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Lot #738
Prince: 1987 Black Album UK Promo Cassette and Sleeve

1987 UK promo cassette tape and album sleeve proof for Prince's The Black Album—quite possibly the only two in existence

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Estimate: $7000+
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1987 UK promo cassette tape and album sleeve proof for Prince's The Black Album—quite possibly the only two in existence

Exceedingly rare original 1987 UK promotional cassette tape and a UK promotional album sleeve proof for Prince’s legendary The Black Album, also known as The Funk Bible, which was originally intended to be released on December 8, 1987, with an entirely black sleeve and no printed title or song credits. A week before its release date, Prince had the album withdrawn after having a spiritual experience that convinced him the album was 'evil.' Warner Bros. worked extremely hard to destroy all of the 500,000 copies pressed on vinyl, CD, and cassette—very few survived, making extant examples among the rarest in the world. To our knowledge, this is the only UK album cover proof and the only UK promo cassette tape of The Black Album in existence.

The cassette tape contains a ‘The Tape Gallery’ J-card that features the title typed on the edge, “The Black Album,” with the front dated “Chrome 18/11/87,” and listing the title, recording studio, and song tracks: “‘The Black Album,’ Paisley Park / Side One, Le Grind, Cindy C., Dead On It, When 2 R In Love / Side Two, Bob George, Superfunkycalifragisexi, 2 Nigs United 4 West Compton, Rockhard In A Funky Place.” The labels to both sides of the tape are marked in the same manner, “‘The Black Album,’ Paisley Park.”

The promotional album sleeve is solid black to both sides, with the reverse spine edge featuring the original catalog number, “9 25677-1.” The record is not included. In overall fine condition.

Accompanied by a detailed letter of provenance from the original owner, who was employed as a music buyer for a large United Kingdom retailer during the 1980s and 1990s. It reads, in part: “In my role, I met with 10 - 15 record labels once a month…at which time they presented their label’s next month’s releases. This would include them playing the new single / excerpts from the album, the marketing campaign associated with the release and any salient background information. The label would often…leave me with a record, cassette, or CD (in the 80’s this was invariably a pre-release record or cassette…) together with album artwork and any supporting materials…The Prince Black album cassette and the accompanying sleeve almost certainly came through this route."

The Prince Estate is not affiliated, associated, or connected with RR Auction or this auction, nor has it endorsed, authenticated or sponsored the items available for auction. Further, The Prince Estate has not licensed any of its intellectual property to RR Auction.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Fine Autograph and Artifacts, Ft. Prince
  • Dates: #627 - Ended January 12, 2022