Dean Martin made the character of Matt Helm famous in the 1960’s in films such as “Murderer’s Row,” one in a series of four Matt Helm films. Spoofs of James Bond movies, the Matt Helm films were filled with jokes and beautiful women. The movie soundtrack music was provided by Lalo Schifrin. Dean Martin’s picture was not allowed on the album cover due to contractual arrangements. An original copy in stereo, released on Colgems records in 1967, is now worth up to $100.00. “Murderers’ Row” is just one of the 10,000 soundtracks listed on our Soundtracks CD, covering movies, TV shows, and Broadway shows. It’s available in the left hand column.
Johnny Cash’s first attempt to impress Sun Records’ owner Sam Phillips was “Hey Porter,” but the legendary man who discovered Elvis put thumbs down on Johnny’s first try. Cash went home and wrote “Cry, Cry, Cry.” That did the trick. Sun Records released the single in 1955 with “Hey Porter” on the flip-side. The original 45 can get you $150.00 today. An original copy on a 78 is worth up to $200.00.
Between 1957 and 1973, Ricky Nelson placed 53 singles on the Billboard Hot 100. Among those hits is “Poor Little Fool,” which is the first song by any recording artist to reach #1 on the newly created “Billboard Hot 100.” It was also his only single on Imperial records to be issued without a picture sleeve. The 45 version is worth up to $20.00 but the 78 rpm issue can get you $125.00 today. Both are show here.
In 1958 the Doo Wop group, the Capris, recorded “There’s a Moon Out Tonight.” It was released by a local New York City record label called Planet. Without the proper means to promote the single, copies were left on the junk pile, so to speak. But in 1960 a copy came to the attention of a New York DJ who played it on his show, and a smash was born, reaching # 3 on the charts. Most copies were sold on the Old Town record label and are worth up to $50.00. However, an original copy on Planet records can sell for $1500.00 today.
Freddy “Boom Boom” Cannon was a constant hit-maker in the early 1960’s with 22 hits on the Billboard Hot 100 including “Way Down Yonder in New Orleans” and “Palisades Park.” His first hit “Tallahassee Lassie” peaked at #6 in 1959. The song, originally called “Rock and Roll Baby,” was written by Freddy’s mother. The original 45 was released on Swan records and worth up to $40.00. But in Canada it was also released as a 78 on Quality records. That can get you $100.00 today.
On this day September 8, 1971 the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences presents Elvis Presley with the Bing Crosby Award. Besides Crosby the only other recipients of this prestigious award have been Frank Sinatra, Duke Ellington, Ella Fitzgerald, and Irving Berlin. Crosby’s best known record is “White Christmas.” Elvis’ best known Christmas record is “Blue Christmas.” Released on Decca Records in 1942, “White Christmas” has sold over 100 million copies. Perhaps that’s why a copy is worth no more than $20.00. “Blue Christmas” was released on RCA in 1957 but at that time only promo copies sent to radio stations were issued, each worth up to $3,000.00 today.
Doris Troy had her one big hit “Just One Look” in 1963 when the single went top-10 on the Billboard Hot 100. Her solo career seemed to slow after that as she became a back-up singer for such acts as the Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Carly Simon, Dusty Springfield, and George Harrison. The “Just One Look” 45 on Atlantic records is worth up to $30.00 but the album can get you $100.00 today.
One of the most popular singers of the late 50’s and early 60’s was Dee Clark. When Little Richard gave up Rock N Roll to become a preacher, Dee Clark filled in with Richard’s band, the Upsetters, to finish Richard’s current tour. Clark’s biggest hit “Raindrops” from 1961 sold a million copies. He also reached the Billboard top-20 with “Just Keep it Up” and “Hey Little Girl (in the High School Sweater).” The 45 of “Hey Little Girl,” released on Abner records in 1959, with its picture sleeve can get you $100.00 today.
In 1969 Ike & Tina Turner hit big with “River Deep Mountain High” on A&M records. However, Phil Spector first issued the single in 1966 on his Philles record label. He was so sure it was going to be a giant hit at that time that he quickly had an album of the same name pressed. He was so upset that the single bombed that he destroyed most copies of the album. Covers for U.S. pressings on Philles records are not known to exist but an original copy of the vinyl can sell for $10,000.00 today. Oh, if you have a copy on A&M records, as seen here on the left, then you would have no more than $20.00. Talk about turning a “mountain” into a mole hill!
Tommy James and the Shondells was one of the most popular bands of the 1960’s with classics like “I Think We’re Alone Now” and “Mony Mony.” But it all started with “Hanky Panky.” The song was first released in 1964 on Snap records and became a regional hit in Michigan. By the time the song became a national hit two years later the band had split up. Tommy James then had to put together an all new group of Shondells . The hit was a smash for Roulette records in 1966 but worth no more than $20.00. However, the original Snap records version, showing Tommy Jackson as the writer, can get you $600.00 today.