When i first started buying Vinyl Records they seemed to weigh a ton and were the thickness of a I pad. Covers were considered pieces of art and even the label could be beautiful to watch spinning round on the turntable.
But sometime in the mid 80's the manufacturers obviously decided they could cut corners and save some cash by squeezing the life out of these bits of plastic by squashing them down to the depth of sheet of toilet paper. Any thinner and i'm pretty sure customers might have thought they just bought a flexi disc (remember them ?).
To save even more cash the paper label was replaced with a basic paint splattered center and everything was whizzed through a pressing plant so fast that from time to time the grooves had half the label printed over it and the terrible quality of the vinyl was apparent for all to see.
As i look through my collection i notice that the late 80's early 90's looked to be the beginning of the end for this format being a quality product. It's only in recent years that the quality has returned. But there again, vinyl is seen as something special nowadays. A little exotic for the kids. And specially manufactured as some sort of promotion rather than mass appeal.
Not long after i started working in a record shop a rep from EMI Records retired after many years in the business. He told me that when he first started selling vinyl it was delivered to the shops in crates packed with straw to stop them getting damaged. At the risk of sounding like an old git myself, we had them stuffed into a cardboard box with all the other formats and dumped in the door by securicor. I remember the first time i ever sold a record and thought it looked crap. The quality didn't impress me at all and it stood out like a sore thumb.
It was 1988 and Blue Mercedes landed on the counter of the shop i worked in. 5 copies were sent back because they were either warped, had blobs of plastic still hanging round the edges, or the silver paint label was stamped over a bit of the lead out.
Listening back to this record i'm not sure it wasn't a god send.