Record shopping is pretty much my favourite hobby. Wherever I go in the world, you will always find me browsing the shelves of used record stores looking for gems. While in the USA last year, out of the 110 records I bought, I managed to secure around 80 records for $1 each. This is what I love about record shopping. This post pays tribute to 10 great albums (in no particular order) that I have found in record stores over the years that cost me no more than $1. Enjoy!
1. RUSH – “Moving Pictures” (1981)
I have to be hoest, I bought this album purely for the fact it had the track Tom Sawyer on it. Probably the most popular of all RUSH songs. I personally think it is a damn good track, I love that whole bass and drums bit and then the guitars come in and go sonic as fuck. Yeah, rock! Now, I am by no means a diehard RUSH fan. In fact, my whole RUSH collection includes a whopping 3 records. This album, though, I needed to have. If you know the song, you know why it’s cool. I wouldn’t say Prog Rock is my thing at all although I do dig the sounds of Hawkwind and Uriah Heep. Yep, this RUSH album was $1 well spent (even if side B does have a scratch half way through it cos I never listen to that side anyway. Tom Sawyer only!) and here’s proof…
2. KISS – “Rock N Roll All Over” (1976)
I made a vow to never buy KISS merchandise brand new cos I don’t want Gene ever getting a cent of my hard earned cash cos a) he has enough money, and b) most KISS albums are about 50% great and 50% filler. This album though was a total score purely cos the cover art rocks and it has the songs Hard Luck Woman, I Want You and Makin’ Love on it. Those 3 tracks are defintely worth the $1 I spent on them. Yep. For those who thought it was a Paul song (and so many do), here’s the voice behind the sweet tunage…
3. CHEAP TRICK – “Dream Police” (1979)
You’d be hard pressed to actually find a second hand store in the USA that will actually charge you more than $1 for a Cheap Trick used LP. They were everywhere. Especially this album. In fact, this album is so damn good, I actually own 3 copies of it (actually, i think it could be 4, but who’s counting?). Each copy bought for $1 each. Why so many? Have you sat down and listened to this thing? It’s incredible. Robin’s voice is amazing and the guitar work is just flawless. On top of that, these guys know how to always write the perfect tune. Always. Just listen to the songs I’ll Be With You Tonight, Voices or the album’s title track. Sheer perfection. So many bands sneakily wish they were this good. That’s not me making it up either, that’s a fact. Cheap Trick are one of the finest melodic rock n roll bands to ever grace the planet. Make use of their awesomeness while they are still around creating some of the best tunes you will ever hear. You need to own this album. It’s kinda illegal not to. Enjoy the video…
4. THE WILDHEARTS – “Endless Nameless” (1997)
Technically, this album didn’t cost me $1, it actually cost me 49pence when I was in the UK in 2002. When I work out conversion rates and a percentage of the train ticket I bought to get to the city of London that day, it works out to around $1 so suspend disbelief and play along with me here. This album is pretty much the most ignored Wildhearts album in their catalogue. People just don’t seem to like it. Beside the fact the white noise that was put into all the tracks makes the album unlistenable, this heroin induced mess of a record, I believe, is one of their best. Why? Cos the songs are there. Hidden in the mix, they are there and they sound fuckin’ great! How can you honestly say that Urge, Pissjoy, and Anthem are not instant classics? Or what about their reworking of the Dogs D’Amour aptly titled, Heroin? This album is sheer audible bliss, especially in headphones. Highly recommended, especially if you’re suicidal.
5. GRAND FUNK RAILROAD – “Closer To Home” (1970)
Another gem found in the $1 bin and will always be unknown to me as to why it was sitting there in the first place. This album is all killer, no filler. I got turned onto Grand Funk’s awesomeness back when the movie The Spirit of 76 (starring Redd Kross, Devo and the hot chick rom the Wonder Years) was released and they raved about them in the film. I instantly became a fan and snapped up everything but I couldn’t seem to find this LP though and then one day, BAM! There it was, staring me in the face and needing my hard earned $1. I parted ways, brought it home and was blown away. Songs like Mean Mistreater, Sin’s A Good Man’s Brother and the finale, I’m Your Captain, were instant faves in the Damo files of rock. Do I need to mention the live photo in the middle of the gatefold sleeve? Probably not but I will… it made me jealous that I never got to witness Grand Funk’s live shows back in the day. Total rock n roll complete with possibly the second best white man’s afro ever seen to grace a stage (the first goes to the MC5’s Rob Tyner). Do yourself a favour and love this band cos you are doing yourself a great disservice by not.
6. AEROSMITH – “Live! Bootleg” (1978)
This album was a score on so many levels. Let’s look at this one in detail: a) It’s Aerosmith, b) it’s a double LP, c) it sounds fucking amazing, d) it still has the poster! and e) it’s motherfucking Aerosmith! Got it? Good! This album rules so much. The performances on this LP (that I will also throw in that it looks in mint condition, like it was never even played once!) are all tops. The choice of cuts on this album includes all the hits and more. Yeah, really, they’re all here: Back In The Saddle, Sweet Emotion, Toys In The Attic, Mama Kin, Dream On, Walk This Way, etc. It’s an incredible live album. Which is something else considering how much I usually hate live records (except this one is from the 70’s – I should confirm that I don’t like many live albums after about 1985. Once technology got better, I found that live albums started getting boring… except Iron Maiden’s Rock In Rio… that’s heaps rad). And for this to still have the poster inside, that’s like gold! I was super happy with this gem.
7. THE OUTFIELD – “Play Deep” (1985)
Okay okay, I know this is cheesy 80’s pop rock but I love it. I found this LP at a record fair and bought it cos a girl I used to know was in love with a song on here called Your Love so I got it for her as a present but someone had already found it for her. So I kept it for myself and I’m glad I did cos it’s great! So many cool and catchy tunes on here. See, if you search long enough, you will strike gold. For $1, this album was so fun and happy sounding that I found like I was ripping the dude off at the record fair by only paying the $1 for it. Score! If you don’t know the song Your Love, then click this link below. You’ll probably hate it.
8. VAN HALEN – “Van Halen” (1978)
We don’t really need to say a lot about this album cos I am sure you all own it anyway. This album is one of THE greatest rock n roll records of all time. It just is. Hey, don’t get mad with me, I don’t make the rules, history has spoken. Everything about this album rules; the songs, the solos, the vocals, the production, etc. it’s all good! Nothing to fault here. Just brilliance right the way through. I don’t need to write anymore. You know it already and for $1, this album is without a doubt not one you would pass over. I expect you’d do the same, even if you already owned 15 copies of it, this is just one of those albums. I am gonna put this on right now. Yep.
9. HOODOO GURUS – “Stoneage Romeos” (1984)
Found this on my trek to the USA last year. I already owned the Aussie version but this is the Big Time Records release and has the different cover so I figured I needed it just in case it sounded different. It doesn’t. But that doesn’t matter cos it’s still a sweet record. If you have looked over the Hoodoo Gurus then, plain and simple, you’re an idiot. You’re an even bigger idiot if you claim to like rock n roll and still overlooked this record. Why? Cos it’s awesome. Like, heaps awesome! Hell, I’d even write in capitals to show how awesome it is but internet ettiquette tells me that typing in capitals means shouting and I don’t like shouting at anyone, let alone the many strangers who will read this. Still, you need this record. Listen to these killer tunes: I Want You Back, Let’s All Turn On, Tojo, Leilani, I Was A Kamikaze Pilot, etc. The list goes on. This album has no dull moments. It’s just all good. If you don’t own it, please rectify this situation immediately then we’ll talk.
10. ZZ TOP – “Eliminator” (1983)
Around 15 years ago, back when I lived in Adelaide, there used to be this amazing second-hand record store down at Glenelg. They had thousands of second hand records, multiple copies of most and it was a haven to the vinyl junkie. I was super happy shopping there. One of the albums I picked up there for a measly $1 was a mint copy of this ZZ Top classic. I mean, let’s face it, this album has the hits on it and is a great rock n roll record from that little band in Texas who have managed to keep their original line-up in tact for their entire 20+ year career (a feat matched only by those boys from Ireland known as U2). Yep, you know these songs: Legs, Sharp Dressed Man, Gimme All Your Lovin, Got Me Under Pressure, TV Dinners, etc. This album is perfecto. A good time record with great guitar riffs. Those in the USA can find ZZ Top LPs for $1 all over the place. For some reason the American’s think this is all their homegrown Texan’s are worth. Such a shame for them but great for us record junkies. Sweetness!
So there you go. I could continue this on for a long time as I left out notables like Bruce Springsteen, Journey, Foreigner, Gladys Knight & The Pips, Bob Seger, Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, and countless others. Still, this is a great start and hopefully you have enjoyed reading this little trek through the best from the bargain bins. Thanks for reading.