Well, if stuff got too popular – you knew it because other kids at school talked about it. I had my brother and sisters to help me listen. What records were in our house? Had I heard them? Did any of them mean anything to me?
I watched The Beatles on TV with my family. No problem. My brother played me Rolling Stones records – no problem. I could see what was being sold in Cal Store, The Treasury, White Front, Zody’s…what was too popular?
About 1968 or 1969, I distinctly remember a lot of overkill on Steppenwolf. With the two big hit singles (“Born To Be Wild” and “Magic Carpet Ride”) they were all over AM radio. Their records were available anywhere I was looking at records. There were not any Steppenwolf Records in my home, however. Not cool enough? A choice got made – I did not buy any Steppenwolf records, 45’s or LP’s.
In 2010, I own a couple of them – I found a lovely German copy of their “Best of” LP, and I own a “Millennium Collection” CD now. I’d even buy either of the aforementioned hit 45’s, if I ever found mint ones for under $1. I remembering a guy down the street playing me “Ballcrusher” from “Steppenwolf 7”, heh heh heh.
But in the early 70’s, I developed a habit of finishing with stuff early; as something got popular, I tended to shy away from it. You know what I’m talking about – Black Sabbath, but only up to “Master of Reality”; Jethro Tull, but only up to “Living in the Past”; Genesis, but only up to “Selling England By The Pound”; Yes, but only up to “Fragile” etc. I just didn’t stick with anything that got too much attention from the masses – written about too much, on the radio too much, in the hippie record stores too much etc.
Well, I wanted imported pressings of records – they looked nicer, and were usually of high quality. I didn’t get to travel outside of the U.S. until 1979, so my quest for imports was limited to what was available to me here in the greater L.A. area – and somewhat limited by my scope of knowledge of music.
If the 70’s were ushered in with me wanting German music, by the mid-70’s, I wanted almost anything European. If it’s not in English, I was interested! But even in that strata, my inclinations worked against me: If it’s too easily available, it might not be ‘of interest’.
By the end of the 70’s – all that changed. There was so much new stuff coming along, I just had to try a few things that looked good, irrespective of if they were popular or too popular. However, I was never attracted to the Sex Pistols, due to their common nature; I quickly tired of Duran Duran; I once again shy’d away from things ‘too popular’. Good and proper, until the 90’s – then I just almost quit listening to anything that I didn’t already know!