Record Collecting Stories: Joseph’s Incredible Collection Of 110,000 Vinyl LPs and 75,000 7″ Vinyl Singles

….Joseph won £50 store credit with eil.com for sharing with us the story of his incredible record collection, read on to see how he amassed an eye-watering 110,000 vinyl LPs and 75,000 7″ singles, 3000 CDs, ’78s and autographed memorabilia…..pheww!

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Now that’s an impressive looking record collection!

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to talk about my great love. Joe Thompson

‘Joseph’s Story’

It all began in 1959 when I bought at age 14 my first 45 record, Way Down Yonder in New Orleans by Freddy Cannon.

My parents weren’t much into music but I was already hooked on rock ‘n’ roll from listening to the radio. My collection of one 45 in 1959 has now grown to 75,000 plus 45’s, 110,000 plus LP’s, 3000 plus CD’s and a few 78’s. Initial growth was very slow as my parents didn’t think very much of rock ‘n’ roll, my chores on the farm didn’t leave much time for listening to music, and my small allowance didn’t go very far. At age 18, I joined the Air Force and remained there for the next 23 years. Those years of moving and weight restraints also made it difficult to turn myself from just a lover of music into a real collector. Real stabilization finally came in 1977 when I was assigned to Langley AFB, Virginia where I remained until I retired in 1986. It was there the collecting bug bit me hard, and I blossomed into the collector that I am today. I became a vinyl junkie hook, line and sinker. I started sampling everything, and loving it all. The collection runs the gauntlet of about every genre there is – rock ‘n’ roll, rock, rockabilly, jazz, big band, blues, r & b, soul, gospel, hillbilly, country, western, hard rock, metal, rap, punk, prog, garage, psychedelic, folk, Appalachian folk, world, pop, cajun, tex mex, raggae, Hawaiian, soundtracks, original cast, opera and classical. The collection contains very large concentrations of American roots music, the music that was created from the influences of the early African slaves and European settlers. The blues, gospel and folk music were the building blocks for everything that came after. A side part of the collection is the 4000 plus picture discs, including very rare ones like the 1930’s RCA Jimmie Rodgers disc and the holy grail Paul McCartney Back To The Egg disc.

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Only 200 picture discs of the ‘Back To The Egg’ were pressed & were given exclusively to McCartney’s family, friends & staff at MPL at the time….

Plus shellac 78 picture discs made in Europe in the 1930’s and picture discs made in Japan in the 1950’s. Another side part is the 7000 plus signed album jackets. These cover a very wide range of personalities such as Frank Sinatra, Elvis, Dr Martin Luther King Jr, Eric Clapton, Thin Lizzy, T-Rex, Prince, Mantovani, Queen Elizabeth II, Maria Callas, Judy Garland, The Carpenters, The Rolling Stones, Otis Redding, Elizabeth Taylor, G G Allin, Lonnie Johnson, David Bowie, Son House, Neil Young, a 45 EP from Gone With The Wind signed by both Clark Gable and Vivian Leigh, Muddy Waters,The Eagles, Robert Plant, Ricky Nelson, Madonna, Coldplay, Motorhead, and my prized possession, an album cover signed by Buddy Holly. And then there are the shaped picture discs. 400 plus including very rare ones like the Pepsi Cola one that only ten were made. One of the oddest records in the collection is a two LP 10″ set of propaganda made in North Korea. My favorite record (and artist) is Miss Rhythm by the grand and indisputable Queen of 1950’s rhythm and blues, Ruth Brown.

Had the good fortune and pleasure of meeting her three times. One of my all time favorite songs is the little known Elvin Bishop song Party Til The Cows Come Home, a southern rock song with a boogie beat that is hands down the best beer drinking song ever made. Another favorite is the Caravelli version of the Bob Dylan song Wigwam. I can feel my soul leaving the ground and floating into the clouds every time I listen to it. As the years have rolled by, I will be the first to admit that collecting music can now only be described as an obsession. So much great music has been created over the last 100 plus years that I have to soak up as much of it as I possibly can. So much great music, so little time in a lifetime to experience it all. And to as large an extent as possible, it must be experienced on vinyl. In the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, when CD’s were pushing vinyl off the shelves as fast as the stores and record companies could do so, I made the prediction that vinyl would outlast the CD. During the subsequent lean years, we were most fortunate that artists like Bruce Springsteen, Neil Young, Tom Petty and some of the new generation of artists insisted that their albums be also released on vinyl. I expressed my thanks to them by buying every vinyl release I could find. With the resurgence of vinyl, I think my prediction is on the verge of becoming reality. It is hard to fully describe my love of vinyl and music. Music can turn a hard day into serene relaxation, turn depression into elation and excite the psyche. It is the nourishment for the soul. The collection is housed in a 1350 square foot building that I built myself.

The bulk of the collection, the LP’s, rest in four alleys, shelves on both sides of each, that are 36 feet long. I am in the process of building a fifth alley, also 36 feet long. In summary, I am an obsessive vinyl junkie, and proud of it. The albums, and the music that lie within the grooves, are my friends, my children. They make each day a joy. I am still trying to figure a way to take them to heaven with me, they surely have created an earthly heaven.

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Do You Want To Win £50 Store Credit at eil.com? Here’s how….

Okay, here’s the deal – if you’re a dedicated music hound, we’d love to know about your record collection, we don’t care whether your preferred format is vinyl, CD, or perhaps 8-track cassette is your thing – that’s not an issue, neither is the size of the collection for that matter – big, after all, is not always better.

What we’d like you to do is tell us about your record collection: how did you get the bug, first record bought, favourite record, prized possession, styles of music, holy grail etc.

Please submit no more than 500 words and add no more than two pics – the winner with the most interesting story this week, chosen by our team, will receive a £50 (50 pounds) store credit and we will also add your story to our blog and newsletter [don’t worry, we won’t reveal any personal details]

No purchase is required to enter

Please send submissions to: tim.card@eil.com

1 Comment

  1. I know Joe personally and his essay doesn’t do his collection justice. The autographs alone is worthy of an essay. His collection ranks up there with the best vinyl collections on this planet. I stop by periodically and Joe always has a stack of records he wants to show me and play some of the tracks for me. He is so knowledgeable on the roots of American music and I have learned a lot by hanging with him.

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