Toronto Mike

My Columbia House Memories


I've always loved music.  Throughout my life, I'd discover new genres, and do a deep dive.

I started as a kid with 50s music and rockabilly.  I loved The Stray Cats, and made Built For Speed the first cassette I purchased on my own.  I then discovered Duran Duran, bought Rio on vinyl, and fell in love with top 40 as heard on 680 CFTR.

As a pre-teen, I was introduced to Billy Idol, and managed to parlay that into Sex Pistols and The Clash.  There was still room in the diet for Top 40, but suddenly I realized there was so much more.

As a teenager, the genre discoveries were fast and furious, and that's where the Columbia House CD Club came into play.  For example, I went through a classic rock phase, and I took advantage of the Columbia House's 7 cds for a penny to flesh out my collection.  I needed Led Zeppelin 4, Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits, The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd and so much more.  I'd whip out my calculator, figure out the least amount of money it would cost me per CD via the club and quit.

I did the same thing when I discovered Heavy Metal.  I'd whip out the old calculator again and sign up for another run.  That's how I got my Ozzy, Motley Crue, AC/DC, Anthrax and Skid Row and Def Leppard.

And lest we forget my deep dive into the world of rap.  Big Daddy Kane, Ice Cube, NWA, Ice-T, Tribe Called Quest, BDP, Run DMC, Beastie Boys, 3rd Bass, Eric B and Rakim and, of course, this Rap Traxx collections.

I was finished with the Columbia House Music Club by the time the 80s wrapped up, and strictly bought my CDs at the Sam the Record Man, HMV or A&A Records at Yonge and Dundas.  I'd go to all three and see which one was charging the least for the disc on my hit list.  In the case of a tie, Sam got my cash.

Columbia House Canada just went under.  I was surprised it was still around.  After 70 years, it's the end of an era.

In the days before CD burning because easy, long before the Internet and Napster, we actually bought our CDs.  A big part of my early collection came from this club.


Were you ever a member of the Columbia House CD club?

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About Toronto Mike
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