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
2002 - Joe Strummer (Clash) - Congenital heart defect (50)VVN Music, December 21st
1955 - Alan Freed's Rock 'n' Roll Holiday Jubilee opened in New York with Count Basie, LaVern Baker, the Cadillacs, the Valentines, the Wrens and the Chuckles. 1971 - Yoko Ono loses custody of her daughter Kyoko to the girl's father, Tony Cox. She can ...Read more
Someone Found The Incredibly Rare Vinyl Records That Jack White Hid Inside ...Tone Deaf, December 18th
While most of us know Jack White as the prolific, quirky, and opinionated rock superstar who once upon a time fronted The White Stripes, at one point in time, he was a simple furniture upholsterer living in Detroit, Michigan and working on music in his...Read more
Vintage Vinyl's favorite Christmas songsWHAS 11.com (subscription), December 17th
1.Blue Christmas,Porky Pig. I dare anyone to listen to this and not get into the holiday spirit. It blows Elvis away. 2. Frosty the Snowman, the Ronettes. The best from Phil Spector's Christmas album. Gotta have the Wall of Sound with my eggnog. 3...Read more
The vintage vinyl: Here to stay?BusinessWorld Online Edition, December 11th
“I've added more helpers,” said Joel B. Devicais, owner of Vinyl Dump Thrift Store in Cubao. He pointed to the three girls behind the counter, and the other two who were rummaging the stacks of vinyl. The shop had at least 10,000 records -- all for sale...Read more
A pair of hip, new downtown stores to feature vintage vinyl, design and moreSactown Magazine (blog), December 8th
Music lovers and vintage addicts will get a kick out of two shops teaming up for a new endeavor downtown: Kicksville Vinyl & Vintage and MediumRare Records are set to open side by side in February, offering collectors a broad, eclectic selection of old...Read more
Best of The Bee Gees @ 'Vintage Vinyl'The Courier-Journal, December 3rd
The Bee Gees will forever be remembered for the soundtrack to "Saturday Night Fever," and that's fine. It remains a mind-blowing piece of work that includes several of their finest songs. But the brothers Gibb had a whole lot more going on. When Barry...Read more
Vintage vinylDaily News & Analysis, December 1st
There's an old-fashioned charm to vinyls and if you're vinyl record collector, you cannot miss this sale. Especially those vinyl affcianados who attend the 'Vinyl Nights' which takes place every alternate Thursday at Gostana, the popular restaurant in...Read more
Record store releases rare vinyl recordsWALB-TV, November 28th
A fraternity is making sure families in need have clothing for the holidays.Members of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, INC. held their annual clothing drive at the Thornton Community Center in East Albany. More >>. A fraternity is making sure families in...Read more