Hit of the Week Records was a record label based in the United States of America in the early 1930s. Distinctively, "Hit of the Week"s were made not of shellac as was usual for gramophone record of the era, but of a patented blend of paper and resin called Durium. A related label in the United Kingdom was called Durium Records.
"Hit of the Week" was an attempt to produce a product for the tighter budgets of customers during the Great Depression. The label debuted in February 1930. Unlike other records, it was sold at news-stands, not record stores. As the name implied, new records came out at the rate of one eachweek. Retailing at 15 cents each, "Hit of the Week"s were the cheapest new record available. The unusual Durium material helped set the "Hit of the Week"s apart. Other than a tendency to have a low-frequency rumble, audio fidelity was equal to or better than the usual records of the time. Also unusual, "Hit of the Week"s were pressed with music on only one side of the disc, a practice most other labels had abandoned a generation earlier, and they were issued in very flimsy rice-paper sleeves, few of which have survived. Some editions of "Hit of the Week" contained explanatory text or the artist's portrait printed on the flat back of the disc.
"Hit of the Week Records" were initially very successful. By the summer of 1930, up to half a million copies of each week's record were produced to fill demand. However as the Depression became even worse, sales of even the inexpensive "Hit of the Week"s slumped. In March 1931 the company went into receivership. In May of that year they were purchased by the Irwin Wasey Advertising Agency. New "Hit of the Week" records debuted in August, now with two songs or dance tunes on each single-sided disc, with five minutes of total playing time. However, as the economy continued to contract, the label was unable to turn a profit (the price was raised to 20 cents by April), and the last "Hit of the Week"s were produced in June 1932.
The advertising industry continued to make limited use of "Durium" records, mostly for advertising novelties, through the 1930s (these were 5" and as small as 3" advertising records; many specimens are found with a mailing address and postage on the reverse side).
Among popular artists of the time who recorded for "Hit of the Week Records" were Gene Austin, Duke Ellington (as Harlem Hot Chocolates), Eddie Cantor, Morton Downey, and Rudy Vallee.
Here's as many as I could muster together...
(Oh, and all these pics are from the Hit of The Week Durium Project blogspot: http://hitoftheweek.blogspot.com/ an excellent and highly recommended site.)
Tip Toe Thru The Tulips-Don Voorhees Orch. 1929
Through-Bert Lown 1930
Hello baby-Bert Lown 1930
My Fate Is In Your Hands-Vincent Lopez 1930
My Sweeter Than Sweet-Vincent Lopez 1930
I'm following you-Ben Pollack 1930
Crying for the Carolines-Ben Pollack 1930
There's danger in your eyes-Vincent Lopez 1930
Congratulations-Bert Lown 1930
University of Maine stein song-Hotel Pennsylvania Music 1930
With you-Statler Pennsylvanians 1930
University of Maine stein song-Statler Pennsylvanians 1930
A cottage for sale-New York Twelve 1930
Lazy 'Lou'siana moon-Jan Garber 1930
Sing you sinners-Harlem Hot Chocolates 1930
St. James Infirmary-Harlem Hot Cholcolates 1930
Springtime in the Rockies-Vincent Lopez 1930
Song without a name-Phil Spitalny's Music 1930
Give yourself a pat on the back-Phil Spitalny's Music 1930
Mysterious Mose-Bobby Dixon 1930
Song of the dawn-Phil Spitalny's Music 1930
If I had a girl like you-Phil Spitalny's Music 1930
Across the breakfast table-Bert Hirsch 1930
Ro-ro-rolling along-Bert Hirsch 1930
Dancing with tears in my eyes-Bert Hirsch 1930
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