One of the biggest and best known hits of the early Rock N Roll era was “Runaway” by Del Shannon. The single hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the spring of 1961 and can now sell for $30.00. A mono copy of the “Runaway” album is worth up to $500.00 today. In stereo it is up to $1,000.00. There are also copies where the “A” side is mono and the “B” side is stereo. That version can get you $1,500.00.
The Sophomores was a group from Boston and one of the smoothest Doo Wop groups of the 50s. At the time, groups were taking names that had a student theme such as the Four Freshman, Danny & The Juniors, the Collegians, and the Four Preps. The Sophomores had no real big hits but continued to be popular with their local audience for several years. In 1958 Seeco records released their only album. A copy can get you $500.00 today.
The Four Tops are best known for their Motown hits like “Baby I Need Your Lovin’ ” and “I Can’t Help Myself.” Their most valuable hit is “Ask The Lonely.” With its picture sleeve it’s worth up to $75.00. However, it’s their Jazz album from 1962 called “Breaking Through” that’s really collectible. Released on the Workshop label, a copy can get you $1,500.00 today.
Lee Allen was a sought after saxophone player in New Orleans in the 50s. He can be heard on records with Fats Domino and Lloyd Price. His solo sax can also be found on early Little Richard records. His only hit “Walkin’ With Mr. Lee” came in 1958. A copy of the single as a 45 or 78 can now sell for $30.00. In later years he would play with the Stray Cats and mentor the Blasters. His album “Walkin’ With Mr. Lee,” released on Ember records in 1958, can get you $100.00 today.
It was the Monterrey Pop Festival that put Big Brother and the Holding Company on the road to stardom. Their “Cheap Thrills” album, their last with Janis Joplin as a member, originally was to feature the group naked in bed on the cover. But the record company objected. Instead the cover was drawn by artist Robert Crumb. Released by Columbia records in 1968, a stereo copy is worth up to $100 while a mono copy can get you up to $500.00 today.
The string of hits by the Coasters seemed endless in the 50s and early 60s including “Searchin,” “Yakety Yak,” “Charlie Brown,” and “Along Came Jones.” Most of their hits were written by famed song-writing team, Lieber & Stoller. Their first album “The Coasters,” released on ATCO records in 1958, is worth up to $100.00 today as is their 45 for “Searchin.”
Perhaps one of the unlikeliest people to have a collectible record is John Kerry, a U.S. Secretary of State and former senator from Massachusetts and one-time presidential nominee. His band, the Electras, released a self-titled instrumental album in 1962. A copy can get you $500.00 today. Kerry played bass.
It was D.J. Murray the K who co-wrote “Splish Splash,” one of Bobby Darin’s biggest hits. Credit was given to Jean Murray as to avoid any hint of payola. “Splish Splash” hit #3 on the Billboard chart in 1958. The original 45, released on ATCO records, is worth no more than $25.00. However, the 78 RPM version can get you $125.00 today.
Johnny Cash was one of the few recording artists to be inducted into both the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. His first album “Johnny Cash with His Hot and Blue Guitar” contained two of his first hits, “I Walk the Line” and “Folsom Prison Blues.” Each can fetch $50.00. Released on Sun records in 1956 the album is worth up to $300.00 today.
“Save For A Rainy Day” is among Jan & Dean’s most sought after records. The album was recorded by Dean a year after Jan’s horrendous auto accident and contains no hits. It is actually Jan’s brother pictured with Dean on the cover but shot in such a way as to make everyone think it was Jan. Released on J & D records in 1967, the album is worth up to $500.00. Even rarer would be an original copy on Columbia records. That could get you $2,000.00 today.