The First Family (1962)

The biggest recording artist in America in 1962: a comedian named Vaughn Meader. An impressionist and nightclub performer, Meader’s The First Family was released in October 1962. It’s a very gentle satire of President John F. Kennedy and young, glamorous family, lampooning the kookiness of what it must be like to be the “First Family.” It was recorded live, written and led by Meader, whose JFK impression is spot-on. (Naomi Brossart’s slow, breathy Jackie is crazy funny, too.)

The album was an instant smash, cashing in on both America’s burgeoning Kennedy obsession and the urbane comedy of the early ’60s. By Christmas, just two months after release, it had sold a million copies. A year later, it had sold 7.5 million, the bestselling album ever at that point. Sales almost completely stopped after Kennedy was assassinated, and Meader’s career was effectively over.(In a gig the day after Kennedy’s death, Lenny Bruce opened with the line, “Man, Vaughn Meader is screwed.

Despite how the Internet tells me that copies of this are to be found at every Goodwill in the country, I’ve never found one. Thankfully, YouTube user “Audriene” has posted the audio on YouTube.

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Brian Boone

From the middle of nowhere in the Pacific Northwest, I contribute to the Retroist, write for trivia publications, and blog about music in a humorous fashion. I feel about "Back to the Future" the way you feel about "Star Wars." Also, I'm married and have a child (sorry ladies, orphans).

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