Secondhand Love Affair: Vinyl Records that Give You a Glimpse Into the Past


I love 80’s music and I buy a lot of 80’s vinyl records so they tend to be mostly second hand. Somtimes it is a bit hit and miss as there is a high probability the record you buy is scratched and damaged. However, ocasionally you get to have a little glimpse into the previous owner’s past. Those are the vinyl records I love the most.

Being completely addicted to 80’s music my vinyl records tend to be mostly second hand. I never buy reissues, If I’m buying an old album I’d rather buy the actual old vinyl record instead of the fancy expensive reissues on 180 gram vinyl or whatever. Besides, you can buy most old 80’s vinyl records for as low as 1 to 5 euros while reissues can retail for about 15 to 30 euros!

Of course with new factory sealed reissues you have a pretty solid guarantee that everything is in perfect condition, whereas with second hand vinyl records that is not always the case. I hate it when I buy a vinyl record only to find out, when I listen to it, that it skips and pop’s making some songs simply unplayable. I’ve also had situations where I am so so happy that I finally found that second hand 80’s record I’ve wanted for so long and when I get home and take it out of the sleeve to listen to it I realize it has the wrong vinyl record inside.

Also, many second hand records don’t have the original printed inner sleeves anymore (with the lyrics and album/band info, etc) and they come with these bland blank generic inner sleeves or no inner sleeve at all. I really don’t understand why that happens so much. Why would someone loose an inner sleeve? Maybe people used them as posters? I don’t know.

Howhever, despite those negative aspects, what I absolutely LOVE about second hand vinyl records – that you will never ever have with a new factory sealed one – is that you get to hold a little part of someone’s history: someone completely unknown to you.

I have a bunch of vinyl with the previous owner’s signatures and names written on ihe cover and I sometimes find strange things inside of the cover sleeves. This Dexys Midnight Runners record had a paper with a list of names written inside. I wish I knew the story behind it but I guess I will never find out:

Also, the inner sleeve on one of my Soft Cell vinyl records has a disclaimer printed on it from an anti music piracy campaign that was going around at the time. The vinyl record is from 1981 and I find it so so funny that home taping was perceived as such a huge threat at that time considering we now live in the age of the internet and ilegal music downloads.

What I love the most though is that rare occasion when you get a hold of a record that actually has a written message for someone. A few months ago I bought a vinyl record – the 12" Maxi single of the song Amor (Amor means Love) from an amazing portuguese 80’s band called Heróis do Mar. I bought it not only because I love the song and the band, but also because I love the album cover and wanted to own that beautiful photograph on a lovely 12" size cover sleeve. I even made a sleeveface photo out of it with my boyfriend’s help:

However, I was lucky enough to have aquired a copy which I later realized had a hidden surprise. I found this message hand written inside the cover sleeve:

“Ofereço este disco à mulher que amo embora eu não possa levar o seu amor mas para mim fica como uma grande amiga e espero que ela goste. 09-03-82”

(translation: I offer this record to the woman I love although I will not be able to keep her love but for me she will remain a good friend I hope she likes it. 09-03-82)

It had a signature as you can see on the image above and I searched online for the man that had written it but I couldn’t find him. Thinking about it, he probably wouldn’t want to know someone else now has it, as it means the woman the message was for didn’t hold the memory dear, or she wouldn’t have sold the record. I don’t know, it’s just a theory.

In case you are curious, here is the song on that maxi single, it was released in 1982:

Thrift stores are treasure troves for vintage-lovers. Do you have something from a thrift store that remains close to your heart? Share your ‘Secondhand Love Affair’ stories with us by submitting an article and check out our requested posts for this month for more Piggies!

written by carlota_nonnumquam on 2012-02-16 #videos #lifestyle #second-hand #80-s #thrift-store #vinyl-records #secondhand-love-affair


  1. bass_clarinet_2000
    bass_clarinet_2000 ·

    Oh, this inspired me.

  2. adam_g2000
    adam_g2000 ·

    @carlota_nonnumquam If your record player is not a fantastically expensive one, and your needle is not of huge value, you can do what I did as a kid in the 80's. Put a very, very light weight on the head on records that skip alot. This pushes the needle down, often enough to stop the record skipping. Sometimes you only need to do it once and the next time it won't skip. If it doesn't work, increase the weight. WORD OF WARNING, this can damage your needle, and lessens the fidelity of the recording (not to a huge degree) - but I used to do it all the time with a penny.

  3. superlighter
    superlighter ·

    I remember very well this disclaimer: Home Taping Is Killing Music hahahaha! music (bussines) was killed by the music industry itself!

  4. mikeydavies
    mikeydavies ·


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