My son recently decided he wanted to ‘go vinyl’ for his birthday so I checked out the local charity shops to see what poor misguided soul might have given away from their record collection either out of ignorance or because the Grim Reaper had put paid to their disc spinning days. To my surprise I found copies of Tapestry by Carol King, Graceland by Paul Simon and Led Zeppelin 4 – I left Brothers in Arms for some other hapless fool – all for the princely sum of a £1 each ($1.40).
Admittedly they weren’t exactly in the best of condition – I’d never heard of the Carol King song ‘You’ve Got A You’ve Got A You’ve Got A’ (repeat ad nauseum) – but even so, you’d probably end up paying anywhere between at least £5 – £10 each for those kind of titles from a record specialist store so it was a win win situation for me – my son got his vinyl and it hadn’t broken the bank. It got me thinking though. What records of mine would I definitely not want to see being offloaded in any of the numerous charity shops that now haunt the dilapidated high streets of many town centres?
So, in chronological release order, here is a list of the 10 albums in my collection that will have to be prised from my cold dead hands before I see them given away.
Elvis Presley – Rock and Roll
His first album, released back in 1956 in the UK on the HMV label, the album comprises Sun recordings such as Blue Suede Shoes, That’s All Right, Mystery Train and Shake, Rattle and Roll. The sleeve notes by a certain Bob Dawbarn are eccentric to say the least. Described variously as a ‘jazz phenomenon’ – ?????? – ‘a second Marlon Brando’ with influences from Johnny Ray to Sister Rosetta Tharpe, it’s obvious he was difficult to pigeon-hole in those early days of rock and roll.
A great album which I bought from a young lady back in the 70s for a couple of quid ($2.80). A bargain at half the price. Original release copy listed on Ebay for about £100 – depending upon condition.
The Ronettes – Presenting the Fabulous…
Another bargain I got from a disk jockey at a local disco in Margate – again back in the 1970s – for a fiver. What a great track listing – Be My Baby, Baby I Love You, Walking in the Rain, The Best Part of Breaking Up – all bona-fide Phil Spector wall of sound classics.
And let’s not forget the vision that was Veronica Bennett – or Roni Spector as she is best known. Keith Richards had an affair with the lovely Roni while she was still with Phil ‘Now Where Did I Leave That Gun?’ Spector. Judging by the size of that hairdo of hers I reckon she was keeping Keef’s stash safe for him. Original release copy listed on Ebay for between £10 – £15. The fools. They don’t know what they’ve got.
The Who – My Generation
To be honest this isn’t one of my albums – it’s from my wife’s collection but somehow or other it’s ended up on my side of the room. She can have my Barry Manilow Greatest Hits in exchange.
The debut album from one of the most exciting UK groups to challenge the supremacy of The Beatles back in the 60s – you’ve got the title track as well as The Kids’ Are Alright, A Legal Matter and La-La-La-Lies.
I managed to catch them in their glory at Charlton Football club in 1976 just before Keith Moon joined the 32 club – it’s like the 27 club but you get extra years for really bad behavior – and I think my hearing is now almost back to normal. Original release copies available on Ebay for between £300 – £500. I just hope my wife never gets to read this.
Smokey Robinson and the Miracles – Going to a Go-Go
If memory serves me correctly I bought this from a friend who was culling his record collection just before The Miracles had a hit in the charts with Tracks of My Tears – which happens to be one of the songs on this album along with Ooo Baby Baby and the title track.
It’s one of the very albums I can honestly say where every track – apart Going to a Go-Go – is very good. I seem to remember Elvis Costello covering one of the songs – From Head to Toes – from this album. On Ebay for about £25. Get it while stocks last. Classic Motown at its very best.
The Beach Boys – Pet Sounds
So much has been written about this seminal 60s album that I won’t go over old ground – voted best album ever by Mojo, influencing The Beatles and their own seminal album Sgt. Peppers etc etc.
The music still stands up after all these years – God Only Knows, Wouldn’t It Be Nice, Caroline No, Here Today, Sloop John B and others, timeless classics all. However, it is very difficult to get hold of an original copy from 1966 as it actually didn’t sell that many copies back in the day. A truly original release in good condition is therefore worth a few bob.
My copy is also worth a bit. Although it’s a re-release from the 90s I managed to get both Brian Wilson and Tony Asher – the lyricist for eight of the songs on the album – to sign it for me. There’s a signed Brian Wilson copy up on Ebay priced at over £300. Definitely not one for the charity shop, at any price.
Sgt.Pepper / The White Album
I couldn’t decide what Beatles album to choose for this article. Musically you could argue that there’s a brilliant single LP struggling to extricate itself from the double White Album – try sequencing Back in the USSR, While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Dear Prudence, Birthday, Revolution 1, I Will, Helter Skelter, I’m So Tired, Blackbird, Happiness is a Warm Gun and Don’t Pass Me By if you don’t believe me – so I plumped for Sgt. Pepper first on the basis of it being the better of the two but the strange thing is there doesn’t seem to be much call even for original copies released in 1967.
There’s a first press version available on Ebay for £90 but standard original copies seem to go for around £50 to £60 at the most. The White Album however appears to be the more desirable of the two. This may have something to do with the fact that each original copy was numbered on the front so I guess the earlier the number the more it’s worth. The White Album – original copies – retail for anywhere between 150 to four hundred on Ebay.
The Rolling Stones – Sticky Fingers
I think this was the very first Stones album I ever bought. The whole Andy Warhol cover art concept intrigued me I guess. It also intrigued the landlady of the flat I was staying in at Catford during my college days. She screamed the hallway down when I showed her the album then pulled the zipper down on the front cover.
I’m assuming she was thinking Jagger’s todger was part of the deal but alas for her Mick had obviously decided to keep it hidden that day. The 70s, for me anyway, saw the Stones at their best with Brown Sugar kicking off an album featuring other classics such as Dead Flowers, Wild Horses and Can’t You Hear Me Knocking.
And after all that we then got Exile On Main Street. If you’ve got an original copy in good condition you should be able to get around £50 to a £100 for it on Ebay.
Led Zeppelin 4
I always seemed to be missing the bus back in the 70s when it came to buying popular albums. Everyone bought Deep Purple in Rock – I got Fireball. Dark Side of the Moon resided in practically every hippy household back then – I bought Wish You Were Here.
Finally though, with Led Zeppelin I think I got it right. Admittedly everyone got Led Zep 2 and I bought 3 – I liked the pretty colours and the rotating disk on the front – but I then swapped the Best of the Beach Boys Volume 1 for Led Zeppelin 4 and my musical taste realigned itself. The guy even threw in a 45 of Whole Lotta Love – more on singles in a later article. T
his record is worth the price of admission just for Rock and Roll alone – but what a bonus with Stairway To Heaven and Black Dog on it as well. If you check on Ebay there seems to be a premium payable for original copies of the album that have a plum colored label so we’re talking £100 to £200 if it’s in good nick.
Neil Young – Time Fades Away
This is going to hurt but I have to say I once had this album and I stupidly let a friend from work borrow it. Months later he dutifully returned the cover and the lyric sheet but the important bit – the black vinyl thing that came with it – was missing, probably ending up as an ashtray for the numerous joints liberally shared with his compatriots.
The thing is that this is the only Neil Young album that Neil Young himself didn’t want re-released on CD because it was so awful – a collection of songs recorded live during a number of coke and marijuana fuelled tours he embarked upon between 1971 to 1973. It therefore has a certain rarity value – I won’t list any of the songs because I can’t remember one that I vaguely liked – but if you check it out you’ll see original copies of the album listed for anywhere between £50 to £200 on Ebay. So, Steve Field, if you’re still out there, I want my album back.
Peter Cook and Dudley Moore – Derek and Clive
This album doesn’t fetch much on Ebay, £18 at the most if you’re lucky. The reason I’m including it is because it brings out a sentimental streak in me for the old days when you used to lend your records out to friends – Steve Field excepted – then meet up and sing along to such classics as The Worst Job I Ever Had, In the Lav, Winkie Wanky Woo and that evergreen perennial, Jump.
I haven’t heard this album for many a year but I’m pretty sure I could still quote most of it verbatim. I remember reading an interview with Cook and Moore in Time Out when the album was first released. Peter Cook defended the use of all the bad language scattered across every track, saying that by constantly repeating such filth it would eventually desensitize the listener and at the same time push back the boundaries of comedy. Dudley Moore said he didn’t know about any of that bollocks – he just hoped his mum didn’t get to hear it.
Finally, just as a word of caution, if you ever decide to bequeath any of your record collection to your offspring, check on Ebay first that you’re not giving too much away. My son loves the Back to the Future movies so I gave him my vinyl soundtrack to the first film. My daughter scanned the barcode on the back of the sleeve and it turns out it’s on Ebay for 150 pounds. I really should start reading my own articles from now on.
Do you have any expensive vinyl albums lying around or maybe ones that you would just never give away or sell for any price? Let us know or comment below.