Sheffield direct to discs, Fresh Aire, Pink Floyd, any MFSL, and any
Nautilus release were used on a daily basis in the 1970's and early 1980's
where I worked.
Never worked in one but I remember sales guys always pulling out Audio Alchemy, whoever the hell that is. I would ask, "got any real music?"
At one point when I was spending a lot of time auditioning speakers it seemed as if every store I went into pulled out Jennifer Warnes' "The Hunter" and played "Somewhere, Somebody." That happened six or seven times.
At some point later, after settling on speakers, I burned a demo CD with which to torture my friends and it started with "Somewhere, Somebody."
I worked at Lafayette Radio, TEch Hifi and Radio Shack at various points in my early years.
Here are teh recordings that I found most successful in selling systems back then:
1) JEff Wayne's "War of the Worlds". Most successful demo record overall. I used this on a system in front of the Radio Shack mall store playing into the mall area on the best system I could set up there and it attracted customers like flies.
2) Kraftwerk's "The Man Machine" also a big customer attraction
3) At TEch Hifi, we got the most mileage out of Steely Dan's Aja and Pink FLoyd's "The Wall".
4) At Lafayette, I used Spinozza by David Spinozza, Eric Clapton's Slowhand, Misfits by The Kinks, Grease and Saturday Night Fever soundtracks, and Octave by The Moody BLues to good effect.
It's funny, but I also recall that "Audio Alchemy", "The Hunter" and "Fresh Aire" (three of the first names mentioned here) were omnipresent demo discs at the hi-fi stores that I (always on the buy side) visited. Also Angela Bofill and, somewhat later, Rachelle Ferrell (sic?) were very common choices. I'll file this thread under Memory Lane, since demos at Audio salons have largely become things of the past.
I have an early Audio Alchemy CD. Nice recording! Music is not bad when in the right mood. A little bland for the masses though.
Audio Alchemy....what a perfect thing to demo with in a high end audio salon......where audio alchemy often rules!!
Jean Michel Jarre, "Oxygene" "Equinoxe"
I lived in DC when I got started in this mess (mid 1980s) and I remember going to Excaliber in Alexandria with a freshly printed copy of Jennifer Warnes "Famous Blue Raincoat" LP to hear a CJ PV7 I had the hots for. The salesperson, who had never seen the album before, thought it sounded so bad he wanted to take it off the turntable and put on some "audiophile" music instead. I left scratching my head wondering why we perceived the sound quality of the recording so differently. A few months later FBR was one of the most popular LPs the salons were playing to demo their gear.
I worked at Audio Assoc. and AudioKrafters in the late 70s, early 80s. We used a lot of Telarc discs, Sheffields, Nautilus, and even a Yamaha demo disc. The Yamaha disc was surprisingly good.
Some "popular" music we used was Dan Fogelberg and Tim Weisberg's "Twin Sons of Different Mothers", Steely Dan's "Aja" and "Countdown to Ecstasy", MFSL's "DSOTM", Virgil Fox organ discs, "Jazz At The Pawnshop" (yawn!), and MFSL's Al Stewart "Year Of The Cat". Also Poco's "Legend" sounded very good...
I worked for a large mid-fi, some high end stuff like KEF. Monitor Audio, Ariston etc as a part-timer in the early 80"s in Germany.
Steeley Dan's Aja was IT ! "The Wall" a distant second.
I carried a Schubert cassette in my pocket and used it when boss wasn't around . Worked for me.
Sound Chamber, early 80s. My personal demos were MFSL DSOTM, , ARS Musica Brandenburg Concertos on DCM Time Window, DiMeola's Elegant Gypsy, Police Ghost in the Machine, DG of Beethoven's 5th, CBS Masterworks of the 9th, Drum Disk, Track Record and Harry James Sheffields. Store demos were MFSL Finger Paintings, MFSL Year of the Cat, Riki Lee Jones on Nautilus, Kim Carnes on Nautilus, Jethro Tull Aqualung, Bowie Ziggy Stardust. No CDs; hadn't been introduced yet. Did have a very early Sony PCM deck that used small video cassettes, no pre-recorded material for it. One of our guys worked with Duke Jupiter and made a demo with it. Meh.
Never worked in a store, but the darlings were "Midnight Sugar", which is everything wrong with demo records rolled into one, and the Charlie Byrd Crystal Clear direct disc record with the drum solo on side 2. Not a half bad record.
I have a close friend who worked at a store in Omaha during the late-70's that was selling GAS equipment along with Phase Linear. There were always the Sheffield dierct-to-disc records, as well as Manheim Steamroller. But the one that got the most mileage was the opening to Close Encounters Of The Third Kind. They were demonstrating the Phase Linear Andromeda speaker system that used the dual down firing subwoofer. The slow build up to the ascending climax and "bass whomp" that quickly dissipated left everyone speechless after having been overcome by the pants-flapping low end and the physicality of the what they just experienced.