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