"Record Store Day—The Most Improbable Comeback of the 21st Century" Book Review and Interview

Larry Jaffee, Making Vinyl co-founder has written "Record Store Day" the authorized history of Record Store Day, better known as RSD. The book's subtitle is "The Most improbable Comeback of the 21st Century".

Jaffee tells the story of how Record Store Day came to be in a well-researched fascinating to read narrative aided by the full cooperation of the event's founders and an assortment of peripheral players and celebrity endorsers. If you are an RSD fan you'll surely enjoy reading how RSD came to be and how over the years its grown to become a worldwide celebration of record stores, musical culture and of course vinyl records.

The subtitle, "The Most Improbable Comeback of the 21st Century" is a frustratingly incomplete telling that leaves the impression that the vinyl resurgence began following the 2007 meeting that led to Record Store Day's founding.

AnalogPlanet editor Michael Fremer interviewed Mr. Jaffee before reading the book. The interview would have gone differently had he had the opportunity to read the book beforehand but he didn't. So the video review along with the editor's historical revision that includes what the book left out comes before the interview.

FJC1966's picture

Michael Fremer
is a
Master Filmer

Michael Fremer's picture
For clarifying the troll’s comment. He’s banished.
SeagoatLeo's picture

My collection rivals Mr. Fremer's. However, I have tweeked my digital (CD digital) sound equipment to mimic analog (LPs) in fulfilling my music loving requirements. Not as expensive as his system but high end. Some nights I spend 2 hours listening to LPs, other nights to CDs. I hated CD sound back in the 1980s and 1990s. Only in 2006 did I find CD playback starting to sound as good as LPs. Now I have both sounding great. Sometimes the ability to extract sufficient data from CDs can equal sound from LPs. Percentagewise, I have a greater percentage of outstanding sounding CDs than LPs (out of 7,000 CDs versus 28,500 LPs). I listen to many not so hot sounding LPs for their performances whereas I dump bad sounding CDs (except for my acoustic and electric 78 reissues by Marston, Obert-Thorn, Meyer, et.al). That's my learned opinion as well as some friends who are well known remastering engineers.

Russo7516's picture

Cant CD's and Lp's get along ?

Michael Fremer's picture
Of course. It’s gotten much better. I have thousands of CDs and CD res files. When it was awful and declared great was when I was very busy!
Russo7516's picture

Been one here for years and you kept the light lit in the dark days of vinyl in the US,
Both mediums has advantages and disadvantages .
Happy Passover Mike

jazz's picture

And yes, leaving out what made what he’s talking about in the book is a shame.

Not speaking about Larry now, there are so many relatively clueless influencers (wouldn’t call them critics) talking online about vinyl and especially audiophile reissues. Even some of those in their 50s don’t seem to know the relevant history and sound of originals OOP reissues, playing a role in how they talk about new rereleases. They partly also musically have no overview about what would make a worthwhile reissue, because they probably just followed what was published from the start of their channels and so just know what different companies reissued repeatedly. Anyway their contributions are welcome. It’s just, the older we get, the harder it is to tolerate so-called new “experts”. Waiting for your book ;-)

Anton D's picture

I used to get bummed out when a favorite 'secret' band of mine got 'big' or went to the major labels. No legit reason for this, just a little human nature.

I feel like that about Record Store Day. Now, we are expected to wait in line to get into a store and then hope that that store got a copy of any of the records I would like. (Sorry for the plural/singular tense change.)

Some stores hold back stock and simply sell on Ebay, which is fine. I will pay the tariff to get the discs I would have traveled for, spent time looking for, and hoping a store might deign to sell me a copy. I figure I'm simply paying a service fee.

There was definitely a jump over the ol' shark tank that occurred several years ago. I still buy, but it's changed, man. I just wanna buy records, not jump through hoops.

I admit this is likely just a me thing, so I will now go yell at more clouds while Malachi sets me straight! ;-D

MalachiLui's picture

perhaps surprisingly, i'm not lining up for RSD this year. a few reasons:

1. the only things i wanted were the bowie 'brilliant adventure' EP, the repress of future's 'ds2,' and the peppa pig album. i foresee a ton of overstock of that bowie record, and i'm not a big enough fan of 'ds2' to line up that early for it. that leaves me with 'peppa's adventures: the album,' which is obviously a novelty want for me. i cannot be bothered to wake up at 4am for fucking peppa pig, as much as that'd be a legendary story to tell people later on.

2. there's a new record store literally right by my house and i've spent way too much money there recently. it's pretty hard not to blow $150 per average week there when the finds include an original 'metal box,' original U.K. press XTC albums at fair prices, original stones records, etc. carefully watching my bank account these days haha.

3. i decided i wanted an original U.K. press 'before and after science' (with all the art prints) more than a peppa pig album. so there goes the $70 i'd set aside for RSD.

4. i procrastinated on you-know-what and now have to spend money on that before it's too late.

therefore, im not lining up for RSD. mostly cuz i can't be bothered this year, nothing i'm losing sleep over. if i have to pay $60 on discogs for the peppa pig record, so be it.

gMRfk6LMHn's picture

Loved your intro Michael, I nearly cried when you showed your magazine The Tracking Angle (I never managed to get my hands on that Jimi Hendrix cover Tracking Angle).

Just to add to your overall comments at the start of the video... Michael there are thousands of unknown people who kept the vinyl presses during those dark days. Who weren't convinced by the CD craze and never parted with their collections. Unfortunately a lot of us are getting disillusioned because we are being squeezed out of the market because of the prices. To the older (not so wealthy) vinyl lovers it is becoming practically impossible to buy vinyl at 'reasonably' normal prices and I am not talking about the audiophile market. By the time a US pressing arrives in Ireland you can add about 25% to an already expensive LP.

James, Dublin, Ireland

KLW's picture


Check out the book published in 2009 called "Record Store Days".
It was co-written by perhaps my favorite ex-DJ at KCRW i.e. Gary Calamar (forward by Peter Buck). Gary is not only a super orator and selector of music, on his original Sunday evening radio shows, he is an exceptional writer. While the book suffers the same grips you have with Larry's book, Gary's is a much more in-depth look at Vinyl history over a broader spectrum of years.

That said, I think this video begs for a third book on record Store day! Addressing this topic from the Audiophile perspective.... written/co-written by Michael Fremer perhaps!

Regards, Kevin L Westerbeck (The guy who owned a Saab Turbo-X for 8 years. Loved that car!...with 290ft-lbs of torque and cornering like a Porsche. Wish I still had her)

Intermediate Listener's picture

But I did not catch mention of another important vinyl revival pioneer: David Chesky. As I recall, their early ca. 1987 Living Presence/Readers Digest reissues (complete with license-limited cover art) were among the first. Cheeky subsequently made many fine digital recordings, but seems to have lost interest in analog and vinyl. Why this is the case would be an interesting story.

Michael Fremer's picture
Yes. My inexcusable omission. I don’t know how that happened….
azmoon's picture

..that Jaffee did not mention all those people. Including Mike of course. Wonder what his problem is? Does not appear to be the sharpest tool in the shed.

Jack Gilvey's picture

as much as I can, but feel alienated by the exclusivity of RSD. I'd love to have the Art Pepper mono, but apparently I'd need to start queueing up at 6am in hopes of getting in on the "1-2 copies" my local place thinks they're getting. Is this how a store wants to compete for my business, a Hunger Games for vinyl?

Anyway, thanks for all you do Michael.

shawnwes's picture

It's now become a mad silly scramble, like buying Stones concert tickets, to get these limited release albums. Enjoy what you have & if it's to be you might find it in the bins or on Discogs at a reasonable price in a year.

Jack Gilvey's picture

Just kind of want to buy a record without a competition or planned scarcity. I guess I can stop in later in the day, or try online the next day.

Jack Gilvey's picture

I took a shot and a ride to my nearest participating RS this morning (Sound Exchange in Wayne, NJ) and had a great experience. They had opened early and there was still a good line when I arrived. An employee was walking down the line with a clipboard taking requests and offering to pull/hold items and also advising if anything was sold out. I thought that was a cool thing to do. Anyway, I got what I went for (Art Pepper MTRS, mono, the only copy they received apparently)and would do it again.

shawnwes's picture

I haven't read it but the book seems to be more about the whole creation of RSD, the phenomenon, and not about the resurgence of vinyl itself - even though it's obviously part of the vinyl resurgence story. He mentions in the video that RSD co-founder Kurtz commissioned him to write the book and that's likely why it's more focused on the RSD players and leaves out the many people like Kassem, Hobson, Fremer, MFSL & others who were working hard to up vinyl's game. I could be mistaken but those people, other than Michael with his overall promotion of vinyl, really don't seem to be involved in RSD.

Simpele Fons's picture

Michael, one thing puzzles me: why didn't you ask him during your video talk why you were not interviewed. You must have got a feeling you were left out of his story.

gogacaw502's picture

Looking forward to checking out the interview and gaining a more complete perspective on this fascinating comeback story! | finish room