"Crest Presents: Great Contemporary Music" was a promotional album released sometime in the late 1960s by Columbia Records. It is a 33 1/3 Extended Play record featuring four songs by four recording artists. I can't find an official name for this record, it has "great contemporary music" in a "psychedelic" font on the front, but while the name "Crest Presents" is not on it, that was the sponsoring entity.

free when you buy Crest family size

Crest is proud to present this special music offer to you

CREST is now available in 2 flavors--Mint and Regular. Both contain the special fluoride, Fluoristan(R), which helps fight cavities.

This is one of those promotional items that doesn't really tie into the product being promoted. None of the four songs are about oral hygiene. Instead, we have:

  1. Gary Puckett & The Union Gap: Believe Me
  2. The New Christy Minstrels: Can You Do The Can-Can
  3. Jerry Vale: That Girl Would Be So Pretty
  4. Moby Grape: Can't Be So Bad

The term "contemporary music" is pretty broad. Gary Puckett was a pop musician who is now played on Oldies radio. The New Christy Minstrels were a folk revival band, who had been popular more than five years before this came out, and here play what amounts to a novelty song. Jerry Vale was an Italian-American crooner, a la Frank Sinatra, who was very popular in the 1950s but by the late 1960s was probably not exactly what the kids were into. Moby Grape was a wildly innovative psychedelic rock group who never received wide recognition due to what could be called "management issues". This runs quite a gamut, and I am guessing that in the late 1960s, the Venn diagram of people who liked Jerry Vale and Moby Grape was pretty small.

It is kind of difficult to guess how something like this was made. Since a little cursory research shows that Gary Puckett and Moby Grape had problems with their contracts, I am guessing that for them (and perhaps the other groups), they perhaps had contracts where they didn't have much control of their material, leading to the record label being able to use "inventory" material for promotional albums like this.

I also wonder what distribution was like on the consumer side. This record came free with Crest toothpaste, but there is no indication if it was an in-store giveaway, or if the toothpaste purchaser had to mail in a proof of purchase. In the first scenario, I am bedevilled by images of a man (perhaps a "square") attempting to buy a tube of normal-sized Crest at a pharmacy, before the pharmacist dangles the record of Great Contemporary Music in front of his face, and suggests, with some urgency, that if he buys the larger size of toothpaste, he could walk out with the music of Moby Grape. "Haha", our theoretical 60s pharmacy goer says "Moby Grape? What will the kids think up next? But sure, I will pay a whole extra dime for this great contemporary music!" and then he goes home and gets his mind blown by the Moby Grape song, which is actually pretty good.

There is a joke about the 1960s: if you can remember them, you probably weren't there. And this EP is proof of that: people's memories of the shocking and daring 60s involve cool music festivals in wild places, and not so much easy listening music presented by tooth paste companies. This is a cheesy side of the 1960s that people have forgotten.

This record was actually part of a three record set, with the others featuring country and western music, and showtunes. I also have the country and western record, and could review it, if people so desired.

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