The film Animal House, much like the film American Graffiti half a decade earlier, proved to be a windfall for record labels and copyright holders alike as they repackaged and licensed the music of the Fifties and Sixties for a new generation as well as an nostalgic older generation that wanted to relive the good ol' days. This time around on Rush Week, we're taking a look at a few of the as seen on TV frat rock compilations that followed in Animal House's wake.
The first Animal House inspired frat rock compilation was Adam VIII's The Original Toga Party, a two record set that retailed for $7.98 or $9.98 on twin tapes. Twenty-four songs, including several heard in Animal House, that clocked in right around an hour of listening time - slightly longer if you factor in the time spent changing and flipping of the records. The back of the album advertised two other "oldies" collections that weren't quite frat rock, both 40 song triple albums, titled Rock Around The Clock and Rock Is Here to Stay. (Hideaway's first coverage of the Adam VIII label can be found HERE.)
Silver Eagle Records got into the frat rock game with their 1987 compilation, Rockin' Down The Block, available on four records, three cassettes for $21.95 or two compact discs for $26.95. The commercial above is for the 45 song Canadian version of the set; the American version linked to above features 40 songs. If that's not confusing enough, the US version of Rockin' Down The Block was re-branded in 1988 as 1st & Ten - The Party Animal Album, a marketing tie-in for the HBO series 1st & Ten. The less said about the show the better but I picked up the two CDs brand new for $10 from a vendor advertising in Goldmine magazine as having purchased the remaining inventory of the Silver Eagle label after its demise in 1991. (Bought a total of six Silver Eagle compilations at similar bargain prices including this one.) In whatever form, Rockin' Down The Block contains some tried and true frat rock tunes but then adds a few songs from the American Graffiti soundtrack and even a few rockers from the late Sixties and early Seventies. Keeping the theme of confusion going, the artwork below features the front cover art from Rockin' Down The Block (both US CD and the Canadian vinyl) with the rear covers from my 1st & Ten - The Party Animal Album while the Spotify playlist sandwiched in-between the images is the 45 track Canadian version of Rockin' Down The Block.
In 1990, as seen on TV label Sessions (in cahoots with Warner Special Products) got in on the frat rock craze, which was inexplicably on the upswing again. Their four record/two cassette/two CD set 60's Frat Rock features 40 songs - "all original hits by the original artists". Many of the songs appear on the compilations above but a few of the songs did not. Overall, its a stronger collection than the two albums above with more Motown, Atlantic and Stax soul as well as British blues rock from The Kinks, The Yardbirds and The Troggs. Does that make it a better bet for your next toga party? You tell me. You can also find this album as Back to The '60s with the same tracklisting and catalog number.