Friday, August 28, 2009

Can Vinyl Last Forever?

Tips On The Care Of Vinyl Records

Written By Robert Benson

Ahhh, the sweet sound of a vinyl record playing your favorite music. Some say that there is no better way to listen to their music. Yes, vinyl records have made a triumphant return to the music arena, with sales over the last few years on a steady increase.

However, opponents of the format may point to the delicate nature of vinyl, records do require due diligence and upkeep in order to keep them sounding their best. But if you maintain a vigilant ritual, vinyl records can last many decades, so the records that you own right now can conceivably be passed down through generations of music lovers. And the bonus for properly maintaining your records is enjoying a crisp, clear playback each time you spin your turntable.

Let’s explore some relatively easy ways to properly care and maintain vinyl records so they can be listened to and enjoyed and also to help preserve their resale value for years to come:

Never touch the grooves

When handling records, treat them with loving care, hold them with two hands around the outer edges of the record; never allowing your fingers to touch the grooves. A simple method to alleviate this potential problem area would be to invest in some disposable plastic gloves, like the ones used in food preparation. Then, one can easily manipulate the record playing process and take the fear out of handling records.

Know the enemies of vinyl

The environment in which your records are stored is very important to a long shelf life. If you want a long shelf life for your prized recordings, keep the records away from dirt, dust, smoke, fingerprints, and oils from human skin as well as faulty phonograph needles. Never stack your records on top of each other, albums should be stored vertically. Avoid storing them too tight as it can lead to ring wear on the cover or sleeve and cause unnecessary stress to the record's materials, surface and label, often resulting in warps and contact damage. Additionally, the records should be stored in a low humidity setting with a temperature between 60 and 70 degrees if possible. Obviously, it is imperative to keep your treasured vinyl away form heat sources such as sunlight, heater vents and even lighting. Avoid dusty environments and if possible store the records in a relatively airtight container such as a cabinet with doors or sealable boxes or bins.

Protecting your records and LP jackets

There are different opinions on this, but it is recommended by most to remove the original wrapping from the manufacturer, the dreaded shrink wrap, as this may shrink over time; eventually warping the jacket or possibly the record. A note of caution, however, some of the stickers or promotional information on this shrink wrap may actually make the album more valuable if left on; so use discretion when removing the shrink wrap. It is recommended to replace this wrapping with a high density polyethylene outer protective sleeve.

There are several vendors where one can buy these protective outer sleeves, but one that offers many different options for record collectors is a well-respected vendor Bags Unlimited has been in the collection protection business since 1975 and are the #1 choice of collectors for storage, display and shipping products for their collectibles. stocks record bags made out of polyethylene, polypropylene and polyester (Mylar). All three of these materials have passed the Photo Activity Test (P.A.T.) certifying that they are safe for long-term storage and protect them from dust, dirt, finger oils, and other airborne pollutants.

“We carry multiple types of poly sleeves, varying in thickness and record jacket sleeves that come with a re-sealable flap, depending on the collector's choice,” explained David Street of “We also stock 2 mil and 4 mil sleeves that are manufactured of archival polyester (Mylar), an inert material of the highest clarity. Mylar is extremely clear, inert, 100% acid-free and considered to be the most archival of all protective sleeves. Polyester will not discolor, damage or adhere to items placed inside it. This material has passed the Photo Activity Test and Polyester is used worldwide in museums, libraries and archives. Our polyester material has been approved by the Library of Congress for archival storage.”

It is also very important to have clean, acid free inner sleeves to protect your records with paper sleeves being the most practical. Some recordings were issued with inner sleeves that have acidity issues, which over time, could damage the vinyl records that they hold. Additionally, some sleeves may be viewed as collectible, so it’s best to save them as part of the album package.

"We are the manufacturers of our paper sleeves and therefore have control over the sizes and materials used. Being the manufacturers also insures that the sizes are true, the holes are centered, and the seams are well-glued,” stressed Street. “Investing in quality sleeves for your records is one of the most important care tips for long lasting vinyl.”

Storing your records in boxes can also add to the preservation process in many ways according to Street:

“Bags Unlimited boxes are the Standard of the Industry. Storing your records in our boxes keeps them in an environment that will protect the corners, edges, and flat surfaces. It also keeps them away from ultraviolet light, dust and other airborne pollutants that can destroy or damage them,” Street stated. “Our boxes are super strong, properly sized and stackable. They come with 3" deep sturdy covers and die-cut handles that can be in the open position for carrying or closed position for storing.

Cleaning and maintaining vinyl records

The most important aspect of owning and playing vinyl records is to keep the records clean. Due to the chemical nature of vinyl, they attract dust and dirt. This is caused by vinyl's tendency to build up static electrical charges which attract small particles of dust which land in the grooves. These particles will cause "pops" and "clicks" as the record plays.

The cleaning of records should be performed before and after playing. This will ensure the best possible playback, and also prepares the record for "dust free" storage. It's highly recommended that a record collector have on hand some sort of carbon fiber brush (there are many varieties of brushes available). Carbon fibers are used to help disrupt static buildup while brushing relies on the vibration of the almost microscopic carbon fibers to clean the grooves and remove dust and dirt. It's recommended that the turntable be running while brushing rather than holding the record in your hands because this will result in a smoother, more consistent cleaning motion.

Some people get so intensely careful about cleaning their vinyl records, they often forget about keeping the needle clean. Since the needle is constantly tracking in the groove of the records, it attracts large amounts of dirt and dust particles and must be cleaned. When not properly maintained, the needle may not vibrate fully and may not rest in the bottom of the record groove; resulting in decreased sound quality and other audio problems. Needle maintenance supplies are easily obtained, for instance, the aforementioned sells an inexpensive "Stylus Care System" which includes a special cleaning fluid and a dense nylon brush to maintain a clean needle.

Obviously the turntable surface should be kept clean of dust and static. Most newer turntables come equipped with a rubber or antistatic felt surface. A great way to clean both the needle and the turntable area and also keep the carbon fiber brush clean is with condensed air in a can, which is available at any electronics retailer; just spray the area before and after playing your records for a continued dust free environment for your audio treasures. Taking this one step further, BagsUnlimted has in stock a unique antistatic solution, as Dave Street explains:

“We carry a portable antistatic, ionizing air gun to use with the condensed air dust remover and it will significantly boost the ability of canned air to remove dust from static-prone areas. This ionizing gun effectively neutralizes static charges in vinyl, plastics, glass, films, Mylar and other items that hold static charges by creating a flow of ions that neutralizes static charges and releases clinging dust. The gun easily snaps onto any type of nonflammable canned air,” explained Street.

There are many cleaning solutions that can be used to ‘wet’ wash a record and it really is a matter of personal preference as to which one to employ. In the old days, when record were made of shellac, they could be cleaned with a mild solution of regular soap and water (always use distilled water as tap water often contains too many contaminants) and this was the preferred way to maintain the old 78 rpm records. Never use the new cleaning solutions on 78’s because they are alcohol-based and can dissolve shellac recordings and will ruin these types of records.

Speaking with Dave Street again, they sell several kits of various sizes to help keep record clean.

“We recommend the 'Groovy Record Cleaning Kit' and each kit comes with micro bristled cleaning brush; cotton cleaning cloth, various sized bottles of GROOVY Cleaning Fluid which is Bags Unlimited's own Record Cleaning Fluid, and is specially formulated for its deep cleaning, antistatic, residue-free properties."

It's also recommend not storing the vinyl inside the record cover but instead slip the vinyl (protected by the inner sleeve) behind the cover with both protected by the outer sleeve, because storing the vinyl inside the cover may eventually create seam and/or spine splits. Over time the weight of the record could possibly cut through the binding.

The reward

This article was not written to exemplify how hard it is to maintain vinyl records; on the contrary, these are very simple tasks and often become mundane and second nature after time. But the reward is so great-the preservation of your prized collection and the coupdeville- the best possible sound reproduction that is humanly possible. With proper care and diligence, these historic audio treasures will last a lifetime or two, giving vinyl record owners many hours of listening bliss.

Copyright 2009 Robert Benson

Classic Rock Videos

rolling stones miss you

Rock/Pop Tidbits

The song "Summertime Blues" was a US Top 40 hit in three different decades - in the fifties by Eddie Cochran (#8), the sixties by Blue Cheer (#14) and the seventies by The Who (#27).

The Mothers Of Invention are believed to have released the first double album with "Freak Out!" in early 1967.

In 1962, Gene Pitney recorded "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" for the movie of the same name, starring John Wayne and Jimmy Stewart. Although the song reached #4 on the Billboard singles chart, it was never included in the film.

When the Beatles made their first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show on February 9th, 1964, producers received over 50,000 applications for the 728 seats in the TV studio.

Alan Gordon, the co-writer of The Turtles' hit "Happy Together" said that he wrote the melody to the song based on an open string pattern used by a bandmate to tune his guitar.

Jerry Lee Lewis' parents mortgaged their house in order to buy him a piano.

Johnny Preston's 1960 number one hit, "Running Bear" was written by J.P. Richardson, The Big Bopper.

The double entendre title of the Bellamy Brother's hit "If I Said You Had a Beautiful Body Would You Hold It Against Me" was derived from a quote by Groucho Marx.

With some left over studio time on their hands, a group of musicians recorded an instrumental intended to be a throw-a-way album track. The song ended up on the flip side of a single release called "Train To Nowhere", which was virtually ignored by US radio stations. Finally, someone flipped the disc over and discovered "Tequila", which went to number one on both the Pop and R&B charts for The Champs.

Kenny Loggins joined The Electric Prunes during their final tour in 1969, two years after the band had scored a hit with "I Had Too Much Too Dream". When the tour was over, the band split up for good and Loggins went on to team up with Jim Messina in 1971 and later had several solo hits.

The distinct horse logo that appeared on most of Poco's albums was designed by Saturday Night Live star, Phil Hartman.

John Lennon and Paul McCartney wrote "I Want To Hold Your Hand" in the basement of Jane Asher's house. She was Paul's girlfriend, to whom he would later become engaged to, but never married.

One day while out riding with her dad, Stella McCartney stopped to stare at him. It had just come to her at that moment. She said, "You're Paul McCartney."

While the title of the song is often shown with a comma ("Louie, Louie"), writer Richard Berry told Esquire magazine in 1988 that the correct title of the song was "Louie Louie", with no comma.

When The Supremes' Mary Wilson was contacted for an interview by the television show Romance of The Rich and Famous, she moved some of her personal belongings into a friends' mansion and let on it was hers, instead of revealing her true residence, a tiny, two bedroom bungalow in Studio City, California.

Little Richard's recording career had just gotten off the ground when his father was murdered in the winter of 1952. To support his family, Richard took a job washing dishes at a Greyhound bus station in Macon, Georgia.

Reginald Kenneth Dwight changed his stage name to Elton John, taking his first name from Bluesology saxophonist Elton Dean and his last from bluesman, Long John Baldry.

When Decca Records first released "Rock Around The Clock" by Bill Haley And His Comets in the Spring of 1954, most people had never heard of Rock And Roll and the company had a hard time describing the song. The label on the single called it a "Novelty Foxtrot."

On December 17th, 1977, David Ackroyd became the first record buyer to receive a Gold Disc when he purchased the one-millionth copy of "Mull Of Kintyre" by Wings.

This Date In Music History- August 28


Clem Cattini - Tornadoes (1938)
Joseph Shabalala, founder of the popular world vocal group Ladysmith Black Mambazo (1941)
Ann "Honey" Lantree - Honeycombs (1943)
Daniel Seraphine - Chicago (1948)
Dave Hlubek - Molly Hatchet (1949)
Hugh Cornwell - Stranglers (1949)
Wayne Osmond - Osmonds (1951)
Shania Twain (1965)
Jack Black - Tenacious D (1969)
Max Collins - Eve 6 (1978)

They Are Missed:

Producer Guy Stevens died at the age of 38 in 1981, having overdosed on prescription drugs he was taking to reduce his alcohol dependency. Worked with Mott The Hoople, Free and The Clash. He was the president of the Chuck Berry Appreciation Society and it was Stevens who brought Berry to the UK for his first tour. He gave Procol Harum and Mott the Hoople their distinctive names.

Gilbert Moorer, lead singer of the Esquires ("Get On Up") died of throat cancer in 2008.


Motown's Tamla Records released the Marvelettes first single, "Please Mr. Postman" in 1961. The song will be a million seller and the groups biggest hit, reaching the top of both the Billboard Pop and R&B charts.

The Rolling Stones made their first appearance on the British TV show Ready Steady Go! in 1963.

Peter, Paul & Mary performed, "Blowin' In The Wind" in 1963 before Civil Rights marchers who had gathered in Washington to hear Martin Luther King Jr. speak.

In 1964, the Beatles played the first of two concerts at New York's Forest Hills Tennis Stadium. 15,000 attended each performance and show their affection by tossing jellybeans, the bands favorite candy, onto the stage. The fans screamed so loud, it's almost impossible to hear the music. It is also after this show that the Beatles met Bob Dylan, who reportedly introduced them to marijuana in a hotel.

The Beatles appeared on the cover of "LIFE" magazine in 1964.

The Beach Boys' "California Girls" peaks at #3 on the chart in 1965.

The Rolling Stones announced in 1965 that Allen Klein, who they met three days ago, will co-manage the group along with Andrew Long Oldham. At the same time, they sign a five year recording deal with Decca Records.

In 1966, nearing the end of their final tour of America, the Beatles performed one show at Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, California, before a crowd of 45,000. The Beatles' attempt to escape from the stadium in an armored truck was thwarted when the main gate was found to be locked, and The Beatles had to spend two hours in the back of the truck before they can leave the stadium.

In 1967, the Grateful Dead and Big Brother and the Holding Company play at the wake of a Hell's Angels member who was struck by a car in San Francisco.

In 1968, the Doors "Hello, I Love You" sold a million copies. The song, which did not have the sinister qualities of the first million seller, "Light My Fire," marked the groups move into more of a mainstream rock sound.

Working at Trident Studios, London, in 1968, the Beatles started recording a new John Lennon song "Dear Prudence." They built the song instrument by instrument, utilizing the 8-track equipment at Trident. John and George played guitars, while Paul plays drums to compensate for Ringo, who had quit The Beatles on August 22.

During a four-week engagement at The International Hotel in Las Vegas in 1970, a security guard at the hotel received a phone call in which he was told Elvis Presley would be shot during his last show. The person demanded $50,000 to reveal the name of the potential killer. Later that day a menu was found in Elvis’ mail at the hotel on which Elvis’ face was destroyed and a gun had been drawn pointing to his heart. The threats were taken very seriously. Elvis played his last show without any incident.

The Five Man Electrical Band's "Signs" peaked at #3 on the pop singles chart in 1971.

David Bowie and the Spiders from Mars made their debut at Carnegie Hall in New York in 1972. Bowie gives the performance while he was sick with the flu.

Bobby "Boris" Pickett's novelty tune, "Monster Mash" made the charts in 1973 for the third time. It was originally released and went to #1 in 1962. It hit the charts again in 1970 and remains a perennial halloween favorite.

Devo released their classic Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo LP in 1978.

Men At Work's "Business As Usual" entered the album charts in 1982. The LP will eventually hit #1, a position it will hold for 15 weeks.

Thin Lizzy played its farewell gig in Reading, England in 1983.

In 1984, the Jacksons' Victory Tour broke the record for concert ticket sales after they surpassed the 1.1 million mark in two months.

In 1986, the Eagles, Stevie Nicks, Mick Fleetwood and Neil Young perform in a show that's billed as, "Get Tough On Toxics" in Long Beach, California to raise lobbying money for a law targeting polluters.

Charlie Daniels and several band members escaped injury in 1988 when their motor home burst into flames on the Ventura Freeway in Southern California.

Billy Joel started a three-week run at #1 on the US album chart in 1993 with 'River Of Dreams.' Joel claimed most of the music came to him in his sleep, hence the title. The singers second wife, one time model Christie Brinkley, painted the album cover which was later voted worst album cover of the year.

In 2007, Pink Floyd's '67 debut album, "Pipers At The Gates of Dawn," was reissued to mark the LP's 40th anniversary. The three-disc package contains stereo and mono versions as well as B-sides, alternate takes and non-album singles "Arnold Layne," "See Emily Play" and "Apples And Oranges."

Beatles 09/09/09

Honestly, I am not a gamer and wouldn't know a x-box from a wi. But the Beatles Rock Band looks like an interesting piece of software and from what I have been reading, I doubt that they will be able to keep the store shelves stocked- everyone will want one. Here's a clip:

And to coincide with the release on September 9 - how clever 09/09/2009 (remember #9?), the band has another little thing going on:

The Beatles - The Complete Catalog Remastered

The Beatles broke up around 40 years ago, however, the Beatles are still one of the strongest forces in popular music and will be for many years to come. On September 9, 2009, the Beatles will once again amaze their fans and critics alike, with the much anticipated releases of The Beatles: Rock Band, and more importantly the digitally remastered catalog.

Each digitally remastered studio album features the original UK release track listing and artwork. In addition each album includes extended and updated liner notes, rare photos, and an embedded documentary on the making of the album.

All 14 albums will be available as one in a stereo box set, which also includes the documentaries on separate DVDs. Finally for the more serious collectors and audiophiles a 10-disc box set entitled The Beatles in Mono will also be released on September 9, 2009. This set includes the mono remasters of 10-studio albums. Limited copies were produced, and the set has already sold out until further notice on

Robert Levine, Executive Editor for Billboard: “Most bands, when they do a big project like this they pay for publicity. The Beatles got paid for Rock Band and then they are using that for publicity to re-release a catalog. It’s pretty amazing.” (CNN, April 7, 2009)

Music News & Notes

MEGADETH Mainman Talks About His Record Collection, Love Of Vinyl

Germany's Plattenladenwoche web site recently spoke to MEGADETH mainman Dave Mustaine about his record collection and love of vinyl. Watch the five-minute chat below.

MEGADETH's new album, "Endgame", is due on September 15 via Roadrunner Records. The CD was recorded at the band's brand new, self-built studio in San Marcos, California — Vic's Garage — which was named after the legendary and iconic Vic Rattlehead character.

"Endgame" was helmed by Mustaine and acclaimed British producer Andy Sneap (EXODUS, NEVERMORE, ARCH ENEMY, MACHINE HEAD). Sneap also manned the boards for 2007's "United Abominations".


Death Cab For Cutie Lead Soundtrack For Twilight New Moon

Death Cab For Cutie have spoken about their contribution to the soundtrack for New Moon, the sequel to Twilight.

The cut "Meet Me On The Equinox" has been chosen as the lead single for the score, which will accompany the film's release in November. In an interview with MTV, Death Cab For Cutie's bassist Nick Harmer said the group had “no idea” the song would prove so popular with producers.

“It's been an exciting process, because we've been so removed from it,” he said. “We were in LA for a week and we went into the studio and wrote and recorded the song and submitted it. We didn't know where anything stood, and then we just got a call last week like, 'Guess what — your song has been chosen as the first single'."

Harmer added that it was a coincidence that the band's lyrical influences suited the vampire film, which stars Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart, so well.

“Basically the Twilight series is about love, and that's a major theme for us,” he added. “So, it wasn't difficult for us at all."


Marilyn Manson Concert Besieged By Christian Protesters

Christians came out in their droves to protest outside a Marilyn Manson concert in California on Tuesday night. Demonstrators gathered outside the recently re-opened Pomona Fox Theater in Los Angeles County waiving placards and chanting pro-Christian messages.

One of the protesters, 65-year-old Rod Warner, told the San Bernardino Sun: "The only thing I'm out here to accomplish is what the lord, Jesus Christ, through my belief, tells me to accomplish. And that's take his gospel to the lost.

"Every shirt you see here depicts nothing but death. They can say they're Christians if they want to, but the Lord says worship me with your heart not your mouth."

Funny, in 1985, I did a gig with KISS in the city of Hammond, Indiana. A friend of mine said he got us a gig with the band, they needed some extra roadies. So we went to the arena and helped unload the semi's, lots of work, but we did get to meet the band and hang out at the concert backstage. What an amazing show and something I will never forget. And the "God" people were there too, almost 25 years ago. Why do these people insist on protesting at concerts? I say get a life, go volunteer at an old folks home or do something constructive with your time. You have not changed anything and you never will.....Rock and roll will continue with or without your silly get togethers..


Leona Lewis releases her highly anticipated new album Echo - November 16th

Leona Lewis has announced her second album entitled "ECHO" will be released on November 16th on Syco Music. Lewis took the music world by storm with the release of her 2007 debut album Spirit selling over 6 million copies worldwide - It earned four Brit Award nominations and three Grammy nominations, making it the best selling album of 2007 and 2008 in the UK and the US respectively.

Leona’s debut album Spirit entered the UK album chart at #1 and became Britain’s fastest-selling debut of all time selling over 1 million copies in the UK in its first 5 weeks. Spirit’s first single Bleeding Love claimed the #1 chart spot for seven weeks and became the best selling single of 2007 in the UK and of 2008 in the US and iTunes top selling single of 2008. A special edition of Spirit was re-released in November 2008 in Europe, including the song "Run". The album again went to number one in the UK Album Chart. Run was released as a download-only single in the UK, reaching #1 and becoming the UK's fastest-selling download-only single In the US Spirit debuted at #1 on the Billboard album chart, the first time in music history that any album by a British female artist has entered Billboard’s Top 200 album chart at #1, as well as the first time any British artist, male or female, has claimed the top spot with a debut album.

Album track listing and more information to be announced soon.

Leona’s debut single A Moment Like This was released on 20 December 2006 breaking a world record after it was downloaded 50,000 times in thirty minutes becoming the most downloaded song in 2006 and going on to sell over a million copies.

Visit for news, updates and more.


Jay-Z releases new song 'Venus vs. Mars'

With his album release date slowly approaching, tracks from Jay-Z’s album Blueprint 3 have been experiencing some serious 'leakage.'

A new track titled “Venus vs. Mars” from the rapper has been added into the leaked equation and it might be a track that the female demographic may find appealing.

The song plays on Jay-Z being the narrator to a “his and her” story. In the track, he elaborates on his possessions and what his prospective mystery "shorty" has to offer.

Jay-Z will not have to worry about promoting his album to his conservative audience because he has Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh doing it for free. In a verse from Jay’s song“Off That” that features Drake, the rapper takes a lyrical jab at Bill O'Reilly and Rush Limbaugh by rapping “Please tell Bill O'Reilly to fall back/ Tell Rush Limbaugh to get off my b---s/ It's 2010, not 1864."

In response to the mentions, O’Reilly rolled his eyes on his nightly Fox news program and compared Jay to Otis Redding (a black rhythm and blues soul singer that transformed his less than perfect experience in America into hit music). Rush did Jay one better; he played the song on the air during his radio show and responded to it by saying “I have been mentioned in a rap song by the rapper Jay-Z. As far as I know, I have never been mentioned in a rap song by anybody. It means I've made it. I'm now on a rap tune by the famous rapper Jay-Z."

Face it, the man is a professional pitchman, Jay-Z knows exactly what he is doing, his marketing skills have no peers, although Madonna is pretty good as well. Watch this album shoot right to the top.


HATEBREED: New Album Artwork Unveiled

The cover artwork for the forthcoming self-titled album from Connecticut hardcore/metal masters HATEBREED can be viewed below. The LP is scheduled for release in North America on September 29 via E1 Music (formerly KOCH Records). The effort will be available on CD, digital download, vinyl and special edition with a bonus 65-minute DVD. The follow-up to 2006's "Supremacy" will be issued on Roadrunner in all other territories.

Commented HATEBREED frontman Jamey Jasta: "This is our fifth studio album and it's a monster! We've survived some pretty rough times and the music shows it. There was no reason to change the recipe that our fans know and love but we added a few brutal new ingredients and we're more than amped on the results. Violence is a given!"