The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds and The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band are considered to be two of the greatest vinyl albums ever recorded, but you can easily find used copies of each on eBay for about $5—or even less! That’s because popular albums aren’t usually worth very much—millions of them were pressed and most of the people who bought them kept them.
On the other hand, a near-mint condition copy of a crappy 1968 Pet Sounds rip-off album called Would You Believe by Billy Nicholls can fetch over $10,000 from willing collectors. That’s because only 100 copies of it were printed and it’s possible that most of those were thrown in the garbage after one listen.
Here, ranked in order from most to least expensive, are super-lame yet super-rare vinyl LPs that cost more than your monthly rent. These prices are rough estimates based on average resale value according to latest trends. And in every case, although you may be paying for rarity or “collectability,” you are definitely NOT paying for musical quality.
Would You Believe (1968)
Would YOU believe that some people would rather pay for this album than buy a new car? Billy Nicholls tries his hardest to sound like Pet Sounds-era Beach Boys and fails as hard as possible. This album is a total wipeout, but since only 100 copies were pressed, it’s like finding a rare jewel. If you must risk its value by playing it, I recommend doing so with the speakers disconnected.
The record industry is so corrupt that label owners will often launch subsidiary labels that are designed to lose a lot of money as part of a tax scam to avoid paying taxes for their more successful label. This obscure slab of steaming crap from 1976 has been called “the holy grail of ‘tax scam’ records.” After less than a minute of listening to this meandering mess, you’ll be offering someone thousands of dollars just to stop it from playing.
Growers of Mushroom (1971)
Anyone willing to pay over $1 for this ponderous disaster is obviously high on mushrooms. But if you’re willing to fork over more than $5K for it, you’ve obviously overdosed.
Round the Edges (1972)
Only 50 copies of this prog-rock miscarriage from the early 1970s were printed—and that’s about 50 copies too many.
Very rare psychedelic album from Mexico. Based on the cover alone, you are guaranteed to have a bad trip.
Speed, Glue & Shinki
Speed, Glue & Shinki (1972)
This Japanese power trio featured one member who liked to do amphetamines, another who liked to sniff glue to get high, and then guitarist Shinki Chen, AKA “The Japanese Jimi Hendrix.” With or without Shinki, you can rest assured that this record is stinky.
A Fleeting Glance
A Fleeting Glance (1970)
As the legend goes, fewer than five copies of this album were pressed, despite the fact that it’s not even worth a fleeting listen.
Frutti Per Kagua (1972)
It’s nice to see rock records from Italy. It’s not nice to hear that they’re as bad as this one.
There’s nothing complex about it—this is awful.
Backbone of the Nation (1973)
Only 25 copies of this were pressed. The music provides about as much excitement as sitting still and watching water dry.
Three Parts to My Soul (1971)
No offense to your soul, Dr. Z, but I couldn’t even get through the first part.
The Love Cycle (1969)
Only 99 copies of this were pressed, because at the time in England, you had to pay taxes on any album runs of 100 or more. This is a psychedelic album about a relationship that went sour, and it’s about as fun as being dumped while peaking on LSD.
Fun Palace (1969)
Fewer than 20 copies of this big box o’ nothin’ were pressed. Now the only task for righteous people worldwide is to find the remaining copies and burn them.
The Psycheground Group
If the idea of an Italian Jesus dressing up like Che Guevara and doing hard drugs appeals to you, then so will this album. Just realize you won’t be getting a Christmas card from me this year.
Makin’ Love / You Mean Everything (1966)
The only record on here that’s a single rather than an album. Perhaps calling this “garage rock” is being too kind; it sounds more like it was recorded in a dumpster.
If you’re willing to forgo having your car’s engine rebuilt in order to snag one of the fewer than 50 copies that were pressed by this garage band in Iowa, I question your judgement—not only about music, but about life.
Chung King Can Suck It (1989)
Yeah, but how will Chung King be able to suck it when the band already sucks so hard?
Psychedelic hard rock from England that only a grandmother could love.
Piece Of Mind (1972)
Here’s a piece of my mind—this album never should have been recorded.
Swaddling Songs (1972)
I’d like to tell you where to stick your candle, and believe me, I wouldn’t be very mellow about it.
Magic Lantern (1968)
Only 100 copies were pressed, so at least that’s a good thing. Otherwise, this album proves why there should be a federal law against drum solos.
The Index [aka “The Black Album”] (1967)
If you were looking for a reason never to do drugs, look no further than this album. This is what happens when you do drugs, kids. Just say NO.
Does the world really need progressive rock from Austria? Didn’t think so. You know who else came from Austria? Adolf Hitler.
Richard Last Group
Get Ready (1972)
Was this actually Richard’s last group? One could only hope so.
Flames of Hell
Fire and Steel (1987)
If you lead a life of sin, you will be forced to listen to this album for all eternity.
What kind of name is “Bent Wind,” anyway? I’ll tell you what kind—it’s a bad name. And this is a bad album. This is Led Zeppelin if it went over like a lead balloon.
Tardo Pede in Magiam Versus (1972)
Fewer than 1,000 copies of this were pressed in Italy. The only thing of note is that the keyboard player was 68 years old when it was recorded. And this is a band that plays like it has one foot in the grave already.
The Rising Storm
Calm Before… (1967)
Sit down, storm. No need for you to keep rising. I said, SIT DOWN, storm.
About fifty copies of this “experimental” LP were produced, ostensibly distributed as microaggressions to all their friends, all of whom ostensibly ceased being their friends the minute they listened to this. In this case, the “experiment” failed miserably.
Plan of Attak (1985)
You know a band is cool when the purposely misspell things, right? Either that, or they don’t know how to spell. I’m going with the latter on this speed-metal car crash from the mid-80s.
The Truth (1972)
This was recorded by a Connecticut man who reportedly “dressed like Jesus at all times” and “had a real sense of mission.” Unfortunately, he should have aborted this mission.
Who is Ben, and why should I care about him? This album has me wishing that bad things would happen to Ben.
Super-creepy and very noisy experimental and spoken-word album. It’s not bad enough that it’s called Motherlove; what makes it far worse is that there’s a track called “Incest Song.”
The Wuffy Dogs
Wuffy Dogs (1983)
A punk rock EP that features a song describing what dogs do—unless you were unaware, they can actually sit and roll over if you tell them to!
Mike Taylor Quartet
One Mike Taylor is far too many. Four of them are downright unforgivable.
C. A. Quintet
Trip Thru Hell (1969)
This is why people don’t want to go to hell.
Faintly Blowing (1969)
Only faintly blowing? Nah—this blows hard.