Discogs has not only changed the way records are bought and sold, it's changed the way many people think about music. Launched 17 years ago, the site now has over 8 million releases listed, making it an unrivalled and invaluable source of information. It's likely the world's biggest secondhand music marketplace, with millions of sales.
These are some of the most expensive dance floor records ever sold through the site. From the incredibly rare, to curveball curiosities, these records tell us a lot about collectors' mindsets and the perpetual search for the perfect beat.
Heartache Souvenirs / Chicken Shack
Expensive records were the lifeblood of northern soul, and back in the day new discoveries were closely guarded secrets. This lead to crafty tricks. A favourite was the "cover up," where DJs placed fake labels over the original. This meant that for some time, William Powell's Heartache Souvenirs was believed to be All These Things by Bobby Jason. Supposedly only ten copies of Heartache Souvenirs exist; Zeito Freitas, the owner of the world's largest record collection, has a copy. Heartache Souvenirs is the most expensive northern soul record sold on Discogs, but it's not even close to the priciest ever. In 2009, Frank Wilson's Do I Love You (Indeed I Do), of which there are apparently only two copies in the world, went for £25,742.
Facts about Dynamic Five's Love Is The Key are hard to come by. The soul group were signed to United Artists, one of the era's most successful labels. Most likely, the record was deleted before ever being distributed. Whatever the case, Love Is The Key is now almost impossible to find and has only appeared on the secondhand market a handful of times in the past decade. Whenever it has, it's fetched upwards of $3,000.
Warner Bros. Records
The Black Album was intended as the follow up to Sign "O" The Times. But before its release, all copies were destroyed barring a handful of promos that slipped out to press. The theories as to why Prince pulled the project are often colourful. One even suggested that Prince decided he didn't like the album after he had a negative reaction to MDMA. Whatever the truth, original copies of The Black Album are among the most desirable records in the world.
New-Ark Records Inc.
All About Money was released on a tiny DIY label, New-Ark Recordings. It was privately pressed by the artists and distributed locally around New Jersey. Many privately pressed records are mediocre at best, but All About Money is fantastic. A strange slice of drum machine-led soul music, it sounds unlike anything of its era. The limited nature and truly unusual sound of this record has inflated its price to remarkable levels.
T.J. Hustler, Metaphysical Synthesized Orchestra
Age Of Individualism is a homemade synth wave record partially performed through a ventriloquist's dummy. It's also one of the strangest records committed to wax. The band's lead singer, Tim Jones, was a Vietnam veteran who performed in funk bands before this project. Notably, the record's packaging is even odder than the music: two pieces of white textured cardboard are bound by yarn on the spine. Supposedly only 50 to 100 copies of Age Of Individualism were ever produced.
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