John F. Kennedy, A Memorial Album, Premier Records 2099, 1963
The best selling record of December, 1963 didn’t belong to The Four Seasons or The Singing Nun (even though her Dominique was the Number One single, and it’s album also hit the top spot). By the second week of December, this record sold four million copies in just six days. It’s kind of amazing that the tiny discount label Diplomat was able to get that many printed and into stores, but it was a special moment for the country, and the demand for Jimmy Gilmer & The Fireballs was waning.
Supposedly, the record was priced at $0.99, with proceeds going to the Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Foundation for “mental retardation”, but I would imagine Premier getting something out of the deal. The speeches were all in the public domain, so it really wasn’t much to edit them from the WMCA Radio station tribute that was produced on November 22 into a cheap album and whip up some cover art and get it into stores. This copy has a “Super Special” price sticker of $0.44 on it, so the demand must have fallen off quickly. I can imagine once the pain of the news wore off, buying an album to constantly remind one of the assassination didn’t seem very necessary. The record apparently hit the charts, but since it essentially got zero airplay and that was a factor in chart position, it didn’t hit the top 10.
People always think when they see this that it must be some really rare collectable, but the truth is, it’s not. I don’t think anything produced as a future keepsake never turns out to become one. This record is really easy to find and I probably overpaid for it at $2. But it was still in the original shrink wrap, and that means that it’s in better shape than all my other $1-2 copies. With the US election a week away, I think it’s a great week to do another presidential theme week!
Cost $2, $679 Remaining