HERNDON, VA–The record collection of area parents Donald and Peggy Schnell is "totally hilarious," son Andrew Schnell, 16, reported Monday.
"Dude, check this one out," Andrew told friend Ben Witt, holding a copy of the Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass LP Whipped Cream & Other Delights. "Is that the funniest thing you've ever seen, or what?"
The teens accidentally stumbled across the record collection while searching for a long-rumored bottle of brandy in the Schnell family den. The collection proved a treasure trove of comic fodder, featuring such artists as The New Christy Minstrels, The Fifth Dimension, Helen Reddy, Tony Orlando & Dawn, Jo Ann Castle, The Carpenters, Glen Campbell, Arthur Fiedler & The Boston Pops, John Denver, Boots Randolph, and Ferrante & Teicher.
Music and pop-culture experts agree that the Schnell record collection is one of the most hilarious in the country today.
"At turns atrocious, tasteless, tepid, and self-parodying, the Schnell discography is a perfect encapsulation of the listening tastes of the American bourgeoisie in the mid- to late 20th century, as well as a knee-slappingly hilarious compendium of misguided trends in popular music," said Lydia Dreifort, director of the Alan Lomax Center For American Ethnomusicology in Oxford, MS. "Can you believe they actually own Neil Diamond's Jonathan Livingston Seagull?"
"I greatly look forward to having the chance to examine it firsthand," Dreifort said of the collection, which not only features Hooked On Classics, but Hooked On Swing and Hooked On Broadway. "The exquisite squareness of the music is truly something to behold."
Donald Schnell, 55, said the collection began in November 1968, when, shortly after marrying the former Peggy Peavy, he purchased a hi-fi stereo.
"We figured since we had this nice new stereophonic hi-fi, we should have some records to play on it," Donald said. "I've always been a real music lover, and I just started buying everything from Henry Mancini to Mitch Miller."
"Oh, I know we still have all those records in the den, but I haven't listened to them in years," Peggy said. "I sometimes listen to classical music on the public radio station, but mostly I listen to that one AM talk station."
Dreifort said that while the Schnells' zest for music acquisition is not unusual for people their age, the jaw-dropping banality of their holdings is.
"In the 30 or so years since they purchased their first record, Donald and Peggy have witnessed countless stylistic revolutions in American popular music," Dreifort said. "But somehow, every single one of these changes managed to elude them, as they steadily filled their den with Percy Faith and Up With People records. I cannot tell you why these particular musical selections held such aesthetic appeal for them; further research is warranted. But one thing is certain: The Schnells, God bless them, must have ears of the purest tin."