I consider myself fortunate to have lived during a time that recorded music transitioned to and through different recorded forms. From 45 rpms and 33⅓ rpm vinyl (I even listened to some 78 rpm vinyl that belonged to my parents) to 8-track, cassettes, compact discs and now digital my musical journey and collection of music has been part of the history of music.
While I may do a deeper dive on the other forms of recorded music, my first introduction and still my favorite form to enjoy music is vinyl. Why do I vinyl love vinyl? Let me count the ways ... .
Actually there are dozens of reasons I love vinyl. I could tell you that the sound is richer and every record I purchased or was given has a story behind it. I could talk about why I tracked down a 45 rpm or purchased an album after hearing a band live or on the radio or seeing a music video or a movie. So first and foremost those musical memories are probably up near the top of the list of why I love vinyl.
I also started a DJ career during college with vinyl being my musical tool of the trade at the time. Having two turntables and a microphone served me well and helped me develop many technical and communication skills related to music and life that I still use today.
Vinyl taught me to listen and to listen fully to what an artist or multiple artists were trying to say. I am still interested in listening and whether it was in my room by myself with a turntable spinning or in a crowded space with other people I enjoy listening.
The sight accompanied by the sound of spinning vinyl is something special. From the moment the needle drops into the groove until it nearly reaches the center label, the vinyl experience was and still is a unique way to enjoy music. When I bought a jukebox, I was sure to purchase a model that offered the ability to watch the record play.
Vinyl and the imagery of the album covers are art. I have a number of framed albums that are as beautiful to me as many other art pieces. The creativity of the albums and even some 45 rpm sleeves not only add to the experience of listening to the music but also stand on their own as works of visual art.
There is also a social part of vinyl. Whether you are buying new or used or trading vinyl, the vinyl-loving community is alive and well. Be sure to catch up with me this April for Record Store Day and I will show you what I mean.
While my wife cringes just a little when I mention my collection of vinyl, stored lovingly in a closet in our home, the truth is that she is fully responsible for a good portion of the vinyl we own. I love to tell people that my wife, Allison, “brought an awesome vinyl collection into our relationship”. She still cringes at the size and scope of the collection, but deep down she knows some of the best vinyl we own is hers.
I should add a thought or two on my collection of vinyl (that my wife cringes over) and that I/we currently own. There is no question that I need to pare down the collection. I know I will not pull out the 1982 Blondie LP “The Hunter” to cue up “Island of Lost Souls” on vinyl. Even though that is a great song, I am not diving deep into the stacks of vinyl to locate it. So I am agreeable to the notion that I may have more vinyl than I need — but maybe we should not say that out loud in front of my family.
On the flip side, there is no way to justify removing Bruce Springsteen’s “Greetings from Asbury Park” from my collection. Not only was it the first Springsteen album I purchased, but I still listen to it on vinyl as often as I can.
I know that I am not alone. In 2019 vinyl record sales increased over ten percent and surpassed the 10 million units sold mark. Those sales of LPs made up 19.2 percent of all physical album sales. And you will see more and more outlets are stocking and selling new albums.
For the love of vinyl, I will always treasure and continue to listen to and enjoy my favorite form of recorded music. I hope if you are like me you continue to “Listen Up” to vinyl. I hope to see you at the record shop or during one of my favorite days of the year — Record Store Day!