Best Discs of The Decades

Miles DavisWhat are the number one best-selling discs of all time? OK, are we talking Rock, Country, Classical, Cultural, Blues, Jazz, Hip Hop, solo artist or group? Is it even a fair question when considering all the different contributions from the agglomeration of genres?

Let’s take a look at just a few popular areas. It would take a lineup of tow trucks to haul in the huge numbers from all categories combined. Besides that, it would render the whole concept too mind boggling to calculate.


Disc Cover Art


Fans have always noticed and appreciated the righteous cover art on their favorite artists’ albums. The packaging of the music has been nearly as important as the music inside. One only has to think Abbey Road, and never again does the thought that the cover merely houses the music. In today’s market, if a signed album cover from a significant artist or group is available for sale, it can sell for thousands of US dollars.

Cover art graphic designers come from all over. They are artists who specialize in designing album covers, but also dabble in T-shirt design and other paraphernalia for the music industry. Along with the wide variety of musical genres, also comes the number of widely diverse graphic designers. Different designers for the assortment of types of music act as the bridge crane between the expression of the musicians’ sound and the visual first impression on the face of the product.


Remember Cassette Tapes?

Mix tapeRobert showed up an hour before the party and handed me a couple of mixed tapes. The audio cassettes were jammed with enough good dance music to keep the party going all night. I realize I’m dating myself. To tell the truth, I am tempted to lie and say it was my folks’, but hey, it was my high school graduation party in 1988 and it was and is what it is. The point, however – I can’t remember a time without a playlist of great tunes.

Now it’s a rarity to put songs together on a mixed tape – if it even happens at all. For beginners, who has the equipment to play a cassette tape? Back in the day everyone did, but that style of technology has been relegated to relic status. Pruning songs from the radio, or another tape wasn’t easy. Like a good tree service, knowing where to cut and splice was a painstakingly laborious process. There was a lot of choreographing and a mixed tape was a work of art.


World Class Audiophile

Hi Fi Stereo ConsoleBack in the 1950’s, the rage was to have a Hi-Fi, – essentially a high fidelity, analogue, boom box on legs. It was a piece of furniture and somewhat of a status symbol. If you loved music, you owned a Hi-Fi, and the neighbors knew it. It was strictly platters back then on a turntable with a stylus that ran between the grooves of a vinyl record. The stereo speakers were part of the console and were often covered with decorative fabric to add to a modern look. Oh, to be cool in the 50s.

Are you discerning enough to know the difference between digital recording and a good analogue recording? Would you consider yourself an audiophile? An audiophile is specifically interested in the high fidelity sound from tapes or disks. They are the purist to some extent of the listening world. They are like a plumbing company getting into the depths of what makes things flow, or sound the way they sound. They want to hear the aliveness before they hear the digital, clean, flawless rendition of a piece. They want to take the sound in with the flaws and the perfections.