While CD sales continue to plunge, the sales of old-fashioned vinyl records have actually risen in the past few years. Why? Records offer a certain warmth, magic…and weirdness. Here’s a look at some of the kookiest wax in Uncle John’s collection.
“Warsaw in the Summer”
German band Tangerine Dream is best known for its dreamy electronic music but, in 1983, they released a 45 called “Warsaw in the Summer” that was shaped like Poland. While it’s one of the more unique vinyl records ever released, it’s not the only one shaped like something other than a circle. Other bands have cut records that resemble triangles, playing cards and even saw blades. This didn’t work out so well for They Might Be Giants member John Linnell’s 1999 single “Montana.” It was shaped like the United States…and didn’t work on most record players.
Laura Scudder’s “Magic Record”
Scudder was a California entrepreneur who created a popular brand of potato chips. She died in 1959, but a decade later her company released a “magic record” as a promotion. Both sides contained three songs by various artists that would play at random, depending on where the listener dropped the needle. The cover featured a cartoon character whispering: “Psssst! Hey Kids! What Will Play Next? Only the Needle Knows!” Records like this are typically referred to as “multi-sided records.” The oldest known one dates back to 1901, but acts like Kate Bush and Fine Young Cannibals have released their own versions more relatively recently.
Who’s the bestselling artist on vinyl in the last decade? Jack White. The indie rock icon and former White Stripes front man just released his latest album, Lazaretto, and the vinyl version could be the strangest record of all time. It includes a reverse groove on side A that requires the listener to place the needle on the inside of the record as opposed to the outside edge. The first song on side B has two different intros, one acoustic and one electric; which one plays depends on where the listener places the needle. Along with songs hidden under the labels on both sides, the record also features two holograms of spinning angels. These illusions can be seen in the “dead vinyl” area o