Chu-Bops (click here for a custom Spotify playlist) were at the right place at the right time. Never heard of them? They were small 3x3 cardboard sleeves that resembled (down to the tiniest detail) record albums.
This was just when compact discs were emerging. Out from 1980–1983, they included a record-album shaped piece of bubble gum, the same type you got in baseball cards. (And I loved that gum! I never could understand why some guys would toss it when we went and got baseball cards. “Can I have your gum” was a regular question of mine, and I never got cavities, either.
Artists included The Knack (!), ABBA, Journey, Blondie, Benatar, Charlie Daniels, Rush, Little River Band, and many others.
I worked at a Terrace Park, Ohio convenience store off and on for a few years from 1979–1981 or so, and we had these displays on the front counter. I was also just getting into radio, working one night per week answering the request lines at the top rated station in town- I’d stay there (doing more than the request line) for 13 years, 1980–1993.
I was fascinated by these little slices of marketing- they were just like their big-brother LPs. MTV started in April of 1981, so the Chu-Bops line took full advantage of that, licensing video-friendly artists like Gary Numan and The Police. You even got the lyrics to songs.
Made by a company called Amurol, which sounded like Armor All to me, the line discontinued in 1983, (Sigh- but what about that next Knack album??) but I always have a soft spot in my heart for these. Trade ‘Em! Collect ‘Em! New Albums Coming Soon!