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Best Record Store Day 2024 Vinyl: 20 Releases You Need To Buy
List & Guides

Best Record Store Day 2024 Vinyl: 20 Releases You Need To Buy

Incendiary live recordings and an unreleased David Bowie album are essential purchases among the best Record Store Day 2024 vinyl releases.

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From reissues of out-of-print rarities to first-ever releases for recordings long locked in the vault, Record Store Day remains one of the most important days of the year for music lovers seeking to amass the perfect record collection. Once again, quality is at a premium this year, so to help you decide what you need to buy, here are the 20 best Record Store Day 2024 vinyl releases.

Best Record Store Day 2024 Vinyl: 20 Releases You Need To Buy

20: Air: Kelly Watch The Stars (12” picture disc, 5,500 copies)

French duo Air caused a sensation when their debut album, 1998’s Moon Safari, went double-platinum in the UK alone. Stuffed with smart, sophisticated electro-pop songs, the record spawned a trio of spin-off hit singles, including the much-loved UK Top 20 hit, Kelly Watch The Stars, which came with a brilliant, Mike Mills-directed video in which the titular Kelly suffers a surreal but ultimately positive out-of-body-experience while playing table tennis. Moon Safari has already received a deluxe reissue this year, and now Kelly Watch The Stars also comes back into orbit, in 12” picture disc form, as one of the best Record Store Day 2024 vinyl releases.

Must hear: Kelly Watch The Stars

19: Morrissey And Siouxsie: Interlude (12”, gold vinyl, 9,500 copies)

Composed by Georges Delerue and Hal Shaper, Interlude was originally recorded by US soul singer Timi Yuro as the theme song for the 1968 film of the same name starring Oskar Werner and Barbara Ferris. In 1994, this dark, dramatic song resurfaced when The Smiths’ former frontman, Morrissey, and Siouxsie Sioux reinterpreted it as a duet, with their sweeping, widescreen version of the song – issued under the banner Morrissey And Siouxsie – peaking at No.25 in the UK. Featuring both of these singular artists at their spine-tingling best, Interlude is ripe for rediscovery, and this gold-coloured 12” pressing makes for a regal entry among the best Record Store Day 2024 vinyl releases.

Must hear: Interlude

18: Electrafixion: ‘Burned’ (black-and-white swirl vinyl, 5,000 copies)

After Ian McCulloch left Echo And The Bunnymen in 1988, he launched a solo career, releasing two solo albums, Candleland and Mysterio, while his former bandmates continued under the Echo And The Bunnymen moniker, recruiting new frontman Noel Burke and releasing the underrated Reverberation in 1990. The split was less than harmonious, but McCulloch and guitarist Will Sergeant later buried the hatchet and teamed up to form Electrafixion in 1994, along with bassist Leon De Sylva and drummer Tony McGuigan. Released that same year, the group’s lone album, Burned, ultimately acted as a bridge to The Bunnymen’s full-blown 1997 reunion record, Evergreen; but as the likes of Zephyr, Sister Pain and the Johnny Marr co-write, Lowdown, reveal, it was a quality release on its own terms.

Must hear: Lowdown

17: The Beat: ‘Wh’appen?’ (2LP, translucent yellow and green vinyl, 2,500 copies)

Originally aligned with the legendary 2 Tone label, Birmingham ska-pop heroes The Beat established their legend with their brilliant 1980 debut album, I Just Can’t Stop It: an infectious hits-stuffed affair which climbed to No.3 in the UK. Musically wider in scope, the group’s 1981 follow-up, Wh’appen?, embraced reggae, dub and African influences on gentler tracks including Drowning, Doors Of Your Heart and Dream Home In New Zealand, although the hard-hitting social commentary inherent in songs such as Cheated and Get A Job showed that Dave Wakeling, Ranking Roger and company remained as politically aware as ever. Wh’appen went Top 5 following its original release, and it now returns with an additional disc’s worth of non-album singles and remixes, making for a real highlight among the best Record Store Day 2024 vinyl releases.

Must hear: Get A Job

16: Todd Rundgren: ‘Todd’ (2LP, orange and green vinyl, 6,000 copies)

The prodigiously talented multi-instrumentalist and producer Todd Rundgren hit commercial paydirt with his 1972 power-pop classic, Something/Anything, but then alienated his core audience with the following year’s experimental, psych-flavoured A Wizard, A True Star. He challenged his followers once again with 1974’s Todd: a sprawling double album taking in everything from Philadelphia soul to elements of progressive rock. His bravery paid off, however, as the album spawned the hit A Dream Goes On Forever. Still a confirmed fan favourite, Todd celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, with this Record Store Day 2024 edition coming on two discs, pressed on orange and green vinyl, respectively.

Must hear: A Dream Goes On Forever

15: Linda Ronstadt: ‘The Asylum Years 1973-1977’ (4LP, black vinyl, 5,000 copies)

This self-explanatory box set includes all of Linda Ronstadt’s celebrated mid-70s Asylum album releases: Don’t Cry Now, Prisoner In Disguise, Hasten Down The Wind and 1977’s massive, multi-platinum-selling Simple Dreams. All four are stuffed with many of the best Linda Ronstadt songs, with the latter title alone including the versatile singer-songwriter’s seminal readings of two Warren Zevon songs, Poor Poor Pitiful Me and Carmelita, in addition to her Grammy Award-winning take on Roy Orbison’s Blue Bayou.

Must hear: Carmelita

14: Mudhoney: ‘Suck You Dry: The Reprise Years’ (5LP, multicolour vinyl, 5,000 copies)

Mudhoney’s major-label-released 90s recordings previously snuck out together on CD as Real Low Vibe: The Reprise Recordings, in 2020, but this reissue of that collection, under the new name of Suck You Dry: The Reprise Years, marks the first time the material has been issued in a vinyl box set. Easily one of the best Record Store Day 2024 vinyl releases, the collection again frontloads the Seattle grunge icons’ three Reprise albums, Piece Of Cake, My Brother The Crow and Tomorrow Hit Today, but it also includes two bonus LPs of live tracks; liner notes by Keith Cameron, author of the book Mudhoney: The Sound And The Fury From Seattle; and fresh artwork by illustrator Edwin Fotheringham.

Must hear: Suck You Dry

13: Lowell George: ‘Thanks, I’ll Eat It Here: Deluxe Edition’ (2LP, black vinyl 5,500 copies)

Little Feat founder Lowell George’s lone solo album, Thanks I’ll Eat It Here, was released just weeks before his untimely death, aged just 34, in June 1979. Redolent of the rootsy, blues-imbued Southern-rock stylings of earlier Little Feat classics such as Dixie Chicken, the album was an all-star affair featuring contributions from Little Feat’s Richie Hayward and Bill Payne, in addition to keyboard maestro Nicky Hopkins (The Rolling Stones, John Lennon, The Kinks) and drummer Jim Keltner. A staunch fan favourite, it celebrates its 45th anniversary with a deluxe vinyl edition which rounds up previously unreleased alternate versions and outtakes, and it sits comfortably among the best Record Store Day 2024 vinyl releases.

Must hear: Two Trains

12: Yes: ‘Yale Bowl ’71’ (black vinyl, 8,000 copies)

Yes were riding high in 1971 following the release of their third album, The Yes Album, which brokered the band’s commercial breakthrough in both the UK and the US. Consequently, stateside demand for the prog-rock legends-in-waiting was high, and the band didn’t disappoint when they crossed the Atlantic for a series of shows in Canada and North America in the summer of that year. Indeed, the jubilant atmosphere of those shows was captured by this excellent soundboard recording of the group’s final US gig of the year, at the cavernous Yale Bowl, in New Haven, Connecticut, on 24 July 1971. Imperious versions of The Yes Album highlights such as Yours Is No Disgrace, I’ve Seen All Good People and Perpetual Change ensures the release’s spot among the best Record Store Day 2024 vinyl releases.

Must hear: Yours Is No Disgrace

11: The Notorious B.I.G.: ‘Ready To Die: The Instrumentals’ (black vinyl, 7,500 copies)

Ready To Die proved to be the only studio album The Notorious B.I.G. issued during his tragically short lifetime, as he was murdered just days before the release of his second LP, 1997’s prophetically titled Life After Death. Thankfully, Biggie lived long enough to see his high-profile debut go multi-platinum, spawn a clutch of massive spin-off hits – including the Grammy-nominated Big Poppa – and revitalise the US East Coast’s hip-hop scene. An untouchable record which still stokes Biggie’s legend, Ready To Die has been voted the best hip-hop album in history by Rolling Stone magazine, and now – in honour of its 30th anniversary – the record’s instrumental tracks are being released together for the first time as a single LP, cut at 45rpm for Record Store Day 2024.

Must hear: Big Poppa (Instrumental)

10: Dwight Yoakam: ‘The Beginnings And Then Some: The Albums Of The 80s’ (4LP, 5,000 copies; 4CD, 6,500 copies)

A must-have for serious fans of Americana, The Beginnings And Then Some gathers up Dwight Yoakam’s essential 80s albums – his 1986 debut, Guitars, Cadillacs Etc, Etc, 1987’s Hillbilly Deluxe and 1988’s Buenos Noches From A Lonely Room – along with an exclusive disc of rarities from the same decade, personally curated by the prolific Kentucky-born singer himself. A master class in rootsy songwriting, the collection includes numerous self-penned highlights, among them Little Ways, It Won’t Hurt and Guitars, Cadillacs, in addition to Yoakam’s inimitable covers of standards such as Ring Of Fire and Pomus and Shuman’s Little Sister.

Must hear: Guitars, Cadillacs

9: Grateful Dead: ‘Nightfall Of Diamonds’ (4LP with etching, 10,000 copies)

Originally released as a 2CD set in 2001, Nightfall Of Diamonds will already be familiar to Deadheads. Recorded on 16 October 1989, the album captures the final night of the band’s five-night run at Meadowlands Arena, in Rutherford, New Jersey, highlights from which were also included on the band’s officially released 1990 live album, Without A Net.

Bearing in mind the gig coincided with guitarist/vocalist Bob Weir’s 42nd birthday, Nightfall Of Diamonds feels celebratory, its tracklist including many of the best Grateful Dead songs (Built To Last, Dark Star, Uncle John’s Band) in addition to the Dead’s lengthy cover of Bob Dylan’s Stuck Inside Of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again. Now standing as one of the best Record Store Day 2024 vinyl releases, it’s been newly remastered for its vinyl debut and features an etching on its eighth side.

Must hear: Built To Last

8: Captain Beefheart: ‘The Spotlight Kid: Deluxe Edition’ (2LP, “milky clear” vinyl, 7,000 copies)

Captain Beefheart’s sixth album, The Spotlight Kid, is often referred to as his “commercial” album. Admittedly, such a claim is easier to make when one considers that it arrived in the slipstream of such courageous titles as Trout Mask Replica and Lick My Decals Off, Baby, but even allowing for that, The Spotlight Kid is atypically linear and accessible by Beefheart’s usual arcane standards. Despite lacking an official credit for The Magic Band, Don Van Vliet’s usual crew were all present and correct for the recording, which includes numerous highlights – not least I’m Gonna Booglarize You Baby, Grow Fins and the splendidly titled Alice In Blunderland. Taking its place among the best Record Store Day 2024 vinyl releases, The Spotlight Kid now returns to the limelight on “milky clear” double vinyl and in a smart gatefold sleeve.

Must hear: The Spotlight Kid

7: Ramones: ‘The 1975 Sire Demos’ (ultra clear vinyl with black splatter, 13,500 copies)

Housed in a sleeve featuring a fantastic photo of “Da Bruddas” riding the New York City subway, the self-explanatory 1975 Sire Demos includes Ramones’ earliest-known studio recordings, helmed either by Tommy Ramone or Red Star Records’ mogul, Marty Thau. Most of the songs (53rd & 3rd, Loudmouth, I Don’t Wanna Walk Around With You, Chainsaw) would shortly feature in official form on Ramones’ game-changing self-titled debut album, but even these early takes of the songs fizz with a barely controlled excitement, suggesting something new and extremely seismic would soon be blowing up on a much wider scale.

Must hear: I Wanna Be Your Boyfriend (1975 demo)

6: Neil Young And Crazy Horse: ‘Fu##In’ Up’ (2LP, clear vinyl, 5,000 copies)

Most Neil Young And Crazy Horse releases are cherished by fans, and Fu##in’ Up is set to be no exception. A spirited, nine-song collection of most of the tracks from 1990’s acclaimed Ragged Glory album, reworked and (Farmer John aside) retitled for this special new Record Store Day 2024 release, Fu##in’ Up was recorded live in Toronto, in November 2023, with a Horse line-up featuring Nils Lofgren and Micah Nelson on guitar, along with the trusty rhythm section of Billy Talbot (bass) and Ralph Molina (drums). They come out with all guns blazing on a performance which will be available on clear double vinyl (with a litho print of the album’s artwork) for RSD, with standard black vinyl and CD editions set to follow on 26 April.

Must hear: Broken Circle (Over And Over)

5: The Replacements: ‘Not Ready For Prime Time: Live At Cabaret Metro, Chicago, Il, Jan. 11, 1986’ (2LP, black vinyl, 8,500 copies)

Not Ready For Prime Time was recently released in its entirety as part of the exhaustive deluxe box set edition of The Replacements’ classic album Tim. However, with copies of that multi-disc collection retailing for around the £100 mark, this new standalone vinyl edition of this fantastic live show from January 1986 is a positive boon for all serious ’Mats fans. Featuring 28 tracks in all, it captures a suitably passionate performance from the band’s classic, Bob Stinson-era line-up, with the tracklist offering tunes from all the group’s albums, from their debut, Sorry Ma, Forgot To Take Out The Trash, up to and including Tim, in addition to inspired covers of songs such as The Beatles’ Nowhere Man, The Cramps’ The Crusher and KISS’ Black Diamond. Edgy, tanked-up and just the right side of sloppy, Not Ready For Prime Time captures The Replacements’ live experience in excelsis.

Must hear: Kiss Me On The Bus

4: Fleetwood Mac: ‘Rumours’ (picture disc, 18,000 copies)

Fleetwood Mac’s best-known album has long since established itself as an essential purchase for music fans of all persuasions. Featuring a host of hits (Dreams, The Chain, Don’t Stop, Go Your Own Way), Rumours has been certified 21-times platinum since its initial release, in 1977, and its universal appeal shows little sign of waning. However, while this classic-rock perennial has enjoyed across-the-board acclaim and been granted numerous anniversary reissues, it’s never previously been issued on picture disc – which is why its inclusion among the best Record Store Day 2024 vinyl releases is simply mandatory.

Must hear: The Chain

3: David Bowie: ‘Waiting In The Sky (Before The Starman Came To Earth)’ (black vinyl, 18,000 copies)

Effectively the album that The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars could have been had David Bowie not decided to drop four tracks in favour of the songs Starman, Rock’n’Roll Suicide, Suffragette City and a cover of Ron Davies’ It Ain’t Easy, Waiting In The Sky (Before The Starman Came To Earth) significantly redraws the blueprint for the breakout Bowie album fans already know and love.

On Side One, in place of Starman (one of the last three tracks recorded for the album, in February 1972), is Round and Round, a cover of the Chuck Berry classic, which Bowie eventually put on the B-side of Drive-In Saturday, in 1973. Instead of It Ain’t Easy, Waiting For The Sky’s first side concludes with Bowie’s dramatic version of Jacques Brel’s Amsterdam, which would later appear as the B-side of Sorrow, the sole single lifted from Bowie’s covers album, Pin Ups.

Side Two of this original, 15 December 1971 tracklist of Ziggy Stardust also featured two long-time non-LP fan favourites, Holy Holy and Velvet Goldmine. The version of Holy Holy that features here is The Spiders From Mars’ re-recording of Bowie’s 1971 standalone single – a take that didn’t officially surface until it became the B-side of the Diamond Dogs single, in June 1974, by which time Bowie had long since jettisoned his Ziggy Stardust alter ego.

Must hear: Holy Holy

2: Talking Heads: ‘Live At WCOZ 77’ (2LP, black vinyl, 13,500 copies)

Talking Heads significantly boosted the image of the live album with their groundbreaking Stop Making Sense, in 1984. However, even before they issued that celebrated title, they had released a terrific live collection, The Name Of This Band Is Talking Heads: a highly durable double set assembled from several shows the NYC four-piece played between 1977 and 1981.

The first side of that album was culled from an exhilarating gig staged at Boston’s Northern Studios in November 1977, for US radio station WCOZ. However, only those five songs (plus a couple more included on the 2001 reissue of The Name Of This Band Is Talking Heads) have officially been available up to now. More than earning its place among the best Record Store Day 2024 vinyl releases, Live At WCOZ 77 includes Talking Heads’ complete 14-song set from Northern Studios, including energetic and previously unreleased takes of songs such as Thank You For Sending Me An Angel, The Good Thing and The Big Country, which the group would shortly nail for their second album, More Songs About Buildings And Food.

Must hear: The Book I Read (Live @ WCOZ 77)

1: The Doors: ‘Live At Konserthuset, Stockholm, September 20, 1968’ (3LP, translucent blue vinyl, 11,300 copies)

Record Store Day 2024 is providing music lovers with some of the event’s most covetable releases to date, and certainly the title topping our list of the best Record Store Day 2024 vinyl releases is one that fans of The Doors have long lusted after. This terrific Stockholm show, from the band’s high-profile European tour with Jefferson Airplane in the autumn of 1968, has repeatedly been bootlegged down the years, but it’s been begging for official release ever since it was recorded.

Taped professionally for a Scandinavian radio broadcast, the overall sound is thrillingly matched by the quality of The Doors’ performance. Clearly in a good place and enjoying their European sojourn following the release of their chart-topping third album, Waiting For The Sun, the group turn in a rich, fiery performance that takes in hits (Light My Fire, The Unknown Soldier, Love Me Two Times) and deeper cuts (Love Street, You’re Lost Little Girl, Wild Child), performing each and every one with a zest and passion that ensures Live At Konserthuset, Stockholm will need to be filed next to other essential Doors live albums such as Absolutely Live and Live At The Matrix 1967: The Original Masters.

Must hear: Love Me Two Times

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