(Book Review) Vinyl: The Art of Making Records–The Grooves, the Labels, the Designs by Mike Evans

By David Nilsen

vinylMusic is predominantly a digital domain these days. Sales of CDs continue to drop, and services like Spotify make it simple to listen to anything we want, whenever and wherever we want. One sector of physical music media has been growing exponentially in recent years, however–vinyl LPs. Young music collectors have fallen in love with the analog romance of records and turntables, and sales are continuing to grow for a format that not too long ago was in danger of disappearing altogether.

A new book from music journalist and musician Mike Evans shines a light on the long history of records, from the fragile 78 rpm antiques of the early years to the peppy and trendy 45s heralding the emergence of pop and rock music to the 33 1/3 rpm LPs that revolutionized music during the middle of the twentieth century. The book is organized chronologically and walks us through over a hundred years of music history in its 250 pages.

Vinyl covers every aspect of the world of vinyl records, including the emergence and recession of different technologies, trends in album art and design, anecdotes about collectors, information about beloved record shops, and information about how records are actually made (I found that section particularly interesting, as it’s something I’ve always wondered about). There are also fun asides showing popular and not so popular record player designs over the years. These pages are fascinating for anyone who loves mid-century design and home decor.

The book is gorgeously designed from a visual standpoint. The pages are filled with full-color images and the layout is intuitive and fluid. You can take your time and read the entire book, or you can flip through and just soak in these images from a passion tinged with equal parts nostalgia and innovation. If you enjoy music history or collect records yourself, you need to check out Vinyl.

Vinyl is available now at Greenville Public Library.



  1. Just a correction 78 rpm were not fragile at all, they were made of shellac, a material much harder than the vinyl used in 33 and 45 rpm records.


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