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    

Madonna - Secret Garden 7" Picture Disc Dubplate Erotica Sex Nude (not Promo) Pearl Jam Ten Picture Disc Lp Vinyl Limited Edition Eddie Vedder Rare OopSavatage - Poets And Madmen - Rare Original 2001 Steamhammer 2 X Picture Disc LpGuns N' Roses It's So Easy 12" Picture DiscJob Lot Of 10 X Marillion 12" Picture DiscsIron Maiden No Prayer For The Dying 12” Lp Picture Disc Vinyl (rare Item)Madonna, Papa Don't Preach, 12'' Picture Disc With Original Sticker SleeveGuns N' Roses November Rain 12" Picture DiscMetallica: Jump In The Fire Shaped Uk Picture Disc Pkut 105 MintGuns N' Roses Sweet Child Of Mine 7" Picture DiscTool "lateralus" Picture Disc 2xlp The Damned Damned Damned Damned 1987 Demon Limited Picture Disc Reissue LpMadonna, La Isla Bonita, 12'' Picture Disc In Original Stickered SleeveNirvana, Nevermind, Rare U.k Picture Disc L.p/album. Cobain.vinyl 12".Lot Of 3 12" Iron Maiden Picture Disc Vinyl Records Metal MusicMadonna,immaculate Collection Rare Picture Disc L.p/album 12".rebel Heart.vinylQueen "innuendo" Uk 1991 Picture DiscDepeche Mode Black Celebration Lp 1986 Mega Rare Mexican Picture Disc Michael Jackson Thriller Epic Lp Picture DiscGuns N' Roses Paradise City 7" Picture Disc SingleIron Maiden The Wicker Man 12” Lp Picture Disc Vinyl (rare Item)Fall Out Boy Immortals Vinyl 7” Picture Disc New Big Hero 6Orig Capitol Records 8'' 78 Rare Christmas Promo 1947/48 Picture Disc Mel BlancQueen Stand Up And Talk. Limited Edition Picture Disc Set. Freddie MercuryLrx: Lot Rob Zombie Hellbilly Deluxe Picture Disc Factory Sealed + Icon Dbl CdBeatles Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band Lp Picture Disc Sealed Limited EditIron Maiden - The Number Of The Beast - Rare Orig U.k. Picture Disc 1982 Lp Nm!!Madonna Crazy For You (remix) Test Pressing For Shaped Picture Disc Clear VinylThe Killers Sam's Town & Poster 2006 Limited Edn Picture Disc Sealed*sealed* Thirty Seconds To Mars From Yesterday Uk Picture Disc 7" Vinyl RecordThe Stranglers Dreamtime 1986 Uk Press Picture Disc Epic Records Epc 11 26648Metallica: Creeping Death Uk Picture Disc P12 Kut 112 MintPink Floyd,dark Side Of The Moon,rare Usa Picture Disc L.p/album.riverLove Songs For Seka Vinyl Picture Disc Kenny Dino Lp 1980 Signed Autograph! Kdk,The Damned Live In Newcastle 1983 Limited Picture Disc LpVenom - Woman / Manitou 7" Picture Disc Black Metal Mayhem Bathory DarkthroneMadonna, Dear Jessie, 7'' Picture Disc In Original Sticker Sleeve, Uk IssueIron Maiden Mint Sealed 2005 Uk Ltd Ed Picture Disc Lp X 2 Death On The Road EmiMint= Anniversary=uk=david Bowie=life On Mars=picture Disc Vinyl=record=45= 7"David Bowie - Ashes To Ashes - Uk 7" Picture DiscDavid Bowie "pin-ups" Picture Disc Special Ltd Edition #10918 Vinyl Record AlbumPearl Jam Jeremy Original 1992 12" Single Picture Disc Clear Vinyl 1st EditionBloc Party Intimacy 2008 Picture Disc Wichita Label MintTed Nugent State Of Shock Lp Picture Disc 2 Copies Both Promo Nm Vinyl BeatlesLast 1! Wicked, Rare Iron Maiden Lp Picture Disc Vinyl +handbill Orig 2006 PressBlink 182 7" Picture Disc - First Date Flip Don't Tell Me When Its Over 2001Iron Maiden Holy Smoke 12” Lp Picture Disc Vinyl (rare Item)Orig Capitol Records 8'' 78 Rare Christmas Promo 1946/47 Picture DiscMetallica The Black Album Lp Picture DiscRainbow Can't Let You Go Uk Guitar Shaped Picture Disc Polydor Pospp 854 1983Blink 182 - Always - I Miss You - 7" 45rpm Record - Picture Disc - ExcellentIron Maiden - Run To The Hills 7'' Picture DiscBlack Sabbath Live Picture Disc Rare N Mint!!! Ozzy Iommi Ward Butler Bob Dylan Through The Years 2lp Picture Disc Outtakes/rarities 200 Pressed ExSamantha Fox-limited Edition 7" Nude Picture Disc Collection-import Made EnglandThe Beatles : Abbey Road Picture Disc Lp Capitol / Apple 1978 Seax 11900Melvins Hooch Picture Disc 7" Mans Ruin Kozik Grunge Punk Indie KbdMadonna Dress You Up Special Star Shaped Picture Disc Sire W8848pThe Beatles Yesterday And Today Lp Picture Disc Butcher Sleeve MintMadonna Ray Of Light Vinyl Album Picture Disc 9362468473