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    

Jayne Mansfield S/t Lp Picture Disc Cheesecake 50s Pop Vg++ ImportMc Spy D Amazing Spiderman 12" Single Picture Disc 90s Hip Hop Marvel Vg++Monkees Greatest Hits? Lp Picture Disc 60s Rock Pop Tv Vg++Michael Jackson 25th Anniversary Lp Epic Picture Disc Vg++ 80s Pop R&bQueen Innuendo Uk Lp Picture Disc Rare Vinyl Pic Disk Album Headlong Clown VinylYeah Yeah Yeahs Fever To Tell First Pressing Picture Disc Vinyl Lp Great Copy Pink Floyd Dark Side Of The Moon Picture Disc With Large Poster Rare Near Mint Motorhead/lemmy-orgasmatron Vinyl Lp Picture Disc Uk Orig Top CopyYeah Yeah Yeahs - Fever To Tell - Orig 12" Picture Disc 2003 ExSublime, 40oz. To Freedom ~ '02 Erika Er 2006 ~ Picture Disc LpThe Stranglers, The Raven Picture Disc Vinyl Lp, RareNothing Tired Of Tomorrow Test Pressing Picture Disc Lp Rare Vinyl RecordMadonna -vinyl Picture Disc Lp- Confessione De MilanoThe Beatles Abbey Road 1979 12" Vinyl Record Picture Disc AlbumRare Metal Lp Ozzy Black Rain Picture Disc Lp With Cover 409/500 Ltd Mint New David Bowie 1984 7" Single Picture Disc William S. Burroughs Rsd 2014 SealedPink Floyd Wish You Were Here Picture Disc Rare Vg Audio / Ex+ CoverMetallica Enter Sandman 1991 Uk Press 7" Vinyl Record Picture Disc SinglePac-man Buckner & Garcia Shaped Picture Disc 7” Record Video Game Atari NintendoThe Beatles One 2 X Lp Uk Picture Disc Lp The Beatles 1Michael Jackson - Thriller Anniversary Lp Picture Disc Rare 2008 Vinyl RecordSex Pistols Swindle Continues Vap 35204-45,35205-00 Japan Obi Picture Disc 2lpFaith No More Epic 1990 Uk Press 7" Shaped Vinyl Record Picture DiscIron Maiden - Man On The Edge Picture Disc - Including Massive PosterPrince - Sexy Mf - Uk Shaped Picture Disc - W0123pIron Maiden Different World Ltd Picture Disc 2006 Mint Condition Freddie Mercury Love Kills (uk Cbs Wa4735) Rare Uk Picture Disc From 1984 ExRare Metal Lp Running Wild Port Royal Picture Disc Lp+insert Mint New HelloweenDanzig Lp Picture DiscPink Floyd The Dark Side Of The Moon Lp Picture Disc Die-cutObituary - The End Complete - Picture Disc Album - Death MetalMarilyn Manson Antichrist Superstar Double Vinyl Lp Picture Disc Set Rare OopPink Floyd Dark Side Of The Moon Emi Capitol Seax-11902 Lp Picture DiscRolling Stones - She Was Hot - Rare Original 1984 Lp Ex+ Picture DiscThe Simpsons Do The Bartman 7" Shaped Vinyl Record Picture Disc Single 1990Mayhem Out From The Dark Picture Disc Lp Rare!! Cult!! Black Metal Morbid DeadLord Of The Rings Original Soundtrack Double Picture Disc Lp Vinyl (1978) Vg+/vgStar Wars Force Awakens: Bb-8 Picture Disc Vinyl Wondercon Le 1500 John WilliamsKing Diamond "them" Picture Disc LpBlack Sabbath Paranoid Earmark 41005 P Picture Disc Release Vg++/nm1978 Beatles Sgt Pepper Picture Disc..new SealedHugs - S/t 12" Picture Disc Hardcore Screamo Emo Iowa Rare AwesomeSun Ra Arkestra "live At The Pit-inn" Free Jazz Lp Diw Limited Picture Disc Vg+Iron Maiden - Wasted Years - Uk 7" Shaped Picture Disc - Emip 5583Samantha Fox " Touch Me ( I Want Your Body ) " 12" Picture Disc 1986 Japan RareAbba -lot Of 4 Japan Singles 7" Vinyl 45 - Picture Disc; On And On; One Of Us..Kate Bush - Running Up That Hill. 10" Vinyl. Picture Disc. Rsd David Bowie China Girl 1983 Uk Picture Disc 7"Bruce Springsteen - Darkness On The Edge Of Town *picture Disc* 1978 *us* 12" LpThe Kills 7" 45 Vinyl Record Picture Disc The Last GoodbyeMy Pussy Belongs To Daddy - Picture Disk Cocktail Records - New ArtworkFrank Zappa: Bolzano Double Lp Picture Disc - Live Italy 1982Led Zeppelin Lp Picture Disc 1972 Interview Jimmy PageStar Wars "the Story Of Star Wars" (1977) Lp : Picture Disc / Mint / SealedOzzy Osbourne Memoirs Of A Madman 2x Picture Disk Kiss Rob Zombie Metallica NinMachine Head, Bloodstone & Diamonds, Double Lp Picture DisksIron Maiden - From Fear To Eternity - Triple Picture Disc AlbumNirvana Grunge "lithium" 1992 Uk 12" Vinyl Picture DiscPearl Jam - A Footstep In Paradise - Rare Import Italy Picture Disc LpDavid Bowie - Golden Years (40th Anniversary 7" Picture Disc), Limited