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Record Store Day 2022: The 20 Best Releases You Need To Buy
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List & Guides

Record Store Day 2022: The 20 Best Releases You Need To Buy

After two years of pandemic chaos, Record Store Day returns with a vengeance in 2022, all but demanding you buy its best releases.

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Since its inception, in 2007, Record Store Day has repeatedly proved that vast numbers of music fans still favour physical formats over digital streaming. Indeed, 15 years on, RSD has become an important global calendar event – though, like most things society previously took for granted, it was affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, and its exclusive releases dropped on three separate dates in 2021. This year, though, it’s back with a vengeance on 23 April. While there are stacks of tantalising titles to explore, we’ve riffled through the racks to select the 20 best Record Store Day 2022 releases you need to buy.

Record Store Day 2022: The 20 Best Releases You Need To Buy

20: Golden Smog: ‘On Golden Smog’ (black vinyl, 2,500 copies)

An occasional yet widely acclaimed alt-rock supergroup from Minneapolis, Golden Smog featured members of The Jayhawks, Soul Asylum, Run Westy Run and The Replacements – all of whom appeared pseudonymously due to contractual obligations. Making its vinyl debut for Record Store Day 2022, with an exclusive etching on the flipside, their 1992 debut, the On Golden Smog EP, was a frequently inspired collection of rowdy covers, including the ad hoc outfit’s tanked-up takes on The Rolling Stones’ Back Street Girl, Thin Lizzy’s Cowboy Song and Bad Company’s Shooting Star.

Must hear: Shooting Star

19: Mike Oldfield: ‘Tubular Bells II’ (marbled blue vinyl, 1,000 copies)

Mike Oldfield’s groundbreaking 1973 debut album, Tubular Bells, not only established him as an artist of repute, but also helped get Richard Branson’s Virgin Records off the ground. Branson was keen for Oldfield to make a sequel, but the multi-instrumentalist wasn’t inspired to return to the idea until many years later, when his high-profile, Trevor Horn-produced Tubular Bells II emerged as his first record for Warners, in 1992. Topping the UK charts and going double platinum, it was one of that year’s most hotly-anticipated releases, and its best tracks, such as Dark Star, Weightless and Sentinel, help make it one of the standout Record Store Day 2022 releases, too.

Must hear: Sentinel

18: Peter Tosh: ‘Complete Captured Live’ (2LP blue-and-yellow/yellow, red and orange vinyl, 6,700 copies)

A very tempting Record Store Day 2022 release, Complete Captured Live was last available on vinyl in 2002 – and then only on standard black wax. However, while this pressing’s multi-coloured pressing is enticing enough, the contents are equally covetable, for this legendary 1983 show from Los Angeles’ Greek Theatre catches the former Wailers icon on particularly explosive form. The original 1984 release of Captured Live featured a single disc of highlights, but this expanded Complete Captured Live includes all 15 tracks Tosh performed that night, with fierce versions of Bush Doctor, African and Get Up, Stand Up among its numerous stand-outs.

Must hear: Bush Doctor

17: Stiff Little Fingers: ‘BBC Live In Concert’ (2LP black vinyl)

Released exclusively for Record Store Day 2022, BBC Live In Concert contains two high-octane performances from the stalwart Northern Irish punks fronted by singer/guitarist Jake Burns. Recorded to coincide with the release of the band’s third album, Go For It, the first In Concert performance was captured at London’s Paris Theatre in 1981, and kicks off with an energised version of Go For It’s opening track, Roots Radicals Rockers And Reggae. The second disc offers an equally raucous 1982 broadcast from Norwich’s University Of East Anglia and includes storming versions of SLF classics such as Tin Soldiers and Gotta Getaway.

Must hear: Roots, Radicals Rockers And Reggae

16: Echo And The Bunnymen: ‘B-Sides & Live (2001-2005)’ (2LP clear vinyl, 5,000 copies)

Previously only available as a digital collection, the double-vinyl Record Store Day 2022 release of B-Sides & Live (2001-2005) assembles covetable rare recordings by Liverpudlian post-punk legends Echo And The Bunnymen. Standout tracks include acoustic versions of Nothing Lasts Forever, Make Me Shine and a stripped-back “Lo-Fi Lullaby” take on A Promise, plus a neat remix of classic early single Rescue by Liverpool DJ The Mindwinder. Further highlights come in the shape of potent live recordings some of the best Echo And The Bunnymen songs, among them Killing Moon and Lips Like Sugar, sourced from the 2005 Reading Festival.

Must hear: Rescue (The Mindwinder’s Remix)

15: David Bowie: ‘TOY EP (You’ve Got It Made With All The Toys)’ (10” vinyl, CD)

TOY EP (You’ve Got It Made With All The Toys) features the previously unheard vocal and piano mix of Shadow Man, a standout from the original Toy album, along with unreleased live versions of I Dig Everything and The London Boys, recorded at David Bowie’s Glastonbury warm-up show at the Roseland Ballroom, New York City, on 19 June 2000.

Available on both 10” vinyl and CD, the EP also contains three tracks recorded live for Mark Radcliffe’s Show on BBC Radio 1. Previously available as streaming-only singles, You’ve Got A Habit Of Leaving (Radio Edit), Silly Boy Blue (Alternative Ending Mix) and an energised version of Can’t Help Thinking About Me make their physical debut here.

Must hear: Can’t Help Thinking About Me (Mark Radcliffe BBC Radio 1 Session)

14: The Cure: ‘Pornography’ (picture-disc vinyl, 9,000 copies)

First released in the spring of 1982, The Cure’s fourth album, Pornography, was the final work by the band’s early line-up of Robert Smith (guitar/vocals), Simon Gallup (bass) and drummer Lol Tolhurst. Arguably that iteration’s greatest achievement, this doomy post-punk landmark includes intense classics such as One Hundred Years, The Hanging Garden and the remorselessly heavy The Figurehead. Despite its aura of darkness and nihilism, the album actually cracked the UK Top 10, rewarding the band with their then-best chart position. Its creation exhausted The Cure, who split soon after, only to return the following year in pursuit of a more pop-oriented direction with hits such as The Walk and The Love Cats.

Must hear: The Figurehead

13: The Proclaimers: ‘Sunshine On Leith’ (2LP marbled black, white and green vinyl, 2,000 copies)

Formed by siblings Charlie and Craig Reid, Scotland’s The Proclaimers made an instant impact with their 1987 debut album, This Is The Story, which featured their breakthrough hit, Letter From America. Wasting no time, the fiery folk-rock duo issued the follow-up, Sunshine On Leith, in 1988 and they became household names due to its signature hit, I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles). Released exclusively for Record Store Day 2022, the expanded double-disc edition of Sunshine On Leith – which also spawned a stage musical of the same name – includes rarities in the shape of non-album tracks from their King Of The Road EP, plus impassioned radio sessions recorded for the BBC.

Must hear: I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)

12: Everly Brothers: Hey Doll Baby (baby blue vinyl, 4,500 copies)

Newly remastered for Record Store Day 2022, the 17-track Hey Doll Baby is a compilation of lesser-known gems that can stand alongside the best Everly Brothers songs, with Tom Petty’s daughter Adria assembling the release in conjunction with Don and Phil Everly’s immediate families. Phil’s widow, Patti, and son Jason provide track-by-track information in the liner notes, with further commentary coming from Don, who contributed to the project prior to his passing in the summer of 2021.

Must hear: I Walk The Line

11: Red Hot Chili Peppers: ‘Unlimited Love’ (2LP silver vinyl, 5,000 copies)

Already hailed as one of the best albums of 2022, Red Hot Chili Peppers’ latest album, Unlimited Love, has also claimed its place among the most necessary releases in their canon. Produced by long-time associate Rick Rubin and featuring the return of the prodigiously talented guitarist John Frusciante, this diverse and highly compelling 17-track double-album is enticing enough in any format, but for those quick enough off the blocks, it’s about to arrive in a strictly limited run of 5,000 copies on silver vinyl. With the added bonus of an exclusive 24” x 36” poster insert and a sleeve printed on silver board, it’s easily one of the must-have Record Store Day 2022 releases.

Must hear: She’s A Lover

10: Joni Mitchell: ‘Blue Highlights’ (LP, 9,000 copies)

Undoubtedly one of Record Store Day 2022’s most coveted releases, Blue Highlights is a spin-off from Joni Mitchell’s ongoing Archives series, gathering extremely rare recordings associated with the iconic singer-songwriter’s classic album Blue, which turned 50 in 2021. Widely recognised as one of modern music’s most game-changing releases, that intensely personal record has been described as “possibly the most gutting break-up album ever made” by Pitchfork, and it remains an essential title for music fans of all stripes.

Must hear: A Case Of You (Blue Sessions Demo)

9: Willie Nelson: ‘Live At The Texas Opryhouse, 1974’ (2LP, 8,500 copies)

Recorded over the course of two nights in 1974, these early concerts by the freshly minted Willie Nelson Family Band captured the sound and feel of the burgeoning outlaw country scene in Austin, Texas. Despite label investment and production by Jerry Wexler, the album was only released on CD in 1992, with the full recordings later making up a substantial part of 2006’s The Complete Atlantic Sessions box set. Record Store Day 2022 marks the vinyl debut of Live At The Texas Opryhouse, 1974, but it’s still hard to fathom why the album was initially shelved. It’s funky and compelling, and captures a rising star for whom mainstream fame lay just around the corner.

Must hear: Whiskey River

8: Electronic: ‘Remix Mini Album’ (LP, 2,000 copies)

Bernard Sumner and Johnny Marr’s Electronic project remains one of the highest-profile – and most successful – of all alt-rock summit meetings, with Melody Maker even proclaiming their million-selling self-titled debut to be “one of the greatest albums ever made”. Certainly, the duo’s on-off, decade-long partnership produced plenty of value, and this Record Store Day 2022 release is of great interest, as it includes excellent remixes of Electronic’s flagship early singles Getting Away With It, Disappointed, Get The Message and Feel The Beat, in addition to reworkings of the album tracks Idiot Country (Two) and Gangster.

Must hear: Getting Away With It (Vocal Remix)

7: Paul Butterfield Blues Band: ‘The Original Lost Elektra Sessions’ (3LP, 5,000 copies)

Vocalist and harmonica player Paul Butterfield met aspiring blues guitarist Elvin Bishop in the early 60s and, with bassist Jerome Arnold and drummer Sam Lay (both from Howlin’ Wolf’s touring band), their new group secured a highly successful club engagement at Big John’s Folk Club in Chicago – a residency which brought them to the attention of The Doors’ future producer Paul A Rothchild.

During their engagement, Butterfield met and occasionally sat in with the prodigiously talented young guitarist Mike Bloomfield, and Rothchild was so impressed with the chemistry between the two, he persuaded Butterfield to bring Bloomfield into the group and subsequently brokered their signing with Elektra Records in 1964. This deluxe, expanded edition of The Paul Butterfield Band’s Lost Elektra Sessions features the lean and hungry classic line-up, which lasted until 1966, working through a slew of blues standards. One of the most expansive Record Store Day 2022 releases, it also marks the vinyl debut of a host of unreleased demos and alternate recordings recently found in the vaults.

Must hear: Spoonful

6: The Replacements: ‘Unsuitable For Airplay – The Lost KFAI Concert’ (2LP, 10,000 copies)

Widely believed to be one of the earliest soundboard recordings of The Replacements, The Lost KFAI Concert showcases the alt-rock icons’ original line-up of Paul Westerberg, brothers Bob and Tommy Stinson, and drummer Chris Mars, as captured by Twin/Tone’s mobile unit on 23 January 1981, at the 7th St Entry nightspot in their home town of Minneapolis.

The concert took place while the band were in the middle of working on their debut album, Sorry Ma, Forgot To Take Out the Trash, and the 27-song set is packed with evolving versions of classic songs that would appear on that record, in addition to other long-lost early tracks and choice covers of The Heartbreakers’ I Wanna Be Loved, Slade’s My Town, The Kinks’ All Day And All Of The Night and Dave Edmunds’ Trouble Boys. Sometimes sloppy, always exciting and frequently on the verge of collapse, The Lost KFAI Concert presents The Replacements in all their chaotic, in-your-face glory.

Must hear: Trouble Boys

5: Prince: ‘The Gold Experience’ (2LP translucent gold vinyl; 24,150 copies)

The first full-length Prince album to be credited to the unpronounceable symbol he changed his name to, 1995’s The Gold Experience was released at the very height of his battle with the music industry, when the artist made public appearances with the word “SLAVE” written on his cheek. While he waged war on traditional gatekeepers, Prince continued to push himself creatively, with The Gold Experience offering fantastic material including the full-throttle riffage of Endorphinmachine and glorious ballads such as The Most Beautiful Girl In The World and Gold. Though it’s packaged in a brown sleeve modelled on the original US-only promo pressing, this reissue is a suitably opulent entry among Record Store Day’s 2022 releases, coming as it does on translucent-gold vinyl with a bonus suite of Eye Hate U remixes on Side D.

Must hear: The Most Beautiful Girl In The World

4: The Doors: ‘LA Woman Sessions’ (4LP; 11,000 copies)

Sessions for several of The Doors’ albums – especially Waiting For The Sun and the heavily-orchestrated The Soft Parade – were tough going, with Jim Morrison’s predilection for alcohol further exacerbated by producer Paul Rothchild’s quest for sonic perfection. By comparison, the classic line-up’s final album, 1971’s LA Woman, was made in just a matter of days, with the band and engineer/co-producer Bruce Botnick recording the group in the relaxed surroundings of their Los Angeles rehearsal space. The finished album spawned some of the best Doors songsRiders On The Storm, Love Her Madly and the shape-shifting title track among them – and this Record Store Day exclusive allows dedicated fans to delve even deeper into its creation with well over two hours of outtakes lifted from the bonus material found on LA Woman’s 50th-anniversary release.

Must hear: Get Out Of My Life Woman (LA Woman Sessions)

3: Grateful Dead: ‘Wembley Empire Pool England 4/8/72’ (5LP, 8,000)

San Franciscan psych-rock legends Grateful Dead staged a highly successful tour of Europe in the spring and early summer of 1972, though the shows had a certain poignancy, as they proved to be the group’s final performances with founding keyboard player Ron “Pigpen” McKernan, who died shortly after the band returned to the US, his name now forever part of the so-called “27 Club”.

The tour itself was, however, a great success, with the Dead’s set showcasing live favourites and extended improvisations, including Jack Straw and Brown-Eyed Woman. Released exclusively for Record Store Day 2022, the Wembley Empire Pool Show now appears as a breakout release from the much-hailed Europe ’72: The Complete Recordings box set, and is a must for Dead completists.

Must hear: Greatest Story Ever Told

2: Blur: ‘Bustin’ + Dronin’’ (2LP transparent blue/transparent green vinyl, 6,000 copies)

Long-established as one of Blur’s most covetable rarities, 1998’s Bustin’ + Dronin’ was a Japan-only compilation featuring tracks from the band’s self-titled fifth album, as remixed by artists such as Moby, Adrian Sherwood and William Orbit. Originally only available as a two-disc CD set featuring a BBC Radio 1 John Peel session, the collection was sold on import in the UK, yet still managed to go Top 50 in the album chart. Minus the John Peel session, Bustin’ + Dronin’ makes its long-awaited debut on wax, especially for Record Store Day 2022, with its two discs pressed on transparent blue and transparent green vinyl, respectively.

Must hear: Beetlebum (Moby’s Mix)

1: Ramones: ‘The Sire LPs 1981-89’ (7LP, 10,000 copies)

Such is the breadth of choice of Record Store Day 2022 releases that it’s difficult to pinpoint one especially tantalising title that stands heads and shoulders above the rest. If push comes to shove, this self-explanatory seven-disc box set containing everything Ramones released for Sire, from 1981’s Pleasant Dreams through to 1989’s Brain Drain, takes some beating. Yes, some of these titles are less celebrated than the early albums which secured the group’s legacy, but they contain plenty of candidates among the best Ramones songs, and a release which brings together the likes of Pleasant Dreams, Subterranean Jungle and the mighty Too Tough To Die, and then throws in a bonus disc of rarities on neon-pink splatter vinyl, is liable to sit atop any year’s magnificent mountain of vinyl.

Must hear: The KKK Took My Baby Away

Looking for more? Check out our best reissues of 2022.

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