It was the Christmas of 2011 when my I was given my first record player. Actually, I was given two record players – one from my boyfriend and the other from my father. In short, the story goes that for Christmas, my father will never not surprise me. He will insist on keeping my gift a secret even if his life depended on it. Therefore, I had an inkling that I was going to get a record player, but I couldn’t be 100% certain. He is a man of many surprises.
Because of this, my boyfriend took it upon himself to buy me one too. His reasoning was that he knew I wanted one badly, and he didn’t want to see me disappointed if my dad had in fact not bought me one for Christmas after all. But he did, and thus, I was given two record players for Christmas.
Here started the obsession. The addiction of buying and finding new records. It has since become a hobby of mine and my collection has grown significantly within the past year and a half.
And so, here we are. The present day, and here are my top 10 best finds/favourite records that I have acquired over the past year and a half of record hunting. It’s a thankless and often tedious hobby that can be disappointing at times but then again, so very rewarding at others. So, without further ado, here they are. In no particular order, my favourite vinyl records in my possession – accompanied by shoddy, last minute, late night camera phone photographs.
‘Dark Side of the Moon’ (2003 Remastered) – Pink Floyd
One of the greatest and most respected records of all time, Pink Floyd’s masterpiece ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ was one of the first records I owned. My father gave it to me along with my Technics record player and insisted that it was an album that everyone should own at some point in their lives. And he was right. The reason this is one of my favourite records is because it changed the way I listened to music forever. I’d never heard an album that could sound so contemporary yet be more than 40 years old. It’s so inventive and exciting, I’d never heard anything quite like it. For this and so many other reasons, ‘Dark Side…’ is one of my most treasured items.
‘Visions of Domino’ (2011 Unofficial Release) – The Cure
Being a huge fan of The Cure, I thought I was aware of pretty much every album they had released. But alas, one day on a trip to London, as I was searching through a dinky record shop in Camden Market I found this. ‘Visions of Domino’ was unfamilar to me, but as I always enjoy building up my The Cure collection, I bought it anyway for the reasonable price of £10. When I got home, I realised it was a compilation of rare live performances, recordings and bootlegs by The Cure and upon further research, I discovered that this was a rare, unofficial compilation released in Germany. Plus, it was on yellow vinyl. Cool, cool and cooler. I’m so glad I found this, because it seems pretty darn rare to me and despite it being unofficial, I love the songs included on it – including a short recording of Robert Smith talking about some songs. Swoon.
‘Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me’ (2013 Limited Edition) – The Cure
I bought this beautiful specimen on Record Store Day 2013, which was in itself a truly glorious day. I wasn’t much looking forward to many of the special releases this year, but when I saw this in my local record store, Pie & Vinyl, I snatched it up right away. A numbered limited edition version of the 1987 album, remastered and on coloured, heavyweight vinyl, this is a truly magnificent record. It sounds perfect, looks phenomenal and really emphasises what is great about using vinyl records. The achievement of buying this vinyl makes it all the more special, considering my friends and I left my flat at 5 o clock in the morning in order to secure our place in the queue for RSD 2013.
‘Disintegration’ (1990 Limited Edition Picture Disc) – The Cure
Another instalment from The Cure, I know, but Disintegration is my favourite album of all time. And I shouldn’t have been so shocked when I received this for Christmas 2 years ago considering my father was pestering me for days about what my favourite album by The Cure was. The sly old fox. Regardless, I love this vinyl. The sleeve is battered and split, and when played the vinyl crackles and pops in the wonderful way that old records do sometimes. That’s one of the many reasons I love this piece. It’s rare and beautiful and has so much character. Plus, there’s nothing more wonderful than seeing little Robert’s face spinning along for a good hour or so.
‘The Mark, Tom and Travis Show’ (2012 Limited Edition) – Blink-182
Now, I never used to pay much attention to the phrase ‘you learn something new every day’ but the fact I learned today has just made me rather excited! After delving into the world of vinyls and researching this release, I’ve found that my beautiful coloured double LP of ‘The Mark, Tom and Travis Show’ by blink-182 is in fact a limited edition release, limited to only 1000 copies! I found this beauty lurking in the depths of my old friend eBay. Shipped from America, this vinyl only ended up costing me around £25 including postage and I’m very pleased now that I decided to buy it. I love this album, because it shows blink doing what they do best – being complete idiots. Not only that though, I think this was recorded at the peak of their career and this live recording is fantastic.
‘Singles Box Set’ (2011 Limited Edition) – Paramore
Upon discovering in 2011 that Paramore were going to be releasing 3 exclusive songs, each on 7″ vinyl I became very excited indeed. It’d been a tough year for them as a band, losing two members and all, so the cards were very much on the table when it came to these new songs. Unsurprisingly, they were all fantastic and the records were absolutely stunning to look at. The picture does them no justice as of the four 7″ singles (the three new releases plus previous single ‘Monster’) there is one fluorescent green, one clear with blue glitter, one clear with yellow patches and one half red, half green. What really made me smile about this box set is that each of the 3,500 that were released came with a note on the inside for fans, reading: “2011 has been one of the most important years in our band’s history thus far. We were kept alive this year by your support, enthusiasm and belief in the 3 of us as Paramore. We are forever grateful to be a part of this and we are even more thankful to be a part of it with you. Told you we weren’t going anywhere. We are Paramore, Hayley, Jeremy, Taylor”.
‘Sugar We’re Goin’ Down’ (2006 Coloured, Signed) – Fall Out Boy
This beauty is a little battered and bruised around the edges when it comes to the sleeve, but that’s not really the point of this one. Once again, a big shout out to my pal eBay for scoring me this very special 7″. Costing me around £6 (I can’t remember precisely), this red coloured 7″ of the massive Fall Out Boy single ‘Sugar We’re Goin’ Down’ is hand-signed. Did I get it signed personally? No. Unfortunately not. But I have been assured that it was hand-signed as the original owner purchased it from website RecordStore.co.uk which often does signed merchandise for a reasonable price. It often makes me rather happy to look at this and be reminded that Fall Out Boy touched it once upon a time. Plus, the B-side is a fantastic acoustic version of ‘Nobody Puts Baby In The Corner’ which I had heard before buying this, but had no idea where it came from. So, now I know. Cheers eBay, you’re a top guy.
‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’ (1984 Original Pressing) – Band Aid
I know it’s corny, but I love this little single. I dug it out from my parent’s old collection and have sworn to myself that I will forever play it every Christmas from now on. As far as I’m aware, it’s an original pressing which makes it super old and I just love the way it crackles. There’s nothing better than sitting with the Christmas lights on, a hot cuppa in your hand listening to a crackly old version of ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas?’. I also love the B-side to this single – a piece called ‘Feed The World’ which is basically most of the contributing artists saying Merry Christmas and ‘Feed The World’. Paul Weller’s contibution is definitely my favourite. He sounds so happy to be there…
‘The Bitterest Pill (I Ever Had To Swallow)’ (1982 Original Pressing) – The Jam
This is my favourite song by The Jam and I found this original pressing in my favourite record store in Portsmouth for the very reasonable price of £3. There are many things I love about this record – the price I found it at, the song itself… But I also love the album artwork on this single, it’s really beautiful. On top of all that, the B-side songs are fantastic, which includes a snazzy cover of ‘Fever’ originally by Little Willie John. Weller sounds beautiful on this single and its B-sides and I can’t stop playing it recently in light of the fact I’m going to see Paul Weller this month! Excited isn’t the word.
‘Infinity On High’ (2007 Limited Edition Picture Disc) – Fall Out Boy
Last but certainly not least, this is my beautiful picture disc version of Fall Out Boy’s third album ‘Infinity On High’. I found this one on eBay again at around £8 I believe (it was a while ago, so I’m not sure exactly how much). I love this record mostly for visual reasons – it’s just stunning. I was shocked to find it on eBay for so cheap, as it’s a limited edition and I don’t understand who in their right mind would sell this. It’s also a fantastic album, and I bought this back when Fall Out Boy were still on hiatus, so it meant a great deal to me. I mean, it still does. But back then it was something I could hold close to me whilst I sat, cried and prayed that one day they would get back together. Looks like it worked, too.