Recordings featuring the "hot harpsichord" (the period term for a harpsichord found in non-Classical genres) began appearing in the mid-1930s in the U.S. and Europe. They proliferated especially during the recording industry boom of the late 1940s and 1950s, when record labels saw unusual instrumentation as a way to hook buyers.
For the purposes of this site, I have included items from my collection that include the word "harpsichord" (or a derivative, like "harpsi-piano," or the French term, "clavecin") in the song title or credits. It is worth mentioning, however, that many of these recordings are falsely advertised as using a harpsichord; particularly during the 1950s, tack pianos were often treated as interchangeable with harpsichords. Dolly Dawn's "Buzz Me Baby" (pictured below) would be an example.
Full-length "hot harpsichord" albums showed up as early as 1939 with Alec Wilder's Octets (Vox), but became increasingly common with the surge in the adult pop market of the early 1960s. I've included here the items from my collection that foreground "harpsichord-ness" on the cover. Arguably, these were the albums that used the instrument merely for its novelty appeal--which may explain why the majority fall into the easy-listening / M.O.R. / 'of-wavering-quality' spectrum. There were quite a few jazz and rock releases from the 1960s-70s that included a harpsichord in ways that made the instrument actually sound good. But these tended not to wear the instrument on their sleeve, so to speak.
If you have information about any of these that you'd like to share, or if you know where I can get a copy of Ami Aloni's 1956 album "Harpsichord and Piano" (Liberty LRP-3013), feel free to email me.
Money for this collection came from the people at Duke who used me for psychological research.