In 2008, it was a foregone conclusion: Record stores were dying. Or at least that’s what the New York Times and dozens of other newspapers reported at the time. Yet, that same year, independent record stores across the country banded together to prove us wrong, hosting the first official Record Store Day (RSD) on April 19, 2008.
Since then, vinyl has experienced a true revival, thanks in part to the success of the industry holiday. Each year, more record labels drop exclusive Record Store Day releases, reissues and rarities for this now-international celebration of analog music.
Fifteen years later, independent record stores across the Bay are getting ready to mark Record Store Day 2023 on Saturday, April 22. Amoeba Music, which has held court over Haight-Ashbury for more than 25 years, will sell a full catalog of Record Store Day exclusives.
Thrillhouse Records, a punk record store and label in Bernal Heights, typically attracts a long queue spilling out the door on Record Store Day. This year, its employees plan to assist customers on a first-come, first serve basis. And 1-2-3-4 Go! Records in North Oakland will offer time slots to dedicated crate diggers by paid appointment only.
There are hundreds of RSD-specific releases planned for this year’s event. Here are five noteworthy pressings, which feature Bay Area icons and unforgettable live performances captured locally.
1. The Grateful Dead | Boston Garden 5/7/77 (Live)
If you know any OG Deadheads, they very well may have a bootleg cassette tape or MP3 of this influential 1977 recording in their collection. Now, for the first time ever, they can upgrade to vinyl. According to Rolling Stone, the Dead were at the top of their game in 1977—that year, Jerry Garcia and company completed two national tours and unspooled some of the tightest jams the group would ever play. This LP captures a rendition of “Peggy-O” that can only be described as soaring, along with other favorites like “Bertha” and “Terrapin Station.”
2. E-40 | Revenue Retrievin’–Day Shift
This is a big week for E-40. In addition to being thrown out of a playoff game between the Warriors and the Kings, the Vallejo-born rapper and prolific entrepreneur is set to drop the first chapter of his iconic four-part album cycle from 2010, Revenue Retrievin’. With guest spots from fellow East Bay native Too $hort and Atlanta trap pioneer Gucci Mane, Day Shift is back in a format worthy of E-40’s verbose wordplay—on metallic gold vinyl.
3. Billy Joel | Live at the Great American Music Hall—1975
In the summer of 1975, Billy Joel was just hitting his stride as a live performer. A couple of years off his perma-hit “Piano Man,” this concert at SF’s Great American Music Hall saw the songwriter belt out a stunning rendition of “New York State of Mind” and affectionately parroting his heroes—Joe Cocker and Elton John.
4. Jerry Garcia Band | How Sweet It Is
Jerry’s cover of the Marvin Gaye classic “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)” opens this collection of recordings from his 1990 residency at the Warfield, which has been pressed on wax for the first time. Gloria Jones, the soulful voice behind the 1964 hit, “Tainted Love,” lends her talents as a backup singer.
5. Raphael Saadiq | The Way I See It
Placing a record on a turntable can feel like time traveling, and the same could be said for Raphael Saadiq’s RSD release. When the Oakland native first put out The Way I See It in 2008, it transported listeners to the classic soul sides of the 1960s, garnering three Grammy nominations. Saadiq is aided by cameos from Stevie Wonder, Joss Stone, the Rebirth Brass Band and a bonus remix from none other than Jay-Z.