I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that in my teens and early twenties I was addicted to music. I still am, but at the time it was a problem. Every Tuesday I went to the local record store and, despite my meager income from posting posters in downtown Ottawa, I usually bought one to three albums.
What’s important to know, in the context of this list, is that at the time, most of these purchases required some leap of faith. Before the streaming era, I regularly found myself buying albums without having heard the music first. Maybe I had heard a single on the radio, or seen a video on Much Music (basically MTV, but with a lot more Tragically Hip and probably about the same amount of Alanis Morrissette), but usually it was almost everything.
With so little knowledge, these purchasing decisions were often made based on the scant amount of information available, and chief among these panels was the album cover. Over the years I’ve made countless purchases based on little more than a cool album cover that for some reason said it was an album I should own. Sure, sometimes it worked really well and sometimes I wasted $15, but those were the consequences of the high-stakes game of album roulette I had become addicted to.
The following are 10 records I needed to own album covers.