In the 1970s, many young listeners learned of new music through the K-tel Records compilations, like an early success: K-tel 20 Power Hits.
In the late 1960s, K-tel saw the possibility of a new way of marketing music and released its first compilation, 25 Country Hits under K-tel Records.
The company had been focused on selling a wide range of items through television commercials, but mainly kitchen gadgets, like the Veg-o-matic and Feather Touch Knife.
Selling its initial pressing, the company realized that many people wanted to hear the hits from radio on their own stereo.
Consequent successes included polka and pop music, and in 1973, K-tel released 20 Power Hits, its first rock ‘n’ roll compilation album. With each album, K-tel negotiated with directly with artists and labels for the song.
The album, like what had been done before, was marketed with television commercials and focused on the tag line “20 Original Hits! 20 Original Stars!” focusing viewers on the well-known aspect of each song.
The compilation included Elton John (Crocodile Rock, Rocket Man), Cliff Richard (Power to All Our Friends, Free (Wishing Well), Deep Purple (Woman from Tokyo), Cat Stevens (Can’t Keep It In) and Daniel Boone (Skydiver, Sunshine Lover) as well as songs from Kincaid, Wizzard, The Windows, Chris Montez and Albert West.
At a time when only albums featuring one musician or band was the norm, compilations became a newfangled option that spawned an entire industry helmed by K-tel Records.