Follow TV Tropes


Vinyl Shatters

Go To
Some records were not made to be broken.
Vinyl LP records in media break easily if thrown or manhandled. When they do break, they tend to shatter into small pieces just like breaking glass. They even sound like glass when they break.

This is The Coconut Effect for most of its run. Vinyl records don't break that easily, they generally don't shatter, and they definitely don't sound like glass when they break. This is a carryover from when those big round discs were shellac 78s, which do shatter dramatically (though they still don't quite sound like glass). Shellac records and vinyl LPs look almost alike, and they coexisted for a few years; by the time most of the big round discs were vinyl, people (or maybe just execs) kept expecting them to act like shellac in films and TV, at least as far as durability went.

If a work was written or produced before about 1948, a large-diameter record-shattering is almost certainly not an example of this trope, as it would be shellac, not vinyl. By 1952, vinyl records were roughly even with shellac in the percentage of records sold; by 1958, new 12-inch diameter discs were virtually always vinyl. The smaller, 7-inch diameter records were never shellac, and therefore one shattering is always an example of this trope.

Not to be confused with Broken Record, the gag where the soundtrack incessantly repeats a short phrase similarly to the Repetitive Audio Glitch you get when a record is damaged. Also see Record Needle Scratch.


    open/close all folders 

  • This Tang/Honeycomb sweepstakes commercial from 2001 shows kids throwing out "obsolete" music formats (but strangely not compact discs) in favour of MP3 players instead. When a whole box of records is dumped into a dumpster, they all shatter like glass, and then they dump the record player and let it break too.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • In It's a Wonderful Life, Mary breaks a record of the song "Buffalo Gals" following an argument with George.
  • In Youth in Revolt, Francois breaks his vinyl apart.
  • Downplayed in Shaun of the Dead. At least it doesn't sound like glass, though, and they are thrown with quite a bit of force.
  • In The Parent Trap, when Sharon and Susan are fighting at the camp dance and upset the table with the records.
  • Mr. Moses from The Meteor Man would rather give up his own hand than his prize records. A poignant trumpet solo accompanies the shot of one of those records shattering when thrown at a mobster's hand, disarming him and saving an imperilled Meteor Man.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The early '80s titles to Top of the Pops ends with a vinyl record exploding into fragments in mid-air. (Although this clearly wasn't dramatic enough, as the titles were later updated to have an exploding TV instead).
  • The modern Nevermind The Buzzcocks opening has vinyl records falling and shattering on the ground. Different record covers are occasionally shown. This is probably in homage to the Top of the Pops example above.
  • In The Mighty Boosh, on a dare, Vince bites into one of Howard's records and breaks it into pieces. It infects him with the Spirit of Jazz and Howard and his blind jazz master have to go inside Vince to get rid of it.
  • M*A*S*H had a few of these.
    • In the finale, Major Winchester breaks the classical record he was listening to after he finds out the band he had formed got killed in an ambush. This may or may not be an example of the trope; in 1953, when the Korean War ended, large-diameter shellac records were still quite common.
    • One episode had Hawkeye and BJ breaking all of Winchester's records by smashing them against their heads.
    • Another episode ended with Klinger opening the jukebox in the Officer's Club and smashing a record. He had spent the episode devastated at finding out his ex-wife (whom he still had feelings for) was marrying his best friend and felt he had nothing to go home to. He repeatedly played "their song" on the jukebox during the episode and his smashing the record symbolized he had finally gotten over her.
  • The Barney & Friends episode "Practice Makes Music" has a scene where Tina accidentally drops three 45-RPM records onto the ground, and they shatter into many pieces as if they were shellac. Barney then uses his magic to restore things, by turning the three destroyed 45s into one large LP! "Ta-da! Good as new!" he announces, and when the record is played, it switches between the three former discs' tracks in the middle of each song.
  • A realistic variant is seen on Leave It to Beaver in the episode "Dance Contest." Fed up with Theodore and Larry dancing and fooling around to his cha-cha instructional record, Wally attempts to remove it from his phonograph, only he forgot to remove the record changer arm, so he winds up breaking the vinyl LP in half.
  • A running gag on The Goodies was Tim making patriotic speeches with "Land of Hope and Glory" playing. At one point, Bill gets fed up with his pontificating and tries to smash the record. Apparently, they'd been given a prop record that wouldn't shatter, so (as can be seen in the Hilarious Outtakes) after a few tries Tim snatched it off Bill and tried to break it over his head.
  • In the last scene of the Hancock's Half Hour episode "The Missing Page", Tony Hancock, having spent the episode frustrated over the missing final page of a murder mystery, tries to relax by listening to the gramophone, and he sends his flatmate, Sid James, to look for a record of Ludwig van Beethoven's Fifth Symphony. Sid returns and announces he couldn't find Beethoven's Fifth, but he found something similar: Franz Schubert's "Unfinished" Symphony. The unamused Tony says "I know how this one's going to end!" and smashes the record over Sid's head.
  • CI5: The New Professionals. Our heroes get some information from an uncooperative policeman by tossing his collection of 78's to each other. As they leave they throw the last record to the policeman, which he drops causing it to shatter.

    Video Games 

    Web Animation 

    Web Video 
  • As The Slow Mo Guys demonstrate, vinyl records can shatter, if you put them on a Dyson vacuum motor and spin them at ridiculous speeds. The guys add shattering-glass sound effects during editing, but in reality, the break happens so fast that it makes more of a loud "pop."

    Western Animation 
  • The Golden Disc at the end of the Beast Wars episode "Code of Hero" may count.
  • Garfield and Friends, "Jukebox Jon": When Garfield bowls Odie into the table where Jon's record player is playing self-hypnosis records to help him stop biting his nails, the records come off the turntable and break, each in two large pieces and a bunch of little pieces.
  • The Simpsons episode "The Itchy And Scratchy Movie" has Bart breaking records for kicks.
  • In the Family Guy episode "I Dream of Jesus", Brian and Stewie break Peter's Surfin' Bird record (in a parody of the printer destruction sequence from Office Space); Stewie stomps on it with his foot and Brian smashes it further with a baseball bat, and Stewie even punches the record even further to pieces.
  • In the Ed, Edd n Eddy episode "A Pinch to Grow an Ed", Eddy attempts to play an LP, but he can't reach the turntable on his cabinet, and an attempt to reach it on a chair causes his record to go flying and shatter into many pieces, complete with sounding like glass as it breaks.
  • Seen in Hey Arnold! The Movie, during the block party, when Suzie and Grandpa Phil are the deejaying, Phil is annoyed with Suzie's vinyl-spinning techniques and grabs the LP record she was playing and smashes it easily.
  • Beany and Cecil: In the episode "D.J. the D.J.", Dishonest John gets Cecil to produce his song as a record. He sings "Kid, your records are going to sell like hotcakes!" and stuffs a huge stack of LPs into Cecil's mouth and pours syrup over the records. Then he adds, "I think that you're going to be a smash!" and hits Cecil on the head with a huge mallet, shattering the records.
  • In Scooby-Doo Meets the Boo Brothers, Shaggy is fed up with the ghosts' song and dance number at one point swipes the record off their record player, and smashes it on the ground as if it were made of glass.
  • In the Rugrats episode "Give and Take," Angelica hurls a few of Chuckie's records onto the floor and lets them break, just for kicks. However, they don't sound like glass when they break.
  • In Duckman, a psychotic woman smashes a rare record belonging to Duckman.
  • Averted in the My Little Pony Tales episode "Roll Around the Clocks"; when Bright Eyes falls while carrying a huge stack of records at the roller rink, they stay in one piece, and are still perfectly usable.
  • The Looney Tunes short "Go-Go Amigo" has a scene where Speedy turns on several turntables to play dance music, but Daffy, not want him to listen to his music for free, takes them and breaks them over his knee. Speedy then places a stick of dynamite on one of the turntables and, well...
    • Hubie and Bertie sabotage a robot cleaner in "House Hunting Mice" by boarding up a record machine, causing a servo throwing records to it to smash the records against the wall. The robot cleans up so many busted records it quits.
  • In one episode of Beavis and Butt-Head, Mr. Van Driessen rewards Beavis and Butt-Head with LPs from his own collection. The duo ends up using the records like Frisbees, and one of them shatters noisily.
  • In a "Mr. Know-It-All" segment from Rocky and Bullwinkle, Bullwinkle tries to get disc-jockey Boris to play his hit record.
    Boris: I'd like you to hear my latest hit! (hits the record with a hammer)
    Bullwinkle: Sounds more like a hit-and-run.
  • The mid-50s Woody Woodpecker cartoon had Woody and Buzz Buzzard as teenagers trying to court Winnie Woodpecker at a sock hop. Buzz gets Winnie to himself and puts on a selection in a jukebox, which plays "Auld Lang Syne." Buzz ("Oh, no! Not Lumbago!"note ) pushes the eject button after which a hammer comes out and smashes the record (which was square) to pieces, a broom sweeps the turntable clean, and another record comes out to be played.
  • Used as a weapon in the Inspector Gadget episode "A Star is Lost," when Gadget, Penny and rock star Rick Rocker attempt to escape M.A.D.'s music warehouse; they run through a room with many LP albums on shelves, and robotic arms that throw the records at our heroes running through as they shatter against the wall. They get through safely, but Gadget says he needs a word with the owner of the place about proper record care.
  • This happens to Mr. Peabody's rare vinyl record collection in The Mr. Peabody & Sherman Show, when Sherman, assuming the episode was about world records and thinks Peabody's albums are plates, tries to spin them all like plates but ends up breaking them all in a big crash.
  • In the Underdog story arc "The Great Gold Robbery," Riff-Raff sends up a hundred hot-air balloons, one with Sweet Polly Purebred, and all the others with record players that are playing records of Sweet Polly repeatedly crying "Help! Help!", as a plan to distract Underdog from guarding a gold train and keeping him busy while Riff-Raff and his gang derail said train. At one point, Underdog gets so fed up with all the records that he crushes a record into shards in his bare hands. Though it's justified in that he has super strength.
  • Pinky and the Brain: In "The Real Life", Brain's latest plan to take over the world involves a record that's the only evidence of Rush Limbaugh's failed attempt at a singing career, which he's apparently gone to great lengths to cover up. At the end, the record accidentally sold at a garage sale to none other than Limbaugh himself, who immediately smashes it.
  • Camp Lazlo: Whenever somebody throws one of Raj's vinyl records, expect it to break easily.

    Real Life 
  • Vinyl records from the 70s oil crisis have a negative reputation for doing this. These records are thin, made from recycled vinyl, and have lost their flexibility in the decades since they were pressed. It may not make the dramatic glass like sound effect, but you'll probably need a broom.


Video Example(s):


It's a Wonderful Life - Vinyl Shatters

After a fallout with George, Mary, out of frustration, shatters a "Buffalo Gals" record.

How well does it match the trope?

3.82 (11 votes)

Example of:

Main / VinylShatters

Media sources: