Copy of Prince's 'The Black Album' Sells for $27,500, Breaks Discogs Record

The only known Canadian copy of the record was salvaged by a pressing plant employee in 1987.

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Aug 6 2018, 3:18pm

A rare vinyl copy of Prince's cancelled 1987 LP The Black Album has become the most expensive item in Discogs history after selling for $27,500.

Originally set for release in December 1987, The Black Album—also known as The Funk Bible in some press releases from the time—was murky, sardonic, and lyrically vicious, an apparent response to the critics who claimed Prince had drifted too far from black pop music through the 80s. A week before the album was supposed to hit stores, Prince had a possibly MDMA-related "spiritual epiphany." Now seeing the album as a work of "evil," he asked his label, Warner Bros, to destroy all 500,000 copies of it. He hated the thing so much that he even paid for the destruction himself out of his royalties. Bootlegs swamped the streets, much to Prince's dismay. But Lovesexy, an underrated record that fused sexuality and religion in ways that even Prince himself hadn't fully explored before, was his next official record. An official version of The Black Album came out on Warner in 1994, and it found its way onto Tidal in 2016.

This record-breaking copy of The Black Album isn't the most expensive Black Album ever sold—a sealed copy went for $42,298 earlier this year—but it is special. It was salvaged from the vinyl slaughter by a pressing plant employee in Canada, who had no idea of its value until five sealed American copies of the album surfaced in 2016. The unnamed man then contacted Jeff Gold, a former executive VP at Warner who now runs a music memorabilia store.

"I know a lot about Prince collectibles," Gold told the BBC in June. "So I was like, 'How could you have a Canadian one? Such a thing doesn't exist!'"

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