Picture discs bring together two of a record collector’s favorite things—12-inch vinyl and gorgeous album art. As such, picture discs would appear to be the perfect marriage of sound and vision. Who wouldn’t want a disc featuring the cover of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” by The Beatles or “Thriller” by Michael Jackson on it’s grooved surface?

The answer is an audiophile, a breed of collector that tends to be very unforgiving of anything that compromises a record’s sound quality, even slightly. Picture discs made during the last several decades sound radically better than their predecessors from the 1920s and ’30s, when the eye-catching format was first introduced. But contemporary picture discs still feature a thin layer of clear PVC between the phonograph needle and the artwork on the disc. This protects the picture but degrades the audio compared to traditional black or solid-colored vinyl discs.

One of the first series of picture discs to make a name for themselves among listeners were the Vogue picture discs from the late 1940s. Manufactured by Sav-Way Industries in Detroit, the catalog of 74, 10-inch, 78 rpm discs produced between the spring of 1946 and ’47 had aluminum cores, with “vinylite” on the surface. Discs sold for as little as 50 cents, and artists included Art Mooney and his Orchestra (“I’ve Been Working on the Railroad”), The Charlie Shavers Quintet (“Serenade to a Pair of Nylons”), and Judy Garland (“Trolley Song”).

Some of the images on Vogue discs appear downright creepy to 21st-century eyes. For example, “I Surrender Dear” by The King’s Jesters and Louise depicts a woman on her knees, wearing a low-cut strapless dress and heels, as she presents a plate of food to a man, whose stern film-noir profile fills the rest of the disc. But most were just fun—“Rhumba Lesson No. 1” by Paul Shahin was one of several discs that came with dance steps.

Production of picture discs and colored vinyl continued throughout the 1950s and ’60s, but picture discs enjoyed a resurgence in the 1970s when record companies realized the promotional potential of picture discs to grab the attention of DJs and fans alike. In some cases the runs were extremely small—only 100 copies of Toto’s 1979 release, “Hydra,” were pressed, making it a rare catch for a picture-disc collector. “Sgt. Pepper’s,” on the other hand enjoyed a pressing of 150,000 copies—Pink Floyd’s “The Dark Side of the Moon” and Boston’s “Boston” were also produced in relatively large numbers.

Other picture discs from the 1980s, ’90s, and beyond include “Let's Dance” by David Bowie, the “Baby Snakes” soundtrack by Frank Zappa, “Freebird” by Lynyrd Skynyrd, and “Feel Good Inc” by Gorillaz, which was released in 2005 as a 7-inch picture disc.


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Association of Vogue Picture Record Collectors

Association of Vogue Picture Record Collectors

This great site, from the Association of Vogue Picture Record Collectors, offers detailed background information an… [read review or visit site]

Vinyl Divas

Vinyl Divas

Vinyl Divas pays homage to international female opera singers of the LP era. Chronicling more than 800 singers, the… [read review or visit site]

317X

317X

Despite its mysterious title, 317X is plain and simple—an online gallery of vintage LPs, with a 1950s vintage fee… [read review or visit site]

Mybeatles.net

Mybeatles.net

Jesse Barron's collection of Beatles 45s, picture sleeves, magazines, books, and memorabilia. Browse singles and al… [read review or visit site]

The Remington Site

The Remington Site

Since 1999, the Remington Site has offered classical music collectors a glimpse into Remington Records, an independ… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Discussion Forums

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Disney Lot Of 5 Picture Discs Lp Disneyland Lady Tramp Fox Hound Snow White Disney Picture Disc Collection 3xlp Disneyland Lady Tramp Pinocchio Snow White The Sex Pistols,god Save The Queen,uk 7" Picture Disc.rare Vinyl.ltd EdtAc/dc - High Voltage - Picture Disc Lp - Bon Scott Hard Rock Heavy MetalPink Floyd,the Division Bell,rare U.k Red Vinyl L.p/album,12",not Picture Disc.Rush Lot Of 21 Lps Cd Hemispheres Picture Disc Moving Pic Live Feedback TourbookThe Stone Roses - Second Coming ~ Picture Disc Vinyl Lp, Oasis, Primal ScreamKiss Solo Album Rare 4 Picture Disc Press Vinyl Lp Re-printKiss Sonic Boom Rare Picture Disc Vinyl Promo Lp 3/5 Sticker+++ Led Zeppelin - S/t - Rare Picture Disc - Psych Blues MintThe Beatles - Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts -usa Picture Disc Vinyl Lp Seax-11840 ExCeltic Frost - Emperor's Return - 1985 Metal Blade Ep Picture DiscAbba - Waterloo - Ltd 7" Vinyl Single - Picture Disc - New+++ Led Zeppelin - 3 Iii - Rare Picture Disc - Psych Blues MintTori Amos Y Kant Tori Read - Promo Picture Disc Record Lp, Alanis Morissette +++ Led Zeppelin - 2 - Rare Picture Disc - Psych Blues Mint*iron Maiden-brave New World 2lp Picture Disc / Gatefold Sleeve / Import / Rare*The Return Of The Living Dead Limited Us Various Ost Picture Disc Lp 1984 ExDe La Soul "3 Feet High And Rising" Lp Picture Disk - First Pressing Mega RareKiss Hotter Than Hell Rare Picture Disc Vinyl Lp Kiss Alive Ii Rare Picture Disc Vinyl 2lp 10"The Beatles-abbey Road-fully Sealed Picture Disc-capitol #seax 11900 No ResDevo Are We Not Men We Are Devo Picture Disc Excellent With Flexi Disc David Bowie - 'hours' Picture Disc Vinyl Lp - Usa Promo - Lou ReedDanzig Thrall Demonsweatlive Record Lp Picture Disc BisleyPink Floyd United Picture Disc (limited Edition) Near MintBeatles Yesterday And Today Lp Picture DiscQueen ~ Jazz Picture Disc Vinyl Lp, -- Promo -- Freddie MercuryMadonna - Mlvc 1992- 12" Nude Picture Disc- Rare- Still Sealed/never PlayedAquabats - Dr Rock Vs Clowny Clown 7 Inch Picture Record (rare, Oop) Ska PunkGuns N Roses Appetite For Destruction Lp Picture Disc ImportKiss-dynasty ( Original Dutch Limited Rdition Picture Disc Vinyl Lp )Bruce Springsteen Darkness On Edge Of Town Lp Us Promo-only Picture Disc, ShrinkQueen ~ Live Magic Picture Disc Vinyl Lp, Freddie MercuryRolling Stones Rarities Picture Disc All Tracks Are Live RecordingSick Of It All/ryker's "split" 2x12" Lost And Found Picture Disc Hardcore/punkMadonna Who's That Girl 12" Cartoon Picture Disc + Pop Up P/s & Poster 1 Of 350Madonna: Mlvc 1992 12" Nude Picture Disc-rare-sealed, Never Played Italy ImportMotorhead Motorhead / City Kids 1980 Chiswick 7inch B&w Picture DiscPink Floyd Dark Side Of The Moon Picture Disc Limited Edition (poster) Ex+ RareKiss Kiss Still Love You Rare Picture Disc Vinyl 2lp Kiss ~ Best Of Solo Albums ~ Picture Disc Vinyl Lp, Black Sabbath, Bon JoviDillinger Escape Plan Vinyl 12" Picture Disc Limited Rare Relapse Records 1999 MMotorhead-overkill-picture Disc-italian Import-hawkwind-ramonesAc/dc Money Talks - Original Euro 12" Picture Disc Single - Razor's EdgeQueensryche Picture Disc Lp "operation Mindcrime" Rare 1988 Emi Metal NmIron Maiden ~ "en Vivo" 2lp Picture Disc Sealed! Kiss Demos Rare Picture Disc Vinyl Lp Kiss Monster Rare Picture Disc Vinyl Sealed Lp Kate Bush The Kick Inside Limited Edition Picture Disc 1st Edition Emi Uk ImportBreaking Bad Vinyl Soundtrack Picture Disc 2x Lp Mondo Sdcc Limited /2000Jethro Tull Eternal Thoughts 2 Lp + 7" Bonus Single Picture DiscRare Kiss 1983 Limited Edition Set Of 4 Interview Picture DiscsKiss Takes Tokyo Part 2 Rare Picture Disc Vinyl Promo Lp Kinks - Face To Face Lp: 1998 Picture Disc, Earmark/sanctuary RecordsKiss Destroys Anaheim Part 1 Rare Picture Disc Vinyl Promo Lp Stevie Ray Vaughan Couldn't Stand The Weather Picture Disc From 1984Blondie 'radiate' Picture Disc Lp Compilation12" Single Record, Van Halen, Picture Disc. When It's Love. Ex. 1988. Venom - Resurrection Double Picture Disc Set