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November 17, 2008



I've picked up several second-hand LPs that had personal letters from the artists concerned directed to the receiver of the promo - in both cases the recipient had obviously hot-footed it round to the local "Record and Tape Exchange" without even opening it.

My favourite example, found inside the first Momus record, and intended for Ivo Watts Russell, head of 4AD records, can be found here.

Demis CousCous

Very slightly off topic, but a tall skinny friend of mine bought a load of second hand suits dirt cheap in a Brighton marketplace a couple of years ago.

Inside he found not only a £20 note, but bespoke labels bearing the name "Nick Cave".


In high school (this was about 21-22 years ago) I bought a copy of Surrealistic Pillow at a used record place. Must've been an early pressing; there was a note in a girl's handwriting likely from the late 60s. She said they couldn't believe that they were all graduating, and asked if they were still on for meeting up and smoking pot behind the football stands of some unnamed high school right after the graduation ceremony. Nice little time capsule!

It's pretty common in thrift stores or flea markets, but not so much at record stores, to find unrelated 45s in an LP cover. I've found some cool 45s that way.


I bought a copy of the LP Boxset for Phillip Glass/Robert Wilson's Einstein on the Beach at the Magic Bus in New Orleans about 6 years ago. I opened it up and inside were two used tickets for a Phillip Glass multiday performance retrospective at Tulane with copies of each days program and a cut out of an article from the Time Picayune about the event. Not unusual per se, but deffinetly really cool.


i apologize that this is a little lengthy--i cut and pasted it from a piece i did for an alt weekly once, which had a picture of the illustration at the end:

There's a bit of a diary inside of a Brady Bunch record I bought at Goodwill the other day. The record is not really of the Brady Bunch proper, but of the Brady Bunch Kids, the cartoons. The titles of the songs are spelled out in rebus. They actually get kind of confusing, or really stretch the limits of whatever rules there are to rebuses. The needed words are often simply spelled out in the pictures. For "Saturday in the Park," you have "SAT-" and then a tardy slip with the word "Tardy" on it. I'm not sure that that counts. Extrapolating correct spellings from misspellings hardly seems the point. One of the girls wears a shirt that says "her" on it, and is followed by "-ry" for the word "hurry."And then, strangely, for their big hit "It's a Sunshine Day," "shine" is indicated by a black eye on little cartoon Bobby, who seems really happy. Probably one of his older brothers gave it to him, but he's forgotten all about it now. Kids are like that.
Which brings me back to the diary, so full of the tumultuous life of a child. January 3rd: "I don't know whats happening but evrything is missing of mind my jury box then my ring and then my hair Blower well thats all for today." That's not quite all, because she then practices the symbol for cents, with a sole "b/w" mixed in----probably the "backed with" symbol from the sleeve of a 45rpm single, meant to indicate the b-side. It's charming to think of a kid teaching herself the trappings of a culture that has now disappeared, but in which she was then saturated. And amazing that all her possessions are missing, yet once they have all been itemized, she is content to let it go without further speculation. Incidentally, one can hardly fault her for spelling "jewelry" as "jury," or "mine," "mind," since that is probably how it would have been spelled out on the record cover by the Brady Kids.
On January 6th we learn that a boy named Donny loves her; on the 8th a boy named Davy throws his hat in the ring. She is cool towards both, evidently, but does not record her responses. January 5th: "I learning too skate real well I can backwards skate too and I go skating every saturday I go skating, I love to skate very much also this boy asked me to couple skate last time I went skating." (Period mine.) January 9th: "I wish I could get married. I don't know why I just do!" January 15th: "I hate Lori Alspach she thinks shes something but shes not nothing but a Dummy. Today she was skating in her kitchen and she wouldn't Let me have a turn. So she said 'lets play checkers and then we will play something you won't to play. So I played. then we got through. I'm going to skate she said. I said I thought we were going to play something I wanted to play 'No' she said. I said why? then she said 'I hate you.'"
You turn the page. "This is Lori A.," it says. In red marker, taking up the rest of the page, is a fat devil with a horns and a pitchfork. On rollerskates. The devil is sad--miserable even. Which is really more cutting than making Lori a fat devil on skates. Lori has issues, and our girl knows it.
The next day, she reports that she has a new room, and she hates it. And there the entries end.

brad ford

Inside a Françoise Hardy LP I got at a yardsale over the summer, I found pages of handwritten lyrics in French, along with handwritten English translations.

fatty jubbo

an ossified booger stuck to the dust jacket of Beefheart's Mirror Man. fitting.

Jennifer Steffey

I found a letter between two gay friends in an Ultravox 7" remix of Dancing with Tears in my Eyes. In the letter, the writer explains to his friend that he can't be bothered with dating and just masturbates a lot and life couldn't be better.


My copy of The KLF's "Chill Out" has an 8.5x11" page with a track-by-track review ("by JSH") glued to the back. His initial summary reads:

"In general: baffling artsy ambient sounds, mostly purty, occasionally abrasive, kind of a New-Age Negativland. It makes actually no difference where you drop the needle, so jump in anywhere and fade it down when you get tired of it."

This previous owners contribution is undated.


I bought a copy of the single "Mouth of Hell" by the Boston indie-poppers Miles Dethmuffen at Used Kids Records in Columbus in the mid-'90s, which had stuffed inside a Kodak print of the band taken at singer/bassist Linda Bean's wedding.

But my favorite finding something weird story is this: a few years ago, my wife and I saw Olivier Assayas' film CLEAN, which somewhat randomly features David Roback in a small role near the end. This reminded me that I hadn't heard Mazzy Star's SO TONIGHT THAT I MIGHT SEE since I'd had to make a massive CD purge during a cash crunch just after college. So I ordered a copy online, and a couple weeks later, I got an email back from the company that said it was out of stock and they were canceling the order. Later that afternoon, I was in a mall and on a whim I ducked into a Strawberries Records location and bought a pile of CDs out of the deep discount remainder bin for a buck apiece. One of them was STRANGE TIMES by the Chameleons. That night, I was sitting at my desk ripping my new CDs into iTunes, and when I opened the cover of the Chameleons CD, a second disc fell out of the jewel box into my lap: SO TONIGHT THAT I MIGHT SEE by Mazzy Star.


I remember buying an old LP of Yes' "Tales from Topographic Oceans" at a swap meet in CA a long time ago. When I took the record out of the plastic sleeve it was in, a bunch of stems and seeds fell out. :)


cool thread!! I bought an LP by Aussie band The Sunnyboys in the late 80's here in Boston called "Get Some Fun" which inside had a hand written note from some big-wig at RCA Records in NY to another guy at RCA with his comments on the LP, and why they were passing on putting it out in the USA....I have always thought jeez, wouldn't the guys in the band like to have know why RCA passed on them?

Stoned Mellotron

I also found stems and seeds in my late uncle's Allman Brothers lp. Dating somewhere between 1974 and 93 when he died.

Most recently in a two dollar Rita Marley "Who Feels It Knows It" LP, I found a boring store-bought birthday card with a duck wearing a birthday hat in front of a cake saying "Quack, Quack, Quack, Quack, etc..." Inside it says "Quack, Quack, QUack...etc" The personal note says "Happy Quack Birthday too you!! This bit of change is to be used to go see ET, not for a couple of beers & slim jims. ouch, Paula"

If only the beers and slim jims were still in the record too....

Jerry Sheebdihp

Got a copy of the Who's Quadrophenia at a flea market and stuffed in the gatefold booklet was some pot (shake)....with sticks and stems

danny trashcan

5 or 6 years ago I bought a copy of Yes's Fragile at a thrift store. Pasted to the inside of the gatefold was part of a typewritten script for a hippystyle pro-christianity play.

In 95 at the local Newbury Comics, I bought the capitalist Casualties/MDC split 7", stuffed inside was the 2nd John Spencer Blues Explosion jukebox 45...which I think is the bands finest moment. I think i inadvertently completed someones half started shoplift scam.

Recently bought the soundtrack lp's to Star Wars and ESB, both of which had someones SW related press clippings inside...the ESB on had most of the pages from the Dynamite issue on the movie.

danny trashcan

5 or 6 years ago I bought a copy of Yes's Fragile at a thrift store. Pasted to the inside of the gatefold was part of a typewritten script for a hippystyle pro-christianity play.

In 95 at the local Newbury Comics, I bought the capitalist Casualties/MDC split 7", stuffed inside was the 2nd John Spencer Blues Explosion jukebox 45...which I think is the bands finest moment. I think i inadvertently completed someones half started shoplift scam.

Recently bought the soundtrack lp's to Star Wars and ESB, both of which had someones SW related press clippings inside...the ESB on had most of the pages from the Dynamite issue on the movie.


Grandin Lane (from the Ethel Merman pic above) is not too far from where I live. Just kinda funny I happened on this site today. came here via- WFMU:BrooklynVegan:EachNoteSecure:WOXY.


In a Village People LP I found hand-written poetry/lyrics to the song "Cruisin'" where the kid apparently didn't know the real meaning of "cruising" with respect to the Village People's original audience.

In a Rhinocerous (or maybe it was Spooky Tooth) LP I found a very nice etched self-portrait of some young lady.

In Miles Davis' "Live Evil" I found a dead moth flattened in the gatefold.


In a TSOL album I found a photo of a pretty young girl on her front steps, circa 1985.

A friend of mine who worked at a used record store during the 80's-90's said it was very common to have a middle-aged professional come in looking to sell their old record collection, and as he would sort through it he would find plenty of leftover weed/seed/stems in the middle of gatefold albums, enough that he could sometimes take home a little nickel bag of 20-year-old weed.

Andy in Berlin

When I moved into an apartment in NYC in 1974, the previous tenant had left a couple of orange crates of various GREAT jazz records. Between a couple of covers was a porn picture (probably pulled out of some magazine) of some girls dressed up like nuns doin' it with some alter candles. Also a b/w bphoto of a naked guy sitting cross-legged with his big schlong draped over his leg. This one was signed - "regards from the sanitarium. Love, Rocco"


"regards from the sanitarium. Love, Rocco"

THAT'S the name of my next album. :)

John Trembly

For the ten or so years I worked at Izzy's, I've found numerous hand-written lyrics and love letters. Best story was a woman in her late-twenties, early thirties was selling her boyfriend's records and as Iz was sliding them out to check condition, a nude photo of said woman slid out. "I think this is yours"

Interesting things I found were:

Someone's 1967 junior high school schedule inside a mono copy of the Doors' first album.

Poorly photocopied People magazine article on Parliament-Funkadelic inside a copy of "America Eats It Young"


note to self: need to go record shopping w/ john allen & fabio...

Jack Lechner

Several decades ago, I bought a used copy of Simon & Garfunkel's "Bookends." On the inner sleeve, someone had meticulously and laboriously written the song title "Punky's Dilemma" in neo-psychedelic lettering that perfectly filled the circular space where the record label would be.


at sound exchange, we had a small wall of found items - poems, lyrics, nudies, used condoms, crack baggies, syringes (!), and of course, pot. whenever we would tell visiting cops that the HUGE pot leaf was found intact in a willy nelson lp, they'd usually stop hassling us about it and take a photo.
but the absolute BEST items were letters from various rock superstars to a semi-infamous 'punk critic' then inhabiting austin... everyone from gg allin and glenn danzig to janet billig. almost all of them telling the guy 'here's yer free rekkid, now leave me alone already!' since we found them EVERY time he sold us promos to pay the rent, we figured he was leaving them in there on purpose as some sort of ego stroke.


As a dedicated vinyl junkie (and a dealer once at a second hand record store in the Seattle area.) I have come across some interesting bonuses while plowing through other people's discarded LPs. Here's a few I have actually found:

- 3 $100 bills in a copy of Ancient Heart by Tanita Tikaram
- 1 £5 pound note in a UK copy of This Year's Model Elvis Costello
- 1 vitriolic break up letter inside a copy of Get The Knack The Knack
- 6 jeweler baglets of cocaine in a promo copy of Unguarded by Amy Grant (of all things!) Probably the first time an Amy Grant record was taken in as criminal evidence....
- Several nude Polaroids of two women inside a copy of Fandango ZZ Top
- An personally autographed 8x10 of Donny Osmond inside a copy of his self titled 1989 comeback LP. "To Sandi..."
- Instructions on how to make homemade napalm inside a copy of The Stranger Billy Joel
- Several Christmas cards, including two "Santa" $1 bills inside a copy of Christmas With Conniff The Ray Conniff Singers
- A failing report card inside a copy of Piece Of Mind Iron Maiden
- Another nasty break up letter, this one detailing gleefully about an abortion the writer had to spite the recipient inside a Hank Snow LP.
- 3 photos of people getting stoned inside a copy of Chicago VII
- Several vacation photos inside a copy of Sleepercatcher Little River Band
- Photocopied pages from The Satanic Bible inside a Toscanini classical LP
- A very explicit love (lust?) letter inside a copy of 1999 Prince
- Several grocery store coupons inside a copy of For Earth Below Robin Trower.

Stems and seeds were almost a regular thing to find, it was almost even expected in the '80s when a then-middle aged hippie dude came in to trade in his old Moby Grape or Hendrix vinyl for CDs or cash (what little we negotiated for back then.) When I worked all day at the store alone on the weekends, I often made off with some rare and very collectible stuff.

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