45 RPM records are my earliest love. Given a bundle of them by both my mother and my uncle around the time I started walking, these small records with the big hole were an amazing source of wonder to me then, and continue to be the centre of my life to this very day.
I have been collecting for about 28 of my 33 years. I’m sure that this youngster was the source of amusement for many a record store clerk or boot sale/ swap meet seller when I would quickly dig through their records for sale. Fast bin-flipping was a skill that I developed early.
I started noticing the particular sleeves featured here only a few years ago. I’d seen them and had them but didn’t become obsessed until a few years back. One day while record shopping I stopped and looked closely at the Uni records sleeve from the late 60s. It’s op art! The least expensive form of actual 60s op art that one can buy. I began to dig through record bins and Ebay looking for more and more of these sleeves. One box lot yielded dozens I’d never seen and it was a great jolt to my collection.
My favourite must be the c1958 Atlantic R&B sleeve. My jaw dropped when I spotted it in the bins of a local Bay Area store. It was housing a really awful record, and I wonder if the person who priced vinyl did it as a practical joke knowing that some madman collector would buy it just for the sleeve: brilliant capitalism if they did. I knew when I saw it that it must be mine. On the top side, we have a wonderful set of line drawings showing the great R&B stars of Atlantic records. The other side is a brilliant piece of late 50s pop art. But all these sleeves are marvels of vintage graphic design.