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Record Store Day 2023: The Must-Have Vinyl

(Credit: Burak Cingi/Redferns via Getty Images)

This Saturday (April 22), Record Store Day returns. The event, which aims to celebrate indie record retailers all over the world, features a number of limited edition, exclusive releases from some of the biggest artists in the world.

The flagship Record Store Day (there’s also one on Black Friday) has long been a day that vinyl collectors mark on their calendars, and with good reason. There are a number of big releases including from Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires, Pixies, Frank Turner, Duran Duran, Grateful Dead, Taylor Swift, Miles Davis, Paul McCartney, and Norah Jones among many more.

Not sure what to pick up this weekend? Here are our picks of what we think are the must-haves.

Pearl Jam, Give Way (Legacy Recordings)


In 2023, we’re used to Pearl Jam having almost every single show of theirs available to listen to or stream within weeks. In 1998, that wasn’t the case. On the first leg of the Yield tour, Pearl Jam headed to Australia (which also ended up being the final tour with drummer Jack Irons) to run through the new material. The March 5 show from Melbourne was broadcasted on Triple J radio for all to hear. There was supposed to be an exclusive Best Buy CD release of that show later that year, but it didn’t happen. Now, fans can grab the 17 songs that were going to be on that collection without having to spend hundreds of dollars on Discogs to grab one of the few versions that were printed nearly 25 years ago.

Soul Asylum, MTV Unplugged 1993 (Legacy Recordings)


By 1993, Soul Asylum was one of the biggest rock bands in American pop, their single “Runaway Train” making them a household name seemingly overnight. On vinyl for the first time, this collection has the band’s complete MTV Unplugged set, including four songs that weren’t broadcast. And, amidst performing nine tunes from Grave Dancers Union alone, they also snuck in their early songs like “Stranger” and “Never Really Been” and covers of the Faces’ “Ooh La La” and Lulu’s “To Sir With Love” (with Lulu sitting in).

Nas, Made You Look: God’s Son Live 2002 (Legacy Recordings)


The turn of the century was an interesting time for hip-hop. A lot of new stars were breaking through while the artists who were praised as the next big thing just a handful of years before were being cast aside. That’s what makes this collection so intriguing. God’s Son was where Nas began his second wave of the initial blast in the mid-to-late ’90s. Made You Look: God’s Son Live 2002 was previously available as a DVD release, and now you can soak in the power and precision of the set on one vinyl LP.

Jerry Harrison, The Red and The Black (Rhino)


Whether it was with the Modern Lovers or Talking Heads, multi-instrumentalist Jerry Harrison was the secret weapon that pushed both groups to creative heights. His 1981 solo debut is one of the lost treasures of the Talking Heads multiverse, featuring guest vocals from Nona Hendryx and guitar sparks from current tourmate Adrian Belew. This limited edition expanded edition to be released on Record Store Day adds on a full bonus LP worth of instrumental versions of the album’s funky, angular nine songs, recut from the original tapes.

Klark Kent, Klark Kent (BMG)


It was Stewart Copeland, not Sting, who was the first member of the Police to go solo. The drummer’s sole EP under the name Klark Kent (originally released in 1980) returns to green wax for RSD after decades in relative obscurity and just drips with Copeland’s trademark quirk and deft rhythmic dexterity. It includes “Don’t Care,” which was a Top 50 hit on the U.K. charts.

Stevie Nicks, Bella Donna Live 1981 (Rhino)


Stevie Nicks’ first solo album was a smashing success. Armed with some of the biggest singles of 1981, it put the Fleetwood Mac singer into a different stratosphere of stars. There hadn’t been a proper live album that captured her at the peak of her powers until now. Bella Donna Live 1981 is comprised of the songs that were broadcasted from her show at Los Angeles’ Fox Wilshire Theatre on Dec. 13, 1981. All of the songs except for one appeared on the radio broadcast. The set was first released in 2016 on the Bella Donna deluxe edition, and this is its first standalone release.

Ramones, Pleasant Dreams (The New York Mixes) (Rhino)


The Ramones’ Pleasant Dreams might not receive the accolades Leave Home or Rocket to Russia, but it is an interesting work in its own right. In 1981, Joey’s pop heart and Johnny’s hard-rock leanings converged to deliver one of the most sonically diverse works in the band’s catalog. These rough and ready New York mixes with album producer Graham Gouldman yield raw versions of favorites such as “We Want The Airwaves” and “The KKK Took My Baby Away” as well as three songs not included in the original track listing, namely the Beach Boys-evoking “Touring” (which would later appear on 1992’s Mondo Bizarro). If you’re curious about how this record sounded before the 10cc guy glossed it up, make sure you pick this up.