More than a digitally perfect CD, and way more than a compressed audio file downloaded to a portable device, a vinyl record is a record, if you will, of an artist or genre at a particular moment in time. From the pantheon of 1950s jazz to the Psych records of the 1960s, vinyl records in their original jackets deliver sound as well as sensibility. No wonder contemporary artists like Pearl Jam and Radiohead insist on releasing their new work in a variety of media, with vinyl at the top of the list.
Vinyl records were not the first form of analog sound recordings. Cylinders came first, invented by Thomas Edison in 1877. Edison did a great many things right, but his phonograph cylinders were bulky and expensive to produce, so in 1887, Emile Berliner invented a gramophone that could play flat discs. By 1929, the cylinder was dead.
The earliest records were not even made of vinyl. Some were fashioned of hard rubber but most were pressed out of shellac, which was a mixture of resin and fiber (cotton was commonly used). Shellac records had their drawbacks (they were so brittle that if you dropped one it was likely to crack or shatter), but the format lasted until about 1950 when vinyl finally took over.
The first vinyl records had actually been manufactured by RCA many years before, in 1930. Those discs were 12 inches in diameter and meant to be played at 33 1/3 revolutions per minute, or RPM. Although vinyl records generated a lot less playback noise than shellac, the Great Depression was no time to be introducing a new entertainment product with limited manufacturer support, so vinyl didn’t catch on then.
In 1948, Columbia introduced its trademarked 12-inch, 33 1/3 LP (for Long Play). RCA countered with a 7-inch, 45 RPM EP (for Extended Play) disc. For two years, consumers faced a format choice that caused phonograph manufacturers to equip their devices with both 45 and 33 1/3 playback speeds (many companies also added 78 since that format was still quite popular). As we now know, vinyl 33 1/3 LPs prevailed, while smaller, 7-inch vinyl 45s were used for singles.
Vinyl records had numerous advantages over shellac, with durability and sound quality being the top two. But vinyl was hardly a perfect medium. The discs warped when subjected to high temperatures or improper storage, and they tended to acquiring a static charge, which meant they attracted a lot of dust. You could wipe the dust off the disc, but you had to be careful because the discs were very easy to scratch. In most cases, this use caused hiss; in some cases, a record’s groove would be so damaged that the needle would keep skipping back, providing the source for the phrase "broken record."
So why collect imperfect vinyl records when CDs offer the same music but without the background noise caused by a needle moving through vinyl grooves? Many people believe the sam...
DJs like vinyl, too, because it gives them more control over the music they are playing than if they were spinning CDs—it’s like the difference between driving an automatic versus a car with a 5-speed manual transmission.
Beyond these differences, there is the fun of collecting itself. In some cases, as with early pressing of the second and third Grateful Dead albums, the vinyl versions are the only way to hear what those records sounded like before they were digitally remastered.
Album art is another reason to collect vinyl. For the Rolling Stones’s "Sticky Fingers," artist Andy Warhol created a cover that featured an actual working zipper; some years later, artist Robert Rauschenberg designed a clear plastic cover for the Talking Heads’s "Speaking in Tongues." The Who’s "Tommy" came with a booklet filled with art and lyrics, and if you want a copy of The Beatles’s infamous "butcher" version of "Yesterday and Today," you’ve got to go back to the original vinyl.
Also collectible are the 45s. Motown 45s features artists from Michael Jackson to Stevie Wonder, and few logos in popular music are as iconic as the crowing rooster on the yellow Sun Records label, especially if the name of the recording artist at the bottom of that label is a guy named Elvis Presley. Finally, thanks to their retro-looking labels, 78 records are appealing, regardless of who was recorded.
Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)
Association of Vogue Picture Record Collectors
The Remington Site
Clubs & Associations
Other Great Reference Sites
Most watched eBay auctions
Recent News: Records
Source: Google News
Nicki Bluhm and The GramblersWTSP 10 News, September 29th
a needle's-eye leap onto the national music circuit in 2012, bringing with them a refreshing sound, spirited stage show and wellspring of good vibes, along with a turntable and milk crates stocked with their favorite vintage vinyl for backstage...Read more
Best of Madonna @ 'Vintage Vinyl'The Courier-Journal, September 24th
OAKLAND, CA - NOVEMBER 01: Madonna performs on her 'Sticky & Sweet' Tour at the Oracle Arena on November 1, 2008 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Steve Jennings/WireImage) (Photo: Steve Jennings, WireImage). 10 CONNECT 10 ...Read more
Sammy Kershaw's George Jones Tribute Album Gets the Vintage Vinyl TreatmentHeadlines & Global News, September 21st
Sammy Kershaw's George Jones Tribute Album Gets the Vintage Vinyl Treatment. By Larry Holden | Sep 21, 2014 03:49 PM EDT. icon. Sammy Kershaw. In an age of digital streaming music, country star Sammy Kershaw is taking his George Jones tribute ...Read more
Best of the Eagles @ 'Vintage Vinyl'The Courier-Journal, September 18th
You know who you are, and the "Vintage Vinyl" team isn't happy, because we love the Eagles. Here we have a band that, for the most part, has written and recorded largely pleasant music that boasts biting humor and emotional gravitas. They connect on a ...Read more
Vintage Vinyl owner sentenced for marijuana productionRegina Leader-Post, September 10th
REGINA — The terminally ill owner of Vintage Vinyl and Hemp Emporium has already paid a hefty price after police raided his properties and found he was growing more pot than allowed by his existing medical marijuana licence. On Wednesday, Pat Baumet ...Read more
Rise Against meeting and greeting at Vintage VinylSTLtoday.com, September 9th
Rockers Rise Against will meet and greet fans at Vintage Vinyl at 5 p.m. Sept. 23. The band will be signing copies of its book "Black Market." Later that same night, Rise Against performs at the Pageant. Tickets are still available for the concert at...Read more
Best of Drinking Songs @ 'Vintage Vinyl'The Courier-Journal, September 4th
Maybe your spouse left you, or your company was downsized. Perhaps the cat knocked over the Fabergé Egg you bought at a yard sale for $3, and now retirement is on indefinite hold. A more likely scenario around here is that your Cats didn't go...Read more
Vintage vinyl fans to attend collectors' eventThe Northern Echo, September 2nd
FANS of the classic sound of vinyl records are expected to descend on Richmond this Sunday, September 7. A vinyl record fair is being held at The Station from 9am to 3.30pm – and in the past they have attracted people from all over the region. Dealers...Read more