It would seem that vinyl records are finally gone. But about 5 years ago the popularity of vinyl albums began to grow. They even talked about the second birth of this old format. As a result, since 2006, sales of vinyl records have been increasing every year. The growth in volumes only in 2007 was 37%.
Surprisingly, this happened against the backdrop of a drop in interest in CDs, they began to sell 20% less. The American major research company Nielsen SoundScan estimated that in 2009 alone in the US, about 2 million old-format records were sold.
Of course, vinyl will never be able to regain the entire market – this niche is too narrow, sales of such records are only a couple of percent in total. But CDs are predicting an early death, music will exist in the form of a digital cloud on a remote server. From it you can download any song by paying a small money for it. Vinyl will remain a means for audiophiles, who prefer to listen to music at home in the appropriate setting.
Paradox – although the owners of turntable players are getting bigger every year, the number of plates themselves is steadily decreasing. After all, every collector firmly knows that real sound is possible only on old and original editions, re-releases can no longer convey that range of sounds.
It is no coincidence that the most fanatical collectors acquire several copies of their favorite records at once, realizing that the number of those who want to increase, and new issues in this format are unlikely to appear. For a beginner collector, as a result, the price of old records may become a surprise. We will tell below about the 10 most expensive vinyl records in the history of the record industry.
That’ll be the day / In spite of all the danger, The Quarrymen.
This record, released in 1958, now costs from 180 to 200 thousand dollars. It should be noted that the very first places in our rating are connected with the history of the legendary The Beatles. It is their records and adore collectors. Among other rarities the first place belongs to the disk “The Quarrymen”. Back then, an unknown group of school friends, created by John Lennon, still had to become a legendary group in just a few years. On July 14, 1958, his first record “The Quarrymen” was recorded. In Liverpool at the time there was only one decent recording studio. It belonged to the ever-displeased old man Percy Phillips. It was to him the young men paid 17 shillings and 6 pence for the right to record two songs. They were a cover version of “That’ll be the day” Buddy Holly and already own “In spite of all the danger”. The guys planned to record only the instrumental and impose on him later tracks with vocals, but it turned out that their money is enough only to play once each song. At that time, the only thing that they more or less rehearsed earlier was the song “That’ll be the day”. Its something the guys played. After the recording, McCartney suddenly announced that he would like to play a new song, which neither Low nor Hunter had previously heard. They protested, as it was necessary to rehearse it at least once. However, the owner of the studio intervened in the dispute, who bluntly said that for such money the band can not be in the studio for so long. Lennon told Lowe and Hunton: “Just play for us,” and the recording began. This strange semi-improvisation became, in fact, the first recording of the future “The Beatles”. In addition, the song remained the only song composed together by McCartney and Harrison. At the end of the recording, the guys received a single plate in their hands. According to the agreement, every member of the group owned it weekly. For example, the brother of Colin Hunt put it in the dining room of his company. As a result, the record for a long time fell to John Lowe, from whom she lay for 25 years. In 1981, he decided to sell it at auction, but the lot was immediately bought by Paul McCartney at an unknown price.He immediately printed 50 copies of a rarity record and gave them to family and friends. In 1995, a digitized copy of the song “In spite of all the danger” entered the Beatles official anthology, ceasing to be a mirage about which everyone knew, but few people heard. For today it is the single “The Quarrymen” that is considered to be the most expensive record in the world. In 2004, according to experts of the authoritative magazine “The Record Collector”, which follows the prices of vinyl rarities, the price of the plate was at least 155 thousand dollars. In further versions, the single was priced at more than 200,000. This price, of course, is very conditional. After all, the disc exists in a single copy and belongs to Paul McCartney. Hardly a single will ever go on a free sale. But it is much cheaper to buy the same copies from McCartney in 1981. They are estimated at 15 thousand dollars.
Double fantasy, John Lennon.
In 1980 John Lennon released his CD “Double fantasy”. It was he who signed on December 8 of the same year to one of his admirers. Five hours later, while holding the plate under his armpit, he shot his idol at the exit from the Dakota Hotel. The record was picked up at the crime scene, it became one of the evidence proving the guilt of Mark David Chapman – after all, there were fingerprints on the cover. After the trial, the disk, with a thankful message from the prosecutor, was returned to the person who found it. He, being fans of “The Beatles” for 19 years struggled with the temptation to sell the rarity. In 1999, with the mediation of the well-known company “Moments in time”, specializing in selling autographs and memorabilia, the disk was sold to an anonymous buyer for $ 150,000. This price is now official for this record. Not so long ago it became known that the album is available for sale. The company mentioned above announced that the owner is ready to part with a memorable rarity, but already for 600 thousand. True, there are no buyers yet. Values of the plate adds and the fact that it is attached not only to Lennon’s autograph on the cover, but also the police materials of the case – the evidence of the previous owner, the courtesy message of the prosecutor, the report of the examination confirming that the prints belong to Chapman.
Yesterday and Today, The Beatles.
In 1966, a rare compilation “The Bealtes” was released, especially for the Canadian and US markets. The company “Capitol records” released a disk, now estimated at 45-85 thousand dollars. It included songs from the albums “Help!”, “Rubber soul” and “Revolver”. Celebrity plate gave an unusual cover, called butcher cover. Many then sucked it wild. Judge for yourself – the musicians were photographed in an embrace with pieces of damp cape and dismembered dolls. The author of this photo was the photographer Robert Whiterker, who created his art project “Journey of the somnambulist”. The company just typed as many as 750,000 records with the album, even sending out the first batch to journalists, shops and disc jockeys. However, the reaction to such a cover was so negative that the entire edition had to be withdrawn. Completely destroy 750 thousand printed covers the manufacturer did not dare, that’s why they stuck a scandalous photo with a new one, on which the musicians peacefully posing near a half-open chest. Such a scandalous story, as well as a variety of surviving copies of the record, made it the most popular collector’s rarity “The Beatles”. The highest price for records with the original cover and in perfect condition. There are even so-called first state covers, which is a dream of fans. These records never were printed at all. So, in 1966, the whole box with sealed discs was saved to itself by the then head of Capitol Records, Alan Livingston. His son in 1987 put up for sale 12 records from that box, causing a stir among the collectors. Plates, on which a new cover is pasted over the old one, are valued slightly cheaper.They are called second state covers. However, there are not so many of them at all. After all, when it became known that the disc with the original cover became a collector’s rarity, very expensive, the country began to peel old covers with a chest. There was another wave of plates, called the third state covers. It is valued even cheaper than the second. Such covers were stripped off, and the upper part was then unfastened. Among this group, the most valuable are those in which, after applying this method, only a horizontal strip of glue remained. The price also consists of the state of the plate itself and its envelope, as well as the qualitative composition of the tracks. It turned out that on some part of the circulation duophonic stereo mixes, made of two monotracks, were used. But the plates, which were normal stereo mixes, pre-printed later. It turned out to be much less. As a result, the most expensive version of this record was a sealed stereo mix with the original cover. It is he who costs about 85 thousand dollars.
The Freewheelin ‘Bob Dylan, Bob Dylan.
In 1963, Bob Dylan recorded the version of the studio album “The Freewhelin ‘Bob Dylan”. It included four tracks at once, which did not fall into the canonical track sheet. These are the compositions “Talkin ‘John Birch paranoid blues”, “Let me die in my footsteps”, “Rocks and gravel” and “Gamblin’ Willies dead man’s hand”. The circulation of this version of the album also prepared for sale, but at the very last moment was withdrawn. There were several reasons for this. According to one version, the studio “Columbia Records” required the musician to remove the song “Talkin ‘John Birch paranoid blues”, which seemed to producers too provocative. After all, the song is played on behalf of a crazy hunter for the Communists. In the text there is a phrase justifying Hitler’s actions, since he was at least not a communist. Dylan’s biographers believe that CBS played an important role in banning tracks. At her “Ed Sullivan Show” the musician was supposed to perform this song, but the lawyers felt that it would lead to a wave of lawsuits. Indeed, in the country there really existed the organization “John Birch Society”, which also had a very extensive network in 50 states. Principal Bob Dylan refused to change the composition chosen for the show and simply did not show up for the shooting. It is said that it was the CBS lawyers who recommended Columbia Records to remove the scandalous song from the final version of the album. Together with her, three other tracks were removed. Instead, Dylan introduced three fresh songs – “Girl from the North Country”, “Masters of War”, “Talkin ‘World War III blues”, “Bob Dylan’s dream”. There is also a version that the final track list was approved by Bob Dylan exclusively for creative reasons. As a result, there were only a few copies of the same, original record. It is the first version of “he Freewhelin ‘Bob Dylan” now considered the most expensive and rare among the legacy of the legendary American musician. Existing mono versions in the mid-90’s were estimated at 10-12 thousand dollars, but much more rare stereomix (it is known about two such records) is estimated at 40 thousand.
Velvet underground & Nico.
In 2002, a resident of Montreal Warren Hill bought one of the nondescript LPs of 1966 in one of the flea markets. The new owner managed to drive only 75 cents. On it was written by hand “The Velvet underground, Mr-N-Dolph, 4-25-66”. Subsequently it turned out that the album was the original of the debut album of the band “The Velvet underground”. The enigmatic “Mr-N-Dolph” was Norman Dolph, a Columbia Records employee. It was he who in 1966 helped Andy Warhol find the means to record the group’s production. Hill acquired the so-called acetate, or lacquer disk. This is an aluminum disc coated with nitrocellulose lacquer. It is on him that they record from a tape. This stage is intermediate in the manufacture of vinyl carriers.The disk is also a service material for sound engineers. Acetates are needed in order to make sure the sound is correct, the necessary transmission of timbres and the correctness of recording levels. If necessary, appropriate corrections are made, a master disk is produced, from which the circulation is cut. Acetates always exist in piece specimens. In addition, you can listen to them only a few times, as they quickly wear out. The uniqueness of the disc, acquired by the Canadian, is that the songs recorded on it differ slightly from those that appeared in the canonical debut album “The Velvet underground”. It turned out that some things were completely rewritten, and others – are present on the album in other variations. Warren Hill exhibited a rare acetate at the Ebay auction. Bidding ended at around 150 thousand dollars. However, it turned out that the buyer refused to pay this amount. The repeated auction allowed the sale of rare acetate for $ 25,200.
White album, The Beatles.
The ninth album “The Beatles” was released in 1968. The design of the cover was entrusted to the conceptual artist Richard Hamilton. After all, he was the curator of the sensational retrospective of Marcel Duchamp in Tate Modern two years earlier. The design created by Hamilton was very conceptual. This was especially evident in comparison with the baroque luxury of the band’s previous album – “Sgt. Pepper’s lonely hearts club band”. As a result, the name of the group was imperceptibly squeezed out on the white cover. Each envelope also had its own serial number. According to the artist’s intention, it was a kind of irony – to number the edition of the album with a circulation of about 5 million copies. However, as it turned out, this graphical solution has an unplanned effect, thanks to which every collector can evaluate how rare a specimen is in his hands. Everything is very simple – the edition is valued the more, the smaller the number on the envelope. Naturally, we are talking about the very first edition of 1968, and not the reprints of 1973, 1982 and 1995. A record with a beautiful number 0050000 is estimated at $ 150-300, but the first ten copies of the album with numbers no more than 00000010 are estimated according to the estimates of the “Record Collector’s Rare Record Guide” in the amount of about 10,000 British pounds.
God save the Queen, Sex Pistols.
In 1977, the band “Sex Pistols” recorded an earlier version of the single “God save the Queen”. His story is pretty well known. At first, the scandalous group was unsuccessful in honor of the birthday of the Queen and tried to give a concert right under her windows of the Palace of Westminster. In the end, all those present at that speech were arrested. But then the song triumphantly conquered the top of the English charts. The single immediately took first place in the unofficial NME chart and the second – in the official BBC. Then the song was generally banned from television and radio broadcasts, which did not stop her from becoming the most famous punk anthem of all time. The circulation of the single simply did not have time to become big, the label “A & M Records” managed to print only a few records, but after seeing the excitement around the song, quickly broke the contract with the band. In summary, the records from this small release are considered to be among the rarest in Britain. In contrast to the more famous edition of the company “Virgin” here on the second side is the song “No feelings”, not “Did you no wrong”. Today “Record Collector’s Rare Record Guide” estimates such a copy of the single at 5 thousand pounds. But this price is also conditional, for example, in 2006, at one of the auctions, the record was sold for 12,675 pounds. Such a high price is due to the fact that one of the nine existing copies was on sale, which Polygram issued to the oldest employees of A & M Records when the London office of the company was closed in 1999. Thus, the sold record had 100% authenticity.
Bohemian rhapsody, Queen.
In 1978, the Queen band released a special gift single “Bohemian rhapsody”.The circulation of the disk was very limited and amounted to only 200 copies. In its essence, the plate was an ordinary royal souvenir. The fact is that in 1978 EMI received the prestigious Queen’s award for industry for export achievement for success in selling British musicians’ CDs abroad. Such successes were largely due to the phenomenal rise of the band “Queen”, whose records were sold all over the world, where only EMI had its representatives. In honor of receiving such an award, EMI decided to print the most famous song of its best-selling artist in the form of a separate gift single in colorful design. At first it was decided that the plate should be purple, it was this color that was one of the traditional for the band. However, in the bustle of the single for some reason came out blue. It is curious that the production of the party was quite expensive, because printing a small batch of 200 copies is much more complicated than the thousands. I had to tinker with the blue granules for vinyl, necessary for printing plates. As a result, only the cost of the disc was 4-5 pounds against the usual 50 pence. The printed edition at the corporate party during the award ceremony was distributed to the guests and employees of the EMI itself. At the same time, special glasses with engraving of the company name, as well as gift scarves were attached to each disc. Today, such a complete set costs about 5 thousand pounds. Subsequently it turned out that in addition to the 200 CDs, there were a few more blue singles, numbered and without envelopes. Somehow they fell into the hands of collectors. Although they are much smaller, they are, of course, also cheaper. Their price ranges from 500 to 600 pounds.
The Caine mutiny.
Among collectors of vinyl there is a separate group – collectors of soundtracks. Among them, it is believed that the most valuable are the soundtracks for the films of the Golden Age of Hollywood. This period occurred in 1940-1960-ies. The price of the disc increases with the photograph of the actors on its cover, the rarity of the soundtrack, its significance also influences. For today, the most rare soundtrack in the world is the soundtrack of 1954 for the film “The Rebellion of Kane” with Humphrey Bogart. The value is determined by the fact that the plate was shortly after its release was withdrawn by the issuing company RCA Records. Fans of pure music such a record, however, will not bring pleasure. The record is filled with dialogue from the film, and somewhere in the background the music of the composer Max Steiner sounds. For a long time it was believed that it was he who demanded to remove the record from the free sale, as his music was simply impossible to hear. But then it turned out that the initiator of the seizure of the disk was the writer Herman Wook, on whose book the film was made. He wrote a furious letter to the president of RCA, outraged that the record contained too many lengthy quotes from the book. According to the author, this in many respects undermined the value of both the film itself and books. And the disc was more like an audiobook, Vuk did not give consent to the production. The author even threatened that he would never give his consent to the screening of his books if the record was not removed from the sale. As a result, there are only a few copies, each of which is estimated at 6500-7000 dollars. However, dealers claim that if there is a plate in perfect condition, then it can be sold for 40 thousand dollars.
Space oddity, David Bowie.
In England in the late 60’s singles with their own printed covers were still rare, which at that time already won both America and Europe. Then the plates were put simply in faceless envelopes. English record companies believed that singles simply do not make sense to spend. Such goods, though important, but fleeting and passing. That’s why when in 1996, a single David Bowie “Space Oddity” was discovered among the collectors in 1969 with a colorful cover, many considered it to be a usual, albeit skilful, forgery.For clarification, it was customary to turn to Marshall Jarman, the author of the most complete guide to the discography of David Bowie. The writer was able to find a man who in the late 60’s worked in the Dutch branch of Philips. He said that at one time the company released for the English market in the form of an experiment a small trial run. In addition, “Space oddity” was recorded in stereo, which for that time was quite a rare and innovative phenomenon. The single was created under the influence of space themes, it used unusual sound effects. This made it possible to create a small marketing trick. In the future, Philips marketers were able to successfully connect the output of the single with the landing of Americans on the Moon. Only here about the cover the Dutchman could not remember anything, supposing only that it was still printed using the usual technology for the country. There in these years singles already came out with an individual design. However, the plates were not widely seen, and their fate was also unknown. It is only known that there are only a few rare records in the world, their approximate cost is 4700 dollars for each.