The Punk Vault

The many flavors of: Husker Du – Land Speed Record

While I love all their records, especially Zen Arcade, I’m particularly fond of this album for the fact it was the first Husker Du album I bought when I was in high school. The first thing I ever heard from them was their cover of “Eight Miles High” on Kathy and Shrub’s radio show on WDGC when we were in high school, and I vowed to check out more by the band, and this was the first record of their’s I found at the time.

Throughout the years, there’s been a few different variations of this fine piece of wax, and it was on three different labels as well. The rundown is as follows.

It originally came out on New Alliance Records. The first pressing had a cardboard sleeve, the second had a regular type sleeve. Only the first pressing came with an insert containing the lyrics on one side and tour dates on the other.

It was licensed at the same time to Alternative Tentacles Records for a UK release. This came with an insert that was just single sided containing the lyrics.

At some point, New Alliance Records stopped operations and was absorbed by SST (who was manufacturing and distributing the records for New Alliance anyway). SST records did it on black vinyl, and around 1990, SST pressed a good chunk of their catalog on colored vinyl. The story I was told from Chuck Dukowski, who worked for SST for a lot of years, was that they would press 1000 on colored vinyl, and then if they needed more, they would switch to a new color and do another 1000. He said depending on the release there was 1000-5000 on colored vinyl. Sadly no one over there kept any kind of accurate records so no one remembers what records were done on what color of vinyl. I’ve only seen two different colors for this record.

There was 1000 on green vinyl,

and 1000 on gray vinyl.

When SST took over this record, they put their logo on the back and a barcode.

None of the SST versions come with an insert. An interesting note is the same pressing tools were used for the SST version, they just scratched out the New Alliance matrix number and put in their own right next to it. I believe the record is still being made on vinyl as SST has kept a great deal of the classic punk records in print on the format, or at least the big sellers anyway.

So there you have the many flavors of Land Speed Record, a record I still play regularly.


  • The folks at SST don’t keep accurate records? I’m absolutely shocked.

    Thanks for the info though. As usual – it’s very helpful and interesting.

  • Land Speed Record is just that, the fastest record in the world. This album could be the first true “Thrash” record. Unfortunately, the recording quality is so poor that it is practically unlistenable.

  • Have to agree with the above comment. The sound quality is so poor that it’s my least favorite Husker record. There should be tapes floating around from live shows recorded on the 1981 Children’s Crusade tour with much better versions of these songs, and some unreleased Husker gems (i.e. “private hell”)

  • It all depends on when you heard this album as to if it’s unlistenable or not.
    Back when it was released, to most people it was the only Husker stuff they’d ever heard — including me. And boy, did that stuff pack a wallop, even if it was poorly recorded.
    By today’s standards, it could be called a bad recording, but back in the day it was all we had and I know that those who had it loved it!
    Just “Do the Bee” and dig it, man.

  • I have this one on CD, its got only 2 tracks, each corresponding to one side of the record. Talking to Chuck Dukowski about SST must have been pretty interesting. I wonder why he left SST (other than the fact that the label does nothing at all). I think he and Greg Ginn are on the outs. I’m glad SST has kept a bunch of the classics in print, although I could name 4 or 5 awesome records that that they’ve let go out of print that should see reissue.

  • first stuff I heard from huskers was amusement/statues and then metal circus and then everything falls apart thank to this guy who taped everything he got by mail.. I was kinda broke as an high school student (1983)
    then I got the vinil…

  • What’s the story with all the great songs on this album, were their ever any studio versions recorded?

  • One of the songs (“Bricklayer” if I remember correctly) was on the Everything Falls Apart album, the rest of the stuff they never recorded studio versions of unfortunately.

  • i first heard “land speed record” when i was like 15. i traded something for the tape version. of course the sound wasn’t good…but all the rythyms are audible, completely frenetic and packed with raw passion and energy. my friends car ate the tape…12 yrs ago. i just got the cd yesterday. this record is an example of pure punk rock energy. i love it!


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