Music lover enjoys ‘priceless’ collection

“The deejay said, ‘Here’s a new song by a new group I know is going to be huge – The Four Seasons.’ Something clicked. That’s when I began to really become aware of music. From that time on, I was captivated.”

Binko has spent the past 30 years working on a collection of pristine, original vinyl albums. He describes it as “a great small collection (some 550 albums) of some of the greatest songs and albums from the 50s and 60s.”

He explained how he began collecting records.

“I developed a real love for The Beatles. I intended to purchase nothing but Beatles records. I didn’t have a lot of money, so I picked up some of these (other albums) at flea markets and intended to use them as bargaining power to get The Beatles,” he said.

However, along the way, he unexpectedly fell in love with the variety he discovered.

“It’s kind of a tapestry of different styles and sounds,” he said. “I won’t collect junk. It has to be mint; it has to be original. No re-issues. No bootlegs.”

Looking at his collection, he continued, “They’re priceless. What determines pricelessness is the person who’s collecting them.”

His collection encompasses doo-wop, rockabilly, British Invasion and rock, spanning from the mid-50s to 1969.

“My goal is to have the most definitive collection of those years in the state,” he said. “I think a lot of people don’t remember the old songs.”
Doo-wop spans from 1952 to 1960. One well-known doo-wop band is The Coasters. Rockabilly was very popular for a short period of time, 1955-1960. Elvis “actually kind of kicked the whole thing off,” Binko said. Rock started in its earliest stages around 1954 and has evolved ever since, he noted.

From 1962 to 1964, The Beatles came on the scene.

“I think every child in America had to have the first album,” Binko said. “Looking back, ‘Meet The Beatles’ was probably one of (their) weakest albums.”
He said even Elvis lost his younger fans to The Beatles, although he continued to sell millions of records, and his older fans remained loyal.

“Young people loved The Beatles’ sound, their long hair – or what we perceived as long hair. And when they appeared on Ed Sullivan, it was phenomenal.”
Binko has almost collected all The Beatles’ albums. He has to put his hobby on hold from time to time, but when he is pursuing it, he spends about 30 percent of his time traveling and going to record shows.

His all-time favorite album, “The Skyliners” by the band of the same name, is one he worked very hard to get. It includes songs like “Since I Don’t Have You” and “This I Swear.” Another hard-to-find album he is very proud of is “Goodnite, It’s Time to Go” by The Spaniels. The final hall of fame record in the collection is The Moonglows album “Look! It’s the Moonglows,” which includes the song “The 10 Commandments of Love.”

He is still searching for The Cadillacs album “The Fabulous Cadillacs” and “Alley-Oop” by The Hollywood Argyles.

Binko said he has had guests ask whether he had a particular record. He said it is always a song that takes them back.

“Their eyes well up with tears,” he said. “You can put that record on and close your eyes and relive that moment. It’s so cool to watch their reactions. That’s what’s so cool about collecting. To see people remember. This is a lot of fun. I’ve enjoyed this. There are fewer and fewer albums out there for people to remember the past.”