There is no right and wrong way to approach vinyl record collecting. For some, it’s a path to music discovery—a weekend hobby that occasionally draws out some unexpected gem of an obscure album.
For others, it’s a powerful obsession fed by a single-minded urge to protect a cultural and musical identity. For most of us, it’s somewhere in between—a way to connect with artists and composers through an uncompromising medium. But if you’re new to this medium, you might be wondering where to start.
For one thing, there is no need to limit yourself to one genre. The purer, warmer analogue sound of vinyl records equally rewards great musicianship and innovative production throughout genres.
Below, we’ve picked out some of the most important vinyls ever to come out, with exceptional choices in hip hop, jazz, alternative rock and more. Read on to discover the Top 10 albums to start your vinyl collection:
Daft Punk — Random Access Memories
There is no contesting the importance of Daft Punk’s 2013 magnum opus when it comes to collecting vinyl. This album, recorded entirely using the greatest analog equipment available, is a no-compromise marriage of 20th century technology and 21st century aesthetics.
AC/DC — Back in Black
Producer “Mutt” Lange is famous for his perfectionism—sometimes taking weeks or even months to get a single sound just right. That approach never paid off more than it has with AC/DC’s Back in Black, whose no-nonsense rock and roll approach was made all the more visceral by it.
Bob Marley — Legend
Bob Marley’s career-spanning posthumous masterpiece Legend showcases the artist’s early creative bloom in direct contrast to his more polished later career recordings. Those early pieces, produced by genius lunatic Lee “Scratch” Perry, feature unmistakeable and entirely unique sound quality.
Calle 13 — Entres Los Que Quieran
Entres Los Que Quieran is a hip hop album that redefines the genre. Blistering social commentary set against a dystopic musical foundation that favors plucked and struck instruments to programmed synthesizers creates a sonic experience unlike any other.
Pink Floyd — Dark Side of the Moon
A historical entry in the world of recorded music, Dark Side of the Moon remains one of the best sounding albums ever released. This album was conceived for vinyl from the start, and shows its best, darkest side through the medium.
Radiohead — Kid A
Radiohead’s Kid A is a psychedelic audio experience unlike any other. Considered the crown glory of producer Nigel Goodrich’s career, it is best enjoyed in complete darkness, as loudly as possible.
The Beatles — Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band
The Beatles’ eighth studio album is landmark in music history for more than one reason. Producer George Martin’s then state-of-the-art signal processing only sounds dated to modern ears because every album since this one has copied the mould.
Michael Jackson — Thriller
Thriller made history and cemented producer Quincy Jones as one of the most important musical figures of the 20th century. The sound of this album was so innovative that it set the bar for the entirety of pop music to come.
Miles Davis — Kind of Blue
Rarely does a single artistic work make such an enormous mark on a culture as Kind of Blue has. The 1959 album is one of the most influential pieces of music ever recorded, responsible for shaping the very foundations of our modern music culture.
Stevie Wonder — Songs in the Key of Life
With an ambitious double album released at his creative prime, Stevie Wonder achieved impossible sounds with Songs in the Key of Life. Wonder’s brilliant use of synthesizers alongside traditional R&B instruments set the tone for generations of both electronic and hip hop music to come.
Signature™ Vinyl Record Player Classic Turntable Stereo System
Backed by over 100 years of manufacturing high fidelity audio products, Electrohome has paired the design of vintage record players with the technology of modern music systems.