The original demo tape that landed Prince his first record contract is being auctioned.
Boston-based RR Auction calls the sale a “stunning revelation for music enthusiasts and Prince fans worldwide.”
The demo tape, recorded on a 1/4″ reel-to-reel tape in 1976, contains unreleased versions of three Prince originals: The catchy pop tune “Just As Long as We’re Together” and the disco-pop song “My Love is Forever,” from his debut album. (Listen to the released songs below…) It also included the never-released “Jelly Jam.”
At just 18 years old, Prince single-handedly wrote, arranged, sang, and played all the instruments for the tracks at Sound 80 Studios in Minneapolis.
The historic artifact, obtained from the estate of the late Warner Bros. Records executive Russ Thyret, “serves as a testament to the visionary talent of the enigmatic musician and marks the inception of one of the most legendary careers in popular music.”
The reel, enclosed in its original custom-made box, has a hand-written label with the notice: (c) 1977 Prince Nelson. It comes with a plexiglass display case, a business card belonging to Russ Thyret, and a CD transfer of the tape’s audio.
Prince signed with Warner Bros. on June 25, 1977, less than three weeks after celebrating his nineteenth birthday.
Russ Thyret, who later ascended to become Chairman and CEO of Warner Bros. Records, worked closely with Prince throughout his illustrious career. Following Thyret’s passing in 2021, archivist Jeff Gold, a former Warner Bros. Executive Vice President/General Manager who had collaborated with both Prince and Thyret, discovered the demo tape in Thyret’s attic.
RR Auction says: “Now, this extraordinary piece of music history is poised to find a new home, offering fans and collectors a chance to own a museum-quality Prince collectible, steeped in unparalleled provenance.
Additionally, it is accompanied by a letter of provenance from Jeff Gold, a former Warner Bros. executive who worked closely with both Prince and Thyret, which RR Auction claim solidifies “its authenticity and significance”.
“It captures the genesis of an artist who reshaped the landscape of popular music.”
The online auction which ends 23 June currently has a single bid of $5,000.
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