My first memories of music are tied to those of discovering the family record player. My older sisters' record collections were a treasure trove of 1970s rock, and I was mesmerized by the act of putting on a record and hearing these amazing sounds while I watched the vinyl spin. I recall Foreigner to be the first album I really knew, and some of the first words I learned to read were liner notes. I got lost in the records of Yes, Led Zeppelin, etc.; not only in terms of the music, but I loved the big artwork and inner sleeves promoting the labels' other releases. When I was old enough and had some dollars in my pocket, I remember making a special trip to buy the first album of my own: Men at Work's Business as Usual. It's still my favorite record; I loved reading the lyrics along with the music, and pitied the poor kids who got the cassette with no liner notes. Even when the walkman and tapes became popular, there was still a feeling that I didn't really own an album unless I had it on vinyl.
There's something special about the experience of putting on a vinyl record. If you want to play an album for a friend, there's something about dropping that needle that shows you mean business, and that they should pay attention. I started collecting records again and would host "Monday Night Vinyl" gatherings to get back to that real sharing of sounds. The music just jumps out of the speakers and gives you a hug.