Five Unique Records You Should Know About

August 12, 2021 2 min read

Five Unique Records You Should Know About

1. The First Record

Thomas Edison invented the Phonograph in 1877. The first records were cylinders, and used a variety of materials for recording surfaces, including tinfoil, plastic, and eventually, vinyl. In one of the first recordings, Edison himself recited "Mary Had a Little Lamb". Optical imaging was used to pull the audio out, for what was otherwise a noisy recording.


2. The First #1 Record

Billboard published the first national music chart on July 27, 1940, titled "National List of Best Selling Retail Records". Tommy Dorsey’s “I’ll Never Smile Again” (featuring vocals by Sinatra) was #1 on the list for 12 weeks.

3. The First Thrash Record

Metal you say? Metallica is considered one of the first thrash bands, and arguably the most successful. On July 5, 1983, the band released Kill Em' All (family-friendly cover shown below). They initially pressed 1500 copies, which are very rare collector items these days. The record went on to eventually sell over 3 million copies, in multiple formats.

Metallica – Kill 'Em All (1987, Vinyl) - Discogs


4. The Most Sampled Record

"Amen break" is a breakbeat featured in the song "Amen, Brother". It holds the record (pun-intended) for the most sampled piece of audio (over 2000+ times!). Gregory C. Coleman of The Winstons played this drum solo which would be heard in countless Hip Hop and Electronica albums.

Check out this short video on the story:

5. The Most Traveled Record

A set of two Golden records were placed in the Voyager Spaceship, which launched in 1977. Right now these records are floating in space aboard the Voyager, which is over 14 Trillion Miles away from Earth. 

A real-time status of the mission can be seen here.

The ultimate space playlist includes 100+ sounds from nature, including sounds of animals, the ocean, thunder, and more. Musical selections spanned "different cultures and eras, and spoken greetings from Earth-people in fifty-five languages, and printed messages from President Carter and U.N. Secretary General Waldheim."

"The spacecraft will be encountered and the record played only if there are advanced spacefaring civilizations in interstellar space."
- Carl Sagan

Some of the tunes on the Voyager records:

  • Bach, Brandenburg Concerto No. 2 in F. First Movement, Munich Bach Orchestra, Karl Richter, conductor. 4:40
  • Java, court gamelan, "Kinds of Flowers," recorded by Robert Brown. 4:43
  • Senegal, percussion, recorded by Charles Duvelle. 2:08
  • Zaire, Pygmy girls' initiation song, recorded by Colin Turnbull. 0:56
  • Australia, Aborigine songs, "Morning Star" and "Devil Bird," recorded by Sandra LeBrun Holmes. 1:26
  • Mexico, "El Cascabel," performed by Lorenzo Barcelata and the Mariachi México. 3:14
  • "Johnny B. Goode," written and performed by Chuck Berry. 2:38
  • New Guinea, men's house song, recorded by Robert MacLennan. 1:20
  • Japan, shakuhachi, "Tsuru No Sugomori" ("Crane's Nest,") performed by Goro Yamaguchi. 4:51

Full list here.