Ok, well it depends whether it is actually bought, owned or selected, so as I love this subject so much I will cover all bases!
I started showing a strong interest in music at the age of 5. This was in 1968 and has been termed ‘the great British pop explosion’. Whether it was greater than other years I don’t know but the BBC had started Radio 1 the previous year so this was possibly a factor.
I was lucky that my parents noticed this obsession and indulged it. We had a record player in the house. It was an all-in-one piece of furniture with very tall legs and an auto-change turntable at the top but I seem to remember it sounded ok, certainly a full and warm sound, so my Dad in particular had some interest in music. I got a very cheap transistor radio, medium wave only and not much bigger than my hand which it rarely left, for a Christmas present in 1968.
My first experience of the ritual of record ‘buying’ although I don’t think I parted with any cash at the time, was going to Caters supermarket in Chelmsford in Essex in the UK where they had all the 7” singles of the Top 30 displayed on shelves. Almost every other Saturday I was allowed to choose a single for the family collection. It was quite a clever ploy as hardly ever had a 5 year old boy been so excited about going supermarket food shopping and so well behaved to ensure I maintained my treat. I remember this supermarket quite vividly now as well and not just the record department even though this ritual only continued for about a year as we moved to Germany in the summer of 1969, although the experience was continued there in the German department store Kaufhof. I still have some of the singles bought both in Caters and Kaufhof to this day.
I’m fairly certain that this was the first LP I bought with my own saved pocket money.
You could buy them from Woolworths and they were cheap as the recordings were not by the original artists. I definitely had it anyway and did a bit of research that suggested this was volume 1 of this series of LPs that lasted into the early 70s until the likes of Arcade and K-Tel started releasing affordable complications of chart hits by the original artists.
The first ‘proper’ album I owned though was ‘Let It Be’ by the The Beatles bought for me as either a birthday or Christmas present not that long after it came out. I remember my Mum telling me the guy in the record shop had tried to sell her a limited edition version released in a box with a lavish booklet and telling her that it worth be worth a lot in the future, but she was having none of this nonsense! After all, it was just a record! My obsession was such though that I never wanted anything other than records for birthday and Christmas presents from about the age of 5 onwards. I had very few childhood toys - I just craved records.
I know on our return to the UK in 1972 I started buying a few more albums as well as singles with saved pocket money but can’t remember which was exactly the first but the obsession grew and grew. I can still remember the exact places many of these were bought though and peripheral details about the experience and the emotions involved.
Although as I got older I did start having other interests as well, it has always been the dominant one and for so many years it really has been such a huge part of my life.