When it comes to collecting vinyl, everyone is different. Whether it be a passion for 45s, imports, or collecting the entire catalogue of a particular label, it’s safe to say there is something out there for everybody — even you. Vinyl records can have many fun and unique quirks. Excluding the already above mentioned, there are heaps of distinct, collectable variations of vinyl records, some of which I’ve listed here for your reading pleasure.
These are records that come in all kinds of colours, even multi-coloured. Late Vancouver glam punk rockers the Black Halos re-released their first two albums on a marbled vinyl that consisted of the colours red, white, and black. Hanoi Rocks, one of my all-time favourite bands, re-released their albums consisting of yellow, green, blue and red. For any John Hughes fan out there, the Pretty in Pink soundtrack was released on, yep, you guessed it, pink vinyl. Seventies synth-pop group Kraftwerk released their single “Neon Lights” on glow-in-the-dark vinyl. To this day, it’s very common for many hardcore punk bands to release their records in short runs of multiple colours — making them all the more collectible, too.
Simply put, these are albums that display images on the playing surface of the record. Many metal bands like Metallica, Iron Maiden and Megadeth have picture disc albums. Picture disc images can vary from band photos to logos, album covers and mascots like Iron Maiden’s Eddie.
These are similar to picture discs as they are usually paired with an image. These are most commonly 7 inch records that contain the grooves in the center of the record and a non-grooved outside rim that can be cut into various shapes. Guns N’ Roses released “Nightrain” in the shape of a suitcase. “Paradise City” was released in the shape of a gun. Florida ska-punks Less Than Jake released “Cheese” in the shape of a piece of Swiss cheese. Indie rockers Yeah Yeah Yeahs released “Cheated Heart” in the shape of a heart.
These are playable records made of a very thin and flexible vinyl. Flexi discs were mainly produced as throw away or disposable records, but they are still in circulation today. For example, in the 1960s every Christmas the Beatles would make a special Christmas recording, put it onto flexi disc and send it out to members of their fan club. Hanoi Rocks released the single “Do the Duck” only to flexi disc, which came with the first 10,000 copies of their compilation import “Dead By Xmas.” But, of course, the list doesn’t stop there.
To my knowledge there aren’t many of these records out there, but I felt it was worth a notable mention. Parallel groove records consist of two separate recordings that have been interwoven on a single side. Monty Python’s Matching Tie and Handkerchief is actually a three-sided record — depending on which groove the needle catches at the beginning of the side it will play different material. A more recent example of this is Tool’s Opiate EP, where the second side would either play the first track or a hidden song.