’s surviving.

  7. I need to know if I will send up losing the LDB Challenge if I listen to this.

    Same for David W’s video, and tiki love God’s link.

    Really, all Christmas music compilations need to have an LDB warning posted.

  8. Ah, yes…the ‘Beautiful Music’ genre. Still blows my mind that in the 70s, there were actual stations dedicated year-round to this kind of easy listening stuff. [WSRS 96.1 out of Worcester MA was our local one.]

    We had a few K-Marts about 30 or so miles away, but the next town over we had a Mars Bargainland which was a localized version of the department store chain. They used to play the same music, except for that one corner where the ‘audio center’ was. Whoever was manning that area would have something less sleep-inducing on a tape deck. ;)

  9. Oh, wow. That brings back memories of my childhood Christmases in Pensacola, FL. Shopping at all those great old department stores: KMart, TG&Y, Zayre, G.C. Murphy, & W.T. Grant. Our local public radio station, WMEZ-FM, played this kind of Easy Listening music. Fun times.

  10. ’74…my first husband was out of the Navy by then and we’d moved to L.A. I was an underwriter trainee at Occidental Life. There were up to 11 people in our house and only two of us had jobs. I’ve come a long way, baby. What’s weird about “normal” is how gradually it changes, and how much. Anybody else remember Montgomery Ward’s?

  11. Sadly, I can’t listen to it. Somebody named UMG doesn’t like Japan.
    “… blocked in your country on copyright grounds.”

  12. “Attention, Kmart shoppers! That blue light is flashing in our ladies’ wear department, where we’re featuring an additional 50 cents to 2 dollars off our already low, marked-down prices. Please be sure to have your merchandise re-ticketed before leaving blue light area and, as always, thank you for shopping our Kmart.”

    I haven’t worked there for 30 years, and I don’t even have to strain to remember that announcement.

  13. “Security to section 3.” So, this isn’t actually a reel-to-reel that played in a K-Mart in the ’60s or ’70s. It’s a re-creation, using era-appropriate music. Possibly from actual store tapes, possibly not. With tape hiss possibly added for effect.

    I mean, there’s nothing wrong with it. Re-creations are cool. But one of my personal pet peeves is when people post stuff online and try to pass it off as something it’s not. (So, yeah, basically the entire internet.)

    Also, Santa’s not real. It’s just your parents buying you stuff and setting it out while you’re asleep. Spoiler alert.

  14. Actually they included those things (security warnings, etc) on the cassette tapes they used for overhead music. Sam’s Club was doing the same thing as recent as 6 years ago. I was in the same store at the same time over the course of a few months. At roughly the same time a “security please check” announcement would come over the speakers. It was always the same section. Happened so often I started noticing it and actually looked for it.

  15. I’m really enjoying the music! Hopefully that doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with me… (This is not what I remember from kmart/shopping in my childhood though… not soft jazz enough.)

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