Thursday, July 30, 2015

Even More Outrageous Conduct By Jimmy Hart

To think that I once wasn't even sure that it actually existed, Jimmy Hart's "Outrageous Conduct" has become one of the most popular topics on the blog. It's been about two years since we took a look at the WWF-released version of "Outrageous Conduct," but there's more than just that. The album stretches back into Hart's days in Memphis and, like much of "The Mouth of the South's early career, even involves Jerry "The King" Lawler.

Most 1980's wrestling fans remember the ad in WWF Magazine. It loudly proclaimed that "Outrageous Conduct" was available via mail. Even though the order blank was there, I just wasn't convinced that it really existed. Why did it never show up anywhere as "The Wrestling Album" and "Piledriver" so readily did? As I said two years ago, I was finally convinced that it did in fact exist when I had a copy of my own. But it didn't end there.

It turns out that the 1986 WWF version with "The Colonel" perched on a WWF ring apron on the front cover and the LJN Jimmy Hart figure on the back is a re-release. The original version was released a year earlier by "Rockin' Rasslin' Records." This seems to have been a vanity label of R-T Music Enterprises Inc. of Houston, Texas. Seeing as that Hart entered the WWF in early 1985, this could have been a side venture even while he was busy with the World Wrestling Federation. But, as I mentioned earlier, there is a connection to "The King of Memphis" here. The cover of the 1985 version is a collage of Jimmy Hart cartoons pertaining to the various song titles. Who was the artist? Jerry Lawler, of course.

My copy of this earlier version included a letter "from" Jimmy Hart on Rockin' Rasslin' Records letterhead.  The statement indicates that a different cover had been pictured from wherever the album was ordered from and includes instructions on how to exchange it or own both. Could this be from the era of the 1986 WWF-released version? Were these earlier editions shipped out at first? The letter also displays an address for a Jimmy Hart Fan Club out of Ramsey, New Jersey.

Despite the different cover art and labels releasing the album, the songs remain the same. Many of these songs would have been long familiar to Memphis wrestling fans, as many were released as singles in Memphis at the same time as Jerry Lawler was releasing his own musical ventures. At least one single was released with the "Outrageous Conduct" label, again by Rockin' Rasslin' Records. This 45 contained "We Hate School" as Side A and "Juvenile Delinquents" on Side B. The album also hit cassette tape, although I highly doubt any official CD releases were ever produced.

It seems that everyone knows a piece here or there of the "Outrageous Conduct" story, but no full tale of the various versions and spin-offs has ever come out. I think that Jerry Lawler's often-told joke about his own album ("It wasn't released, it escaped!) also holds true for this effort. Most record collecting sites seem to list one version or the other, and rarely if ever the single. Whereas mainstream releases like the two aforementioned WWF albums are remembered by most, "Outrageous Conduct" is still a hidden treasure. Or more truthfully, when looking at the dual versions and other related items, a hidden treasure trove.

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