Madonna, Like A Virgin, Sire 9-25157-1, 1984
Time was, Madonna records weren’t that hard to find. You’d even see them in Goodwill from time to time. When that happens, I tend to never really getting around to getting a record like this. After all, I grew up with the music, and, with so many of these popping up, I usually went with some other record that I’d never seen before.
Then all at once it happened, Madonna records were no more. As younger record buyers started shopping, these were the “classic” albums they were looking for and they all virtually disappeared. The same happened to Michael Jackson and Prince records, but for the most part it only happened after their deaths. Madonna records are probably gone from the bargain bins because they’re very good records for their era,
To be fair, the mid-80s synth pop music hasn’t held up well. The songs that pushed the boundaries of pop in the Reagan Era now seem cutsey and tame. But the four Top 10 hits still get your feet moving, and this is a really fun album to have. You’ll just have to shell out a little more for it now.
Cost: $15, $92 Remaining
Don Henley, Building The Perfect Beast, Geffen GHS-24026, 1984
I think the real reason that The Eagles kept reuniting was because they found being solo artists to be too stressful. At least, that’s the impression I get from Don Henley and the making of this album. Henley had fights with the record company over every aspect of the record and it would be five years before he returned to recording. Drama aside, it’s a really good 80s album and I was really glad to get it for $1.
The gold leaf stamp on the top of the front cover means that Geffen gave this record away as a promo. It was most likely a radio station or music business executive that would get this album for free in the hopes of it getting promoted by them. Someone wrote 11/84 on the back cover which corresponds to the November 19, 1984 release date for the record. The disclaimer says that that this record was only being lent to the recipient and can be demanded back at any time. 33 years on, I’m prepared to do that if they really do want it back, but I’d want to see some ID first.
Collectors like to buy promo records on the assumption that they were only handled rarely and then by professionals. A radio station would professionally tape the tracks they wanted to broadcast and create tape loops in special cartridges to use on air. I don’t necessarily search out promos, in fact I prefer generally release records. Geffen took the easy way out and just stamped their promo disclaimer on the jacket of a regular record. Other companies, especially in the 50s and 60s created special promo labels for their giveaways and they can be worth twice what a standard release is.
Cost: $1, $205 Remaining
Wham!, Make It Big, Columbia FC-39595, 1984
It’s Record Store Day today, and while that doesn’t mean much for most people, it meant that I was up early to see what the festivities were like here in town. One shop was having a massive $1 sale that I knew would take hours to get through, while the other celebrated by stocking up on Record Store Day specials re-issued by the record companies. While I’m constantly amazed at some of the records that get re-issued, I noticed at trend this year. There were some specials from new music, but it was 80s remixes that really were popular. Madonna and Michael Jackson, but mostly Prince all had “new” records in the stores, custom made collectibles that went on sale today.
It made me realize that 80s records are probably going to start becoming hard to find at a decent price soon. I know that original copies of Thriller and Purple Rain are already in Beatles territory price wise, so records like this can’t be far behind. I ran back to the $1 sale and focused on as much 80s music as I could find. At $1 each, these records will have nowhere to go but up in value. If Prince is like The Beatles, then Wham! records will price out like The Dave Clark Five pretty soon.
And this is a really great Pop record. A worldwide #1 in 1984, it solidified George Michael as a superstar and relegated Andrew Ridgeley to the latest in a long list of lesser known sidekick. Ridgeley is very much like & Oates and And Messina of pop duos gone by. But still, I’m pretty pleased to get a mint condition $1 copy of this record.
Cost: $1, $207 Remaining
John Lennon & Yoko Ono, Milk & Honey, Polydor 817 160-1 Y-1, 1984
I suppose there was never going to be a good time to release this record. It was always to be the planned follow up to Double Fantasy, and the songs were all recorded at the same time with an eye to them being on two albums. But hearing a “new” John Lennon album 3 1/2 years after his assassination still felt very raw to people.
Part of the delay was due to business reasons. Geffen Records released Double Fantasy, but after John’s death, David Geffen and Yoko Ono had a real falling out. The inner sleeve of Milk & Honey has some very personal messages from Yoko about John’s last days and a reference to “human wolves disguised as close friends”. This album originally came out on Polydor.
Seeing as it was released too late to be a follow-up record, but too soon to be a piece of history, it didn’t do as well as Double Fantasy. It went top ten around the world, meaning it’s an easy record to find now, but it’s not like this record became anything close to a legendary Lennon album. Now it is that piece of history, though, and fans can hear the last recordings John Lennon ever made.
Cost: $2, $445 Remaining
Lionel Richie, Can’t Slow Down, Motown MD 6059, 1983
I think even in the 80s, even in 1984 when this album was in the Top 10 for the entire calendar year, people were saying that this record was “so 80s”. It just was/is. It is true pop genius to sell something to people, many many people, nothing they know is off the charts cheesy, but yet they still pay for. I don’t know anyone that thinks this is an essential album, but everyone has one. That is genius.
Just look at the back cover. I mean really. I don’t need to be David Sederis to get into how immediately galling, yet unbelievably captivating this is. From the fashion that was popular for 20 minutes, to the afro-mullet, it’s plainly a snapshot of it’s times that succeeded almost as well as Michael Jackson’s Thriller and Prince’s Purple Rain, but without all the classic music that we know and love today.
Don’t get me wrong, this record is jammed with hits, but they are those kind of hits. The kind you don’t play at a party, yet sing in the shower. The kind you never put on but always hear. The kind that you buy and keep on a shelf for years without touching, yet can’t bear to part with. Hello was my senior prom theme, Class Of ’84 Rules!, but still, like my DVD of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, this record will not see the light of day again until I move. And I love it.
Cost: $2, $819 Remaining