Record Sleeves

Sleevage Sunday #15

cassetteSleevage Sunday is where I once shared selections from my old but rediscovered vinyl collection. Music has always been an important part of my life, but so was the packaging. In my formative years I would carefully study every inch of the cover, read every sleevenote, credit and publishing blurb so that the visual qualities of these records became intrinsically linked with the music, so that even now when I hear an old song I also get the imagery too! Alas, much of this will fall upon younger heads whose only visual link with their music is the tiny thumbnail on their iPod…

However, I am now going to feature some older stuff from my father’s collection. Some of these will raise a smile or an eyebrow, considering that many were the biggest music stars of the 1950’s and 60’s. This next batch are all ’78’s’ and at 10” are larger than the 45’s that replaced them. This did not have any effect upon the packaging though, and these are notable for their lack of design – the music was not packaged for the artist, but sold in sleeves that promoted the retailer…

There was one other 78 that I wanted to include here, but for different reasons. Back in the day, records were the prized possession of young people. They cost money too, which wasn’t easy to come by during the post-war years in the uk, and more often than not, music was a form of escapism from the drab normality of real life. Unlike the 7″ singles that replaced them, these 78’s were made of a substance called shellac which was a resin made by tropical bugs. Shellac discs were not durable enough though, and were prone to wearing out and were notoriously brittle. Imagine playing your new Elvis single non-stop all weekend to find it unplayable on Monday? What if it was accidentally dropped? Well, this actually:

This one, which looks as though it has been repaired many times has eventually been taped back together, sacrificing one side altogether! I’m not sure just how playable the other side is though…

For those of you who are not familiar with this scale of 10″ singles I have put it into a scale most people will understand!


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