These are challenging times for music industry, for bands and both labels
and retailers; illegal downloading has effectively decimated physical music
sales, hardest hit being the CD format, in an effort to address that retail
outlets – at least the decent ones are fighting back.
Saturday 16th April 2011 was the 5th ‘Record Store Day’ – the idea of the day
being to promote independent record stores and in particular those that
continue to stock vinyl. Vinyl is bucking the trend; sales are up year on
year, with pressing plants reporting they are working to capacity. So why
do we continue to love vinyl?
Humans are tactile creatures; we have five primary senses – a vinyl record,
before you even place it on a turntable hits three of those senses; you
touch it, you look at it, you can even smell it! A vinyl release allows those senses to be further stimulated, use of
interesting packaging and stimulating artwork are the most obvious
Here we take a look at some of the most inspiring vinyl
packages, not always the best tunes contained within but certainly some of the most interesting releases over the
Small Faces ‘Ogdens’ Nut Gone Flake’
First released in 1968, the package was a parody of a Liverpool firms
tobacco tin Ogdens’ Nut Brown Flake, hence the circular sleeve, contained
within were 5 interlinking circular posters each featuring a band member.
Public Image Limited ‘Metal Box’
A 12trk album split over 3 12” discs and packaged in a pressed metal film
reel style box with the PIL logo pressed into the lid – The whole project
was so costly there was no money left for a lyric sheet; to address this
Virgin records took out a page in the NME and printed all the lyrics there.
Durutti Column ‘The Return of The Durutti Column’
The initial 1979 Factory Records, (limited to just 2000) release by the
enigmatic Vinni Reilly was a nod to the Situationist art movement. The
album was housed in a sandpaper sleeve, the majority of which displayed no
information as to the release; the idea being that the very album would
destroy all other items in the owner’s collection.
Megadeth ‘Sweating Bullets’
In 1993 Megadeth released the ‘Sweating Bullets’12" on blue vinyl – not
that interesting you might think, until you realise that the disc played
from the inside out.
Jeff Mills ‘Occurrence’
Techno artist Mills managed to combine both vinyl and CD into one package;
The 5" disc featured a vinyl side, bonded to a CD side
The delightfully named hardcore band released a 1" single on Slap A Ham
Records, one side of the disc played at 78rpm, the other at 33rpm, and this
wonderful item was limited to just 14 copies!
Slap A Ham later released a 2" disc by Japanese grindcore outfit Slight Slappers
The Kingdom Of Bhutan
Not an esoteric prog out, but the real Kingdom of Bhutan; in 1972 for
reasons best known to themselves Bhutan released a series of postage stamps
that were in fact miniature vinyl records containing regional music and
Disney ‘The Black Hole’
Never commercially released due to manufacturing problems but the 1978 Disney
vinyl album took the concept of a picture disc a step further. Instead of a static
picture they encased dye coloured fluids and oils between the two slabs of vinyl to
create a constantly changing pattern
Adolf Hitler ‘Patria’
Yes it’s true, arguably the Worlds most monstrous man released a picture disc; the 8"
vinyl contained a two of his speeches on the ‘A’ side and a speech from a Party member
on the flipside. The pictures were of Adolf and on the reverse a hand holding aloft
a swastika flag.
Shouldn’t strictly include these other oddities as they weren’t released on
vinyl; however they are certainly worth a mention.
Innerpartysystem ‘Don’t Stop’
US based act whose first 7" was pressed on chocolate, and was fully edible. Limited
to just 100 copies.
In the 1930’s US based Hit Of The Week Records issued tunes on paper,
and in the 60’s records were pressed on laminated cardboard which formed
part of cereal box wrapping!
With releases such as these its hardly surprising that vinyl is on the rise; Anyone with
details of other releases of note?