Sound Advice: Heart’s ‘unauthorized’ album is the real deal

By Dave Thompson
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HEART’S MAGAZINE LP is available in a few different forms, but the “unauthorized” edition released by Mushroom Records is the one that’s most valued by collectors. Photo courtesy Epic Records
HEART’S MAGAZINE LP is available in a few different forms, but the “unauthorized” edition released by Mushroom Records is the one that’s most valued by collectors. Photo courtesy Epic Records
Question: I have an unauthorized copy of the Heart LP Magazine. It has the “Mushroom” disclaimer on the back cover. “Magazine” is the last song on side 1 and “Blues Medley (You Shook Me Babe)” is track 3 on side 2. But it’s not on Mushroom. The label is Arista, the record number is SPARTY 1024.

On the label it states that it is under license from Mushroom Records. It was made in Holland. The cover has some wear, but the vinyl looks to be VG+. It is not listed in the 6th edition of the Goldmine price guide. Is this LP worth anything?

— Rick, via e-mail

Answer: It is true that Magazine itself was the subject of legal action by Heart, who objected to the release of what was originally intended to be their second album, had a royalties dispute not ended their association with the Mushroom label; it is also true that a U.S. court sided with the band in having Magazine removed from the shelves, prior to being reissued with a new, abbreviated track listing.

What you have is a genuine item, as released across Western Europe by Arista, the Mushroom label’s European licensees, in 1977; and, as such, a disc that is missing from many Heart collectors’ collections — as indeed is the Mushroom original. 

For the record, your 1977 original features the following tracks:

“Heartless”/ “Without You” (the Nilsson song)/ “Just The Wine” / “Magazine” / “Here Song” / “Devil Delight” / “Blues Medley”/ “Mother Earth Blues” / “You Shook Me” / “I’ve Got The Music In Me.”

The authorized 1978 reissue omits “Without You” and truncates the blues medley to remove the Willie Dixon number. The tracks also were rearranged.

Mushroom’s U.S. issue of Magazine, which is numbered MRS-5008, contains the following disclaimer at the bottom of the back cover: “Mushroom Records regrets that a contractual dispute has made it necessary to complete this record without the cooperation or endorsement of the group Heart, who have expressly disclaimed artistic involvement in completing this record.”

MRS-5008 is valued at $60 in Near Mint condition, according to Goldmine Record Album Price Guide 6th Edition.

Question: We recently found in a Reader’s Digest boxed set of records that one album has a wrong label on it, on one side. It is record 1, side 2, which should read Greatest Original Hits of the ’50s and ’60s Volume 2, but it says The Best of The Crusaders Side 4.The songs, though, are actually correct. Is this of any value?

—Leanne, via e-mail

Answer: Unfortunately, these kind of errors are a lot more common than you might think, and they have very little value beyond the curiosity factor.

Occasionally, a mislabeled release will spark the collector’s imagination, but only if either the label or the record (or both) is an artist who is already considered collectible — an Elvis record mislabeled as David Bowie, for example. But even then, any premium that may be attached to the record’s value is for the novelty of owning such a thing, as opposed to a reference to rarity. Sorry about that!

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