My Vinyl Picture Cover OCD Habits Returning

in Music11 months ago (edited)

In my late teens, I was a right one for picture covers. If I was to buy a 7' 45' Single then there were conditions. It had to have a picture cover and it had to be cheap.

I was constantly looking in the bargain buckets for singles that were either coming down in the charts or had vacated them.


The record stores had to offload their stock and it was the likes of me who would buy them CHEAP! Fuck those full-price singles, I stoutly refused to pay.

I nearly always got what I wanted wasting a ton of time going from WH-Smith to Boots to a score of independent stores in search of my mental list of ex-chart hits.

This was the early 80’s, and by that time picture covers were more main-stream than in the previous decade. If you had a picture cover of a single from the '70s then it was something special.

These tight-arse record labels would make a few, and only the early worms would get them. After that, it was the regular shit boring sleeves you could get anywhere.


...'it's great to see the original 45' picture covers after looking at the boring regular ones for years'...

By 2003 I sold my entire collection of almost 1800 45’s and at the time I thought I had a great deal. They had travelled to Phoenix by ship, got stashed in one of those storage places, acquired some warping due to the desert heat, and then done the return journey 18 months later.

You could say those 45’ were well travelled. I had some rare stuff in there such as ‘Seven Seas of Rhye – Queen’, the original version, ‘I Know what I Like - Genesis', on the Charisma label, and 'Life on Mars – David Bowie' with the original 1973 picture cover, as well as a glut of old Punk 45' which always seem to fetch a good price.

Over the years I have tried to download as many .mp3 files to replicate my old lost collection as I can, and have done reasonably well.


...'searching for an Ian Dury cover, but which one was the UK release version?, this is one I used to own so know it's the very first one (top left)'...

The old vinyl took a LOT of space; the .mp3's take none and are much easier to access. The old-timers amongst you may argue physical is tangible and thus more valuable but I got over this collecting 'thing' years ago.

Ripping them off the internet may seem unethical but I figured I have bought them once (yeah I sold them as well you say), but I am not here to discuss ethics; Once a pirate, always one, it's in the blood.

These old singles are very main-stream and not really what I like today, but they are somewhere down there in my heart and now also on a large USB stick and in my car.


...'mp3tag makes it easy to attach images as an extended attribute to your .mp3 files. No comments about my 70's singles please, I know some are ropey'..

Having been OCD about picture covers decades ago, I find that attribute has not gone away and I have been grabbing the old picture cover scans from the internet and attaching them to the .mp3 files.

The images do not appear to be a regular attribute but do increase the size of a .mp3 file when attached. I could inspect the binary code to see how it all works but to be honest I just can't be arsed.


'''Windows Explorer view with extra large icons looking at part of the 1960's stuff. It does look nice and colourful now, but takes fucking ages to attach them all'...

What I am finding is that almost all singles, even from the 1960s (where my collection begins) had picture covers.

Matching the correct ones can be quite a challenge as in some cases the song may have been a minor hit and a search will yield a variety of different covers.

I remember having Amerouse by Kiki Dee (1973) but there was fat chance of getting the picture cover. I bought it from some junk stall market that specialised in old '45.s


…’my copy was like this but the cover was not so creased up’…

My personal copy of 'Amerouse' was in lovely condition with no scratches (I was quite OCD about this as well!), but now I can see it did have a picture cover and can match it with google images

The cover says ‘The Rocket Record Company’ in the bottom left corner but does not contain the ‘PIG 4-A’ which was normally on the rear side.

Amerouse Pic Cover.jpg

That is my best guess for this cover, and I am finding it both fascinating to see what all these old covers looked like, and appalled to see how terrible some of the artwork is.

Occasionally I find one I did have such as (Mr. Blue Sky – ELO) and recognise it at once. Why am I bothering with all this you might say?

Well, I have a new car arriving soon which uses the image attributes of .mp3 files and I want them to display when I play the song and not some generic boring old icon.

I told you I was OCD, some things never change!


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Oh my. What a trip down memory lane. I can't belive you owned that Bread single! 😂

I have a new car arriving soon

Did you use your crypto for the new car then?

I want them to display when I play the song and not some generic boring old icon.

Seems like a valid reason to me, for taking the time to find them.

Sadly, my OCD tendancy manifested itself to colour code my singles with those naff, buff cases and I threw away all the paper ones, picture ones included. I felt a pang of regret when I thought about selling them but got over it fast as I couldn't be bothered to research how much they were worth and just took them to a charity shop.

At least I think I did. They might still be in the attic somewhere. I know my LPs are. 😂

As weird as my present tastes are, I do like some older traditional stuff as well. I was relentless on searching for these oldies during my misguided youth and managed to obtain almost all of them.

Your LP's, depending on what they are may be more valuable than you think. Pink Floyd and other timeless classic ones fetch more than they originally cost now, and depending on the condition can be up to £50 each.

Your Soft Cell albums mind you.., are probably best offloaded on the nearest Sunday junk market 😀

I've definitely got some Pink Floyd and all the early Led Zeps along with the Carpenters and Andy Williams! 😂

Now those might be worth something..., I never did get into Led Zep besides Kashmir but can understand the appeal. I still am a big Carpenters fan and had the odd Andy vinyl song as well.

Here's some more I grabbed, don't they look great? My windows explorer view was never so nostalgic!


OMG. Exyle . . . Sigh.

They are indeed lovely. 😁

If it wasn't so cold I might be tempted to dig around in the eaves and see what I do have. Mind you. I don't hold out much hope for their condition. It's not insulated so is like a freezer in winter and a greenhouse in summer, as all my ruined art materials will testify.


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I still have a small record collection no turntable though. I've been thinking about picking one up though. I'm sort of the same way though, everything I need can be found on Amazon music. I basically pay a monthly fee and have access to just about anything I desire. If you would of told me back in the early 80s I'd have access to almost every album created for under $10 a month I'd have thought you were delusional.

I was a huge music downloader in the 90s with Napster and all that. Now I just find my music service to convenient. Every so often I'll search around the internet for some rare or out of print song and download if I need to. Space is an issue too.

I've actually thought about selling both my albums, tapes and cds several times, but just can't bring myself to do it.

I never gave the album sleeves much thought. I was always a big picture disk guy during the vinyl days. I did sell most of those long ago though. Collectors were paying nicely, and couldn't resist.

I remember Napster before Metallica got all pissed off and forced legal action. Was a great source of .mp3's for a while. Before that it was the IRC channels, talk about antiquated and the early days of the internet.

I was always a big picture disk guy during the vinyl days.

Picture disks.., I was not a fan of as the music then had a noise on the track. It was audible and distracted me a little. I did have some but at the time thought them to a be a little gimmicky, same with coloured vinyl.

I was never a big buyer of singles and only have a few now. I do wish I'd kept the little collection of 45s I had that had belonged to my mum. Those might be worth a few quid. A nice cover was a bonus and who doesn't love some sleeve notes? A lot of my LPs are re-issues and so probably not worth much. I have no idea of the state of the collector market. Some of my CDs may be limited editions and I do prefer the card ones to the ultra-fragile 'jewel cases'.

I don't bother hunting down stuff to download these days. I can get just about anything on Spotify or Youtube. It's fairly easy to extract the audio if you want it. Getting the cover art may be trickier. Is there are big database online of them? Seems the sort of thing someone would do.

There are plenty of images.. eg see below.


..but which ones is the UK release? If you once owned it, then it will be in the deepest recesses of your memory, if you had the non-cover version then it's a litte trickier to work it out. Singles had an ID stamped on them, and you can sometimes figure it out from this.

Looks like Discogs and ebay are good for this. It's interesting how many different covers there were. Must keep the collectors busy getting them all.

I think it's more of nostalgic than collecting them. Vinyls are classy, can't beat that!!

I am collecting the digital versions now and thanks to YouTube it's become much easier. I don't have space for the real things anymore, I was very attached to that collection before they got all warped in Arizona.

Was a terrible idea to move them out there and by the mid-90's vinyl was becoming obsolete... and it cost me an arm and a leg. I didn't even have a record player by then.

was that move when you were ummm.... from the States in the end 🙃

I survived only 18 months there and was forced to return to England due to work restrictions.

Brilliant story - I still have some 45ers in my cellar - love playing them and never been a MP3 download fan. I especially love the special lolour edition like the red one from Yazoo - Don't go - reposted.

I had 'Only You' and 'Don't Go' in the massive collection, not sure about the red vinyl though. 'Situation' on the B' side of one of them was great.., a big club hit at the time.

Situation was on B-Side of "Only you" - also have that in the cellar, need to go digging!

A good trip down memory lane indeed!

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Man, you were so lucky to have experienced such an awesome childhood. o,,,o
Everything's been digital my whole life and I feel it lacks in a way..