Let’s Talk Vinyl

by Jette-Mari Anni

Records. What a nostalgic word with so many memories and emotions that might run through your mind as you hear the word. The first vinyl records, also known as LPs, were released in 1948 and dominated the market even over cassette tapes until the arrival of CDs. Music used to be an experience – just like for radio, people came together and devoted a special chuck of time out of their busy days to enjoy the music. Then, the music accompanied us as we went about our day in car radios or with the help of a Walkman, and now you can play music from your smartwatch. Are records still relevant?

According to Statista, record sales have actually been growing since 2006; 14.5% more albums (18.84 million in total) were sold in 2019 than in 2018 (16.8 million records). Since 2006, many big tech names have been coming out with several multimedia stations that are either portable or have a replicated vintage look. Although collectors, DJs, and audiophiles still use them for playing their favorite tunes, they also serve as accent pieces in interior design. These modern and portable options have made vinyl into a desirable aesthetic that’s popular among many younger adults and even teenagers. But where are the “real deals” now? The original records from their prime with original iconic cover art and sound – do they still exist? Yes, and here are my top recommendations!

Hunting down original 1960-1990s records become a personal hobby thanks to my partner, who has to stop at any and every antique store to look for Hot Wheel cars. After following him around countless smaller stores and bigger antique malls, the piles of records caught my eye. Growing up in a former Soviet country in Eastern Europe, vinyl never really reached the popularity it did in the US. In retrospect though, everyone listened to all the same songs and bands, so everyone knows all the big names like Elvis, Little Richard, Jimmy Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen, and U2. It’s exciting for me to flip through these magnificent originals because they feel sacred.

Last weekend, we went to antique malls in Volo, and I definitely spent more than I should’ve! Among my favorite finds were an Elvis Christmas album, some young Rod Steward, the special first edition of The Beatles introductory album to the US, Queen, Journey, and Jethro Tull. I was really impressed by the amount of Elvis albums that can be found at antique stores. There were even a few collectibles going for $60-$80, and other popular artists included Blondie, KISS, Neil Diamond, and American Authors. My most recent searches on auction websites found many original releases never used and still in their original packaging. You really can get some fantastic albums online! Spending all this time looking at albums have me certain of what’s going on my Christmas list. Maybe you’ll find some great albums to add to your collection, as well.