It takes a certain type of person to be a record collector. It is someone who loves music, but wants more from it, to feel it, to touch it, and full immerse themselves in the experience. In our new feature, Vinyl Tales, we will be meeting the people behind some of the best record collections out there.
This month we have Steve Colledge from Alnwick Northumberland, who has mostly been collecting rock, classic rock, and punk after being a music fan for many years.
Firstly, when did you start collecting records, and why?
I started ‘properly’ collecting about 10 years ago. Ever since my wife and I married, we have taken a large box of vinyl with us every time we moved house. These were the records we had bought as kids/teenagers. Like may people we went through years where we didn’t have a turntable. When CD’s were ‘the thing’. Then about ten years ago when our kids were taking an interest in music, I got the box of records down from the loft. The kids reaction was fantastic……”How do you get music off that?!!!” kind of thing. I bought a turntable, amp and speakers and fell in love with the vinyl all over again. So I guess it was nostalgia that got me to get the box down from the loft to show the kids. Then getting the set up together and playing the records I’d bought as a youngster. That kicked it off.
What was the first record you bought, and is there a story behind it?
Skweeze Me Pleeze Me by Slade. For no other reason than I liked it. I was 10 in 1973 and Slade, The Sweet, T-Rex etc set me on the road to Rock and Punk.
What is the most you have ever paid for a record, and how did you acquire it?
I paid £1000 for a very low numbered, number 573, Beatles White Album. I bought it at a specialist vinyl auction. I’m pleased to say that according to the most recent copy of Rare Record Price Guide its value has gone up considerably. Though of course things are only as valuable as the price someone would pay. I’m not a ‘volume’ collector as it were. I tend to stick to the genres I like, and find scarcer records by the artists I like. I’ll happily pay more for just one record than get ten less scarce ones for the same price.
What would you consider to be the most cherished item in your collection? (not necessarily most valuable)
Hard to pin it down to just one, so I’ve chosen three.
1. The Soundhouse Tapes by Iron Maiden: It was May 1980 and Maiden were the first band I got see in the now pulled down (a travesty in my humble opinion!) Mayfair Ballroom in Newcastle. We’d heard of this new band Iron Maiden some time earlier and sent off for The Soundhouse Tapes. As soon as we played it Maiden were our new favourite band. We couldn’t wait for them to play in Newcastle. I’d saw Maiden a short time earlier opening for Judas Priest on their British Steel tour. The Mayfair gig was on Maiden’s first headline tour. Me and my mates got backstage after the gig and had a drink with the Maiden and Praying Mantis who were the support. Brian Johnson was also in the dressing room that night.
2. The Incredible Shrinking Dickies by The Dickies: 1978, I was 15 and The Dickies played Newcastle City Hall, supported by Chelsea I think. They were the first punk band I’d got to see. We hung around outside the City Hall all day and got asked in to watch the soundcheck in the afternoon, where we got the albums signed.
3. 25 Rockin and Rollin Greats, Various Artists: An old K-Tel compilation from the early 70’s, 1972 I think. My Dad had this record and hearing it played at home was really the first time I had heard Rock and Roll.
What do you find is most appropriate way to store the collection?
Like many people I store in the Expedit units from Ikea. They aren’t the most sturdy of units so you have to be careful I think of where the weight is.
What are you still looking for to complete your collection? Do you have a ‘holy grail’ record you just have to track down?
Elvis Presley, by Elvis Presley. The one with cover The Clash ‘copied’ for London Calling. A good copy is not cheap though so I’ll have to wait for that one.
What advice would you give to those just starting to build their collections?
Buy music you like. Don’t just buy everything you see just to get the numbers up on your shelves. If you find a rare copy of something you want, in really good condition, it’s worth the extra spend. It might not make you money, but you’ll get pleasure from owning it. Then buy a £10 copy of it to play!
What do you see for the future of vinyl? Do you think it will continue to grow following the resurgence of the last few years?
If the reaction of my children is anything to go by, then it will continue to grow. Though perhaps not at the pace of recent years. I think we ‘vinyl generation’ flok are maybe at an age now where there’s a little more disposable income. So why not spend it on vinyl. But my children love it too and will often play a record or two. They argue over who is going to get what when the time comes!
Finally, do you think music really sounds better on vinyl?
Definitely. You get all of the sound, if you know what I mean. CD’s are fine as far as they go, but they are too clean…..too polished……too produced. And these days, a lot of music is compressed to get it to fit onto a CD. So there’s some of the sounds richness gone straight away. I used to listen to John Peel when I was at school. My favourite quote from him is…..
“Somebody was trying to tell me that CDs are better than vinyl because they don’t have any surface noise. I said, ‘Listen, mate, *life* has surface noise.”
Many thanks to Steve for taking part. If you would like to tell your Vinyl Tales, please email Glen.Bushell@991.com with a brief description of your collection and why yours should be featured.