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Hip-Pocket Records

The Hip-Pocket Record was introduced by Philco, the electronics division of the Ford Motor Company in the US in 1967.

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41 Hip-Pocket Records were issued from 1967 to 1968, the first two being Tommy James & The Shondells releases licensed from Roulette.

Sold for 68 cents and available through FW Woolworth or direct from Ford dealerships, Hip-Pocket discs were slightly smaller in size than an LP label: 12 cm in diameter and manufactured on paper-thin black plastic.

With just one song on each side, they could only be used on a single-play record player such as a Dansette Junior – basically, any system that didn’t automatically return the tone arm at the end. Several companies manufactured a tiny battery-powered deck especially for playing the discs.

A label on one side would bear all the info – the artist, song titles and label credits – while the flipside had no label at all.

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The discs came in 20cm x 15cm sleeves that showed a photograph of the artist, reinforced by a stiffer piece of card. Some would list enticing purchase incentives on the rear: “they will outlast a regular 45” . . . “25 to 50 hip pocket records can be carried in pocket or purse” . . . “drop them or sit on them . . . they are almost indestructible.”

The song pairings on Hip-Pocket Records usually bore little relationship to singles already issued by the artists – although the Neil Diamond releases (licensed from Bang) duplicated previous A and B side combinations.

Most Hip-Pocket pairings simply threw together two previous hits, licensing the songs from the bigger indie labels such as Atlantic, Mercury and Vanguard.

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For a short period, Philco faced competition from Americom Corporation, who produced Pocket Discs that undercut their rivals, selling at 50 cents. Though their plain sleeves lacked the visual appeal of Philco’s Hip-Pocket releases, Americom could boast The Beatles as additions to their roster.

Philco responded to the threat by dropping their retail price to 39 cents and offering customers a random selection of five Hip-Pocket releases when purchasing one of their miniature radio-phonographs.

The discs have not accrued any great monetary value over the years. The most valuable, The Box Tops’ The Letter/Happy Times will still only fetch $20 (£12), while it would be unusual to pay more than $10 (£5) for any other Near Mint pressings.

Complete Hip-Pocket Discography

HP-1 Tommy James & The Shondells Mirage/I Think We’re Alone Now
HP-2 Tommy James & The Shondells Hanky Panky/Gettin’ Together
HP-3 Sam The Sham Ju Ju Hand/Wooly Bully
HP-4 Mitch Ryder Jenny Take A Ride/Sock It To Me Baby
HP-5 Neil Diamond Girl You’ll Be A Woman Soon/Cherry Cherry
HP-6 The McCoys Hang On Sloopy/Fever
HP-7 The Happenings Go Away Little Girl/See You In September
HP-8 Sonny & Cher I Got You Babe/The Beat Goes On
HP-9 The Doors Light My Fire/Break On Through
HP-10 The Five Americans Western Union/Sounds Of Love
HP-11 Wilson Pickett Land Of 1,000 Dances/In The Midnight Hour
HP-12 Percy Sledge When A Man Loves A Woman/Baby Help Me
HP-13 Otis Redding Shake/Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa 
HP-14 The Buckinghams Kind Of A Drag/Lawdy Miss Clawdy
HP-15 Arthur Conley Sweet Soul Music/You Don’t Have To See Me
HP-16 Van Morrison Brown-Eyed Girl/Midnight Special
HP-17 Neil Diamond You Got To Me/Solitary Man
HP-18 The Young Rascals A Girl Like You/I’ve Been Lonely Too Long
HP-19 Spanky & Our Gang Making Every Minute Count/Bird Avenue
HP-20 Keith 98.6/Ain’t Gonna Lie
HP-21 Lesley Gore You Don’t Own Me/That’s The Way The Boys Are
HP-22 Jay & The Techniques Apples, Peaches, Pumpkin Pie/Loving For Money
HP-23 The Fallen Angels  Room At The Top/Most Children Do
HP-24 Aretha Franklin  Respect/Soul Serenade
HP-25 John Fred & His Playboy Band  Judy In Disguise/No Letter Today
HP-26 The Seeds  Pushin’ Too Hard/Can’t Seem To Make You Mine
HP-27 The Box Tops The Letter/Happy Time
HP-28 James & Bobby Purify  I’m Your Puppet/Goodness Gracious
HP-29 Syndicate Of Sound  Little Girl/Rumors
HP-30 The Shirelles  Soldier Boy/My Heart Belongs To You
HP-31 Etta James  Tell Mama/Security
HP-32 The Dells  There Is/Show Me
HP-33 Bo Diddley  I’m A Man/Song Of Bo Diddley
HP-34 Chuck Berry  Maybelline/Roll Over Beethoven
HP-35 Country Joe & The Fish  Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine/Masked Marauder
HP-36 Joan Baez  There But For Fortune/Pack Up Your Sorrows
HP-37 The Rooftop Singers  Walk Right In/Tom Cat
HP-38 Brenton Wood  Gimme Little Sign/Oogum Boogum
HP-39 The Fantastic Johnny C  Boogaloo Down Broadway/Got What You Need
HP-40 Brenda & The Tabulations  Dry Your Eyes/When You’re Gone
HP-41 The Isley Brothers  Twist and Shout/Rubberleg Twist

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