‘…this book is actually one of the best and most engaging books on phonography and/or recording formats in recent years.’ 2013 IASPM Book Prize Jury
‘Hats off to the excellent Richard Osborne for producing a thoroughly engaging and enjoyable romp through the musical history of polyvinyl chloride… The author has produced a valuable collection of sound bites and snapshots of what the 20th century sounded like.’ Times Higher Education
‘… a well-written and thoroughly engaging précis of vinyl’s journey from its origins to its constantly shifting presence throughout the 20th Century.’ Record Collector
‘… Richard Osborne has just released the most perfect book: a history of vinyl that does not neglect aesthetic or interpretative considerations, but focuses also on hard facts, and pays attention to technology, and economics… Osborne’s book proves a fascinating and essential read, and an elegant one at that.’ InMedia
Richard Osborne traces the evolution of the vinyl record from its roots in the first sound recording experiments, to its survival in the world of digital technologies. His book addresses the record’s relationship with music: how the analogue record was shaped by, and helped to shape, the music of the twentieth century. It also looks at the cult of vinyl records. Why are users so passionate about this format? Why has it become the subject of artworks and advertisements? Why are vinyl records still being produced?
Of all recording formats, it is the vinyl record that has had the most profound effect on the production and consumption of popular music; vinyl has also had the longest-lasting and deepest appeal. This book explores its subject using a distinctive approach: the author takes the vinyl record apart and historicizes its construction. Each chapter explores a different element and brings a fresh perspective to each of the themes: the groove, the disc shape, the label, vinyl itself, the album, the single, the B-side and the 12″ single, the sleeve.
About the Author: Richard Osborne is the programme leader for the popular music degrees at Middlesex University. He has published work on the themes of music technology, minstrelsy, alarms, Indian film and The Fall.