I began buying vinyl in the early 1960s. Saturday mornings, I would take my hard-earned paper-round money into Wessex Records and return home with a paper bag containing my pick of the latest single releases. I bought my first LP there, towards the end of 1963, and shortly after began selecting a personal album of the year.
For those new readers landing here, the self-imposed criteria are that I must have a copy of the album in my collection that has been purchased during the year in question, the album’s UK release date has to be in the year being reviewed, and the final list cannot contain compilations or live albums. Other than that, it’s pretty-much open-house.
At first this process was simple self-indulgence, but over the years I began sharing my decisions with a growing group of musically-minded friends. As we all progressed to full-time employment, shortlists would result in inevitable discussions over a few beers, but as careers and family-life intervened, causing the accompanying physical drifting apart, these discussions evolved into an annual newsletter that was sent-out, pored-over by recipients and shared to new readers, adding more names to the circulation list. The arrival of e-mail in the early 1990s made the distribution task easier, and the circulation list even longer.
With the emergence of a whole new generation of artists & bands after the turn of the century, I began to compile a top-ten, simply because there was so much good music about. Of course, like all ‘awards’, I’ve added a few self-indulgent categories over the years, with the results evolving into the current format Album of the Year e-mail that hit hundreds of inboxes at the end of December each year.
In 2008, that email progressed to become a section of my main blog site. Four years later, a definitive list was added to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of this personal phenomenon. Now, ten years after morphing into a blog, what started as a simple list in a school jotter has made yet another transition to become a blog site in its own right.
Previous editions from the last few years are also here in the category ‘Album of the Year’ – to read them click here. The story of how this all began back when I was a teenager is here, and a list of the albums selected to date can be found here. Reviews of the older individual albums are being added as this site expands.