Author Stuart Willoughby introduces us to his enviable collection, which focuses mainly on the era between 1965 and 1975…
How did you catch the collecting bug? What was the first record you bought?
My dad was a big collector of classic 60s and 70s rock and he was also an audiophile, so my love of music and records comes from him. He’d play me records and from a young age I knew all about progressive rock and British blues bands. I began collecting records properly when I was 13 or 14. I’d bought a few before then, and the first record I ever owned was Dirk Wears White Sox by Adam And The Ants. My babysitter bought it on release, so I picked it up from my local hardware store a few weeks later and I was besotted with it for about a year. My mum wasn’t too impressed with the lyrical content!
What genres and artists are you most interested in collecting?
I’d say 90% of my collection is from 1965 to 1975. I don’t have a specific genre that I like to collect. I like rock, blues, folk, jazz and classical. If it moves me, it’s all good in my book. That said, the artist I collect everything by is Prince. I own pretty much everything he’s ever done, on every format. I’ve been obsessed with his work since I was 12. I recently travelled to Minneapolis and spent a week meeting his family and bandmates. Being inside Paisley Park on the anniversary of his passing will live with me forever. I have a book coming out now. Buy it!
How many records do you have in your collection?
I own around 6,000 LPs and 2,000 singles. The collection needs thinning out at some point!
What’s the most valuable record in your collection? Do you have any special rarities?
I own a lot of rare records. I’m not sure which is the rarest, though. I own virtually mint copies of all three Nick Drake studio LPs and a turquoise Led Zeppelin, and I also have a couple of The Dark Side Of The Moon solid-blue triangles. My Bowie collection includes everything a serious collector would want, including a laminated Hunky Dory and an original copy of David Bowie on Philips from 1969. I probably own five- or six-hundred records that you would consider ‘rare’.
I have a black-and-gold Please Please Me, and probably the nicest Sgt. Pepper… first pressing in the country. It looks like it was bought this morning. – Stuart Willoughby
What’s the Holy Grail record that you’d most like to own?
There are two I’d die to own. Vashti Bunyan’s Just Another Diamond Day and Swaddling Songs by Mellow Candle. I know a guy who has two copies of the Mellow Candle record, but he won’t part with one, much to my dismay!”
What’s your listening setup?
A full Linn system. I bought it new in 2009, for the price of a decent family car. I’d wanted an LP12 since I was a kid. My uncle had managed a hi-fi shop for years. It still sounds incredible and I never intend to change it.