10-Plus Vinyl Albums You'll Always See at Thrift Stores

Categories: WTF Island

Photo by Craig Hlavaty
I have been cursed with an affliction to mindlessly buy vinyl at thrift stores, garage sales, flea markets, and estate sales, without regard for how much room I have at home. The problem now encompasses compact discs too. It's a genetic trait. My father collects containers. His garage looks like the Container Store. Portions of my house look like an antique mall.

Along my record-hoarding travels -- beginning around 1997 -- I manage to keep seeing the same albums, over and over again. I'm not the only one who has written about these misfit collection castoffs, albums whose only crime was not being a Beatles or Rolling Stones LP.

The best things I have ever found? Every '60s Kinks LP in one crate at a Salvation Army and Black Flag's Everything Went Black and Public Image Ltd's Second Edition at an outdoor flea market near Almeda Mall. Everything else came in spurts, making the hunt evermore thrilling.

Switched-On BachComposer Wendy Carlos electrified take on the classics with an analog synthesizer is a common find at junk shops. It' snot bad either, and any fan of the enigmatic Carlos or just weirdo instrumentation should own it. her site has a great write-up on the album too.

Any & All Barbra Streisand

I still can't believe so many people bough her records. That's not a knock on her as an artist, I just don't see how she sold so well and still remains relatively off the industry radar.


Chances are you will find Boston's self-titled record or Don't Look Back over the course of a weekend digging for vinyl off the beaten path. Boston sucks, by the way. People say awful things about Nickelback and Creed, but I would rather listen to those guys than Boston.

Willie Nelson

Maybe it's just Texas, but Willie's albums can be found at a regular clip. If you disagree, you just aren't looking, or you have already been snaked by another collector. Somewhere Over The Rainbow, Stardust, and a stray Greatest Hits are the most usual suspects, though I once found a clean copy of To Lefty From Willie that I still use quite a bit. As for clean-shaven Willie, that's a bigger rarity.

The Big Chill

If you can get past the yuppie smugness of Glenn Close and company on the cover, it's a decent '60s pop and soul compilation.

Nah, bro.
That Lionel Richie Album That Everyone Thinks Is Autographed

Look, I was taken by it too once. I was in a Half Price Books in Corpus years ago and saw the album in a locked bin with a tag touting it as a "Signed Lionel Richie Album!" for just $20. I asked to see it and buy it, only to discover it was just a facsimile scribbling.

I told the clerk that it was not authentic and that they should put it in with the rest of their stock. He just laughed and put it back, ignoring me. Somewhere in Corpus someone is staring at a "signed" copy of Richie's debut solo album sitting in an ornate frame on their wall, and wishing for it to never be touched by human hands.

Neil Diamond

If I had a dollar for every worn copy of The Jazz Singer I have seen in the past 15 years, I could afford to hire Neil Diamond himself to perform at my next birthday party.

Moody Blues

People seem to have bought the Moody's Days Of Future Passed by the handful upon it's release in December 1967. I was excited to find my first copy, until I found four alone at an Austin thrift store, then it wasn't so cool.

Any Great Record missing an inner sleeve

It's true. Most of the time you will find a great classic record -- say Houses of the Holy -- only to find it sans inner sleeve and scratched to all hell. At that point you are just paying for a wall piece and not something you can jam out too.



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Have to disagree about the 78's.  Never smash!  They are jewels.


I live in Brazil, so obviously the most seen albums for me are not the same as in the U.S., but one thing in common is the Hooked-on album. It's not the same one (I don't think Wendy Carlos was ever released here), but it's the same concept, and it's really really easy to find. Aside from bad Brazilian music, '80s pop and new wave albums are very common, specially bad '80s albums by famous artists like Bob Dylan, David Bowie, etc. Also, early '90s one hit wonders (MC Hammer, I'm looking at you).


Man I disagree on that "Tommy" soundtrack - the Who's is infinitely superior! The "Quadrophenia" soundtrack, now that's another matter.




Herb Alpert's WCOD is the first album I thought of when I saw the headline. I think it's mandated by federal law that every thrift store, yard sale and vinyl flea market booth in America have at least five copies of WCOD in their possession.


If you don't jam Herb Alpert on a daily basis, something is wrong with you.


@hprocksoff How about every Yes album ever recorded?


I bought my present vinyl of Switched-On Bach at Half-Price Books.


@hprocksoff If I lived in Texas, they'd be yours. Although some of them are bowls now.


@maripops I like that! I wish more people reused them for fun stuff.


@hprocksoff Thanks! They are pretty cool. My brother was horrified when I handed him a CCR bowl. HaHa!

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