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Top 5... / Jun 15, 2016

Must-Own Vinyl Albums: hmv's Ultimate Guide to the Best Vinyl Records for Your Collection

For the definitive list of must-own vinyl albums, plus essential records hand-picked by our staff, look no further!

Vinyl continues to be the only physical music format that continues to consistently sell more and more in our stores every year, as an ever-growing number of music fans develop a love affair with the black wax. But everyone with a record collection, no matter how large or small, has a few prized favourites they couldn't live without.

We asked our lovely staff in stores around the country to name the top five vinyl records in their collection, here's what they had to say for themselves...


Paul, @HmvMiltonKeynes

Soundgarden - Badmotorfinger: Jesus Christ Pose has to be one of my favourite songs to listen to on vinyl, especially when it's turned up to 11.

Nirvana - In Utero: Anything grunge sounds better on vinyl. In Utero was Nirvana's best album for me and sounds amazing on wax.

Reservoir Dogs OST: My favourite soundtrack ever and translates really well onto vinyl as essentially it's a retro radio broadcast which is enhanced by the sound of static. Love it.

Arcade Fire - Neon Bible: Every time I listen to this album on vinyl through headphones it gives me goosebumps.

Jack White - Lazaretto: To see how much can be done with vinyl everyone should own this album even just to have a play with it. To be fair it's actually a very good album in its own right.


Georgina, @hmvtweets 

Gorillaz - Gorillaz: Just after the turn of the century we were graced with Albarn’s side project - a formidable partnership with indie comic artist Jamie Hewlett and a debut album which became an instant classic. If you need just one song to convince you it sounds better on vinyl, go for the legendary Clint Eastwood.  

Daft Punk - Discovery: There must have been something in the creative air in 2001, as Daft Punk also released their sophomore effort Discovery. Following on from the huge success of their debut, they began to explore new structures and sounds. This album is a must have on vinyl for any Daft Punk fan.

Kubo and The Two Strings OST: Not only did this movie have utterly gorgeous animations, it had a fantastic score to match. Each time you listen to it on vinyl, it takes you on a breathtaking journey that’s never the same twice. Regina Spektor also covers While My Guitar Gently Weeps, transforming the sound to match the ancient Japanese identity of the project. Also shout out to the beautiful album artwork!

Christine & The Queens - Chaleur HumaineChaleur Humaine is the bold and unapologetic debut album from Héloïse Letissier, a.k.a Christine & The Queens. The synth-pop sounds combined with her soothing vocals makes for wonderful listening, especially on a turntable. With lyrics about exploring and knowing yourself both with gender and sexuality, this album takes you to places of self-discovery and intrigue.

Coheed and Cambria - Good Apollo, I'm Burning Star IV: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness - Volume 1: It’s nothing new to tell elaborate stories through music, but very few artists are as capable of doing this as Coheed and Cambria. Each of their albums takes us through a different point in the Amory Wars saga, and their third album Good Apollo is definitely seen as one of their best entries so far. With riffs that reach into your soul and excellent rhythms, this is one you’ll want to experience on vinyl. Especially track 3, Welcome Home.


Andy, @hmvbirmingham

The Beach Boys - Pet Sounds: One of the best albums ever made, and sounds best on vinyl.

Joy Division - Closer: A brilliant album. Dark and moody and full of atmosphere. No pun intended.

The Velvet Underground - White Light/White Heat: Noisy proto-punk brilliance. Play 'Sister Ray' at full volume to annoy your neighbours.

Marvin Gaye - What's Going On: A classic album. Still resonates even today.


Sheila, @hmvSunderland

Blondie - Parallel Lines: Wanted to be Debbie Harry. She was so, so cool but this is still a brilliant album.

Led Zeppelin - Physical Graffiti: Great sleeve but more importantly its a tour de force through a number of music styles.

Prince - Purple Rain: Its ranked one of the best albums in the world and first time I heard it was on vinyl. I was just in awe.

Motorhead - Overkill: Total landmark album, punk-infected heavy metal at its best. Totally raw.

Fleetwood Mac - Rumours: One of the most well known albums of all time. Totally hedonistic and a great collection of music.



Jo, @hmvbirmingham

Love - Forever Changes: If I could only listen to one album for the rest of my life. It would be this. It makes me think of summer and makes me wish I was born in the 60’s

The Stone Roses - The Stone Roses: With the reissues and the reunification I have had lots of reasons and excuses to play this album over my almost 21 year record shop career. The recent 2015 deluxe reissue is a must own.

The Beatles - The White Album: All Beatles albums, in my opinion, should be played on vinyl. I make regular ‘Beatles Pilgrimages’ with my partner to Liverpool (we drink lots of Peroni and go watch great bands at the Cavern or any of the bars on Mathew Street) this album always makes me think of Hari’s bar in the Hard Day’s Night hotel in Liverpool where we always stay.

Blur - Modern Life Is Rubbish: I love Blur. I love vinyl. In my opinion this is the finest album they ever did.

The Jam - The Gift: My older brothers got me into The Jam as they were a lot older than me. I inherited this album originally when they got bored of their vinyl collection. I still love it now and it’s great to see Weller still performing ‘Ghosts’ on his recent solo tour.


Jay, @hmvGateshead


Pink Floyd - Dark Side Of The Moon: They are an 'album band' and this only really works when you listen to it from start to finish. There are also loads of good pull out posters.

Electric Light Orchestra - Out Of The Blue: Because it comes with a fold out spaceship!

Iron Maiden - Somewhere In Time: The album cover is full of references to Maiden songs and history and the source of many a good pub debate.

The Cure - Staring At The Sea: This is one of my favourite album covers of all time and an exellent example of the cd format ruining it by cutting half of it off. It is also an exellent place to start with the cure.

The Who - Live At Leeds: Apart from the fact that it's the greatest live album ever but you also get the classic Maximim R&B poster with it as well a loads of other posters and books.


Ami, @hmvCheltenham


The Jam - In The City: It's a classic that I think everyone should own!

Johnny Cash - At Folsom Prison: A brilliant album that really shows off Cash's voice at its finest

Awesome Mix Vol. 1 - Guardians of the Galaxy OST: It's just a brilliant album that always puts me in a good mood!

Gogol Bordello - Gypsy Punks Underdog World Strike: If you're looking for something to see you through the summer, then Gogol Bordello are possibly one of my highest recommendations. Their gypsy folk sound fused with a slight punk twist make for excellent music when all you want to do is drink and dance!

Elvis Presley - 30 #1 Hits: The best and original way to hear the sultry tones of The King! All his best songs are together on this album, so it's a sure-fire hit for anyone looking for a little rock 'n' roll in their life!



Alex, @hmvCheltenham

Nirvana - Nevermind: If ever an album nailed the mystic art of track order arrangement it's this. Side A is essentially a greatest hits, while Side B goes into much darker territory that purist fans of the band love.

Pulp Fiction OST: One of the greatest film soundtracks in history, enhanced with the natural analogue sound of Vinyl makes you feel like you're inside Tarantino's masterpiece, bloodstained cars, uncomfortably hidden watches and choppers galore!

Beatles - Abbey Road: Another great album made legendary by the track listing, the non-stop medley of tracks that makes up Side B might very well be the highlight of the Fab Four's repertoire.

Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin II: Zep at their finest and rawest. Turn the volume up, close your eyes and it's like the band's in the room with you.


Simon, @hmv363OxStreet

The Clash - The Clash: Greatest punk album (and probably greatest album) of all time, aggressive, confrontational, life-changing.

MC5 - Kick Out The Jams: Possibly the only live recording that truly captures the spirit of a band, totally commited assault on the senses.

Primal Scream - Screamadelica: Dazzling hypnotic crossover of rock and dance music of the early 90s.

Spaceman 3 - The Perfect Prescription: Opening tracks 'Take Me to the Other Side' & 'Walkin' With Jesus' give a few clues to what may have inspired this album, far out trippy sounds from the 80s maaan!

Marvin Gaye - What's Going On?: Finest soul album, Smooth, sentimental at times but truly uplifting.



Charlotte, @hmvbirmingham

The Velvet Underground & Nico - The Velvet Underground & Nico: This is an iconic & beautifully raw record. It was hard to choose my favourite VU record, but this had to be the most influential growing up. It has probably one of the most recognisable artwork covers by Andy Warhol. To me, this is essential to have in your vinyl collection.

The Beatles - The White Album: Although it wasn't the first Beatles record I had heard, I fell in love with this after my first listen. There are mixed reviews with this album, I think it a must buy if you are a Beatles fan.

David Bowie - Low: Bowie's Low is a flawless album. Beautiful music, throughout. The first side grabs your attention with Bowie's stunning vocals and the groovy beats. The second side has an almost eerie but fantastic ambient feel. A record I can listen to again and again.

Pixies - Doolittle: This is an album I like to sing out loud to. Black Francis' vocal range is immense. Once I heard 'Here Comes Your Man' I had to hear more. Brilliant all round.

The Beach Boys - Pet Sounds: An album you must hear at some point in your life. Although Pet Sounds is 50 years old, it has a very fresh feel. My mom surprised me one day with the CD when I was around 11. I fell in love instantly. When I purchased my turntable, I couldn’t wait to buy Pet Sounds on vinyl.





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