April 19, 2014…National Record Store Day! It’s almost sad that there has to be an official day to celebrate records and the shops we used to frequent when we wanted to buy them. Record stores were hip places to hang out back in the days when owning certain records made you the coolest kid on the block. Imagine being the first amongst your friends to own such vinyl gems as Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon, The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s Are You Experienced?, or the Eagles’ Hotel California. It was hard to top vinyl on the coolness scale. Kids would save their allowance money or work odd jobs to earn enough to buy certain must-have records. There was no way to pirate an album. That was called stealing and would involve going to the local record store, where you would likely be well known by the owner, and attempting to walk out with it stuffed under a shirt or coat. Good luck! Not likely. And if you were caught, not a good turn of events for you. Remember, this was back when spankings were not frowned upon and often encouraged. A new album release of such magnitude as a Doors album or Led Zeppelin masterpiece, would mean standing in line at the record store and hoping they didn’t run out of the supply they’d received. You think Black Friday fights at Walmart are bad, imagine the day Michael Jackson’s Thriller was released and a record label and record store having to anticipate the demand. Not pretty.
The 80s were the beginning of the end for vinyl. The sound quality achieved on vinyl could not hold up against new technology and the risk of damaging a record while playing it was high. The sound of a needle scratching across a prized LP was worse than nails on a chalkboard. Locally owned record stores hung on through all the changes the music industry threw at them as long as they could until finally, economics won. The next move for some store owners was to attempt to make ends meet in the vintage market. Rare LPs can sell for big bucks, but over the years, even that market declined. Kids can’t afford the prices these records demand so it became a collector’s market, for which one needed a broader reach. Enter ebay! Now the record store is no longer a physical address, just an online one. A once treasured local record store just became a URL.
In light of all those changes, record store owners have had to adapt. Many have folded, but thankfully, there were some who refused to go down without a fight. A comment made at a record store owners’ meeting in 2007 hatched the idea to celebrate the iconic record shop through National Record Store Day. Eric Levin, Michael Kurtz, Carrie Colitton, Amy Dorfman, Don Van Cleave, and Brian Poehner are the record store champions we have to thank for this commemorative day. The idea was to celebrate what vinyl meant to the history of music and the indie spirit that many record store owners possessed. The third Saturday in April was chosen as the official date for the annual event and special vinyl and CD releases mark the occasion. Each individual record store hosts their own events for the day with support from the Record Store Day organization. An official ambassador is chosen each year to kick off the day’s events. The first event was held in 2008 and Metallica did the honors at Rasputin Music in San Francisco. Subsequent ambassadors have been Jesse Hughes of Eagles of Death Metal in 2009, Joshua Homme of Queens of the Stone Age in 2010, Ozzy Osbourne in 2011, Iggy Pop in 2012, and Jack White in 2013. This year’s ambassador is Chuck D of Public Enemy. There is a list of titles included in this year’s special releases which you can see in its entirety on this website: http://www.recordstoreday.com/SpecialReleases. Some of this year’s records include Eric Church’s newly released The Outsiders, The Civil Wars’ Live at Eddie’s Attic, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts’ Glorious Results of a Misspent Youth, Nirvana’s “Pennyroyal Tea”/ “I Hate Myself And Want To Die”, Dolly Parton’s “Blue Smoke”, Otis Redding’s Pain In My Heart, and Hank Williams’ The Garden Spot Programs, 1950-Extended Play. Some releases will be regional only, such as R.E.M.’s Unplugged: The Complete 1991 and 2001 Sessions. Aerosmith, Johnny Cash, Jimi Hendrix, and Waylon Jennings are a few of the big names who have RSD First Releases this year.
To keep up with all of the events surrounding National Record Store Day, across the nation and in your local area, visit the organization’s website at: http://www.recordstoreday.com/Home
*****I recently ran across this article published by Business Insider listing 18 record stores that are must visits for the vinyl lover. Here’s the link: http://www.businessinsider.com/the-greatest-record-stores-in-the-world-2014-2
Lovin’ the vinyl….WAY North of Nashville…Bev Miskus
JAKE OWEN – 1972 – DAYS OF GOLD
Jake Owen’s “1972″ is available on iTunes: HERE