When did you first hear the word "Bootleg"?

For topics that don't quite fit anywhere else...
User avatar
Lord Reith
Posts: 3794
Joined: Thu Feb 18, 2021 8:22 am
Location: BBC House
Has thanked: 29 times
Been thanked: 1266 times

When did you first hear the word "Bootleg"?

Post by Lord Reith »

I saw the word in tiny print on the very last page of The Beatles: An Illustrated Record. Roy Carr and Tony Tyler devoted so much space in their discography to this subject that it filled exactly three centimetres of column space. I thought, "What the hell is a bootleg?" Their unusual way of putting things didn't help either ("takes two to heavy pet, sings John" :? ) because it read "Save for a few records containing studio outtakes..." which I thought meant to actually save up your money for them. I was happy with the idea of saving my pocket money for studio outtakes, but what the flip was a bootleg, what did it look like, and where was I supposed to get it from?

It was a couple of years before I came across some of those Deccagone singles and the shop owner told me, "Oh that's a bootleg." And, lo, there was Light. :idea:
And if I make it through, it's all because of you
Posts: 19
Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2021 7:55 am

Re: When did you first hear the word "Bootleg"?

Post by BillyPilgrim404 »

At school in 1976 all the other kids around me were into Led Zep, and they used to talk about a "bootleg" called Live on Blueberry Hill. As it happened there was one boy in the class who could get bootlegs, so I asked him if he could get me a Beatles one, and a week or so later he came along with Spicy Beatles Songs in a white cardboard sleeve. It included What's the new Mary Jane. The quality was rubbish so it got one listen and consigned to my collection.
In 1979, studying German, I had to choose a city to go to. Naturally I chose Hamburg (at this point I had never been to Liverpool, despite it being 30 miles away). There on the Fish Market I came across the Decca sessions with the absolutely wonderful alternate history of the initial chart success of all the singles. The quality was this time excellent.

Recently my daughter asked me what a bootleg was. She understood the concept with CDs, because they are easy to duplicate. It blew her mind though that people produced vinyl boots.
User avatar
Posts: 961
Joined: Mon Apr 19, 2021 6:31 am
Has thanked: 36 times
Been thanked: 116 times

Re: When did you first hear the word "Bootleg"?

Post by mojofilter »

1973 or 1974, at Flash Jack's Head Shop on Yonge Street above Dundas in Toronto. They used to have a back room outfitted with black lights and posters, and it was far out, man! On the way out, you walked the length of the display counter where they kept all the serious hardware, and there was a box of albums on a chair. They all had white sleeves and minimum printing on them. I asked if I could have a look. It was full of albums of music by bands I'd heard of, but weren't really into. Groups like Yes, and Genesis, and Atomic Rooster, and Jimi Hendrix, and hey, what's this, The Beatles!! They had titles I'd never heard of before, so I left with five or six bootlegs, seven bucks each. One of them was Renaissance Minstrels, one was called More From The Fab Four, which I seem to remember as live. One was Sweet Apple Trax in the 2LP in the black gatefold sleeve on Newsound 909-1, one was a 2LP Vancouver, another was a 2LP Sam Houston Coliseum, one was Spicy Beatles Songs. And now, there's all this...
Eye. Eyesore a girl in my dreams.
Fast lucky
Posts: 1125
Joined: Mon Sep 13, 2021 6:30 pm
Has thanked: 83 times
Been thanked: 864 times

Re: When did you first hear the word "Bootleg"?

Post by Fast lucky »

Hi Hi Hi lyrics ... ;)
User avatar
Posts: 428
Joined: Sun Feb 21, 2021 4:57 pm
Has thanked: 89 times
Been thanked: 11 times

Re: When did you first hear the word "Bootleg"?

Post by MrMurphMcgee »

Same for me. The Beatles: An Illustrated Record Was where I first saw the word and I was instantly obsessed with finding them. Then photos in the DelBuono book, The Beatles: A Collection. I think I found my first after that. I devoured the book You Can’t Do That as well
User avatar
Posts: 3135
Joined: Sat May 01, 2021 1:02 pm
Has thanked: 122 times
Been thanked: 310 times

Re: When did you first hear the word "Bootleg"?

Post by yymca6 »

1969 some times before I bought LIVE’R than you’ll ever be and Get Back To Toronto, then the Kustom Records fake Live At Shea
Last edited by yymca6 on Sun Aug 07, 2022 2:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Posts: 696
Joined: Wed Feb 17, 2021 2:29 pm
Has thanked: 243 times
Been thanked: 435 times

Re: When did you first hear the word "Bootleg"?

Post by 20YearsAgo »

The first time I heard the word "bootleg" would've been in association with illegally distilled whiskey and "moonshine" during the US prohibition era of the 1920s. Plenty of books, movies, and tv shows made reference to that period.

The line in "Hi Hi Hi" never really struck out to me until much later, I suppose. I would've been about 8 when the song came out. Although it hit #10 in the US charts, the radio stations I was allowed to listen to didn't play it.

Instead, the first time I consciously heard the word "bootleg" in association with recorded music was in January 1978. Does anyone remember the US sitcom "What's Happening?" In one episode, the high school kids on that show interviewed The Doobie Brothers. When asked what they hated most in life, the band tell the kids, "bootlegs." They defined bootlegs as poorly-taped cassette recordings made at concerts by unscrupulous fans that are then pressed onto really crappy lo-fi vinyl and sold to an unsuspecting public. Honestly, the way they described bootlegs made me never want to touch them!

The kicker is, in the next episode, scary criminals coerce one of those same high school kids to bring a tape recorder into a Doobies' show and record it so they can turn it into a crappy bootleg. Which is sad, because of course they kid by this point has become the Doobies' best friend. Of course, this being family-hour network TV in the 1970s, the kid is discovered, shamed, willingly rats on the criminals that had him bootleg the show, and all is happy ever after in his life.
Posts: 115
Joined: Thu Mar 18, 2021 3:17 pm

Re: When did you first hear the word "Bootleg"?

Post by tdgrnwld »

Not sure. Around 1971, my music-obsessed friend (who was named, somewhat coincidentally, Andy White) took me to a Washington, DC, shop that had a couple of small bins of bootlegs — Beatles, Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, if my memory hasn't been corrupted by the lore. He called them "underground records." I bought Get Back to Toronto with my scrimped-and-saved allowance, loved it, and was eager to hear more. Maybe a year later, I visited the boardwalk at Ocean City, Maryland, which was awash in pirate 8-tracks and some bootleg LPs. I remember seeing Dylan's Great White Wonder there, and I bought Neil Young's Rock Mountain Review — another ear-opener, as it included then-unreleased songs as well as a rendition of "Sugar Mountain" in which Uncle Neil tells a funny story about each verse). Around that time, I met a guy who lent me L.S. Bumblebee, which utterly mystified me. I probably first heard the word "bootleg" from him.
Last edited by tdgrnwld on Sun Aug 07, 2022 3:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Posts: 295
Joined: Thu May 19, 2022 6:42 pm
Has thanked: 4 times
Been thanked: 22 times

Re: When did you first hear the word "Bootleg"?

Post by Gringo557 »

It was right after seeing my first concert, Bob Dylan & The Band at Oakland Coliseum in February of 1974. (I was later to learn that this was one of the last shows of the tour—no wonder!) My friend (who brought me to the show) later gave me a Dylan bootleg. It really blew my mind that recordings this good were not being released. The two songs of mention are "I Was Young When I Left Home" ("I sorta made it up on a train . . .") and that beautiful piano demo of "I'll Keep It With Mine." I still have all my bootleg vinyl, mostly Beatles and Dylan . . . and it sure was tons of fun collecting them, I learned a lot!
Posts: 342
Joined: Sun Mar 07, 2021 9:19 pm
Has thanked: 12 times
Been thanked: 10 times

Re: When did you first hear the word "Bootleg"?

Post by zaval80 »

I actually "enjoyed" one before I was aware of the very notion. A friend passed "European Tour 1970" by the Stones on TMOQ (I'm not sure now) for me to copy. This I did, choosing the slowest speed of my reel-to-reel, 4+ ips (albums I recorded on 9+ ips). That was my first Stones LP as well. The sound was horrible, like the Stones played from the toilet bowl :lol: though it's not like it threw me off much. Prepared me for much, much later encounters with the quality of other forbidden fruits.

I must say the hissy quality of the first CD issue of Iron Butterfly's IAGDV album (which was supposed to be - by stoopid me - if not purrfect, than simply quite good) enraged me way, way more than that of the classic Stones boot.
Post Reply