P U T T H E N E E D L E O N I T

Tomorrow is Record Store Day!

Todd Webb, Sixth Avenue between 43rd and 44th Streets, April 23, 1948 (panel 6 of 8)

The original idea for Record Store Day was conceived as a celebration of the unique culture of the independent music seller[1], and has, over the last three years since its inception, no doubt helped to promote vinyl as a relevant medium in a digitally dominated environment. Record Store Day aims to celebrate the art of music by working directly with artists to produce exclusive releases on vinyl and CD that will be sold at over 700 independent stores in the US and hundreds more internationally.

Martin Munkacsi, [Portable record player], 1930s

The vinyl record is itself an iconic image, representational of many of the most important musical and social movements of the last fifty or so years. From jukeboxes and the radio shows of the 1950s and 60s through the emergence of hip-hop culture and later to the dance revolutions of the 80s and 90s.

Weegee, Art Ford + Vikki Carol: Music in the Air, 1954

The vinyl record has, as a medium, proved versatile in its resistance to the assumed linear narrative of technological evolution. It has repeatedly defied common convention for technological obsolesce and continues to provide a platform for creativity and expression despite numerous advancements in digital media.

Unidentified Photographer, [Weegee and Art Ford in the record library at WNEW], ca. 1945

The record is synonymous with the DIY ethic and often the preferred platform of underground music scenes, where “white labels” and limited presses reinforce its role as a vital communicator of ideas. Album sleeve artwork has acted as a vehicle for some of our most recognizable contemporary images, and further solidifies the relationship between art, music, and the everyday.

Weegee, After midnight in Washington Square Park, Folk Dance, ca. 1945

To honor this, a small selection of images depicting the vinyl record has been selected from the archives at ICP.  They are a portrait of the record as an icon, and a salute to its importance within living social history.

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One Response to P U T T H E N E E D L E O N I T

  1. Pasi says:

    Vinyl records remind me of my childhood. We had this shiny red Vinyl record player and although the cassettes where available we always listened vinyl records:) Happy memories

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