When Albums Ruled the World

Between the mid 1960s and the late 1970s, the long-playing record and the albums that graced its grooves changed popular music for ever. For the first time, musicians could escape the confines of the three-minute pop single and express themselves as never before across the expanded artistic canvas of the album. The LP allowed popular music become an art form – from the glorious artwork adorning gatefold sleeves, to the ideas and concepts that bound the songs together, to the unforgettable music itself.

Built on stratospheric sales of albums, these were the years when the music industry exploded to become bigger than Hollywood. From pop to rock, from country to soul, from jazz to punk, all of music embraced what ‘the album’ could offer. But with the collapse of vinyl sales at the end of the 70s and the arrival of new technologies and formats, the golden era of the album couldn’t last forever.

With contributions from Roger Taylor, Ray Manzarek, Noel Gallagher, Guy Garvey, Nile Rodgers, Grace Slick, Mike Oldfield, Slash and a host of others, this is the story of When Albums Ruled the World.

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  1. Excellent doc. Recommended viewing for all. Especially the kids today who know little to nothing of great music & the history of such.

  2. does anyone know the opening track of this docu?

  3. This is an awesome documentary. I have over 400 albums that span the time of this documentary.. They all sit peacefully in their jackets waiting for me to put them on my turntable.. They haven’t been out for a while but hey I am feeling the urge HA.

  4. Good doc. It could have been longer even, as myself , being born in the early 70’s , my LP buying days started when the documentary finished. The first album I bought was Thriller, although I was very familiar with a lot of the earlier albums thanks to my parents.

    The LP lived on long after that. At least in the genres I was most interested in collecting: Electro, hip hop , and reggae. That would probably have been another 90 minutes though. I would probably say the end was around 1995 when CD’s became widespread. Owning a tape wasn’t the same as owning vinyl, the same as owning a CD just doesn’t have that fulfilling feeling you get from a nice piece of vinyl. Now we have, er… itunes. Thank god for fleamarkets.

  5. What a wonderful ride down Memory Lane! Loved every minute of this, both from a visual perspective (seeing the artists) and listening to the stories about music history through the sixties and seventies.
    I don’t think this doc would appeal to anyone born after 1980; but I could be wrong.
    This doc reminded me of when saving all my money to buy a new record was such a big deal. I got 2 dollars a week and albums were 6.00 dollars.
    There was nothing more exciting than opening up a new album for the first time, finding a poster or two, looking for photos of the band members and pouring over the lyrics and the artwork.
    My friends and I would discuss and disect every inch of the covers, inside and out. Our mutual taste in music would bring us together for hours. We’d even dance, whether there was a party going on or just hanging out in a basement.
    Do kids do that any more?
    It was quite a shock during this doc when I could see how some of these musical icons look now. I wouldn’t have recognised them in a million years! (I don’t recognise my old face in the mirror, either).
    Oh, and I have that “whole Lotta Love” 45. ” Hey, Hey, What can I Say” is on the flip side. Too bad I haven’t owned a record player in a million years.

  6. What an excellent documentary! I was there and witnessed it happen!