Who’s in the Mood to Hear a Few Songs Off the Original ‘Pure Moods’ Compilation Album?

screenshot from a 1990s commercial for the compilation album
© Virgin Records/Screenshot from youtube.com/@hereinmylifetime
Still Not Available In Stores!


If you watched even a little bit of TV back in the ’90s and early 2000s, you inevitably encountered some variation of this commercial:

This ad was for the 1997 re-release of Pure Moods, a collection of relaxing songs and instrumentals from a variety of New Age, ambient and smooth jazz artists that was first released in the U.S. in 1994, after having become a hit in Europe a few years earlier.

Although I’m not sure of how its sales were here, since I believe it was only ever available at that time via direct order by calling the number at the end of commercials like this (please don’t try calling it now), it must have done well, since it launched a whole Moods universe of albums:

Cinema Moods (1995)

Instrumental Moods (a 1995 British release, and a U.S. release in 1998)

Gregorian Moods (1997) — on a related note, remember that period in the ‘90s when Gregorian chant albums became hot, following the massive success of that double-platinum Chant album in 1994?

Celtic Moods (1997)

Christmas Moods (1998)

Pure Moods II (1998)

Scottish Moods (1999)

Pure Moods III (2001)

Pure Moods IV (2002)

Pure Moods: Celestial Celebration (2004)

I vaguely recall some of these other titles being advertised, but nothing permeated the culture, at least from where I sat, as much as the commercial for the original Pure Moods did. When I was able to watch and hear it again through the magic of YouTube, I could practically sense what snippet of song would come next in the ad, as if I had last seen it only yesterday and not decades ago.

Of course, you couldn’t skip through commercials like this back then, but I didn’t necessarily mind watching even a two-minute-long ad like this, or one of the many other ones for music collections put out by the likes of K-Tel, Sessions or Time-Life. I’d frankly rather sit through those than the epic commercials of today that detail the side effects of prescriptions, or hype some full-body deodorant.

I never ordered this or any other music collection that I saw in a commercial, but I did look for it occasionally elsewhere. However, the ad was not lying when it told us this album is “Not Available in Stores.” It still doesn’t seem to be.

screenshot from a 1997 commercial for the "Pure Moods" compilation album. It shows a cassette tape of the album on the left, and the CD version on the right. Below each are the prices: Cassette $15.99; CD $17.99

© Virgin Records/Screenshot from youtube.com/@hereinmylifetime

Rush Delivery Available!


In terms of the album’s current availability, I looked for it in the Apple Music store, but it wasn’t there. It does appear you can find new and used copies it on Amazon (though in most of the cases only a few are left in stock), generally for prices lower than what it was originally going for in the commercial, which was $15.99, a little over $31 in today’s money, for a cassette; and $17.99, a bit over $35 today, for a CD.

(Sorry, it doesn’t look like the cassette form of Pure Moods is on Amazon — not that anyone who grew up dealing with the hassle of cassette tapes would even want that, of course.)

Anyway, here are five of my favorite Pure Moods tracks that I remember hearing or at least seeing name-dropped in the commercial, most of which I eventually added to my collection from other sources over the years.

So, sit back and, as the commercial’s announcer begins, “Imagine a world where time drifts slowly, a world where music carries you away …”

“Orinoco Flow” by Enya

Probably my favorite track, and I just love everything by Enya. In the case of this particular song, I also have a weird association of it with my time in college. Our rec center had a bowling alley, and my friends and I frequented it around the time that “Orinoco Flow” came out. If I happened to be up bowling while this song was piped in over the speakers, every time the “Sail away, sail away, sail away” part of the song kicked in I rolled a strike. Believe me or not, it happened! So thanks for the boost, Enya!

“Crockett’s Theme” by Jan Hammer

A lovely instrumental from Hammer’s music for Miami Vice.

“Tubular Bells” by Mike Oldfield

Also famously known as the theme music for The Exorcist.

“Oxygène Part IV” by Jean-Michel Jarre

Twin Peaks Theme” by Angelo Badalamenti