I own, at a guess, 800 albums, 1200 singles, 600 CDs, my girlfriend has about the same, but neither of us are what you’d call collectors. I do collect postcards ~ of a certain subject ~ I have 9 (yes, nine) of them. However, there are people out there who do collect records. You may be one yourself.
And in the world of record collecting, two things would appear paramount; rarity and condition. Well, only that 1958 Beatles demo is rarer than Frank Wilson’s Do I Love You. Only two copies are known to exist and one has just been sold via an online auction. As for condition, most die-hard northern soulers seem to agree that the disc was hugely devalued when the owner got Mr Wilson to sign his name in blue felt tip on the label a few years back. Slashed the value by half, they reckoned.
The platter was so devalued that when the auction closed yesterday bidding had stalled at a mere £25,742.00. Yep, you read it right, twenty five thousand, seven hundred and forty-two credit crunched pounds. For a 7″ single. That’s equivalent to 38,079.08 USA dollars, 28,562.47 euros, 52,285.85 Australian dollars or 3,694,524.21 yen.
I bet you’re wondering what this sounds like. How great can a song be that it fetches one fortieth of a million quid? Well, you have probably heard it dozens of times without even knowing it is the rarest song on the planet. It crops up on dozens of Northern Soul comps and was even used as a KFC advert about five years back. It’s a good song, maybe a great song, but not the greatest. Maybe it has suffered from being overplayed. Take a listen (below).
How did it get so rare? This month’s Record Collector has the full story. Naturally, details are sketchy and hearsay has obscured the full story. Motown producer Frank Wilson cut the disc, Berry Gordy had them all (but two) melted down and it became well, not forgotten, because no-one had ever known about it in the first place. Eventually it was discovered by enthusiasts and the path to legendary status had begun.