A rare copy of Prince’s ‘The Black Album’ is currently on sale for £20,571 on online music database and marketplace Discogs.
The release in question is a previously unknown original Canadian pressing of ‘The Black Album’, an LP that Prince withdrew one week prior to its release in December 1987. Claiming that the album was cursed, Prince requested all copies of ‘The Black Album’ to be destroyed. A reported 500,000 copies were subsequently terminated, with only eight US original vinyl copies having surfaced in the past 30 years.
In December 2017, Jeff Gold, a former Executive VP at Warner Bros. Records who worked with Prince, discovered five US copies of the album, with three of those being put up for sale on his Recordmecca, an online high-end rare records and music memorabilia collector website and retailer.
The recently surfaced pressing is the single Canadian variant of ‘The Black Album’ known to exist, making it an ultra rarity.
“As word spread of the discovery of the five sealed copies, a former Canadian record pressing plant employee contacted me with an unbelievable story of his own”, said Gold in a press release provided by Discogs. “In 1987 he was working at Columbia Records Canadian pressing plant in Canada. When ‘The Black Album’ was pulled and the copies that had been made marked for destruction, he kept one copy for himself. He never realized its rarity or value until reading about the discovery of the US copies in Rolling Stone and contacted me”.
Gold added, “I’d sold the others through my website, and wanted to offer this copy to the larger record collector community, and I think the best way to reach them is through Discogs—a site I’ve been using more and more, both to sell records and research releases. The information on Discogs is remarkable, and I was glad to be able to list something previously unknown on it".
Prince eventually released ‘The Black Album’ on CD and cassette in 1994, followed by a vinyl release and a digital release on streaming service Tidal both in 2016.
In recent news, Prince’s Caribbean estate is set to go to auction in July. This past April, new photos of Prince’s secret underground vault of unreleased music surfaced, while news also broke on a new Prince album featuring previously unreleased material.
Prince’s toxicology report following his untimely death in 2016 recently revealed “exceedingly high” levels of the drug fentanyl in his blood and organs. In tribute to The Purple One, DJ Mag compiled our favourite Prince edits.
Check out the Discogs listing of the rare ‘The Black Album’ pressing.
Listen to ‘Dead On It’ off ‘The Black Album’ below.
John Ochoa is the editor-at-large of DJ Mag North America. You can find him living his best life on Twitter.
Copyright Thrust Publishing Ltd. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.djmag.com as the source.