Ongoing History Daily: Records without a cover

If you’re into collecting weird records, here’s one that’ll grab your attention. Back in 1985, an experimental musician named Christian Marclay released Record Without a Cover. And that’s exactly what it was: a slab of 12-inch vinyl with no protective sleeve or cover. It even came with a warning that read “Do not store in a protective package.”

The idea was to deliberately let copies get scuffed up and damaged from the moment it left the factory to whoever bought them. What was the point? Marclay said that it wasn’t about what was in the grooves—there was just a bunch of noise, really—but the state of the record itself. He says he was making a record that was not a document of a performance, but a record that changed over time with damage so that each copy was different from the other.

Today, copies of Record Without a Cover are highly collectible, sometimes fetching upwards of a thousand dollars.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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