Just a week before it was scheduled to come out in 1987, Prince scrapped release of this album reportedly because it was “too hateful.” Now it’s one of the most valuable pieces of music memorabilia.
A promotional copy of Prince’s Black Album broke the record for the most expensive record sold via the music database and marketplace Discog.
In its State of Records 2016 report, the company revealed that a double 12-inch vinyl copy of the album sold for $15,000 in the wake of his death in April last year.
It was recorded between Sign O’ The Times and his Batman soundtrack, and though it was originally set to be named Funk Bible, it came to be known as the Black Album because it was to appear in an entirely black sleeve with no title or credit to Prince.
As the blog OneWeekOneBand describes, Prince is said to have had a crisis of confidence in the album shortly before its release, and even put hidden messages in the album and promo materials telling people not to buy it.
As the Washington Post reports, most copies of the album had been destroyed, but the one sold on Discog – a promo copy initially intended for a DJ – survived.
The album eventually got a limited run release at the behest of Warner Bros. in 1994, but the Post describes copies of the original as the “holy grail” for music collectors.
The second-most-expensive record sold by Discog last year was by another deceased artist, David Bowie, with a copy of his self-titled album bringing in $6,826.
PrinceVault reports that Prince felt the album was “too negative and hateful” to release. He is believed to have been paid $1 million to release it in 1994.