If there’s one thing all record collectors have in common, it’s the experience of running into Whipped Cream & Other Delights by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass innumerable times…. like literally, every time you go into a record store you haven’t been to already. If you’re flipping through the A rack or the H rack (different stores do it different ways), then at some point you’re quite likely to flip past the familiar green image of a comely lass (Dolores Erickson is her name) wearing nothing but an impossible quantity of a cream-like substance (it was actually shaving cream, and she was pregnant at the time).
Released in 1965, Whipped Cream & Other Delights was the fourth album Alpert put out, and it was one of the most massive successes of pop music history—which explains its ubiquity in today’s used wax market—everybody’s parents had the fucking thing. (Knowledgeable music fans will know that it appeared on A&M Records, primarily because the “A” in A&M Records stands for “Alpert.”)
According to Wikipedia, more than 6 million copies of the album were sold, and unlike later eras there was no question about what format it appeared in—for many years it was vinyl or nothing…. It’s the National Geographic of albums, every record store owner comes across it all the time. Hell, even Maude in The Big Lebowski owns a copy.
Last week Dave Taylor, who runs Weirdsville Records in Mt. Clemens, Michigan, on the northern edge of Detroit, pulled a funny kind of prank when he decided to switch up the visual look of his store for an hour or two. You can see the results above and below—a full wall of Whipped Cream & Other Delights and Whipped Cream & Other Delights fronting every bin! (Yes, in case you were wondering, the unseen albums in the bins are not all Alpert’s masterpiece, they’re just regular albums.)
Anyone who would name his store Weirdsville and would transform it into a shrine to Herb Alpert is OK by me. I reached out to Taylor and got him to discuss the stunt. His amusing opening salvo went like this: “Every day we get records in. There will be AT LEAST 2 of these in every stack! 9 out of 10 households had this record! It’s a great record and who can’t love this cover?”
One of the most interesting aspects of the display is that Taylor went out of his way to make sure customers understood that the copies are not for sale. Taylor says that he has about 75 copies of the album, and sheepishly admitted that he is “stockpiling the Herb.” A couple years ago DM introduced readers to Rutherford Chang, who is quixotically trying to corner the market in the Beatles’ White Album, and Taylor has seemingly cemented his status as one of the world’s leading Whipped Cream & Other Delights collector—although in this case many used record store proprietors might have a head start in terms of catching up to him!
Well shit, now that we’re here, we may as well put on Alpert’s masterpiece, no?
(Post updated to account for news of Dolores Erickson’s longevity.)
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Blank slate: Hundreds of ‘White Albums’ take up residence in LIverpool art gallery