Picture This! The Best Picture Disc Vinyl Records

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A Top 41 run-down of sought-after picture discs, doggedly compiled and annotated by Tim Naylor

The bane of audiophiles everywhere but beloved by many collectors, picture discs have been around since the 20s, utilising a variety of materials including plastic, wax, cardboard and aluminium.

But it wasn’t until the modern vinyl era that picture discs really began to flourish. In the 70s and 80s, as vinyl sales hit a peak, picture discs began to appear in increasing numbers. Often these were promo copies destined for favoured music journalists, chart return shops or bulk buyers for the big retail chains, while limited editions helped boost chart placings in the early days of release as dedicated fans felt almost duty bound to buy them.

For new releases, picture discs were a valuable weapon in the record company’s armoury as punters were more likely to buy multiple copies: the standard vinyl and the often near-unplayable picture disc version that looked great on display. Chart positions could be improved as sales of the various versions literally pumped up the (sales) volume as punters permed their choice from 7”, 10”, 12”, coloured vinyl and picture discs of their favourite artiste’s latest platter.

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