If you’ve been a record collector for any notable length of time, you’ll probably have a few albums in your collection of — well — questionable quality. I’m not talking about ones that are guilty pleasures, or ones that are a little embarrassing to admit you have in your collection. (Though I’m sure those exist as well, but that’s a subject for a future list…) I’m also not talking about ones where it’s just a flat out shity pressing. The terrible condition I’m talking about: the records that are truly beat to hell.
These are the ones that you almost don’t want to toss on your turntable due to some physical flaw on the album in the worry that it’ll wear out your needle a bit more quickly. So today, I’m taking a look at 7 albums in my collection that are in terrible condition. Ones that will also never leave my collection.
You can watch it here:
Up In It by The Afghan Whigs
Released in 1990, Up In It is The Afghan Whigs second full-length studio LP. Undoubtedly grunge, as was signature to their early style, my copy is one of the rare colored vinyl variants from its original release year. This is the orange translucent pressing.
Why does it make this list? Because there’s notable damage that causes it to skip on A1. It sucks because A1 is one of the better songs on the album. But it’s still a cool piece to have in my collection nonetheless. And it really wasn’t expensive due to that physical flaw.
These originals are fairly hard to come by, at least at a decent price. See what a decent condition original translucent orange pressing is going for on Discogs these days.
You can always snag a new copy on Amazon.
A Gathering of Promises by Bubble Puppy
Next up is an original 1969 pressing of A Gathering of Promises by Bubble Puppy. Steeped in psychedelic rock with, perhaps, some light notes of prog, A Gathering of Promises is one of many greats released in ’69. It’s also one that doesn’t get quite the attention it should.
This pressing is cool simply because it’s an original 1969 one, but it’s a bit beat to hell with lots of scuffs and scratches. While that doesn’t always matter in terms of playback, it does here. You get a good deal of surface noise throughout. I also have a 1999 reissue on 180 gram vinyl, so I can listen to a nice clean copy as well.
As of 2023, it appears decently priced copies of the 2011 reissue can be found on Discogs. That link goes to ALL vinyl of the album for sale on the Discogs marketplace, so it’ll display future variants if they become available.
Far from the most popular track on the LP, “Lonely” is my favorite on the album:
Pornography by The Cure
The third on this list is Pornography by The Cure. This is the 1982 Indianapolis pressing, meaning it was pressed at RCA Records Pressing Plant in Indianapolis. An interesting aside, some copies of this particular pressing may appear translucent brown when held up to strong light.
Pornography is one of the few records in my collection that I’ve graded as “Poor.” This is due to a very concentrated warp that causes the first song on each side to skip. It’ll be in my collection until, at the very least, I find a suitable original pressing at a decent price.
Still, I got this for free, so I’m not complaining too much.
While original pressings fetch a steep rice, you can get an incredibly reasonably priced new reissue on vinyl from Amazon:
Of course the top track is the first on the album, which is unplayable. Check out “One Hundred Years” above.
Gandalf by Gandalf
Gandalf by Gandalf is one of the more valuable items in my collection. Like A Gathering of Promises, this one is true psychedelic rock and was released in 1969. I’ve graded my copy as G+, though the cover is a solid VG.
Overall, the vinyl appears to be pretty solid without too many deep scratches, but lots of scratches and scuffs do exist. In a few spots, the surface noise does get close to overpowering the music. Still, I love this record and it was an absolute steal at $20. Especially given the fact that you can’t really find an original pressing for less than 20 times that amount.
This record has been endlessly bootlegged, so if you find a copy listed on Discogs in excellent condition for too good a price, it’s probably a scammer or not actually an original. All originals for sale in the US are now fetching four figure prices.
Here are the Sonics!!! by The Sonics
I’ve owned a few pressings of Here are the Sonics!!! by The Sonics. Occasionally name-dropped as one of the first garage rock albums, this is the best condition version I’ve been able to find. Good condition originals seem to be non-existent. First because there aren’t many copies to begin with. Second because it was a party album back in the 60s and 70s. So most copies out there have been played extensively and without much care.
This one has a few pops and cracks as it plays, but nowhere near what the previous versions I’ve owned had. The cover is in decent shape. Rough around the edges, for sure, but without any overly major splits.
Originals of this are truly great. I can’t seem to find it in me to pick up a reissue as the crackle is part of the experience. But there have been several reissues, and copies are available on Amazon, linked below. Also below, check out “Strychnine” off Here Are the Sonics!!!
Purple by Stone Temple Pilots
One of two purple vinyl pressings from its release year, 1994, this is the US version. Purple is the name of Stone Temple Pilots’ second LP, so it just makes sense it would be on purple wax. I remember this album drawing me in and I was hooked. And while it didn’t have nearly the impact that Siamese Dream by Smashing Pumpkins had on a young 13-14 year old me, it still dominated my portable CD player back in the day.
Around two decades later, I’d stumble upon this in my small-town record shop and pick it up for a cool, crisp $10 bill. You can’t find an original purple pressing for less than ten times that these days, regardless of the condition.
So yeah, my copy has been around the block. It’s seen better days. It’s a bit rough around the edges. But, honestly, what else would you expect from Stone Temple Pilots? Scott Weiland may have passed in 2015, but his legacy lives on, and I definitely enjoy the double dose of nostalgia pairing the needle crackle with favorites from my teenage days like “Vasoline” and “Interstate Love Song.”
The album was remastered in 2019 and you can get that on Amazon below. Check out “Interstate Love Song (2019 Remaster)” below as well:
The Stooges by The Stooges
Jesus, 1969 really was a damn good year. This is an original 1969 re-press. As noted on Discogs:
“Initial U.S. pressings of The Stooges’ first album omitted the band’s name from the red ‘Big E’ Elektra labels. Represses added a stylized logo to the labels below the spindle holes, while retaining the red ‘Big E’ Elektra labels. All early U.S. pressings have red labels; old-style gold labels indicate the first Canadian pressing.”
This copy of The Stooges debut LP comes from the Columbia-Pitman Pressing plant per the runout and matrix in the dead wax. As you can see below, the label has the stylized imprint of The Stooges’ name, meaning it’s not a true original.
Lots of wear on the vinyl, the sleeve of this one also is a bit beat up. But being from the original release year, it’s cool to have in the collection regardless. I do have a 2010 reissue on 180 gram wax as well if I want a clean spin.
The influence this album has had on rock music is pretty much unparalleled, so it’s no surprise there are plenty of variants out there. You can snag a Clear/Black/Smoke copy on Amazon below:
I’m sure there are others that I could add to this list, but these are the ones that stuck out to me upon compiling the list. What I’d like to know is what are one or two that you’d include on YOUR list, and why? Let me know down in the comments, don’t forget to like this video and subscribe to my channel, and as always keep on collecting.