The Vinyl Issue: Picture Discs

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When a straightforward slab of black vinyl simply isn’t enough. Which is where the picture disc comes in…

HEART

Dreamboat Annie (Mushroom, 1976)

Heart’s debut contained some superb songs , undeniably so – including Magic Man and Crazy On You – but the idea of pressing the Wilson sisters on 12in of vinyl was a promotional masterstroke.

CURVED AIR

Air Conditioning (Warner Bros, 1970)

Want a unique selling point? Warner Bros issued Curved Air’s classic prog-rock debut as the first modern picture disc, housed in a clear plastic sleeve that made the colours positively sing.

FAST

Faust (Polydor, 1971)

Never mind their revolutionary sonic gait, Faust were breaking new ground on all levels with their 1971 debut. Pressed on clear vinyl, housed in a clear plastic sleeve adorned with an X-ray of a human fist (Faust means ‘fist’ in German), this was a fearless statement of artful intent.

MIKE OLDFIELD

Tubular Bells (Virgin, 1978)

An example of album artwork destined to adorn near-unplayable polymer, five years after sweeping the globe, TB was reissued in picture form with the bendy bell now against a skyscape. An edit re-emerged on 7-inch in 2013 as part of Virgin Records’ 40th anniversary.

THE CULT

ELECTRIC (Beggars Banquet, 1987)

Not your bog-standard pic disc, this edition of the Rick Rubin-produced set – featuring a new, kick-ass musical direction – was pressed on gold vinyl with a pic of the band on one side and their logo on the flip.