Reader’s Digest Records

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Everyone is probably familiar with the publication Reader’s Digest. I know we always had them in our household growing up. I would hazard a guess that these magazines were a staple in most American households.

My grandmother also had a collection of Reader’s Digest condensed books. I never read any of them, most likely I was too young to be interested at that time.

But what I do remember well is our collection of Reader’s Digest LP collections. I looked tonight to see if I could find the records we had and Voila! I found several for sale on eBay. The collection I remember was “Popular Songs That Will Live Forever”.

The only record in this collection that I really listened to was the 10th album in the set: Songs That Will Live Forever which included the following songs:

  • Side By Side
  • Stephen Foster Medley
  • My Blue Heaven
  • Heart of My Heart
  • Till We Meet Again
  • The Band Played On
  • In the Good Old Summer Time
  • Let Me Call You Sweetheart
  • Down by the Old Mill Stream
  • Shine On Harvest Moon
  • Bye Bye Blackbird
  • The World Is Waiting for the Sunrise
  • All Alone
  • Always
  • Auld Lang Syne
  • Good Night Sweetheart

I have the words to every song committed to memory. My favorite has to be “My Blue Heaven” because of my grandfather. He told me a story about a man he used to work with when he worked for the railroad. This song was this man’s favorite and evidently he sang this song all the time. If I remember the story correctly, he was killed in a crane accident and my grandfather had been the crane operator.

I was a child, but my grandfather always told me to remember this man and how much he loved that song. I always have. I think my grandfather must have carried extreme sadness over his death and this was his way of keeping a little of him alive. I wish I had known his name.

I like this version because the tempo is closest to what I remember.

19 thoughts on “Reader’s Digest Records”

  1. My parents used to get the Reader’s Digest magazines, and later the ‘Condensed Books’ too. Those books actually made me want to read the full versions of many of those featured.
    Bur we never bought any of their records, as my Dad worked in that industry, and could get any album we ever wanted.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It was mentioned on some old blog posts about my youth. He went to work as a record salesman for Pye Records in 1960. They also distributed Blue Note and Reprise, so had The Kinks and Frank Sinatra, a very mixed catalogue. He later became an A&R man, touring with bands signed to the label in the UK, like James Brown, Doris Troy, and The Everly Brothers.
        In the early 1970s, he became sales manager of Philips Records in Britain, then later took over as the manager of the record and electrical department of a big department store group. But he left my Mum in 1976, and I didn’t see him after that.


  2. My aunt had all the RD condensed books. We thought she was the most erudite person because she’d read all the bestsellers. I don’t remember any LPs from RD, though. Hmm… 🤔

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  3. Great memories. So, I wonder if you can look in newspaper archives from the town where it happened? Such a terrible burden for your Grandfather to carry.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Nancy, those types of accidents were so common for the early railroad and bridge builders that most were never written about. At best it would say ‘a man died’ and without knowing his name or where it happened, I would not know where to begin.


    1. He knew what he was doing, for I have never forgotten. When I wrote this blog, I asked my daughter who would remember once I was gone, and she said, “I will, mom.”

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  4. my parents subscribed to readers digest. i grew up reading them but not as diligently as they did. 🙂 your grandfather was very thoughtful. 🙂

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  5. My paternal grandparents had a huge compendium of Reader’s Digest books in their house in Redding, California.

    My grandmother was the reader, I think; I took a great number of her books when my Dad and his wife moved her to Austin for her final decade or so.

    Those books were filled with newspaper clippings of book reviews, etc. — many of them special, especially Herb Caen columns from the San Francisco Chronicle. I knew him from graduate school day in the Bay Area; he had a LONG career.

    Thanks for reminding me of Reader’s Digest!

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  6. I never knew that story about your grandfather. It’s amazing how much music can connect you to people and events. Happy AND sad. Music will forever be the universal language in my eyes ( and love). ♥️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I cannot believe there was a story about my life that I never told you! Music and love, yes, a magical combination.


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