Originally billed as “Little Miss Sharecropper” in the 40s, it was Lavern Baker’s smash hits such as ”Jim Dandy” and “I Cried a Tear” that made her a major rhythm and blues star in the 50s. Her first 45 “Soul on Fire” can now sell for $200.00. In 1990 she was inducted into the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame. Her debut album “Lavern Baker,” released by Atlantic Records in 1957, is worth up to $600 today.
The Monkees might have had quite a different sound if two who tried out to be in the group and part of their very successful TV show had actually been chosen. Instead of Davy Jones and the others selected, the band could have included Danny Hutton who went on to have a stellar career with 3 Dog Night and Stephen Stills who became legendary with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. The Monkees’ first album, released on Colgems records in 1966, is worth up to $125.00 today. Their second album “More of the Monkees” can sell for $75.00.
Janis Martin was billed as the “Female Elvis Presley.” Along with Wanda Jackson, she stood out in the male-dominated Rock N Roll world of the 1950s. Her early releases such as “Drugstore Rock N Roll” and “My Boy Elvis” (now worth up to $75.00 each) are great examples of her exciting style. Her EP “Just Squeeze Me,” released by RCA in 1958, is worth up to $350.00 today.
Country superstar Eddie Arnold created what became known as the “Nashville Sound,” a mix of Country and Pop. Even though his manager, Col. Tom Parker, left him for a new kid by the name of Elvis Presley, Eddie went on to sell 85 million records. His first album “All-Time Hits from the Hills” from 1954 can now sell for $75.00. His 1968 album “Romantic World of Eddie Arnold,” released in mono,” is worth up to $150.00 today.
Chicago’s debut album was “The Chicago Transit Authority” when they were known by that name. Prior to that, they called themselves the Missing Links and before that, the Big Thing. Blending Jazz and Soul with a brass section, they signed with Columbia records in 1969. “The Chicago Transit Authority album,” released by Columbia records, was a 2-album set and worth up to $200.00 today.
Hank Ballard & the Midnighters had some of Rock N Roll’s earliest records to be banned on radio such as “Work With Me Annie” and “Annie Had a Baby (Can’t Work No More).” Each can now sell for $75.00. Hank Ballard wrote “The Twist” but his version was too suggestive, so the slicker version by Chubby Checker became the version most people know. Their album “Their Greatest Jukebox Hits,” released on King Records in 1958, is worth up to $700.00 today.
On this day March 3, 1956 Elvis makes his first appearance on the Billboard chart with a song that many at RCA lament will “bomb.” But the song goes on to hold the #1 spot on the Pop chart for 8 weeks and #1 on Billboard’s Country chart for 17 weeks. Those doubters at RCA should have been sent to “Heartbreak Hotel.” A copy of an original 45 can now fetch $50.00. Make it over $75.00 for a 78rpm version.
What’s wrong with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame? Wanda Jackson isn’t in it! End of story! She is the Queen of Rockabilly whose 1960 classic “Let’s Have a Party” is a perfect example of her unique, raspy voice. Her debut album “Wanda Jackson,” released on Capitol records from 1958, is worth up to $450.00 today. Her 1961 album “There’s a Party Goin’ On” can sell for $500.00.
Best known as a song writer with wife Cynthia Weil, Barry Mann’s novelty hit “Who Put the Bomp” (in the bomp de bomp de bomp) could be about himself or any of the other tune-smiths at the famous Brill Building in New York City who churned out hit after hit in the 60s. Released on ABC-Paramount in 1962 the 45 can fetch $25.00 today. A 1962 mono copy of the album is worth up to $150.00, a stereo copy up to $600.00.
Waylon Jennings was part of Buddy Holly’s band during the tour when Holly lost his life in the legendary plane crash on February 3, 1959, which also took the lives of Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper. Waylon left Rock N Roll and went on to be a huge Country Music star. His first album “Waylon Jennings at JDs” was released in 1964 on both the Bat and Sounds LTD record labels. Either issue is worth up to $400.00 today.