Record Store Day 2023: Taylor Swift, Pearl Jam lead vinyl must-haves

Swifty fan-favourite finally hits vinyl as does Pearl Jam live set

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Vinyl enthusiasts will be setting their alarms early this Saturday for Record Store Day.

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Taylor Swift, Elton John, Pearl Jam and U2 are just some of the artists readying special releases for the annual shopping bonanza, which honours independent record stores around the world.

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Held every April, the event celebrates vinyl at your local record shop from sunup to sundown. And it’s good news for people who still appreciate physically owning their music because vinyl and CDs are outselling digital downloads.

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And vinyl is getting even more popular.

Last month, the Recording Industry Association of America announced that for the first time in 35 years, vinyl outsold CDs in the U.S. (41 million to 33 million). In 2022, revenues were up 17% to $1.2 billion, according to the RIAA.

“Music lovers clearly can’t get enough of the high-quality sound and tangible connection to artists vinyl delivers,” RIAA Chairman and CEO Mitch Glazier said in a post on Medium.

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The format is so popular that Metallica bought their own factory to manufacture vinyl records.

This Saturday hundreds of titles are being released — reissued classics, limited-edition coloured pressings, box sets, cassettes, CDs and never-before-heard offerings from A-listers. Some locations, like Toronto’s Tiny Record Shop in Leslieville, will feature in-store performances.

At Pop Music in Toronto’s Riverside neighbourhood, owner Derek Antonio says he’s getting numerous customer requests for Taylor Swift’s release of the Long Pond Sessions, Pearl Jam’s Give Way, a remix EP celebrating Madonna’s 2003 release American Life, Duran Duran’s 40th anniversary re-release of Rio, a live release from The Cure’s 1992 Wish album tour and Tears For Fears’ B-Sides collection.

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Antonio thinks Swifties will snap up her special RSD release, but he thinks Mac Miller fans will be eager to pick up his 2023 offering. “It is listed as his alter-ego Larry Lovestein & The Velvet Revival and it flew under the radar for most record stores, but now fans have realized over the past week that this is the first-ever physical release of his 2012 You EP.”

Last April, Antonio said fans started lining up outside the store at midnight. “But this year with Swift who knows how eager her fans will be to secure their copy,” he tells the Sun.

Fans of Alexisonfire and City and Colour will want to check out Dine Alone Records’ east-end Toronto storefront, which will have rare warehouse finds and exclusive in-store items.

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If you think rare albums are a dime a dozen, consider this tidbit: A Canadian-made vinyl version of Prince’s Black Album, which the singer recalled a week before it was to be released in 1987, sold in 2018 for over $30,000.

Meanwhile, earlier this month Jack White’s Third Man Records’ co-founder Ben Blackwell sold a rare 2003 single from the duo for $10,000 to mega-collector Frank Anselmo.

Record Store ambassadors Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires say the act of buying a record deepens the relationship artists have with their fans.

“I feel like it involves people more in the process of listening to music and understanding just the overall creative statement that the artist is trying to make. Because you get all these pictures you can look at. And it keeps you from getting too terribly high, because you gotta get up off the couch and flip the record over at some point,” Isbell recently told Variety.

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We couldn’t agree more.

So herewith is our highly subjective list of the five most collectible releases you should try and get your hot little hands on. To find a list of all the albums available and a store near you, visit

Happy hunting.

Taylor Swift, Folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions (75,000 copies)

Swift’s Grammy-winning folklore album was recorded in the early days of lockdown, but Taylor and her collaborators were never able to play the album together until the Long Pond Studio Sessions in September 2020.  Recorded live, the two-album set features Swift, Aaron Dessner (The National), Jack Antonoff (Bleachers) and Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) performing the record’s 17 tracks.

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Taylor Swift’s Long Pond Studio Sessions will be one of this year’s most high-sought Record Store Day releases.
Taylor Swift’s Long Pond Studio Sessions will be one of this year’s most high-sought Record Store Day releases.

Pearl Jam, Give Way (15,500 copies on vinyl; 4,000 copies on CD)

The 17-track album features a live recording from Pearl Jam’s 1998 Australian tour in support of their fifth studio album Yield.

The Black Keys, Live at Beachland Tavern March 31, 2002 (5,000 copies)

Ohio natives The Black Keys revisit their first-ever show in Cleveland with a special tangerine-coloured release. “At the beginning of our career, back in 2002, Dan’s dad asked me, ‘Where do you think you guys could go?’ I remember saying to him, ‘I’ll be really happy if we can play to 500 people’ … That would have been peak for me,” Keys drummer Patrick Carney told the Sun in a 2020 about the show.

Elton John, Don’t Shoot the Piano Player (4,000 copies)

Elton John’s sixth studio album is re-pressed on splatter vinyl and will include an expansive bonus disc of the album’s session demos recorded at the infamous Chateau d’Herouville.

Wilco, Crosseyed Strangers: An Alternate Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (4,500 copies)

Jeff Tweedy and the band offer an alternate version of the landmark 2002 album Yankee Hotel Foxtrot featuring unique performances of all 11 songs.

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