Jackie Gleason's ''A Lover's Portfolio'' presented music in a brand new way

You might find, someday, that succeeding in your field of work stops being exciting. That's where hobbies come in. As humans, sometimes we find it incredibly satisfying to pursue and succeed at something that has nothing to do with our jobs.

You might write for a living and feel a passion for bocce ball. You might be a politician and find that longboarding makes your heart soar. Or maybe you're a famous actor who has conquered everything in his field and is now looking to spread his artistic wings into other areas of expertise. That was the case for Jackie Gleason, a comedy great who, rather than rest on his laurels, decided to try for a second career in music as well.

As a reader, you might be shocked to learn that Jackie Gleason's 1952 musical debut, Music for Lovers Only, still holds the record for the longest stay on the Billboard Top Ten Charts.

In the decade that followed his first album, Gleason released a total of thirty additional records. By 1961, he was an industry pro and even innovated in the way his albums were presented and distributed. For his album that year, "A Lover's Portfolio," Gleason released a completely unique package for music fans everywhere. According to the Lafayette, Indiana Journal and Courier, the Capitol Records release consisted of "two LPs in a black leather-like box portfolio with a handle for easy carrying." That's a lot more involved than you might expect for an album of music released by a comedian.

Jackie Gleason's "A Lover's Portfolio" was a quasi-concept album, divided into three distinct sections, named "Sippin'," "Listenin'," and "Lovin'," with listeners encouraged to participate in each activity throughout. 

In addition to the album's clever packaging, the release included a 12-page booklet with further instructions for maximum listening pleasure. Gleason provided specific instructions to set the mood along with the music, and listeners were directed to prepare wine and exotic mixed drinks over poetry readings.

"One of these days, Alice, one of these days... I'll prepare a tender evening for strangers to connect, and I'll provide them with sensitive encouragement to ensure their night together is memorable."

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