These records won’t be going on eBay any time soon…
You might expect, in the age of Spotify, Apple Music and Tidal, that the market for vinyl would be badly hit, as album sales have dwindled.
But the opposite is true. In fact, while still a small piece of the pie, vinyl album sales are actually rising in tandem with streaming, as listeners decide to suck it and see before shelling out for the physical record.
Putting the state-of-the-industry talk to one side, it seems that the simple pleasure of finding an obscure, classic or even gloriously naff piece of vinyl in a warren-like record shop is a big reason for this resurgence.
With this in mind, and following our recent conversation with Tim Burgess on the subject, we decided to ask a range of vinyl-loving musicians, DJs and label owners to talk about the favourite records in their collections.
Vic Galloway, BBC Radio Scotland, 6Music, Journalist and Author
The Damned – Damned Damned Damned
The Damned’s debut album, simply entitled Damned Damned Damned is a record that means most to me. As the first UK punk album release, containing their own debut UK punk single ‘New Rose’, the record sounds like a veritable explosion of youthful exuberance and unbridled attitude.
Intelligent, working-class, signed to an independent label and with a real sense of humour, they caused absolute chaos wherever they went, onstage and off. I discovered it as a pre-teen in the 1980s and it blew my mind. Still does.
Every track is incredible – full of catchy pop hooks, call-to-arms lyrics, twangy basslines, pounding drums and incredible guitar riffs. Like a fast and furious updated version of The Stooges (but even better than that sounds), it set the template for what true wild-man punk would be. It still sounds fresh today, and is an essential rock’n’roll masterpiece!
Bert Cannaerts, guitarist and vocalist in Newmoon
Ramones Rock’n’Roll Highschool 7”
I stole this 7” out of my dad’s collection when I was 14 and just getting into punk. My dad’s musical taste has had a huge impact on my life. I remember being a kid and listening to his records over and over again. So when I was teenager, I started listening to punk rock and “stole” this Ramones Rock’n’Roll Highschool 7” from him. It pretty much started my record collection.
The Ramones taught me so much about playing music and still influence a lot of what we do with Newmoon. Just play whatever you want as hard and loud as possible and look cool doing it.
This 7” definitely has a special place in my record collection. It’s not rare or worth a lot, as my dad wrote his initials on the sleeve, but to me it’s irreplaceable.
• Watch Newmoon’s latest video for ‘Head of Stone’
John Baillie Jnr, musician, Bossy Love
Junun – Junun (2015)
My favourite LP is Junun’s self-titled album – its a heavyweight double vinyl and wrapped in a beautiful fold-out matt sleeve. Junun is Israeli singer-songwriter Shye Ben Tzur, Johnny Greenwood (of Radiohead) and the Rajasthan Express (15 traditional Indian musicians).
It was recorded in a fort in Jodhpur, Rajasthan and the session was filmed and made into a documentary by Paul Thomas Anderson (!). Those details alone make me lose my sh*t, but this record is really special without taking any of the creative heavyweights into consideration.
It’s a mix of traditional desi rhythms, analogue drum machines and synths, bits of guitar and bass, ripping brass and lots euphoric chanting – its so well pitched that at no point does it come across as ‘remixy’ or forced – although I’ve DJ’d ‘Roked’ in a club and its killer.
• Read our interview with Bossy Love
Matthew Young, owner of Song by Toad Records
Bruce Springsteen 1973 Acoustic Radio Sessions
The piece of vinyl that means the most to me’ is a question that is impossible to answer.
The countless records my parents lost to the heat and humidity, which warped and moulded when we lived in Singapore? The first records I bought myself as a kid, spending hours in record shops at the listening station? Or maybe the first vinyl we ever pressed as a label. Or even, the first which I myself recorded and mixed.
Springsteen in the 1970s
But I am going to choose the Bruce Springsteen 1973 Acoustic Radio Sessions. I’d just heard the confident raconteur Springsteen addressing a rapt SXSW audience as keynote speaker, all wisdom and experience, and yet here he and the band were as teenagers, giggling like nervous kids doing their first ever big time interviews.
I can’t describe the feeling of hearing someone so fixed in the firmament of international music stars, an elder statesman of confidence and gravitas, and here he was at the very start, insecure, unsure what was happening to him and trying desperately not to balls it all up.
The year I was born my parents bought themselves Born to Run and had the self-discipline to not to open it until Christmas, they were that broke. I’ve been listening to Springsteen as long as there have been records in the house, but this was like a light went on inside my head. All these people I work with hoping for a review here or a play on radio there… even Bruce Springsteen was once one of those people, so happy to be invited to play a session for local radio he could barely answer a question properly.
Steev Livingstone, musician, Errors
Jo Carnegie – ‘Road Machine’ (1986)
‘Road Machine’ by Jo Carnegie is the instrumental B-side on the 7″ single for the track ‘Street Machine’ from 1986 and was a record that began my interest in collecting 7″ singles from the 1980s.
Before knowing any of the music contained on the single I was drawn in by the design and black and white photograph on the sleeve. The kinky PVC outfit and pose of the artist on the cover, the use of classic 1980s fonts, the exciting track names and inclusion of management telephone numbers had me very excited and I couldn’t wait to get it home and listen to it.
The music did not disappoint. HI-NRG synth-pop akin to something from a Harold Faltermeyer soundtrack, it was everything it promised to be.
The more I studied the sleeve notes, the more questions I began to have. Is listed co-producer Neville Carnegie Jo’s brother, are they husband and wife or is Neville actually her dad – trying to kick start the young girls career from a lock-up in Brixton, with dreams of her being London’s answer to Madonna? What happened next?
From the little information there is about this record online I’m guessing not very much, though since researching for this I’ve discovered on Discogs that Jo did have another single in 1988, which appears to be in the reggae style.
In the age of the internet it’s amazing to see how little information there is about this record online – no YouTube video, no photographs.
But hopefully, when some future-person, maybe even someone who is yet to be born, picks up this single in a charity shop or comes across it in a parent’s dusty attic decades from now, they will go online and find this article, knowing that someone else has listened to this record and had thoughts about it, but ultimately find themselves no closer to knowing the hidden secrets contained within this mysterious object.
Writer’s note: After some consideration, my own favourite record would have to be a 7″ red piece of vinyl. It’s ‘Love is All’, an album track from The Rapture’s debut album Echoes. It’s a raw, unpolished, simple pop song, but more than that, it reminds me of the time I first got the bug for record shopping after buying my first turntable, back in the noughties.