Martin Luther King Jr., The Great March To Freedom, Gordy 906, 1968
I don’t mean it in a condemning way, but I too have a dream, that one day I can own a copy of every Motown record issued in the 60s and 70s. And that means trying to collect the four albums the company issued of Martin Luther King’s speeches. It won’t be easy, this is the only one I’ve ever seen, and I was able to buy it for just $5 last year in Richmond Virginia. This was the first of the King releases on Motown’s Gordy subsidiary, and despite the catalogue number of 906, it was just the fourth album released with a Gordy label.
It probably helped that this speech was given in Detroit as far as Motown being there to record it, but Berry Gordy put his own name down as the record’s producer, something that supposedly was a real source of pride for him. Gordy 908 was the “I Have A Dream” speech from the March On Washington and it was issued later in 1963. Both Gordy 906 and 908 we reissued in 1968 after King’s assassination and sold much better than the first pressings. Naturally, I found the 1968 version, easy to spot by the second version of the Gordy label on my record. The yellow spear version debuted in early 1968, replacing the original yellow script and globe logo. Second pressings still have the gatefold covers of the original, and are still more valuable than the 80s pressing on the Motown label.
Before Twitter, the spoken word record was a real thing. Politicians and Preachers made the most use of them, but there weren’t many that sold very well. Motown wasn’t the only company that released King recordings. There were many versions of the “Dream” speech, and many tribute albums that came out after King’s death that all sold well. Motown, always willing to sell a record to someone who wanted to buy it, actually started a special spoken word label to release more speeches and message records. Called Black Forum, the label’s first release in 1970 was Martin Luther King’s “Why I Oppose The Vietnam War”
Cost: $5, $481 Remaining