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Saturday Deluxe / 13 October 2018

National Album Day

It’s national album day today. I’m not sure who decided it was national album day, but chances are it was the same industry that has delivered Spotify and other streaming platforms that encourage people to listen to theme-based playlists and just sample ‘the best’ tracks from albums and quickly move on.

I’m not going to do anything gimmicky to ‘celebrate’ national album day, because I guess like many of you, EVERY DAY is an ‘album day’ for me. I love listening to music and love albums.

However, it did get me thinking as to what my ‘first’ album was. My dad had The Beatles‘ studio albums, which I was aware of in the 1970s but I’m not sure I had digested whole albums back then.

While I do remember taping things off of mates at school (Alf, No Parlez, etc.) I would make a case for Kate Bush‘s Hounds of Love as the first album that I went out (at the age of 15) and bought with my own pocket money. It took me two weeks to save the £5 or so it would have cost back then and so that tape became a treasured possession. How I loved that cassette. It was ‘XDR’, which stood for eXtended Dynamic Range and the presence of this ‘technology’ was signified by three ‘blips’ at the beginning before the music started. I have no idea whether it really ‘did’ anything, but it seemed cool at the time. Parlophone used it on virtually everything, including all the Pet Shop Boys albums and cassette singles.

The other thing I liked about the Hounds of Love tape was that some bright spark had worked out that if the whole tape case (the plastic container you put the cassette in) was transparent then you could have a bigger inlay that wrapped around the entire cassette, and not that thin ‘strip’ with a few titles squashed into them. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check out the image below (pinched from discogs):

So as you can see, the track names were spread around and side two had this mysterious subtitle ‘The Ninth Wave’. As if it couldn’t be any more attractive, the brilliant 12-inch version of ‘Running Up That Hill’ was appended to side one (I would consider dumping  an extended version into the middle of an album sacrilege now) and the cassette tape itself was transparent which made it look a bit like a groovy reel-to-reel recorder that Harry Caul from The Conversation might pay close attention to.

All this would count for naught, of course, if Hounds of Love wasn’t such a brilliant album. I took this tape with me on a school trip to Russia and have vivid memories of listening to The Ninth Wave on my Walkman on an overnight sleeper train from Moscow to St Petersburg. The clickety-click of the wheels on the track, and the lilting rhythm of the train playing out against dreamy songs like ‘Watching You Without Me’ and ‘Hello Earth,’ lingers long in the memory. In fact, it’s stayed with me an entire lifetime. There is the power of an album for you.

If paying for it and taking the initiative for the acquisition, is a key factor then Hounds of Love it is for me, but the first album I remember ‘getting into’ from start to finish was ABBA‘s The Visitors. This was their last studio album and it was released in November 1981, when I was still 11 (about to turn 12). I knew all the ABBA hits of course, from Top of the Pops, but I don’t ever remember my Dad playing an actual ABBA studio album in the car until The Visitors came out.

Even at that young age I remember thinking there was something very different about the record. It starts with a load of pulsating synths, like some bastard child of Vangelis and Kraftwerk and the rather un-ABBA like opening lines are:

“I hear the door-bell ring and suddenly the panic takes me
The sound so ominously tearing through the silence…”

The Visitors is a phenomenal album and brilliant to play in the car. We’d be whizzing up the M6 at some godforsaken speed and whole family would ‘bounce’ together when the the chorus and drums burst in:

“Now I hear them moving
Muffled noises coming through the door I feel I’m
Cracking up”

The song ‘The Visitors’ definitely wasn’t a pop single, but it was the title track to the album and kicked everything off. Who were these ‘Visitors’? The end of side one had a similarly curious song, Soldiers. It was catchy, but lyrically strange. These were songs that were grabbing my attention not the more traditional ABBA fare like One Of Us (which was the biggest hit from the album).

The Visitors ends with two of the most affecting songs Benny and Bjorn ever wrote. The beautiful ‘Slipping Though My Fingers’ (about watching your children grown up) was rescued from obscurity by its inclusion in the musical Mamma Mia and Like Angel Passing Through My Room is utter perfection; a sorrowful hymn-like number of remembrance and regret (“And it all comes back to me tonight, in the gloom / Like an angel passing through my room”).

Of course I was far too young to understand what was going on in some of these songs, but mood, music, words can still combine to have an impact, even if you can’t put your finger on what is going on.

‘Hello Earth’ and ‘Like An Angel Passing Through My Room’ are two of the best songs from their respective albums, but neither were singles and so if my dad hadn’t bought The Visitors and I hadn’t bought Hounds of Love I’d never have heard either of them.

I was quick to learn that back in the day, however good they may be, ‘the hits’ are often a bit of a compromise and the really interesting stuff was hidden on the albums. Albums really can change your life, so gimmicky or not, I’ll wish you a happy national album day and would love to hear about your ‘first’ albums.

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Corey Schmidt

I’m not sure what my first album (real album – besides K-tel’s “Music Magic”) was, but my first single was Nowhere Man – thanks to watching Yellow Submarine on TV after school in grade 3 or 4… It’s still my favorite pop song of all time (the mono mix is best for that gorgeous solo). But I have to agree that The Visitors is my favorite Abba album as well. For the same reasons. Slipping, Angel, Visitors and Soldiers are some of their very best tracks (except I’ll throw Head Over Heels in there as well) So moody and beautiful sonic textures. A fantastic (unintended) swansong!

graham hill

the first album i bought was new boots and panties by ian dury and it’s still my favourite album of all time. still totally unique and that’s what started my journey into record collecting which is now 40 years and going strong!

Peter

My first album, brought with my own money, saved from my paper round was Blondie – Parallel Lines, so to see it again now pressed in a RED vinyl is a welcome addition to my collection. Prior to this my albums were bought by my parents in lieu of pocket money, such as Wings Venus & Mars, Bowie, T.Rex Slider, Roxy Music and Kraftwerk..
Beatles, Elvis and Rod plus a wide range of Country, Jazz to Easy Listening were already a staple in my house. Always remembering waking up to the music being played by my parents every weekend.

Branny

Didn’t have time for an album day yesterday due to being a taxi for Wife and Daughter. Managed to get through some discs from Loving the alien (Let’s dance, Tonight, Dance and Recall 4 disc 1.)

May stick a few of my earlier albums on. Not long since I upgraded my system and not had a chance to listen to all my albums. HOL and the Visitors are two in my collection that I’ve just never got around to listening to. Time to put that right.

Branny

When I was a kid the only source of music in the house was a radio. All that changed when I had just turned 10. I came downstairs and was greeted by my Mum in a bit of a state of shock. “Guess who’s died?” “Famous singer Elvis Presley” answering her own question.

I knew my Dad liked Elvis, I just didn’t realise he loved Elvis. I would soon find out how much. Off to the local “AV” shop we went. He purchased a GEC music centre with record deck, cassette and radio. It came with a free compilation called the jubilee years of pop. While we were there he also bought Abba Arrival and a 5 disc Elvis golden records box set.

Weekends from that point on were spent trawling record fayres and stores snapping up every piece of Elvis vinyl he could find and playing them relentlessly until the next trip and next purchase. It bordered on brainwashing and is one of the reasons I am not too keen on “the King” even now at 51.

The jubilee years of pop had a lot of 60s stuff on and as I was trying to get away from that era due to Elvis, I decided it wasn’t for me so Arrival was the first album I listened to from start to finish and became a welcome respite so I truly do have a reason to thank Abba for the music.

My first record player was given to me for my 12th birthday. The first album I received was Gary Numans The pleasure principle as a Christmas gift from my Dad and the first I bought was a K-Tel compilation called Hot tracks and cost me £1.99.

Budget constraints meant that I mainly bought 7″and 12″ singles plus my attention span in those days struggled to get through a whole album. There were exceptions though. Dare, Rio and Parallel lines became favourites as did anything by Madness and from the late 80s i discovered Talking Heads.

These days my buying is as frenetic as ever. I am still buying a lot of stuff from the 80s that I missed first time around. “Out this week” determines how much I’m going to spend in a particular week. Thanks Paul. I’m a big fan of the page. Can’t say the same for the Wife though.

Mathew Lauren

My parents bought me “Chicago” double lp (Chicago II for the uninitiated). I learned “Colour My World” vox and piano by the end of the week. Some of my first LP buys were and Yes “Roundabout” and most 70s ELO, but I remember “Discovery” was BIG here “in the states,” as well as the “red” and “blue” Beatles stereo Lps. I also bought Billy Joel’s “52nd Street” & “Glass Houses” and eventually “Nylon Curtain” (later on in the mid-80s) ‘cause it wasn’t available as a cd. Oh, yeah and most of The Talking Heads discography of course. These stand out in my mind in semi-chronological order.

Because of familial-biz links to Led Zeppelin, my fondest memory, however, is receiving advanced copies of “In through the Outdoor.” I’ll explain: the postman bent the first copy to fit it into the postal box – no sh!t! What an idiot! But Zeppelin Mgt. sent another from (Manhattan) New York City. How cool of them. Wow! It was so different from early Zep, it’s still my favourite Zep album because of its diversity — all inside +/- 45 mins.

Vinyl, hmm. I’d trade it all for Zep in ATMOS, Jimmy.

…if you’re listening.

Pascal

The first album I bought was ABBA’s Arrival. I even know the exact date, it was on the 21st of July 1977. Back then I was just 7 years old and my parents gave me money so I could go over to the store and buy the album. The first album I bought from my own pocket money was Gate To Infinity by Dutch band Earth & Fire, I believe it was somewhere at the beginning of 1978. In the last days of 1977 I bought their single 78th Avenue which I liked a lot at that time. And so later the full album that was released in the same period. Not knowing that their albums were much more symphonic in contrast with their more commercial hit single stuff. Nevertheless, Earth & Fire became one of my most favourite bands later and still have all their albums.

Bostonian

I just read Auntie Sabrina’s post re: Boney M’s Nightflight To Venus and had to pause and post. One of my first cassettes and a fave! Parents had Shirley Bassey and Simon & Garfunkel. First tapes were Regatta De Blanc from The Police and Gary Numan’s Pleasure Principle.

Daniel

Hi Paul, I enjoyed your story about your first album purchase (Kate Bush’s The Hounds Of Love) on cassette format. I was delighted that you used the images from discogs as these were uploaded by me. I have exactly the same cassette that you so fondly described and the lovely test tones at the beginning and end of the tape. Cassettes by the mid 80s never sounded any better and especially the xdr were a few ways to enhance the sound. It was a nice addition that EMI added the extended version of Running Up The Hill.

Foxee

Really interesting that most 40-somethings had Abba albums amongst their first purchases or gifts.

Perhaps it’s not so surprising then that the same generation kicked off the revival in ’92, when many of us were at university and liking Abba was completely cool and acceptable amongst your peers. Today we now have children or even grand children with whom we can proudly share the Abba phenomenon, and see just how much kids still instinctively love that music, regardless of its age. It’s the sheer joy and piercing sadness combined with those unbeatable vocals that somehow taps something inside everyone. Perhaps not so amazing that their music has stayed so popular for so long, and shows no sign at all of ever dating or fading away………

The first lp bought for me was Abba the Album – and I was taken to see Abba The Movie. What a treat! I also recall Abba Greatest Hits Vol 2 being a hugely popular collection in 1979, probably because the two non-album singles were on it – Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! and Summer Night City.

I happen to completely agree with the review of The Visitors posted by Paul. It is without doubt the first masterpiece of the 1980s, and for many the greatest. It’s Abba autumnal album and was a fitting coda to a musical trajectory that consistently got better and more poignant as they continued. Of course, the prospect of new music this year from them is almost unbearably wonderful, and we can only hope that whatever they produce/ release (another album would be the ultimate dream) that it is a fitting testament to their legacy.

Taffy

Pretty sure the first albums i bought when i got my first stereo (in December 1977) were Fleetwood Mac Rumors, Abba’s Greatest Hits (the one with them sitting on a park bench) and the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. Basically I loved Abba, and the other two were super huge at the time (in suburban New York) and I wanted to be current. Happily I loved them all.

Auntie Sabrina

Nightflight To Venus by Boney M. Great album, I don’t care if anyone says different…

Richard

The first album I have remember buying with my own dosh is let’s dance sometime in 1983. Paid for the princely sum of $6.96 from a record shop in the bottom of the Eaton centre in Toronto. Felt quite grown up having accomplished that transaction even though I would have been about to 11.

David Carter

Duran Durans debut was the first album I bought with my own money back in 1981 when i was Eleven years old

Nigel Crickmore

Whilst I was very into the Top 40 and listening to music up until 1971 I wasn’t able to buy LP’s as was only 10 and hadn’t grasped the concept until then really plus didn’t have the money. So the first album I actually bought was Electric Warrior by T.Rex which is still massive favourite and I play. I was and still am a massive Bolan fan and to me this was the perfect amalgamation of the whimsical lyrics and music.

Tonk

First ‘proper’ album (not hand-me-downs from siblings, and certainly not the Band Of The Royal Marines, Ace Of Clubs pressing . . . ) was All The Young Dudes – Mott The Hoople.
A brilliant record that still gets played to this day . . admittedly it was the Blu-Spec CD version though, not the original LP, whch I still have . . . .

Leo

What a wonderful collection of memories..!
My very first pop album was, at 12 (again!) in 1978, the”Grease” soundtrack on tape, immediately followed by the ONJ “Totally Hot” LP. Winter 78/79.
In Italy Olivia Newton-John was virtually unknown before the Grease phenomenon, so even getting Totally Hot (which I still love and listen to when in the mood) was not easy, I had to order it and go to the record shop every other day pestering the ladies working there until one day, seeing the 12 years old me entering the store they shouted: Olivia’s here!! Those were the days.
I was 12 and not very much into singles as they just offered a couple of songs! I guess my very first single was, a couple of years later and progressed to Beatles music, a reprint of the Beatles’ We Can Work It Out/Day Tripper single as the songs were not on any original album..

Igor

Howard Jones – Dream Into Action. It was my first LP I bought with my own money in the mid 80s. At the end of this year I will celebrate this moment with Super Deluxe Edition of this album! Can’t wait ;-)

David Barclay

Hi love your choice, the first albu! I owned was Jefferson Airplane ‘s Surrealist is Pillow, still a favourite, but the first album I actually purchased was Jimi Hendrix Axis Bold As Love. Just recently bought a new vinyl version again & play it my Dansette 1964 record player, just like being 13 again
Dave

Richard Farr

National Album Day – under promoted & to the extent it was, rather mysteriously so. Who is behind it – one site I found suggested a single woman? Texts and emails all came through around the middle of the day rather than in the lead up to or even the night before. Didn’t feel like RSD or HMV Vinyl Week [& the albums HMV released ‘for NAD’ were pricier than for vinyl day in June although admittedly all were coloured this time]. Having said that I did join in with the ‘play a favourite album at 3.33pm’ & chose ‘Parallel Lines’. Obviously the spirit of the day had some impact on me as I did not take the easy route and reach for the [2001 reissue] CD on the shelf but ventured into the loft to retrieve my vinyl copy which sounded teriffic especially ‘I’m gonna love you too’. So thanks to NAD for encouraging a listening experience I may not have otherwise had….

RJS

“National Album Day is being organised jointly by ERA (Entertainment Retailers Association),
representing the nation’s music retailers and digital/streaming platforms, in partnership with
record labels body, the BPI (British Phonographic Industry). It also has the backing and
input of the wider music community, including AIM (Association of Independent Music),
Classic Album Sundays, BBC Music, FAC (Featured Artist Coalition), MMF (Music Managers
Forum), MPG (Music Producers Guild), Official Charts Company, PPL (Phonographic
Performance Limited), United Talent Agency, and industry umbrella body UK Music.”

http://www.nationalalbumday.co.uk/press-kit/

Florentino Stabile

Hi again Paul and everyone reading this wonderful blog that hid a chord for sure,

Just wanted to share a fun moment in my record buying. In 1981-82 Asia released their incredible debut. I, being a fan of prog and classic rock… along with a friend… set out to a record store called A & A Records and Tapes that no longer exists. They were selling it for 4.99 Canadian. When my friend and I got the record and at that price…. it was like having our cake and eating it too. Sadly that vinyl I no longer own but have since got the CD. Another special record purchase from a retail store was Supertramp Paris. These artists and records still hold a special place.
God bless music and the art of collecting
Tino

Yeuan

If memory serves me right, it was Frankie’s double vinyl Welcome to the Pleasuredome. I recall ordering via post as the lp was not readily available where I was then.
On cd, it was likely Bee Gees’ ESP. My father had bought a cd player and asked me to pick a cd.. I probably chose that on the strength of the catchy You Win Again.
On a slightly separate note I wonder how folks here listen to their albums.. Do they devote their full attention or (like myself) go abt their chores while listening?

Jussi Pukkila

My first one was an ABBA cassette, either Arrival or The Album, probably in the summer of 1978. I had already heard both albums, either at a cousin’s house or at the library, on vinyl.

A local small department store in Finland only carried cassettes and I still remember it being a bit special, making the decision to purchase the Arrival tape on my own, using my own pocket money. We did have a vinyl player at my house but being able to play the tape in my own small mono player was probably the reason I got it on cassette. That and the fact that the girls I hung out with thought Boney M. was better, so buying ABBA was some kind of statement. Music was escapism for me which is probably why I didn’t get into local Finnish bands.

The Album I bought in Alta, northern Norway. We were on a car trip to Lapland and took a daytrip to the Arctic ocean. The cassette was made in Norway, even my young (future collector) eyes spotted the difference! My dear mono tape player got nasty spots on its shiny cover when we had to kill the mosquitos in our cabin with bug spray!

I got in the schedule with ABBA the next year and bought Voulez-Vous on vinyl, actually two days prior to the official release. My birthday was also on that weekend, so it was most likely a present someone funded for me. Some weeks before that my mom woke me up in the morning, telling me “they’re playing the new ABBA track on the radio” and later that day I asked friends if they had heard “vulee-boo” that morning as well.

Next was Boney M.’s Oceans of Fantasy on vinyl. Although fantasically packaged, that album was a slight diasppointment after the wonderfully adventurous Nightflight to Venus. I didn’t care that much fr teh big hits (Rivers of Babylon & Rasputin), I remember being completely fascinated with the way Nightflight segued into Rasputin though. I probably personally wore out the copy of my local library! In the same genre and a similar experience was Amii Stewart’s Paradise Bird.

I did branch out quite soon to other musical genres and became a major Kate Bush and Joni Mitchell fan, so it wasn’t just pop & disco for me!

Dubsideofthemoon

I’ll be short : First album bought if i recall was Rocks from Aerosmith back in 1976 being 13 years’s old. Thousands of metal teens all around the world started with this album !

Atlantasteve

When I became “woke” to album rock, my first album purchases were Rush “Permanent Waves”, ZZ Top “Deguello” and Pink Floyd “The Wall”. My tastes have continued to be varied over the next 40 years. God bless rock and roll!

James Blair

Fantastically, and coincidentally, you have picked two albums which were very early purchases and obsessions for me, too. And that remain as favourites for me to this day.
“The Visitors” would be flawless if it wasn’t for “Two for the Price of One” which, for me, kills the flow of the album somewhat. Second UK single “Head Over Heels” is actually my second least fave track on the album, reinforcing what you say about album tracks vs chosen singles. I found the title track and KB’s “Hello Earth” really quite eerie back then, and I remember listening to them through headphones in the dark & loving how they unnerved me – perhaps, for the first time, realising the true power of music. However, I still chuckle at Frida’s twisted pronunciation of the word “humiliation” to this day.
Another very early purchase (and to-this-day obsssion) was Propaganda’s “A Secret Wish”. I think all 3 albums remain in my all-time top ten to this day.
Thanks for prompting the memories, Paul!

Andy Hanson

Roxy Music’s Stranded and Genesis’ Selling England by the Pound. What could be better? Although in truth it was Gary Glitter’s Touch Me. Seems I’ve answered by own question. Cheers.

Roy Mussell

Ignoring the tapes of Buddy, Cliff, Shaky & Showaddywaddy I bought/copied based on my Dad’s music, the first vinyl album I properly saved up and bought (from Woolworths) was Simple Minds – Real to Real Cacophony. At the time, I had no idea how cool it was, I was just obsessed with Simple Minds and the local record library didn’t have it! I still love it esp. Changeling.

Tom McPhillips

STML11121! When you can remember the catalogue number more than 40 years on you know that it was a memorable album. Motown Chartbusters Volume 3 – the one with the silvery shiny weird sort of cover! There wasn’t a single bad track on it. As always with the series there was a mix of huge hits, AirPlay successes which should have been mega and ones that were overlooked at the time but with the benefit of hindsight were magnificent. It isn’t really a cop out to name a compilation as your star moment – they weren’t everywhere the way they are now. There ended up being 12 in that particular collection and I now have every one on CD (I only had 8 on vinyl). I can still listen to the CD today and instantly be transported to my youth. Who needs the elixir of life when you have Motown Chartbusters!

Guy

The first LP I bought with my own money was Pin Ups by David Bowie – how cool was that for a 10yr old, even if I didn’t know it then?! IIRC it was because ‘Sorrow’ was on it, which I liked, and in the charts at the time. In fact it could have been a Slade or Sweet or T.Rex album but Pin Ups was the one in my hand when my Dad told me to hurry up and choose! I do recall it was the first time I had experienced sifting through the racks of a record shop, a pleasure I enjoy just as much today.

I still have that LP, scuffed with well-worn grooves, in a battered, bent cover, my name scrawled on it to inform my younger brothers that it was my property and not theirs. I played it yesterday as a trip down memory lane.

Whatever the ulterior intentions of promoting a National Album Day, at least it is a good way of educating the Spotify generation that the album is best savoured as a complete package and not a pick’n’mix.

Antonio Cunha

So nice to know ‘The Visitors’ was one of your favorite albums, Paul. I love its decadence, that shines in the darkest pitch. Simply marvelous to know your Kate tape’s ‘Hounds of Love’ story – it remains so vivid. :)
My first LP was ‘Rio’, by Duran Duran, I was 9 yo, I guess. Still can’t forget the arty video (and song) for ‘The Chauffeur’ or the Sri Lanka video for ‘Save a Prayer’. How exotic a band could be, back then (sigh, …). So fresh, so new, …

MMx

AC/DC – Let There Be Rock. Bought it in 1982 – I was 13. Still my favourite album by them.

Hounds Of Love though… my favourite album by anyone. You hear someone arguing that the 80s were duff then just direct them to Hounds Of Love. If that doesn’t soften their standpoint then nothing will.

Jeffrey Vandersip

What is it about age 12 and music? Puberty? The first stabs at independence? For me, up until age 12 my exposure to music had been through my parents, which meant Vicki Carr, Dionne Warwick, Englebert Humperdinck and the like. Then I got a radio and some allowance money…lethal combination that…and never looked back. First album was Chicago V…I loved Saturday in the Park, but what I remember so clearly was the time I spent absorbing the album itself, the lyrics, credits, all that faux wood. I never played that disc without also sitting with the jacket and sleeve. That album was a doorway to a different world, an escape from the family disintegration surrounding me. Saturday in the Park May have been the entre, but it was the other songs…A Hit for Varese, etc that started a lifelong passion for music. Interestingly, my next two album purchases…KTel 20 Greatest Hits (didn’t everyone have at least one KTel album?) and Yes’s Close to the Edge are a reflection of an eclecticism that remains today. Close to the Edge especially was the defining album of my youth, a musical journey filled with enough spaces that it became my own journey, unique to me even though millions of others were listening to the same notes.

Florentino Stabile

Hi Paul,
I will add my two cents. My first record I bought was Queen’s The Game. Just in my mid teens then since buying this have embarked on my incredible journey of going to record shops and discovering that elusive album from my favorite artist. Unfortunately, I have since sold that childhood vinyl collection but have restarted to retool and without a turntable…. getting reacquainted to the wonderful vinyl community on Youtube. My love however remains with CD’s and the beautiful box sets where your favorite album gets reappraised, remixed and given all the outtakes your heart can desire. Case in point, the recent Lennon Imagine Ultimate Edition box set.
God bless to all who love the physical media, those who produce them and those like yourself Paul present them to us.. with the frequent best price out there.
Sincerly,
Tino

Andrew

Along with all the like minded people here, everyday is album day but just to acknowledge the album day, I decided to play Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures but then added playing all the non album singles, compilation and session tracks on vinyl. I do miss buying a single with exclusive B sides or the 12” remix versions etc.

Tim

My first album was Elton John’s ‘Don’t Shoot Me, I’m Only The Piano Player’. I don’t currently have a copy, but can still hear all those songs in my head. :-)

John

I bought my first LP in Boots the chemists in Bath, England in 1977 (?!) when I was at a local school…and that was way before I even owned a turntable, though a few friends had them.

I have always loved music, but in this case I didn’t know what this double album was. 90% of the reason for this impulse buy was because I just really, really liked the colorful cover…oh, and then there was the free “spaceship” in cardboard inside.

Yes, if you have tried to guess what album it was…then you are correct if you guessed it was ELO’s magnum opus “Out of The Blue.” Fortunately, I still own it and play it on occasion, admittedly with a very slight merry tinge of nostalgia.

POLYMER

Lovely stuff thanks all. I’m going with Out of the Blue by ELO. Technically my dad’s but i played it to death. A real case of a true album where every aspect is fascinating. I thought they were from space! My own first album was Age of Plastic by The Buggles on casette. That started acompletist attitude to collecting which continues in part to today.

Sean

The first vinyl album I can recall was ‘the Belfast gigs’ by Horslips. For years , I thought “Trouble (with a capital t)” was an original of theirs ! My first bought album was a cassette copy of ‘Regatta De Blanc’. I loved The Police as my coming of (musical) age coincided with their chart dominance. As many others have alluded to, the way one listened to an album back then was so intense and complete. Sonically, the equipment was terrible but it didn’t seem to lessen the enjoyment !!

Chris Lancaster

The first album I bought was Welcome to the Pleasuredome. I was 13, and I had waited for the album to come out for ages; I rushed down to Woolworths after school on the day it came out, and have probably never been as excited about anything before or since — and that includes getting married, having children, etc.

I’ve since got rid of much of my huge vinyl collection in order to save space, but I’ve never thrown out that copy of WTTPD. The vinyl is warped, the sleeve is grubby from excessive handling by my teenage hands, and there’s a bad scratch that means you can’t play Black Night White Light, but I only have to see the record to remember what it was like rushing home in the cold and the dark (the clocks had just gone back) to play the album on my parents’ massive wooden-boxed stereo. I’ve bought literally thousands of records and CDs since, but that memory has never faded.

Noel Lackey

My first single was Sunshine Superman – Donovan, I bought it when it came out even though we didn’t have a record player. A friends brother had one and the occasional evening he would let me call down and play it, many years later I purchased my first album, it was Slade Alive and I got it to celebrate the arrival of our first record player, it was a PYE and shaped like a suitcase.
This was followed by the brilliant and my all time favourite Irish Tour 74 by Rory Gallagher. I still have it and although I have bought the re-issues and the cd of it. I still return to my crackly original vinyl.

Nick

First album I bought, well first two Vinyl LPs were from the same Junk Shop – at the same time – Jefferson Airplane Crown Of Creation ( purely because I liked the cover at the time ) & Bob Dylan’s first LP in 1984 at the age of 11!

Adam

My first 7″ was ‘Do the Funky Chicken’ by Rufus Thomas, and my first LP was ‘Bolan Boogie’ by T. Rex, still have them both to this day.

Quante

Abba’s The Visitors is an excellent album. I’m amused at the comments about Two For The Price Of One, as currently on car journeys it is the first track that my 13 year old son selects to play, so he’s a fan. The heartbreak in One Of Us is dressed up with a classic Abba melody with typical brilliance.

The Visitors has a beauty and similarity to Pink Floyd’s The Final Cut. Both were the ‘final’ albums – you know what I mean about Pink Floyd, as you could argue this was the first Roger Waters solo album, and albums were made later on as Pink Floyd. Both albums were low key and almost apologetic compared to their monstrously successful and fully realised predecessors, Super Trouper and The Wall. Both groups personnel were falling out with each other, with different dynamics with each bands rupturing relationships. Where were the anthems of the previous years? Yet, both albums are masterpieces that endure, despite the difficulty that both groups must have lived through during the process of making them.

As often is the case, the being there at the time and devouring an album to death can make the difference to how people respond differently to music. Youth provided the time to listen intently to albums, and a lack of budget, meant I would play albums repeatedly for months and know every song inside out. Part of loving The Visitors and The Final Cut was due to such repeated listening.

It’s hard to recall the first album I bought, but by that time I’d access to music for years through elder siblings, who surprisingly had good taste. However, it has to be said thank you to the cassette tape, which enabled me to record other peoples albums and have a load of albums that would otherwise have been out of my financial reach. Today’s youth have no idea how time consuming it was to tape from records, let alone find the right people with the albums to record.

This weekends listening has been Primal Scream’s Memphis version of Give Out But Don’t Give Up. It is significantly better than the original, which I liked at the time. The Memphis Horns sound fantastic and it’s a really mellow record to listen to. It’ snow time to go to The Cluny 2 in Newcastle and see You Tell Me – a new off shoot band from Field Music (Open Here is this year’s best album).

wellhamsrus

“Youth provided the time to listen intently to albums, and a lack of budget, meant I would play albums repeatedly for months and know every song inside out.” (Quante)

Sums up the argument about ‘there’s no good music anymore’ (shakes fist at clouds) excellently.

My first album was ‘The Essential Beatles’, an idiosyncratic Australia/NZ only TV compilation.

Ralph

My first vinyl purchase was from The Record Rendevous in Bridge Street, Inverness. It was 1965 and I was 7. It was TV 21 Themes a 331/3 ,mini album on 7″ which I still have albeit well loved. After the usual Chartbuster type hit covers LPs of impoverished youth, I bought my first proper 12″ full price album in 1970 in Boots with a Christmas voucher from my Auntie Mimi. It was a toss up between The Who Live At Leeds and Anyway by Family. The Who won! I recently upgraded with the triple vinyl bargain spotted by SDE but still have all the trimmings from the original copy too.

SIMON

Pretty solid choices with Abba and Kate !!! Surprised (and pleased) too how many Abba fans there are here -gone are the days you had to keep it quiet (not that I did!).
My first vinyl LP was the newly released Simon & Garfunkel’s Greatest Hits – not sure if I even knew them, or whether it was the cover that enticed me!!…proved to be a good choice though – still love it over 40 years later!.
Difficult to choose a favourite album- like many I expect it changes all the time…yesterday it was Low, today Arrival – the half speed 45 rpm reissue is fantastic to listen to !!

CAB

First Lp – given as a present because we went to see the show – Joseph and TATD (original cast). I still know all the words. “Potiphar had very few cares……”
Second Lp – Sandinista by the Clash. My cousin had made it clear to his mum that the Clash were no longer cool in 1980, so I got the hand-me-down with a changed out name tag under the tree. It made me very happy, and is my favourite Clash LP to this day – the ultimate LP – bizarre and brilliant.
First self bought LP – a Vertigo compilation called New Wave from the states featuring the Dead Boys Sonic Reducer which was played on loud repeat for months much to the chagrin of my mother.
First time I remember being confronted with the art of the LP – XTC, English Settlement.
A brilliant album slowly leaks into you because you keep going back for the songs you love (Fly On The Wall in this case), and slowly the ink blot of familiarity and enjoyment spreads til the whole thing makes sense. That’s the art of the album.

Spiral Scar

I can’t resist. Here’s my first post.
My mother already had some great LPs when I was born in ’66. Beatles, Kinks (“Face to Face”! Really, Mom?! ) Hollies, Dave Clark Five, Stone Poneys, Johnny Rivers -lots of those – Nilsson (eventually), Beach Boys… I quickly knew those albums well. I can remember holding “Pet Sounds” in my hands when I was still too young for school. The cover is quite appealing to a two year old. And the music! The intro to “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” sounds like a music box, the bicycle bells, the train and barking dogs, those harmonies… I wore it out on my child’s turntable. The kind that eats records. The album was so shot, it likely got tossed out. In ’88 I bought a new LP copy (green label 80’s reissue) and it all came flooding back. I hadn’t heard anything but the two big hits in close to 20 years, but remembered almost all of it. I got so hung up on it that I became a Beach Boys completist. (That gets expensive.) Back in ’88 when I re-lived that album experience, Pet Sounds wasn’t hailed as the masterpiece it is and I never expected its reputation to explode like it has. In the US, it was a modest success when released. I now have more LP and CD editions of this album than I dare mention. But that’s not the one…
I grew up as a “pop kid.” Mom indulged my need for music, buying me singles and budget priced albums (cut-outs, as we called them) and the occasional new LP. The radio was always on in the car. She bought me a K-tel album called “Believe In Music” when I was six. 22 hits in one place! It was the songs I never heard before that got the most attention. Aside from blasting the Hollies and the Raspberries, it was Clapton (Let it Rain) and SLADE (Mama Weer All Crazee Now – how could a six year old not be curious with a title like that?) that got played to death. I devoured that LP beginning to end, no discrimination, because nobody tried to dictate my taste to me. Donny Osmond and Cher rated alongside Rod Stewart and the O’Jays. It’s a temperament I still have, more or less, though challenged incessantly in todays pop landscape. That said, some songs are stone classics, some are good memories.
I spent all my allowance money on K-tel albums (and on singles) and I credit those albums for shaping my broad tastes in music. The albums were stylistically schizophrenic, usually, and I listened to them like they were “real” albums. How amazing it was to hear the unedited versions of these songs years down the line!
By 1979, still at the age of twelve, things shifted. Many, many albums were bought as gifts for me over the years but the first “real album” I bought was an impulse buy (and that’s happened again a few thousand times since!) I had some money, enough for one LP, and rode my bike with a friend to a distant Woolworth’s. Yes, I took myself there, real autonomy now! I recall probably wanting to buy “Get The Knack” and had enough money, but another album jumped out at me that wasn’t on my mind at all. “Out Of The Blue” by ELO (appropriate title) was a cut-out (UA pressings deleted after CBS signed them, I figured) so it was only four bucks. I already wanted “Discovery” which was top ten at the time, but I could not pass this up. The Knack would have to wait (but not long.) I already knew the hits but “Jungle” was the deciding factor, as I had it as a B-side from their previous single. I thought, “Creative, weird, adventurous – I like this band more now.” The album did not disappoint. I had it memorized in less than a week. Within a couple of years, I had all of their albums. On each of them, I found that my favorite tracks were rarely the singles. ELO inspired me to dig below the surface and find the treasures that radio ignored (well, there’s not enough time to play everything, I suppose.) On “Out Of The Blue,” I’d gravitate towards “It’s Over” “Night in The City” “Starlight” “Jungle” the entirety of side 3 (I did NOT know “Mr. Blue Sky” somehow – only a minor hit here) “The Whale” and “Birmingham Blues” I loved the whole thing, really. I no longer have a favorite track as it keeps changing. There was a lot of variety on that album and a LOT of work went into it. I have an undying respect for Jeff Lynne as well as all the ELO bandmates. Sometimes his production style doesn’t fit the artist he’s working with, but he has a true, honest Rock and Roll Heart. That matters. That album still gets played (many copies now) and so do all the others. It was with this album, my choice bought with my money, that I developed respect for “albums” as an intended, cohesive body of work. Obviously not all albums are created equal and many aren’t even intended to be. But what had started for me, unwittingly, as a two year old was now a standard listening practice. My collection is a monster (albatross?) now, whether it’s LPs, CDs or 7″ and 12″ singles, but it was the exploring of the whole ALBUM and hearing the whole work that way, that became my passion. I couldn’t be comfortable with an iPod full of three-minute bites. I love having a full musical experience with my elaborate stereo system. Always will. And I hope the album never dies.

Klaus

@Spiral Scar:

Thanks for sharing. You should definitely comment more often here as reading your recollection of memories was a pleasure to me.

Peter

I started buying vinyl singles and later albums at the age of 11 in 1974. First album I got as a present from my grandparents was Elvis Presley – Elvis Forever (32 Hits and the Story of a King). Jailhouse Rock was a big hit in the Netherlands in ’74. First two albums I bought with my own money (I delivered newspapers) were Slade – In Flame (great album including Far Far Away and How Does It Feel; great movie too, I realized at a later age), and Sparks – Propaganda (wonderful album, Never Turn Your Back On Mother Earth was my favourite song. And it’s amazing to see the Mael brothers still creating great music more than 40 years on).

Brenez Alain

First LP I received on my 12th birthday was ‘The Original Soundtrack’ by 10cc. A truly fantastic album, 1 side is a kind of concept on Paris written by Godley & Creme whilst the b-side was a Gouldman & Stewart side with of course their worldwide hit ‘I’m not in Love’. This album seems to be a bit forgotten these days but is a work of genius. I didn’t buy that many albums at the time as I had didn’t have the money. I was mainly saving money to buy 7inch singles. I ended up with about 2000 singles by 1985 which unfortunately I had to sell a few years ago.

Colin

My first album – at the height of prog rock – was Rick Wakeman’s Six Wives of Henry VIII. In the mid-80s that went, with all of my other vinyl, in the move to cds. Ironically, one of the first albums I bought, 2nd hand, when rediscovering the delights of vinyl 4-5 years ago was….. Rick Wakeman’s Six Wives of Henry VIII. Older but not wiser?