Throughout history musicians have come and gone. Some have made a huge impact on society and left indelible marks in history either through their music or their actions. Fans all around the world often scamper for a piece of that nostalgia through purchasing valuable memorabilia. From guitars to written lyrics these musical art pieces can be quite an extravagant luxury purchase reserved for only the wealthy or online lucky lotto players.
If we have a look at ten of these memorabilia pieces – many are instantly recognizable due to the hype or media centered on it. One such piece is the iconic ‘London Calling’ cover by The Clash. ‘London Calling’ was the punk, jazz, pop, hard rock bands’ third studio album and was released in December 1979. The UK groups’ album was ranked 8th on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of all Time and features the bass player smashing his guitar on stage – one of the greatest rock and roll images. The album has sold over 5million copies worldwide with the original artwork selling for $119,380.00 at Bonhams in 2009.
One of history’s most famous cars is an exclusive Rolls-Royce Phantom V, manufactured between 1959 and 1968, and used by the Governor of Hong Kong as well as Queen Elizabeth II. The cars most iconic owner though, was the King of Rock and Roll himself – Elvis Presley. Considered the Kings’ Chariot, the Phantom fetched $182,385.00 back in 1986.
The next band has been called eccentric due to their on stage antics, face paint and ‘out there’ costumes. Kiss had built up a reputation for being the most unique and recognized band in history while still maintaining anonymity in their private lives due to lavish outfits and faces covered in paint and makeup. The original band was comprised of Paul Stanley on guitar and vocals, Peter Criss on drums and vocals, Ace Frehley on lead guitar and vocals, and legendary Gene Simmons on bass guitar and vocals. The original bands’ costume is one of rock history’s most prized possessions and raked in $200,132.00 in June 2002.
One of rocks’ most legendary guitar players, Jimi Hendrix was described by Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as arguably the greatest instrumentalist in the history of rock music. He received a great many awards and was noted as 1968’s ‘Artist of the Year’ by Billboard and ‘Performer of the Year’ by Rolling Stone. Jimi’s weapon of choice was a Fender Stratocaster guitar which sold for $330,000.00 over twenty years ago.
Songwriter and co-founder of legendary group, The Beatles (along with Paul McCartney); John Winston Ono Lennon was very well-known for his lyric writing skills. He wrote the song ‘Give Peace a Chance’ in Suite 1742 of the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal, Canada, while still being part of The Beatles. In July 2008, the lyrics were sold for $698,447.00.
Former member of the Yardbirds and Cream, Eric Clapton broke away from his former bands to go solo and went on to becoming one of the best guitar players of all time. Rolling Stone have him listed as second place for their ‘100 greatest guitarists of all time’. The 1939 acoustic guitar he used for his 1992 MTV ‘Unplugged’ performance earned a whopping $700.000.
Clapton’s ‘Blackie’ guitar was a Fender Stratocaster he used as his main solo stage guitar from 1970 to 1985. The guitar was sold off by Christie’s Auctions in June 2004 and went for $874,092.00 – the proceeds were donated to The Crossroads Center, a treatment center chosen by Clapton.
The worlds’ most iconic pop-rock group, The Beatles, have had a career filled with media and cultural memorabilia. There are artworks such as paintings and sculptures, television films and cartoons, and album covers that are all considered collectors’ items and valuable memorabilia. One of these rare Beatles’ artworks is the bands’ ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ drum skin album cover. The album was released in June 1967 and was ranked number one for 15 weeks on the US Billboard 200. It also won 4 Grammys in 1968 and ‘Album of the Year’. It sold for $897,390.00 in July 2008 by auction at Christie’s.
Some more of John Lennon’s valuable handwritten lyrics make the list again. This time it’s the lyrics to ‘A Day in the Life’ from the ‘Sgt. Pepper’s …..’ album. Ranked as the Beatles greatest song ever and covered by famous artists from Neil Young to Sting, the handwritten lyrics sold for $1.3million to a private American collector in June 2010.
Lennon hits the list one last time selling off the most valuable piece of rock and roll memorabilia in the form of his 1965 Rolls-Royce Phantom V. The famous vehicle was used in the ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ film in 1967 based on The Beatles music. The film included six new songs and showed the band touring in Lennon’s black Rolls. The car was later painted yellow and covered up with psychedelic swirls and flowers. The car is on display at the Royal British Columbia Museum in Canada and was sold to them for a record near $3million.
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