Five Must Have Records to Start Your Collection

Bryan Smith of International DVD, Poster and Record Weighs In

Once abandoned as an outmoded form of technology, vinyl records had a banner year in 2017. According to Nielsen Tracking, vinyl accounted for roughly 14% of all album sales -- 14.32 million records -- in the last year. This is the 12th year in a row that has seen an increase in sales; while it may be tempting to say that millennials or even the dreaded hipster and poseurs are the root cause for this change, a recent study out the United Kingdom has shown that adults 45-54 are the most likely demographic to purchase a record.

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The Upper Valley is home to several stores that sell new records, and on the corner of South Main Street and Lebanon Street in Hanover, NH you can find International Poster and DVD, an Upper Valley institution, which sells new and used records. 2,500 gently used albums are available in the store, and 200 new albums are updated monthly. International Poster and DVD, as their name suggests, carries a wide variety of art prints and movies, in addition to a host of unique Dartmouth memorabilia.  

Bryan Smith, who manages International Poster and DVD admits that musical taste is subjective, but mentioned "I can't say that there is a particular order for the top five, but these are the albums that people walking into the store ask for most frequently. And really, you can't go wrong with any of the Beatles albums." 

1.    Rumours- Fleetwood Mac- Warner Bros Records- 1976

Rumours was the 11th studio album by Fleetwood Mac. It went on to win album of the year in 1978, and has sold 40 million copies worldwide. Patrick McKay of Stylus Magazine wrote, "what distinguishes Rumours—what makes it art—is the contradiction between its cheerful surface and its anguished heart. Here is a radio-friendly record about anger, recrimination, and loss."

2.    The Stranger- Billy Joel- Family Productions/Columbia Records- 1977

The Stranger was Billy Joel’s fifth studio album, and widely regarded as his opus, and remains one of his most critically acclaimed records of all time. “Just the Way You Are” was awarded the Song of the Year and Record of the Year Grammy in 1978. Ira Mayer of Rolling Stone wrote, “Joel has achieved a fluid sound occasionally sparked by a light soul touch. It is a markedly different effect than his pound-it-out-to-the-back-rows concert flash…”

3.    The Wall- Pink Floyd- Harvest/Columbia Records- 1979

The Wall was the 11th studio album by Pink Floyd, and was also the last studio album with the core group of Pink Floyd. Made into a film in 1982, The Wall has gone on to sell 23 million copies and inspired thousands of students to yell “We don’t need no education/we don’t need no thought control.” Kurt Loder of Rolling Stone wrote, “The Wall leaps to life with a relentless lyrical rage that's clearly genuine and, in its painstaking particularity, ultimately horrifying.”

4.    Led Zeppelin IV- Led Zeppelin- Atlantic Records- 1971

The untitled fourth studio album by Led Zeppelin is often considered their best album, with hits like Black Dog, Misty Mountain Hop and a little song called Stairway to Heaven, this album has been a perennial favorite album for classic rock stations and discerning high school students for nearly 50 years. Pitchfork listed the album as seventh in its Top 100 albums of all time and Lenny Kaye of Rolling Stone wrote, “out of eight cuts, there isn't one that steps on another's toes, that tries to do too much all at once.”

5.    Revolver- The Beatles- Parlophone/Capitol Records- 1966

Revolver was The Beatles seventh studio album, and the last to be released before they stopped performing live. While the distinction of best Beatles album is often open for arduous debate, Revolver is frequently cited as their best, combining elements of Pop, psychedelic, and rock music, it laid the groundwork for the remaining albums they would record together. Peter Clayton, a jazz critic for Gramophone wrote, “if there's anything wrong with the record at all it is that such a diet of newness might give the ordinary pop-picker indigestion."


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