Record Store Day 2020: 14 of the best releases

By Mark Savage
BBC music reporter

  • Published
The Big MoonImage source, Fiction Records
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The Big Moon have recorded a single live to vinyl to mark Record Store Day

If you've ever wanted to own the theme tune to Paw Patrol on "bone-coloured vinyl", now is your chance.

The song is one of more than 550 rare and exclusive discs being released to celebrate Record Store Day on 18 April.

Pressings by David Bowie, So Solid Crew, Destiny's Child, Neil Young and Primal Scream will also hit the shelves of independent stores around the UK.

Indie band Big Moon have also cut three songs direct to vinyl in front of a live audience.

The group, whose second album Walking Like We Do recently hit the top 20, performed the tracks in one take at London's Metropolis Studios on Thursday.

Three songs - Your Light, Waves and a cover of Fatboy Slim's Praise You - were laid down in just 15 minutes, some of which will premiere on Jo Whiley's BBC Radio 2 show on Thursday night.

The lacquer-coated master disc will then be fast-tracked to pressing plants so the single can be available in more than 200 participating stores on Record Store Day itself.

"I want to record the whole of our next album with people watching," decided singer Juliette Jackson as the session ended. "It would be much quicker."

The band were chosen to be Record Store Day ambassadors after an invitation to rapper Slowthai was "withdrawn" over his behaviour at last month's NME Awards.

Record Store Day, which aims to tempt lapsed music buyers back into shops, is now in its 13th year.

The event has been partly responsible for a resurgence in popularity of vinyl records - which now account for one in every eight albums bought in the UK.

Last year, music fans snapped up 102,000 albums and 33,000 singles on Record Store Day, up 50% from 2018.

With so many releases arriving in a single day, we've sifted through the full list to find 14 nuggets of gold.

1. Neil Young - Homegrown

Image source, Reprise

Neil Young finally gives fans the chance to hear his famously-unreleased 1975 album Homegrown, which was pulled at the last minute and replaced by Tonight's The Night. Written as his first marriage broke down, Young said the album was "too personal" to be released.

Although some of the songs made it onto his later albums, Homegrown has never been issued in full before now. Writing on his website last year, Young described the record as "the unheard bridge between Harvest and Comes a Time".

2. So Solid Crew - 21 Seconds

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Released in 2001, 21 Seconds took the grime scene overground, with each of the band's eight vocalists given exactly 21 seconds to showcase their talents. It went to number one and earned the collective a Brit Award for best group.

It's being re-released for Record Store Day on 12" clear vinyl, backed with mixes and unreleased live versions from the BBC's archives.

3. Robyn - Robyn

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Hailed by the NME as "the most inventive pop album" of 2007, Robyn's self-titled fourth album was the sound of an artist taking control of her career. Released independently, it introduced her gleaming-but-sorrowful take on synth-pop, exemplified by the UK number one With Every Heartbeat.

It's being released on vinyl for the first time for Record Store Day, with the bonus tracks Jack You Off (a Prince cover) and Dream On.

4. Manic Street Preachers - Done & Dusted

One for the ravers - this limited edition 12" features the Chemical Brothers' sought-after acid house mixes of La Tristesse Durera, as well dance icon Ashley Beedle's overhaul of Roses In The Hospital.

5. Minnie Riperton - Les Fleurs

Image source, Getty Images

Before Mariah Carey, there was Minnie Riperton - the Stevie Wonder-endorsed soul star whose vocal register climbed as high as a whistle. The soaring Les Fleurs is one of her signature songs, sampled by artists like Jurassic 5 - and achieving new popularity after being featured in the closing credits to Jordan Peele's horror film Us.

Original copies of the single fetch up to £60 on the second-hand market - making this remastered 50th anniversary edition a bargain.

6) David Bowie - I'm Only Dancing (The Soul Tour '74)

Image source, Parlophone

Record Store Day wouldn't be complete without a rarity from David Bowie's seemingly-endless archives. This year's treat is a previously unreleased live album, documenting the star's "Soul Tour" - a stripped-back reinvention of his legendary Diamond Dogs shows, which incorporated material from the forthcoming Young Americans album.

Separately, Parlophone is releasing CHANGESNOWBOWIE, featuring a radio session recorded by the BBC on Bowie's 50th birthday in 1997.

7) Declan McKenna - Beautiful Faces/The Key To Life On Earth

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A "brave new anthem for doomed youth", Declan McKenna's new single was recorded in Nashville and discusses "how intimidating the world can be" for young people in the age of social media.

The song is taken from the rising star's second album, Zeros, which was "massively inspired by Bowie" and hits shelves in May.

8) Dinosaur Jr - Swedish Fist

Swedish Fist captured Dinosaur Jr on ear-bleeding form at Stockholm's Water Festival, just months before they disbanded and undertook an eight-year hiatus. It includes fan favourites like Freakscene and Sludgefeast, and comes on chocolate-coloured vinyl.

9. Roxy Music - Roxy Music (The Steven Wilson Stereo Mix)

Image source, Virgin / EMI

This remastered version of Roxy Music's dizzying and compelling debut album was completed in 2012, but has languished in the vaults ever since. It's getting a belated reissue on clear vinyl just ahead of its 50th anniversary, with the "full blessing of the band".

10. The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy

Based on the scripts of Douglas Adams' ground-breaking BBC radio series, this is actually a completely different recording - although it retains most of the original cast.

It was produced in 1979, after the BBC passed up the chance to release the sci-fi classic on its own label, meaning there are small changes to the script and new music by Paddy Kingsland. Originally sold by mail order, one observer called it "the best-selling record never to make the charts".

This reissue is being released on "180g Translucent Vogon Green, Magrathean Blue and Pangalactic Purple vinyl" to mark the original series' 42nd anniversary (do you see what they did there?)

11. Destiny's Child - Say My Name

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One of Beyonce's best ever songs, Say My Name introduced the second, penultimate line-up of Destiny's Child - with Michelle Williams and Farrah Franklin replacing LaTavia Roberson and LeToya Luckett (who still received a writing credit on this single).

Marking 20 years since it reached number one on the Billboard charts, the song is being re-released as a collectable picture disc, featuring classic remixes by Timbaland and Maurice Joshua.

12) Black Lips and Kesha - They's A Person of the World

Garage rock band Black Lips team up with pop superstar Kesha for this "lush country ballad", which is described as a "tribute to the traditions of Nashville". A Record Store Day exclusive, the limited edition 7" single will not be available anywhere else.

13) Mansun - The Dead Flowers Reject

Image source, Kscope

An album that never was from 90s indie heroes Mansun. The Dead Flowers Reject was recorded at the same time as the band's second album, Six, as a more commercial "insurance policy" in case the label rejected the main project.

Had it come out, "it would probably have been my favourite Mansun album", said frontman Paul Draper. "It's the closest to how we played live."

Most of the songs ended up as extra tracks on EPs from Six, but Draper harboured bigger plans for the recordings.

"I always planned to release these tracks as the album they were meant to be at some point in the future, but the band collapsed before we got there," he said in 2008.

His ambition is finally realised with this exclusive LP on white vinyl.

14) Primal Scream - Loaded

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In a fitting tribute to producer/remixer Andrew Weatherall, who died last month, Primal Scream's Loaded is being reissued in its full, seven-minute glory.

This 30th anniversary release also features I'm Losing More Than I Ever Had, the song Weatherall ripped apart to create Loaded back in 1992.

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