What is your favourite vinyl record of all time? If you’re one of the thousands of Brits who have started a personal record collection, you probably have an answer. If you don’t… this is your sign from the universe: start.
In 2020, fans were at a loss without live gigs and events, unable to see their favourite musicians in person. A huge amount of people turned to the next best thing: vinyl. There is something so comforting about being able to hold music in your hands, listening to an entire album in the order it was made to be listened to, and reading the text on its sleeve as your turntable spins.
It is no wonder that last year, vinyl sales increased by 85%, despite lockdown forcing record stores to shut for the majority of 2020. Now, the Chief Executive of the British Phonographic Industry, Geoff Taylor, predicts income from vinyl will outperform CD for the whole of 2021 in the UK.
Record Store Day is fast approaching, sitting on 12 June and 17 July, with (hopefully) physical celebrations this time around. Independent stores are to be given exclusive releases, as always, including drops from Wolf Alice, Fontaines DC, Elton John and many more.
With the UK sales of vinyl records set to reach a three decade high, and fans investing more of their income into their record collections, what better time to talk about our prized possessions? We asked some of the avid crate diggers among The Indiependent team what their favourite, rare or sentimental record purchases were. Here is what they said….
Brand New Second Hand // Roots Manuva – Jamie Bains
I first started collecting vinyl at record fairs when I was 15 years old, and the unexplainable romanticism of it became immediately apparent. The relief when you retrieve exactly what you came for, the discovery of weird, unheard B-sides, or the occasional album you buy simply for its sleeve, with varying results on its quality. Later the discovery and use of Discogs felt a little impure to the process, but there was only so much time I could spend voyaging to various fairs. The rapper Roots Manuva is an artist who is too often overlooked in terms of his influence on the genre, especially in the UK. His 1999 debut album Brand New Second Hand had touches of dub, reggae and US hip-hop and felt far beyond anything I had listened to from British rap. When I originally searched online for it, I didn’t expect much return. Not only did it chart at #167, but it’s one of the most acclaimed British rap albums ever—I was convinced no one would be selling it. Discogs, however, delivered. I purchased the album for £28, which, considering it was an original and its rarity, felt like an absolute steal.
All Things Must Pass // George Harrison – Jack Roberts
I’ve been collecting vinyl since I was about 16, my first record being Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures, which I found at a vintage shop in Daventry. I’d always been fascinated with vinyl and grew up in a household where it was played constantly. When I was at university, I started my own blog and Instagram page:
VINYLBOI, as a way of documenting my collection and engaging with fellow collectors in the vinyl community.
One record I’d coveted for years was my one of my favourite albums of all time, George Harrison’s solo debut, All Things Must Pass. I knew an original pressing was rare and difficult to hunt down, but I was determined to have it. After all… George is the best Beatle. The closest I had come to it was a record fair in my hometown, Rugby, but couldn’t quite afford it. However, Rugby soon got its own independent record shop, Just For The Record. Run by an owner with an unwavering passion for vinyl, I couldn’t believe it when I found out she had a copy of All Things Must Pass. It still stands as the jewel in my collection, and the one that I know I’ll never part with.
The Little White Bull // Tommy Steele – Issy Flower
Vinyl collecting began for me at age 12, with the single of the theme from the Wombles. My record collection has stayed in many of the same areas: indie pop rubbing up against TV theme albums, or classic Broadway with Sid Vicious. One of my most prized records is my 78” phonograph of Tommy Steele’s ‘The Little White Bull’. Unfortunately, my collection is currently at home so I can’t show the single, but the increased crackle of the phonograph record, as well as the history contained in its mere existence—being on the cusp between the 45” vinyl’s supremacy and the antiquated form’s last breath—makes it a prized little gem. And for a pound, too!
For more information about Record Store Day 2021 visit www.recordstoreday.co.uk
Feature compiled by Harriet Fisk
This article was published as part of The Indiependent‘s May 2021 magazine edition.
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