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The Appeal of Vinyl


As Kate Stevens recently noted during The Upload, LPs outsold CDs last year, for the first time in decades. Whether you love new albums on vinyl, buy vintage LPs used, or have been a collector for years, it’s clear that records are here to stay.

We asked a number of CKUA folks to tell us about their first vinyl purchases. Their answers were as varied as CKUA itself.

Days of Future Passed by The Moody Blues. I was 14 years old and saved up money from my paper round! I bought it in Calder’s Music Shop on West Blackhall Street in Greenock. I think I stayed in my room for three years listening to that record! Oh, and I still have it and I still listen to it regularly.” – Andy Donnelly, host of The Celtic Show

Life’s Too Good by The Sugarcubes. I think I got it for 99 cents at a pawn shop. I don’t think they knew Björk was in this band. ” – Shaun Friesen, Digital and Social Marketing Coordinator

“The very first vinyl LP that I bought was The Ventures in Space.” – Lionel Rault, host of Lionel’s Vinyls

“I bought Santana III at the Capilano Woolco in 1971. I bought it because I liked the song ‘Guajira.’ Still have the LP!” – Orest Soltykevych, host of Raising Voices

“My first purchase of new LPs was actually 3 records. I saved my pennies and got Steppenwolf’s The Second and the Cream 2-LP set Wheels of Fire.” – Cam Hayden, host of Friday Night Blues Party

“It was at Sonic Boom Records in Toronto. I had just discovered my love for Prince, and when I was sifting through stacks and stacks of records, I found the album Controversy. One of my favourite records to this day!” – Kate Stevens, host of The Upload

“Frank Zappa’s Freak Out. I bought it at Zellers in Bonnie Doon Mall. I bought it because I had been buying 45’s before then, and I decided on that album because I had been hearing about Frank Zappa and it was a double album priced right.” – Holger Petersen, host of Natch’l Blues

“Although I owned a few LPs as a kid (Chipmunks, Miles Davis, Elvis, Buddy Holly, Hank Snow) that were given to me as gifts, the first album I bought as a teenager was Revolver by The Beatles, purchased at the Dawson Creek Music Shop with a pocketful of cash earned from selling a wagonload of bottles.” – Roy Forbes, host of Roy’s Record Room

“The album that I consider my first LP was given to me by my mom when I was in high school. I was very much into music and playing bass every day for hours on end. She gave me Bobby McFerrin’s Simple Pleasures, which, of course, had his biggest hit, ‘Don’t Worry, Be Happy’ on it. That was the first album I was given. The first album I bought for myself was Ray Brown’s Brown’s Bag. I remember both fondly.” – Kodi Hutchinson, host of A Time for Jazz

“It was either Subhumans’ From The Cradle To The Grave, or Bob Dylan’s Blood On The Tracks. It seems fitting for it to be these two, because they seem to describe the two sides of my personality.”  – Bailey Richards, Music Library Assistant

“Miles Davis, Kind of Blue. It was my sister Maureen who brought it home. I knew this was important because she played it for me in her bedroom. Sisters NEVER invite you into their bedroom. It’s intensely private and mysterious.” – Terry David Mulligan, host of Mulligan Stew

“I remember being in my early 30s and being sentimental about my parents. I went to the Strathcona Antique Mall and picked up a bunch of records they owned when I was a kid. So, records like John Lennon and The Beach Boys. Music that first had an imprint on my life.” – Marc Carnes, CEO

My Son, The Nut, by Allan Sherman. I was 13, and his song, ‘Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh (A Letter from Camp)’ was everywhere on the radio. I played it until my mother told me to stop. I still have it.” – Lorna Stevenson, Senior Accountant

“In 1981, I bought Telekon by Gary Numan and Clues by Robert Palmer with my own money, and I was so proud of myself. I probably heard them on The NewMusic.” – Jodi Lucas, Senior Development Officer, Southern Alberta

“Supertramp’s Crime of the Century, bought at Mister Sound.” James Jarvis, Senior Development Officer, Northern Alberta

“In 1966, my godfather took me downtown for lunch for a treat, and then we went to a record store. I picked out The Supremes A’ Go-Go, and my godfather bought it for me. I played it and played it and played it.” – Nancy Fielding, CKUA volunteer

Music is always changing, and how we listen to it changes, too. There’s no better example of this than CKUA’s library, which launched a huge digitization project more than a decade ago, to make the entire CD collection digitally accessible to hosts. This became particularly important when gathering restrictions in 2020 required hosts to work from home.

CKUA’s library is part cultural gem, part cutting-edge technology, and we embrace both of those strengths. Grant Stovel notes that while the digital library is a wonderful asset, vinyl LPs still get a lot of love from CKUA’s hosts. “CKUA’s library is an amazing trove that contains thousands of musical treasures you just can’t hear anywhere else. I dig into it all the time for music to spin on Alberta Morning. Every time I visit the library, I stumble across other gems that I’d never otherwise have dreamt existed.”

Your donation to CKUA supports ongoing investments in our amazing library, and the modern technology that helps us share music with the world. Please donate today.