Monday, November 20, 2006

Ad Jingle Pop

The Hellers - Singers, Talkers, Players, Swingers, and Doers

This is some seriously whacked shit. In 1968 or so, a California ad exec figured he should put out an album as a calling card for his business. So he pulled out all the weird tricks he could.

How weird? Consider that this is a mix of sunshine pop, audio verite, early synth, tape effects, and corny humor. Consider that it is a really psychedelic record made by the squarest people imaginable.

The synths are courtesy of Bob Moog, a guy who some of you may have heard of. One of the voices in the chorus is McLean Stevenson, about to become famous as the colonel on MASH and the dad on Hello, Larry.

This is a subtle sort of weird, one whose conceptual wrongness will creep up on you on multiple listens. I wouldn't doubt for a second that there is some subliminal programming in here that makes us susceptible to other Heller Company clients. So be careful with this one.

Hello TBA--

I'm intrigued by the Heller album. Is there any chance you could post some more complete version of the notes? I'm particularly interested if it's Ken Heller, for whom I recorded a strange promotional album in the mid-70s in San Francisco, to generate work for himself, I assume. I didn't think he was in advertising, but more in writing/scoring/producing. Anyway, he spent a boatload of money on his project, recording at Different Fur, one of the premier SF studios of the day, with dozens of musicians including Pst Gleeson playing Moog (a big synth player at the time). If you're interested I could try to get the album to you for uploading; I still have a copy. It's similar to the feeling in your album, though all instrumental. And, of course, it may be just a coincidental name sharing...

Thanks for the post, and so many others!

John Tenney
Hi! I'd download this, but I already have it! That's the first time you've offered an album I've heard of since I've been reading this blog (whch is a great blog, and I should say so more often). Picked up a good copy of this for $1 at a record sale to benefit the local NPR station.
To the first commenter, no this isn't Ken Heller, it's Hugh Heller. He ran a jingle company in L.A. They mostly specialized in jingles for radio and television stations. They made a really awesome package for WNBC New York a few years later, and it had a lot of the same sound (just compacted down to 10, 15 or 30 seconds). Lots of moog, lots of woodwinds, and that kind-of airy, light vocal mix which distinguished his stuff from the more mainstream pop-oriented sound the other companies were producing.
Thanks, DV. You did a lot better than I could have. Glad you've dug the other selections.
wow this album was an absoulute delight. I especially enjoyed the 2nd tune and now the news. Great work throughout thanks for the post
Wanna tell u: Your Vynil RIP are quality!
Thanks for this album! I've had excerpts of 4 of the songs, so it's great to hear them (and the remaining songs) in their entirety. Thanks again!
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