Vinyl Record Day originated on August 12, 2002; created in San Luis Obispo, California, by Gary Freiberg, it is a celebration of the ever-famous vinyl record. The date chosen reflects the invention of the first phonograph on August 12, 1877, by Thomas Edison. While Vinyl Record Day was first recognized and established on August 12, 2002, the first celebration was held on August 17.
Fun ways to celebrate Vinyl Record Day
Obvious activities include listening to and discussing vinyl records, or shopping for vinyl records, but there are also many fascinating things to be learned about the vinyl record.
The Origins of Vinyl Records
Vinyl records weren’t always made of vinyl. Edison first used metal cylinders topped with tin foil, and a stylus, moved by soundwaves, would create indentations in the tin foil as the cylinder spun, playing back the sound. Recording was quite difficult in the phonograph’s early stages, and singers and instruments would have to play or sing loudly into the recording horn for the sound to be picked up.
This changed in 1925 when Western Electric developed a method of recording using a microphone and vacuum tubes to amplify the sound. Discs were also made with zinc, covered with a thin layer of beeswax, which would be marked upon by the vibrating stylus and put in chromic acid, after which the imprinted groove could be played. Afterwards, a shellac compound was used. It wasn't until the 1950s when records became vinyl.
Vinyl records maintained their legacy despite the later creation of tape cassettes and CDs. In 1977, eight gold-plated copper records were created in the James G. Lee Record Processing Center in Gardena, California, and sent into outer space. These records contained images, music, and sounds describing the history and cultures of Earth and humankind, as well as spoken greetings in 55 languages. Vinyl records did lose some popularity after 1988, but they saw a revival in 2006 in the UK when Arctic Monkeys released their debut album, Whatever People Say I Am That’s What I’m Not. There was another increase in sales of vinyl records in 2016 after the deaths of David Bowie, Prince, and other iconic musicians.
How Vinyl Record Day Unites People
Vinyl Record Day unites people all around the world because music is a language we can all understand. Even in different spoken languages, the emotions and messages in music are universal. Beyond simply music, the vinyl record lends a sense of nostalgia and tradition, as it has had fame for many decades. People of all walks of life can come together through listening to the faithful reproductions of albums both old and new. Older folks can relive experiences from their childhoods and teenage years, and younger people have the opportunity to learn about the origins of musical recording. Remembering days gone by and seeing how far music has come and how far it will go, seeing vinyl records on store shelves everywhere shows that the vinyl record encapsulates all of culture, transcending age, race, gender, and time itself.