There is this delightful story about Ravel running into a man who proudly told him he had a copy of the Bolero recording on a bunch of 78s.
He insisted on playing them to Ravel, who could not fathom why anyone would want to have these records.
Imagine this guy changing the records as the crescendo kept building in his mind.
The Bolero is a novelty piece composed so that Ida Rubinstein could perform a sexy dance (she was not a very good dancer, but she had a lot of money), and the orchestra could stun the audience with its power. In Ravel's mind this only worked in live.