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
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
Donna Summer, The Wanderer, Geffen GHS-2000, 1980
Donna Summer was probably the biggest music star in the world by 1979. But such a rise usually comes at a cost. She was signed to Casablanca Records and producer Giorgio Moroder, and it was really out of her hands which direction her career went. As it turned out, she wasn’t a Bad Girl at all, but a true believing Preacher’s Kid who found herself playing a role she didn’t feel comfortable with.
So it was a natural that when David Geffen came calling, Summer left Casablanca for his new label. This album was rush recorded and rush released to capitalize on her immense fame. Perhaps they should have taken more time…
It’s not that it’s a bad album, it’s just not a great album. It’s not great material and it’s not well produced. I would go so far as to say it’s overproduced. With such a lot riding on it, they really should have made sure that there was one sure-fire #1 hit on it.
Cost: $2, $849 Remaining.