Friday, July 17, 2009

Mr. Music-Special Edition-Michael Jackson Vinyl

I usually post Jerry Osborne's Mr. Music feature on Wednesdays, but this is very topical and I am sure that there are many people confused as to the value of Michael Jackson vinyl. Why, the first week, the prices were outrageous, I had heard of a Thriller LP for sale for $1 million. Fact is, all this will die down, as Jerry points out, there are so many copies of Thriller, before his death, they could be found at any record store bin for less than a few dollars.



DEAR JERRY: Immediately after the story broke about the death of Michael Jackson, a flood of Jackson memorabilia hit the online auction blocks.

I don't know much about the non-recorded items, but I do follow the vinyl market. In disbelief I have seen some very common albums, especially “Thriller,” selling for hundreds of times the normal price.

Are these buyers making wise investments? Or is this nothing more than a short-lived spike?
—Jody Phillips, Milwaukee

DEAR JODY: Not surprisingly, quite a few readers asked similar “are these prices for real” questions.

Let's first recap some bizarre examples of outrageous eBay prices being paid for records since Michael's death.

In the weeks before June 25, 2009, copies of “Thriller” were plentiful and easily available for under $10.00, not an unusual amount for any commercially successful album from the 1980s — but especially for the all-time top album, with worldwide sales over 100 million.

Value is always determined by two factors: supply and demand. Since an abundant “Thriller” supply always exceeded demand, prices remained at a minimum, on average close to the original LP sales price.

Until about 3:30 p.m. (PDT) on that Thursday, when memorabilia sellers first learned of Jackson's death.

Suddenly demand surpassed the currently posted supply, and asking prices immediately leaped into the $30 to $300 range. Hundreds sold at those prices.

Since then, prices have been all over the place, from $6.00 up to $1,500 for copies with seemingly no differences in condition, and not signed by anyone.

History, as well as common sense, suggests the thrilling “Thriller” roller coaster will soon return to the starting gate. Then, as before June 25th, 10 bucks will likely buy the LP and cover the postage.

Music collectibles can be a brilliant investment, though substantialy overpaying is a sure-fire way to negate potential earnings. If there is any wisdom in that I am unaware of it.

Here are a few other M.J. collectibles fetching big bucks in the week after his death: $9,600: Electric guitar, signed by the Jackson 5 (Michael, Jermaine, Tito, Marlon, and Jackie); $6,600: Used respirator, signed by Michael; $4,999: Framed “Artist of the Decade” signed commemorative edition (1,000 made); $4,250: “Thriller” picture disc, signed on both sides by Michael; $3,827: Electric guitar signed by Michael; $1,460: Julien's April 2009 Auction Catalog, signed by Michael.

IZ ZAT SO? Thanks to “Thriller,” Michael Jackson spent a lot of time at the podium in 1984.

On January 16, he won a record-setting eight American Music Awards: 1. Pop & Rock Male Artist. 2. Pop & Rock Album (“Thriller”). 3. Pop & Rock Single (“Billie Jean”). 4. Pop & Rock Video (“Beat It”). 5. Soul-R&B Male Artist. 6. Soul-R&B Male Album (“Thriller”). 7. Soul-R&B Video (“Beat It”). 8. Award of Merit.

The following month at the 26th Annual Grammy Awards, announced February 28, 1984 for '83 releases, Jackson took home seven golden gramophones: 1. Single (“Beat It”). 2. Album (“Thriller”). 3. Pop Vocal Performance (Album), Male (“Thriller”). 4. Rock Vocal Performance (Single), Male (“Beat It”). 5. R&B Vocal Performance (Single), Male (“Billie Jean”). 6. New R&B Song (“Billie Jean”). 7. Producer (Non-Classical) Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones (“Thriller”).

An eighth Grammy for “Thriller,” for Best Engineered Recording (Non-Classical), went to Bruce Swedien.

Michael established a record high with his seven Grammy wins, surpassing the six won by Roger Miller for his 1965 output.

With 37 consecutive weeks in 1983 at No. 1, “Thriller” ranks second in this category behind “West Side Story,” with a 54 week stay at No. 1, in 1962.

Copyright 2009 Osbourne Enterprises- Reprinted By Permission


Now in its 23rd year of syndication (1986-2008), Jerry Osborne's weekly Q&A feature is a godsend to record collectors and music trivia buffs. Be sure to stop by Jerry's site ( for more Mr. Music archives, record price guides, anything Elvis, buy & sell collectibles, record appraisals and much more. I thank Jerry for allowing the reprints.


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Classic Rock Videos

Boston- More Than A Feeling

Michael Fremer Review

I am very proud to continue our new feature (look for this every Friday), music reviews that are written by the senior contributing editor of Stereophile magazine- Michael Fremer. It has been a pleasure to speak with Michael and learn more about audio sound and equipment. In fact, his new DVD, "It's A Vinyl World, After All" has hit the shelves and is selling out very quickly. This is a must have for anybody who loves vinyl, it is a true masterpiece.

Additionally, make sure to stop by his site, and bookmark it for further exploration. I certainly want to thank Michael for the exclusive rights to reprint his fantastic material.

The Ramones (reissue)
It's Alive
Sire/Audio Fidelity AFZLP2-60 2 180g LPs
Produced by: T. Erdelyi and Ed Stasium
Engineered by: Ed Stasium
Mixed by: N/A
Mastered by: Kevin Gray and Steve Hoffman at AcousTech

Review by: Michael Fremer

I know people who actually think that The Ramones were a “joke” band—sort of a punk version of Sha Na Na. I’m not kidding. I know people who thought The Ramones were a sloppy outfit goofing around on stage. I know people who think Joey Ramone was a screamer. But then I live in the suburbs.

If you think The Ramones were anyof those things you haven’t heard this great live album recorded in the UK at The Rainbow New Year’s Eve 1977 by Ed Stasium and produced by T. Erdelyi A/K/A Tommy Ramone.

Stasium gets a good line on Joey’s voice in the excellent mix and also zeroes in on Tommy Ramone’s rock-solid, knowingly simple drumming, particularly the dual splash cymbals—one left channel, one right— that’s his trademarked go-to accent.

Everyone sounds thrilled to be in the UK and the band’s musical connection to The Clash, minus the political accent, of course, is obvious.

Pay attention to Joey’s singing on “Blitzkrieg Rock” and note his perfect, compact phrasing, mini-vibrato used to perfection and the round tone he manages as he barks out the staccato, often repetitive lyrics. The guy never got the respect he deserved. The lineage to the great doo-woppers couldn’t be clearer.

The only problem with what’s written above is that the guitar, bass and vocals were re-recorded in the studio. Only Tommy’s drums were “live.” Oh well.

Don’t let that stop you from getting and enjoying this set of 28 great tunes, mostly taken from their first three albums. They also cover “Surfin’ Bird” and “California Sun.”

I compared this reissue to my UK Sire original mastered at Strawberry Studios (owned by 10CC’s Eric Stewart and Graham Gouldman along with Peter Tattersall (road manager for Billy J. Kramer and the Dakotas). They had a great lacquer cutting system there. Ironically all of the money that funded the gear upgrade that made it great came from a deal to record Kasenetz-Katz (“Yummy Yummy Yummy, etc.”) bubblegum music there using the 10CC boys playing backup!

When I interviewed the boys in the early ‘70s they referred to themselves as “three Yids and a Yod” (Stewart was the Yod—the only non-Jew in the group). Later I suggested Gouldman (who wrote “Bus Stop” and many other hits for The Hollies, The Yardbirds, etc.) to write the songs for “Animalympics” the animated film I co-wrote and did voices on. You can find in YouTube by the way!

Anyway, the original UK pressing is more distant, somewhat finer textured and definitely weaker in the bass, but it sounds like what you might hear live, whereas this reissue is more like what you’d hear in the studio. Given that this wasessentially a studio recording, I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that the reissue is closer to the tape, while the original was “doctored” to sound live! Or maybe not!

Whatever. This is a great “live” album from one of the great punk bands of the ‘70s. So much fun. So long ago!

SOURCE: Reprinted By Permission

Music News & Notes

Marduk Reveals New Album, "Wormwood," Cover Art

The cover art for "Wormwood," the upcoming full-length from Swedish black metallers MARDUK has been unveiled. Check it out at this location.

In related news, MARDUK will land on US soil later this summer for three very special dates with Withered and Black Anvil. Said guitarist Morgan Håkansson, “We are excited to finally be over in the states and do these shows after all the problems with the visas. The three shows in August are just the start. We are preparing for a full tour in the winter that will cover all the areas we missed on Blackenedfest. Please join us as we raise the Banner Of The Wolf!”

MARDUK confirmed dates are as follows:

8/12/2009 Sonar - Baltimore, MD
8/13/2009 Johnny Brenda's - Philadelphia, PA
8/15/2009 Gramercy Threatre - New York, NY also w/Tombs


LITA FORD: 'Wicked Wonderland' European Release Date Confirmed

'80s hard rock queen Lita Ford will release her first new studio album in 14 years, "Wicked Wonderland", in Europe on October 2 via earMUSIC/Edel. The CD will be issued in the U.S. on Lita's own JLRG Entertainment label.

"It's harder and sexier than anything I've ever done," says Lita of the record, which was co-produced by Ford, her husband and former NITRO singer Jim Gillette, and Greg Hampton, the songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer known for his work with ALICE COOPER, his band SCIENCE FAXTION (with Bootsy Collins and Buckethead and Brain from GUNS N' ROSES) and other rock notables. Lita is backed on the record by drummer Stet Howland, formerly of W.A.S.P., Hampton on bass, rhythm guitar and keyboards, Gillette on background vocals, and its vivid cover art is by ROB ZOMBIE bassist and solo artist Piggy D.


Video: Death Cab for Cutie: "Little Bribes"

The new Death Cab for Cutie video doubles as a feel-good, triumph-of-the-little-guy tale. Director Ross Ching was simply a longtime fan of the band when he made the clip for "Little Bribes", a track off Death Cab's recent Open Door EP.

Death Cab for Cutie - Little Bribes from Ross Ching on Vimeo.


Whitney Houston New Album Cover

Here is the Whitney Houston new album cover. Whitney Houston I Look To You album cover has been unveiled.

The new album was revealed via nine tracks to the media during a listening event on July 14, 2009 in London at with legendary music industry mogul Clive Davis, who originally discovered Whitney Houston in the 1980s. The event took place at Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Knightsbridge, London, England.

After releasing her self-titled debut album 1985 which became best-selling debut album in music history by a female artist, Whitney Houston went on to have seven consecutive multi-platinum selling albums, more than any other artist in history. She had total album and single sales of more than 190 million worldwide.

Whitney Houston is quoted by Billboard as saying she was about to retire.


Ace Frehley: Ready for Solo LP “Anomaly,” But Not a Kiss Reunion

Kiss‘ original guitarist, Ace Frehley, has primarily focused on playing live shows since he left the band in 2002, though no new studio material has surfaced. But that’s soon about to change. September 15th will see the release of Ace’s first solo album in nearly 20 years, Anomaly, via his own label, Bronx Born Records. Produced almost entirely by Frehley, the album shows why many rock and metal guitarists list “Space Ace” as a prime six-string influence, as evidenced by the epic “Genghis Khan” and a kick ass cover of Sweet’s “Fox on the Run.” Frehley recently sat down with Rolling Stone to discuss the new album, his ex-bandmates and kicking booze once and for all.

KISS Reunion?

"I’m having so much fun with this new album. It’s not something I think about at all anymore. The reunion tour was supposed to be it — that’s what they told me when they asked me to do it. But then they go, “Now we want to do a farewell tour.” I said, “OK, I’ll do a farewell tour.” It ended in Australia, and then I get a phone call when I come back, “Now we want to do something else.” Then Gene is on my answering machine, “Ace, we’re going to go out. If you don’t want to do it, we’re going to use another guitar player.” What is that, a threat? I didn’t even answer the phone [laughs]. That was that."


Legend By Bob Marley Sets Record

The Bob Marley and the Wailers' compilation album Legend was released 25 years ago to little fanfare.

However, Legend has sold more copies since 1991 than any other album from the ‘60s, ‘70s or ‘80s. It ranks ahead of such perennial hits as Pink Floyd's The Dark Side Of The Moon (which has sold 8,727,000 copies since 1991), James Taylor's Greatest Hits (6,741,000) and Jimmy Buffett's Songs You Know By Heart (6,311,000).

Legend has been #1 on Nielsen/SoundScan's weekly Catalog Albums chart 110 times since 1991, more than twice as long as any other album. It led the chart most recently just two months ago.

The collection has sold more than 250,000 copies a year every year since at least 1992. And this streak is sure to continue: The album has already sold 198,000 copies so far in 2009.

Nielsen/SoundScan's official sales tally for Legend this week climbs to 10,020,000. This doesn't count 271,000 copies of a deluxe edition that was released in 2002. It also, of course, doesn't count copies of the regular edition that were sold between 1984 and 1991.

One may ask why, but if you hear the album, you will know why this LP will continue to sell long after we are gone.....

bob marley - no woman no cry

This Date In Music History- July 17


Stan Brostein - Elephant's Memory (1938)

Spencer Davis - Spencer Davis Group (1939)

Wolfgang Flur – Kraftwerk (1947)

Geezer Butler - Black Sabbath (1949)

Jon Wetton – Asia, King Crimson, Roxy Music, Uriah Heep (1949)

Mike Vale - Tommy James and the Shondells (1949)

Phoebe Snow (1952)

Chet McCracKen - Doobie Brothers (1952)

Regina Belle - US singer (1963)

Lou Barlow - Dinosaur Jr, (1966)

Gale Garnett ("We'll Sing In The Sunshine") turns 67.

They Are Missed:

In 1996, Chas Chandler died (age 57) at Newcastle General Hospital, England, where he was undergoing tests related to an aortic aneurysm. He had been the bass player with The Animals and manager of Slade, Nick Drake and Jimi Hendrix.

Born on this day in 1949, Mick Tucker, Sweet (died February 14, 2002)

Born on this day in 1948, Ron Asheton, Iggy Pop And The Stooges (died January 6, 2009).

The late Nicolette Larson ("Lotta Love") was born in 1952.

Jamaican musician Laurel Aitken died in 2005. Dubbed as “the Godfather of Ska,” his 1958 “Boogie In My Bones” became the first release on the Island Record label and was #1 on the Jamaican charts for 11 weeks.

Danny Cedrone, the session guitarist who played the solo on "Rock Around The Clock,” died in 1954 after a fall in a Philadelphia restaurant without ever enjoying the song's success.

In 1959, Billie Holiday died in a New York City hospital from cirrhosis of the liver after years of alcohol abuse, aged 43. In the final years of her life, she had been progressively swindled out of her earnings, and she died with $0.70 in the bank.

American jazz saxophonist and composer John Coltrane died from liver cancer at Huntington Hospital in Long Island, New York, in 1967 (age 40).


The first Newport Jazz Festival was held at the Newport Casino, in Newport, RI in 1954.

In 1961, Motown Records released The Supremes' first single, "Buttered Popcorn."

The Miracles' "Tracks of My Tears" was released in 1965.

James Brown's "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag" entered the pop and R&B charts in 1965. It would hit #8 on the pop and #1 on the R&B charts.

The Byrds' LP "Mr. Tambourine Man" entered the charts in 1965
The Beatles single “All You Need Is Love” / “Baby You’re A Rich Man” (originally called ‘One Of The Beautiful People’) was released in the US in 1967. It became The Beatles 14th US #1.

The Beatles' "Yellow Submarine" film premiered in London in 1968.

No one was hurt when a bomb exploded under a Rolling Stones concert equipment truck in Montreal in 1972.

The Moody Blues opened the first quadraphonic studio in London in 1974.

In 1975, Bob Marley and the Wailers played the first of two nights at The Lyceum, London, and both nights were recorded for the November released 'live' album, featuring the single “No Woman No Cry.”

Heart's "Magic Man" was released in 1976.

The first Lollapalooza Tour was launched Phoenix in 1991. The Alt. Rock trek, conceived by Perry Farrell, frontman for Jane’s Addiction, features Farrell’s band, Living Colour, Nine Inch Nails and Siouxsie & The Banshees.

In 1994, in Pontiac, Michigan, Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley made a surprise appearance at a Kiss convention. But while browsing the stalls, they discovered Kiss costumes stolen from them more than a decade ago.

In 1996, the Smashing Pumpkins fired Jimmy Chamberlin less than a week after Chamberlin was arrested on a drug charge and Jonathan Melvoin died of a heroin overdose.

Singer-songwriter James Blunt tops the U.K. singles and album chart in 2005 with "You're Beautiful" and Back to Bedlam respectively.