I went to the hospital to have a splint put on and by then I was wired, you know, after a car wreck. He heard it and said, ah ha! He got onto it and by the end of March it had gotten up to about 50 on the charts — the first record we ever had on the charts — and RCA wanted to pull it back and release something else. Jerry and I both screamed. Also, the initial copies that were sent out were distorted and I raised a fit about that and got some help from RCA in getting it taken care of.
But, see, I knew we had a good record and I was making an effort at being successful, Top 40 successful. Jerry and I kept at it and it went on to be a Number One record. It really changed the whole situation. So a whole thing changed. All of this time, I was growing, learning more about myself, noticing what music was coming out of me and where it came from and how it worked and what it had to do with and so I was able to cut away a lot of the nonsense and the bullshit that starts getting in.
I finally got to a stage where I realized that I had never tried to write a hit record. I am the most unprolific songwriter that I know. You have to wait till the spirit hits you? I think the songs are out there and I think — Bob Dylan said this and it was the first time that I thought about it and then Paul Stookey said it better for me. What is the force behind these words, what force makes you a vessel to convey these words in a certain way? Who knows?
I just happen to be this way and live the way that I live and these particular songs are coming through me. I had the chorus to it that I had gotten from a camping trip at Williams Lake, about 26 miles from Aspen. I was telling these guys about this meteor shower. And then these guys were saying, all right, shooting stars…And then pretty soon there were balls of fire going across. It goes all the way across the sky, you can see the smoke, you can see it and you can hear it. And then it took me awhile to write that song, to put the story around that song, which is totally autobiographical.
When they come, they come. Yet, you can almost trace your career in the big songs, the important ones that made way for something else. Whenever there needed to be a big one, one came along. They come along, yeah. It makes the space that the music has more real. You know what I mean? If I were…. I think so. He could never do your songs, or vice versa. Your upbringing, your background taught you maybe unconsciously what most people like to hear. And you kind of reflect that rather than imposing on them something from either Coast.
Yes, but then how is that different from any of the Beatles or from Dylan or from Elton John or the differences there are in all of the music that we do?
I get to go out and do these songs that are my favorite songs and talk about things that are totally real to me. Now I know that as many people that have listened to that song have gotten that many different things out of it.
And now, not only do I get to do that, but we get to go all over the country. About 35 to 40 concerts in about 41 days. Did you find at first any difficulty between relating to a TV and a live audience? About how to convey your music through your personality? Well, no. You start making it more than it is.
Not many musicians have been able to do that — singers or musicians or… Glen Campbell for one, or Johnny Cash or a couple of other people. When I started watching television…. There are a few who can instinctively handle it and can see what the medium is and others hang back or are nervous.
Yeah, and see what we did that I think was real smart, and this goes back to Jerry, how he saw that…. W eintraub, in carefully nurturing Denver, kept working on that TV potential that he sensed was there. Merv Griffin became a regular outlet for the budding star of the inch silver screen. It is a never-ending source of amazement to Denver that he can do what he wants to…onstage, on record or on TV, get paid for it and have people like it too.
Too much. Now we return you to the show in progress…. What is life like for you in Aspen? Do you keep a routine…get up and run or anything? Totally undisciplined. I think — I try to discipline myself really extensively around the work that I do.
I like getting up when he gets up and feeding him and playing with him in the morning before everybody else gets up. And sometimes I just sleep in. I need time to play and this is something that I recognized in my own life. I like to play and I like to be out in the mountains. I could never understand how people have a studio in their home. I feel the same way and everybody asks me now when are you gonna build a studio. I want to go out to L. I have no desire to record in Aspen.
I still do benefits once in a while. Have you gotten involved at all in Colorado politics? To a small extent. I supported Dick Lamm for governor which I feel very good about. I think that the primary support that I give somebody like that is that I raise money for them. Would you ever run for public office? I personally think that my music is working better than politics is, in regard to serving the people. I do these songs and they all seem to come out of certain things within me and they have to do with certain aspects of life.
But the one thing I can say about them is that they all are observances of the truth of my life. I was going through some clippings. Some quoted you as saying you had a perfect life. Oh yeah. I think that the statement is true for everybody. It depends on how you look at it. I said yesterday, the truth is always there — always coming out. When you let it be there and really experience the truth for yourself then you move.
There was a time that I literally did not want to play a 15,seat hall. I thought that I could do what I wanted to do best with about people.
I wanted to kind of set a limit. What made a difference was that I wanted to sing for people and I wanted to live in Colorado and I wanted to do these things with my life. And when it got to a place of just doing it, all the other stuff just started happening. Life is a lot more demanding right now, in a sense. You bet your life it is. How perfect an existence for fish to float in the water and swim and let food float by and they get it. How far out it is to be a bird and fly around the trees. I can see that — otherwise you would not have made the decisions you made that led you to what you are now.
But is it fatalism? Now especially in this regard, doing an interview. My experience is that if I can tell you the truth, just lay it out there, then I have totally opened up a space for you to be who you are and that it really opens up all the room in the world for us to do whatever we want to do in regard to each other.
But if you tell the truth, or when you tell the truth, or in telling the truth, the truth still makes you free — who said that? Is that in the Bible or something? Truth makes you free. The truth opens up the whole universe and puts it kind of at your command. So many people running around today trying to define truth. The truth is the way it is. Or why it is that those songs mean something to them. I get a lot of fan mail from people who want autographs or want to know if I have a dog, things like that.
But I also get letters from people who write and want to tell me something that happened to them or has happened to them through their experience of my music. And then they got to a point where they could let her go home on weekends to be with her husband and children but had to be in a hospital and was still not functioning as a human being.
Pretty soon she started talking and now she is home with her family. And the guy just wanted to thank me for that. Just to share what had happened. And I think it does humble me. I would like to support it and enhance it. Born again — a totally religious thing that had nothing to do with the church. I can only tell you what my experiences are since then, I can tell you what my experiences are out of est and they are totally supportive of me being, being — who I am.
See, the first time Werner came to Aspen, before he did the first training there, I walked out; I thought it was total bullshit, a rip-off. Pushed all my buttons, man, and I walked out. In fact, a lot of people who have taken the training thought that I wrote the Rocky Mountain High album after the training and the truth is that I had finished the album before I took the training.
I just wanted to go find out what happened. And est really clarified a lot of notions. Did it alter your perceptions? I think it enhanced my awareness — through some tools that I found in the est training, tools that were presented that allowed me to really take a look at things that I can use every day.
For instance, I find that people get stuck — like we were talking yesterday and talked about music and today about finding out what works.
Then either alter it to make it work or get out of it. Change it or leave it. O nce the New York interviews were over I flew to Minnesota, to tie up loose ends. Annie Denver is from Minneapolis, so they were visiting her folks and signing the adoption papers for Zach. John met me at the St. I ordered up a six-pack of Budweiser and we popped a couple and got down to talking about his philosophy of life and so on. We talked for hours, literally, about this here game of life, which John alternately takes seriously in the classic liberal sense and which he also can savor in an absurdist thing.
I came to like him, especially when he would spring to the window and point to a bleak concrete park 17 stories beneath us and preach…yes, preach…about what a far-out thing it would be if that concrete could be replaced with grass and flowers and so on.
The folky era lives on through him. He signed autographs for the bellhops. His Cadillac limousine waited without. We had a nice day. We now return to our bulletin in progress…. I love singing it. I really feel alive today. Sometimes, I feel really terrible. I mean I know what — I know the feeling of despair and I also know that you can get through that. If you let it be the way it is, you can get through it.
Mickey Mouse rock or pop…whatever it is…I sometimes get upset by reviews. I think that is the thing that irritates me, is people not putting down what is said. Or if they do put down what is said, they qualify it from their point of view. I resent it or used to resent it and maybe I still do. This is one of the things that I need to get through, that people, quite often critics and reviewers, editorialize as opposed to review. I think it would be very easy — not very easy, I think it would be quite a fine art to share with people who were not there what happened.
You can experience me, Chet, I think, hopefully you are, I think you are and you might be able to define that in a way through the things that are at your command, where you can give people a sense of who I am.
I think it will show up because it will be in your own words. When you did that Tonight thing, do you think that is a possibility in the future to do that kind of role of being a pop-show host? Weekly shows have killed a lot of people. I think they have too. The only time I ever saw it happen was in some television a long time ago before it got so cluttered with stuff.
It was continuously entertaining and awakening and informative and funny and I thought they were great. But doing specials, first of all, it gives me a lot more time to set it up and do it the way I think it should be; plus I have the time to do other things.
And like right now, while I still have all these ideas going on and all these things I want to do, and I have the opportunity of maybe really carrying them off.
I need it for me in regard to me and the universe. So I need to have that time there. Specials, like Jacques Cousteau now — I loved it. But I loved it. Now that was an aspect of variety television that had not been on before. One of the things I want to write and am working on is an American symphony. But what I want to do is get young people involved, like planting flowers and cleaning up the streets.
And do it in a way that incorporates the whole area of music and dance — and with a symphony orchestra to then go around the country and perform it. Who do you like to listen to when all you want to do is listen to music?
Really picks me up. I like Stevie Wonder…I was more excited about meeting him than I was about meeting Redford last night. In that both of you are concerned primarily with conveying your feelings.
Did you ever meet Dylan? Some of the far-out people. The time that I spend with him I always learn something, I always am able to share something new with him and I feel good being with him. Dick Gregory is a friend that I get to see once in a blue moon. But whenever I get together with him I can sit and listen.
I really enjoy and have enjoyed meeting Lily Tomlin — spending time with her. Doris is a real good friend now. And Dick, I saw when I was in L. I really got off working with Danny Kaye. I heard that you and Alice Cooper had Something Else - Various - Rocks Et Slows DEnfer (CD) in correspondence.
No — uh, Alice…. It was in Something Else - Various - Rocks Et Slows DEnfer (CD) of the trades. Um, protest songs. Something like that. So then there was an article — and I think it was in Rolling Stone as a matter of fact, where Alice said that he was going to make damn sure that he stayed around long enough to piss on my flowers. So I sent him some flowers. Back when so-called psychedelic rock was the rage, did you ever feel kind of neglected? You were still trying to pursue what you wanted to pursue and there was not much interest.
Well, yeah, I thought we were really, really good, and it was during the time that we were doing that that people started spending all the money in the world getting new far-out acts and Warner Bros. I kept doing my music, Something Else - Various - Rocks Et Slows DEnfer (CD).
Certain singers would not be heard on FM stations, which I think has happened to you. Thanks a lot. Five years ago you would never hear Elton on MOR stations. Five years ago you would never hear Olivia Newton-John on Top 40 stations. Nor would you hear Charley Pride on Top 40 or Charlie Rich, but now all of these things are happening and still, like you say, people start to classify this and that. None of these artists were very successful and their records sold poorly when new. All three were enormous influences on other musicians, however, and as a result, their records sell for surprisingly high prices today.
This factor is pretty straightforward when it comes to vinyl records value ; records that sold well and are quite common are going to be less valuable than records that sold poorly or are hard to find. On the other hand, even records that sold well when new can become scarce in time, especially when one takes the condition of the record into account. Albums by Elvis Presley and the Beatles sold millions of copies when they were first released, but finding nice original copies of those records now can be difficult, as many have been thrown away or damaged through heavy play or abuse.
In the s, it was rare for even a popular album to sell much more than a million copies. By the s, albums selling more than 5 million copies were relatively common. A good example of this would be Music from the Elder by Kiss, released in Released after a string of best-selling albums, Music from the Elder had a different sound from their previous releases and offered no hit songs and no songs that regularly received airplay.
As a result, the album soon went out of print. Because the condition of a record is held to be important by collectors, the ideal example of a record to own, in the eyes of many collectors, would be one that has never been played at all.
Because of this, collectors will often pay a huge premium for sealed, unopened examples of records they are seeking. When record albums were first offered in the late s, they were sold without any external wrapping on the cover.
Customers in record stores could remove the records from the cover and many stores would even allow them to play the records to help them make a buying decision. This led to problems with both theft and damage, and by the early s, a number of large retailers started sealing their albums in plastic bags. Eventually, this practice was picked up by the major record companies, who began protecting their covers with shrink wrap. In general, a copy of an album that is still in original, unopened shrink wrap will sell for a lot more money than one that is in opened condition, even if the opened copy has not been played.
The difference in price can range from modest to quite significant, depending on the artist and title. Sealed copies of older albums by the Beatles might sell for as much as ten times the price of an opened example, for instance. This is a case where age can affect vinyl records valueas the older an album is, the harder it is to find a copy that has never been opened or played. One factor that can influence vinyl records value is having the autograph of the artist on it.
When it comes to musical groups and autographs, albums that are autographed by the entire group will sell for substantially higher prices than those with the signatures of some, but not all, members. Autographed records with provenance, such as a photograph of the artist signing the record, tend to bring the highest prices of all.
Promotional copies of records are usually pressed before stock copies to ensure that they reach radio stations prior to the commercial release of the record. They are also pressed in relatively small quantities compared to stock copies of the same records. Sometimes, promotional copies of a particular record may be different from the stock counterpart.
On other occasions, a record may be issued only as a promotional item. Such albums may be live recordings, made for radio broadcast, or perhaps compilation albums, again intended to stimulate airplay. A promo-only Rolling Stones record, for example, will attract far more interest from collectors than one by Andy Williams. Some records have sold so poorly in the stores that the promotional copies are actually more common than the stock counterparts.
Promotional copies with a pink label, while relatively rare, are probably ten times more common than the stock copies with black labels, of which fewer than 20 copies are known to exist.
We have written an extensive article about white label promo records; you can read it here. This issue of scarcity comes into play when one looks at whether a particular record was released by a small, regional label or a large national one. Larger labels have national distribution and multiple pressing plants, and popular records might be pressed in the millions.
Smaller labels might press only a few hundred or several thousand copies of a particular record. There are examples of records being initially released on small labels and then later released on larger labels when the small record company negotiated a distribution deal with the larger label in order to sell more records.
An example of this would be the surf album Pipeline by the Chantays, which was originally released on the California-based Downey label.
When the song became a hit, Downey struck a deal with the nationally distributed Dot records to have them release the album instead. Today, copies of the album on the Downey label are far harder to find than their Dot counterparts, and sell for higher prices.
Sometimes an artist will release records on a small label and then move to a larger one. In these cases, their earlier releases tend to be more collectible than their later ones. As the records by the group issued by RCA sold quite well, they tend to sell for modest prices.
Another example, also in the country genre, is the first album by Jim Reeves. His first album, Jim Reeves Singswas issued in on the small Abbott label. When that album began to sell well, Reeves moved to major label RCA. A given album or single might have been released with several different labels on the disc itself, even among releases by the same record company. Record companies often change the appearance of the labels used on their records.
While it has happened less often in recent decades, changes in label art an appearance were quite common among the major labels during the s and s. Records by the Beatles, for instance, were released by Capitol Records on a black label with a rainbow colored perimeter, a green label, a red label, a custom Apple label, an orange label, a purple label, and a new version of the original black label, all over a period of about 20 years.
As a rule, collectors tend to favor original pressings, so for a given title, the most desirable label variation would be whichever one was in use on the day the record was originally release for sale to the public. There are exceptions to this, however. The red Capitol label mentioned above was commonly used in the early s for a number of titles, but was never intended to be used for records by the Beatles. Sometimes, minor differences on labels can make a difference, as well.
The first copies of Meet the Beatles to be sold in America were rushed to the stores without including publishing information for the songs on the record.
Untilrecords were sold only in mono. Between andrecords were usually sold in both mono and stereo, and between about anda few records were available in 4 channel quadraphonic sound. During the time when records were sold in more than one format simultaneously, one of the formats was usually pressed in smaller quantities than the other. Mono records were more common than their stereo counterparts in the early s, for instance, but were the harder variation to find by Quadraphonic pressings were always intended for a niche market, and never sold in large quantities, except in the few cases where all copies of a particular title were encoded in quadraphonic sound.
While the value of a mono record in relation to its stereo counterpart will depend on when the record was released, quadraphonic copies are almost always worth more money than the same album in stereo.
The topic of mono vs. While most records are pressed from black vinyl, sometimes other colors are used. With few exceptions, colored vinyl and picture disc pressings are limited editions, and are usually far harder to find than their black vinyl counterparts.
Both colored vinyl pressings and picture discs have been issued as commercial releases and as promo-only releases. In the late s, picture discs were often pressed as promotional items and became quite popular among collectors. Most of these were pressed in quantities of only a few hundred copies. More often, colored vinyl and picture disc records are issued as limited edition pressings, created to spur interest among buyers. Most of these titles are also available on regular and more common black vinyl.
As with everything else on this list, there are occasional exceptions to the rule. A couple of months later, RCA Records decided to press the album on black vinyl as a cost-cutting move, which would have made the blue pressings rare and desirable.
Shortly after this decision was made, Elvis passed away, and the label made the decision to return to blue vinyl for that album, and all pressings for the next ten years or so were issued blue vinyl. Colored vinyl article new window Picture disc article new window.
While vinyl record albums usually include printed covers, most 45 RPM singles do not, as they were generally issued in plain paper sleeves. It was not uncommon, however, for singles to be issued in special printed sleeves bearing the title of the song, the name of the artist and perhaps a graphic or photograph. These are known as picture sleeves, and most of the time, these picture sleeves were available only with the original issues of the records.
While not intended as limited edition items per se, picture sleeves were designed to spur sales and were often discontinued once sales of the record began to pick up. For various reasons, some picture sleeves are harder to find than others, and there are a number of records, some by famous artists, where certain picture sleeves are rare to the point where only a few copies are known to exist.
Others are rare, but not to that degree. This is one of the factors that pretty much has no exceptions; a record with a picture sleeve is always more valuable than the same record without one. While the majority of Something Else - Various - Rocks Et Slows DEnfer (CD) are standard issues that were manufactured with the intention that they be sold in stores, some are pre-production versions that were made for in-house use at the record companies prior to making the stock pressings.
Acetates, or lacquers, as they are more properly known, are records that are individually cut on a lathe by a recording engineer. The recordings are cut on metal plates that are coated with soft lacquer. Acetates are the first step in the process of making a record, as they can be plated with metal and used to make stampers for production of the copies sold in stores. They can Something Else - Various - Rocks Et Slows DEnfer (CD) be played on a turntable and are often used to evaluate the sound of a song or an album prior to putting it into formal production.
On rare occasions, acetates have been sent to radio stations as promotional items when regular pressings were not yet available. As acetates are cut one at a time, they are understandably rare, and command a high value in the market place as they are both rare and unusual.
Test pressings are a bit more common than acetates, and are made to test stampers prior to mass produced production runs. They are usually the first pressings made from a set of stampers, and can be distinguished by their labels, which will differ from those used on stock pressings. Test pressings may have blank white labels or they may have special labels that indicate that they are test pressings.
These custom labels usually have blank lines printed on them so that the people working with them can write the title and artist on the labels by hand.
As with acetates, test pressings are usually used for evaluation purposes by record company personnel, though they are occasionally sent out as promotional items.
As they are rather unusual and limited in production to just a handful of copies, test pressings are highly regarded and sought out by collectors. Sometimes, test pressings may contain different versions of one or more songs from the commercially released albums. This can also add to their value. We have written a more in-depth article about test pressings and acetates. You can read it here. Records pressed in foreign countries are often of interest to record collectors.
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