Yet, when I was a young sprat there were a lot of records that I knew well but never actually owned. I've been seeing them on CD on Amazon.com used, cheap, so I've been on a buying spree for late-70s/early 80s. Recent (highly recommended) buys:
Gang of Four "Entertainment" -- punky songs, but a uniquely tight band. They might be going on about Capitalism or something, but the real attraction is the precise guitar slashes and metronomic drumming.
Wire "Pink Flag" -- again the playing's the thing. The songs are stripped down, no nonsense, simplistic screeds, delivered with power and conviction.
Joy Division "Closer" -- there's something wrong with Joy Division's music; a test case in point for the Oblique Strategy "find the flaw, magnify it." It's monotonous music, with huge sheets of undifferentiated noise from the guitar, and gloomy vocals. And yet ... well loads of ink have been spilled over Joy Division and a cult of personality grown up around Ian Curtis. I don't need to add to it.
Peter Hook is the anchor keeping the madness together; he is a phenomenal, underrated bass player; something he proved even more in New Order.
Pixies "Surfer Rosa" -- I never bought this when it came out because it was ubiquitous on college radio. Whatever I was buying at the time seemed more pressing. Listening to it now, the songs on this CD have a sort of pop inevitability. Their influence on nearly everything that's happened since is huge. Would there have been a Nirvana without Pixies?
Anyway, I think sometimes it's good to listen to old stuff now and then...