“The first vinyl record I ever bought was Kinda Blue at a thrift store in San Luis Obispo on a weekend getaway with friends. I didn’t own record player at the time, but Miles Davis had become one of my undisputed music heroes and the contemplative cover portrait of him mid melody just pulled me in.”
“I took it home under my arm and thus began my late long love affair with vinyl. I say late because I was in my late 20s. I grew up in a musical household, thanks in big part to my mother, Carmen. She would always be singing in the kitchen to the Bee Gees or an old bolero. She also played guitar and would wake my sisters and me with a serenade of “Las Mañanitas” on our birthdays. You could say mom was my first music programmer. She showed me The Beatles, Doo-wop, and Motown, but she had abandoned the record player of her day for the convenience of the digital era.
My mom’s brother, my uncle Abel, had a record collection that I would dare to thumb thru everyone once in a while but they seemed so antiquated and crude, I didn’t it. I thought they were more for nostalgia than anything else. When I was old enough to buy my own music it was cassette tapes. One of the first being Kriss Kross. (A purchase which I wholly stand behind, by the way.)
In high school it was 50 page CD jackets full of every album you love, riding around with you in the car with your friends. Not to be outdone by the iPod, which changed everything. Or so I thought.
“My father was a musician growing up and he had accumulated a healthy record collection, but as a younger child of the ’90s I was caught in that strange time when CDs were so new and beautiful.”
“To my parents the thought of no longer dealing with warped vinyl, large audio units, and broken needles was a sweet sigh of relief. Because of this I was unaware of the amazing music that sat waiting for me in my dad’s attic. It wasn’t until years later that we brushed off the dusty late ’70s silver turntable that I was then introduced to the ritual of listening to a record.
I’m pretty sure that my first experience was the Jackson 5. I remember thinking the sound was so completely foreign to me. Because those early records were recorded all live, imperfections and human error were so apparent. I had this feeling of being in the room with the artist and it definitely left a serious impact on the way I approach music and writing today. That’s why in Blacktop Queen we record everything live, no click, with one or two takes. We are trying to recapture that magic that these precious recordings had.
“I am amazed at the heaviness I still feel about vinyl and the difference it has on my entire listening experience for either hearing a new record for the first time or hearing a classic record for the thousandth time. Vinyl brings along a hands-on experience, commitment, work, a ritual—things I truly value in life and in making music. That same feeling I felt as a kid, I do today, and I know I will for the rest of my life. There’s a timelessness to vinyl.”
“When I was young, my family would play classic records and I remember how special it felt when they let me be the one to put the needle on the record. It amazed me how it all worked! How the needle made the music play! I would stare at it for hours.
Vinyl was starting to phase out when I was about 7 years old. My father was a huge record collector—he had crates of old classic Beatles records, Neil Young, The Rolling Stones, etc. At a garage sale, he sold all of his vinyl for 25 cents a piece thinking that there was going to be no use for it anymore. I remember it so vividly in my mind yet I was too young to appreciate vinyl at that time. That day goes down in history with my family. We always talk about what it would be like if that didn’t happen and wish we could take it back. I can only hope that the tradition of listening to vinyl got passed on to another family.
“When I was a kid there was always music playing in my house. My father had a record collection he was really proud of, and the songs of The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Doors, etc, could be heard by anyone passing by our house. This first contact with music probably influenced me much more that I will ever know.”
“I would look at the record covers, some of them were works of art themselves, other were nicely taken photographs. They were the faces of the music and meant much more than the lyrics to a boy who didn’t speak English. I still remember Steppenwolf Live’s cover. Man, that wolf looked cool.
Usually, meaningful music comes accompanied by meaningful images. Listening to a LP while looking at its artwork is a pleasure in itself which I doubt could ever be matched by staring at a computer screen on i-Tunes.
“Growing up in Melbourne, Australia, I remember around the age of 12 becoming obsessed with my dad’s vinyl collection. My dad had all of his vinyl leaning up against a wall in our front room, hundreds of records just sitting there waiting to be discovered…”
“It was kind of like that scene in Almost Famous. I remember flicking through the covers and seeing all those powerful cover art images…Let it Bleed (The Rolling Stones), Abbey Road (The Beatles), Zeppelin II and IV,Harvest (Neil Young), Aqualung (Jethro Tull), Who’s Next (The Who). We’d listen to Get Yer Ya Yas Out!, full volume over and over again.
I just loved everything about vinyl. It’s the tactile quality, the pops and crackles in the sound, that smell, the liner notes…I like the real thing, I want to listen to a vinyl and hold it in my hand, read who engineered it and where it was recorded…you can’t get that on Spotify (or streaming services).
“I don’t remember a moment in my life that wasn’t soundtracked. Whether I was taking piano lessons at Suzuki, exploring my parent’s record collection filled with obscure Canadian folk music, or pillaging my brother’s far-ranging tastes for psychedelia and avant-garde jazz, I was creating an appreciation for ‘the song’ that would turn into a lifelong love affair.”
“I’ve always been the type of music consumer to chase new discoveries down the rabbit hole. Every new artist opens doors to side projects and scenes. I absorb as much of it as I can before moving on. The internet would seemingly be the ideal medium for me, because it can feed the obsession until my ADD introduces a new muse. In the Napster days, I zealously squeezed out every megabyte of music my dial-up connection could muster. Suddenly, I had everything…and it meant nothing to me.
Music has always been a part of my self-identity, and I was tarnishing my spirit by ‘stealing’ it (not meant to alienate anyone, so it gets air quotes). I’m ritualistic in how I listen to music; I like peeling off the cellophane, smelling the sweet ink of the cover, poring over the liner notes for the producer, engineers, guest musicians, etc. I want to understand the who, what, where of how the album was created. This connection was lost when the relationship became a series of points and clicks.
“I remember Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band blew me away.”
“I was 7 and my Dad’s friend gave me a Megadeath album for my birthday. I brought it home and my mother saw what I was holding…we got back in the car and went to The Great Escape (a record and comic store in Madison, Tennessee). She picked out Sgt. Pepper’s and that was it. Nothing against Megadeath at all…I do enjoy them.
Another record would be Troubadour by JJ Cale. I owned it in college and that was when I first owned a record player. I love JJ’s style…his writing, his guitar playing, his dingy basement dweller mad scientist/ laid back duuuuuude thing. I was and still am way into all of his records, however Troubadour is the top for me. The pedal steel solo in ‘Hey Baby’ is one of my favorite pedal steel solos.
“My earliest memories of vinyl happened to be some of my most vivid and cherished childhood memories. Without a doubt, my favorite memories of my father involve vinyl. My dad had an old wicker crate that he kept all his records in. It consisted mainly of classic rock, nothing too out there but classics nonetheless. I remember opening it up to flip through the album art and inspect the intricate and unique inserts. I can even recall pulling the vinyl out of the sleeve and tracing my finger along the grooves, trying to wrap my head around how that could possibly produce sound.”
“Growing up, every night after my parents would put my sister and me to bed. My dad would pour himself a drink, dim the lights in our den, and listen to his record collection for hours to unwind in solitude. I would lay in my bed as long as I could trying to fall asleep while listening to the music from my room, always intrigued and jealous that it was past my bedtime. Eventually, every night after my mom and sister would fall asleep, I would sneak out of my room and ask my dad if I could stay up and listen to records with him.
To my surprise, instead of being scolded for sneaking out past bedtime, Dad didn’t mind and let me hang out. He’d play me all his favorite songs and was so blissfully happy while doing it. The ultimate test for my dad was if a song gave him the chills. He’d show me his arm covered in goosebumps after his favorite part of a song came through the speakers and my childhood brain was blown away at the power sound could have on us. I was hooked. These joyous late night listening sessions with him undoubtedly fostered my passion for all things music.
“While waiting for Teenage Fanclub to complete our next studio album I’ve been on a bit of a journey, making music for filmmakers and listening to classical and soundtrack music. When I decided to make Music For String Quartet, Piano & Celeste it was important that it be available—albeit in a limited quantity—on vinyl, as well as on CD and digital.”
“I took a lot of time planning this album. I used a good studio with a good piano (Mogwai’s Castle Of Doom in Glasgow) and a great string quartet. I learned a lot about writing for strings. I pushed myself to play all the piano and celeste parts, etc. I wanted to be able to hold an actual record in my hand at the end of the process and feel I’d gotten somewhere.
The first vinyl single I ever got was “Jilted John” by Jilted John—it was a requested present for my 8th birthday. I wanted it because my big cousin said he liked it.
“I don’t have any childhood memories of vinyl. I think my parents just used the record player and the CD player interchangeably and it was on a very high shelf so I couldn’t tell and didn’t really care. My house was just always full of music, coming from the speakers or my dad’s piano/ guitar/ mouth. All music all the time.”
“My first real interaction with vinyl was on a trip to NYC my freshman year of college. It was my first trip without my parents and it was to lay down a track with a producer who had been pursuing me. That sentence sounds so flashy and cool but it was actually not a good situation at all. That dude turned out to be very aggressive and inappropriate and it was a bit of a nightmare that landed me and the friend who came with me in a basement with 2 car engines, a rocking horse, a bunch of open cans of paint, and thousands of cardboard boxes.
We slept on a velvet couch next to a coffee table full of drugs after talking our way out of sleeping on the couch next to his bed… it was… whatever…that’s not the point. The only shining moment of that experience was listening to Abbey Road on vinyl in that basement. I grew up with The Beatles. The all-music-all-the-time was like 73% Beatles. I sat on that couch and thought about home, and my parents. They would have freaked OUT if they knew the situation I was in.