The Sounds Of The Sixties
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Sheet Music copies: where did they all go? We bought them, scrounged them, begged them, borrowed them, sometimes swapped them with rival groups and collected them with little hope of ever playing the tunes in the published key. Between myself and the bass guitarist in our group, we must have bought a couple a week for several years.
And how many can I find now, 40 odd years on? Well, nowhere as many as I should be able to, that's for certain. We had all The Rolling Stones singles on sheet music -
Anything original by Pink Floyd in the sheet music or singles line is fetching daft money. See Emily Play fetches around £150 on Ebay, and Arnold Layne nearer £200. Glad I hung on to mine.
And have a look on Ebay for sheet music by the Yardbirds. Still I'm Sad will fetch upwards of 40 quid. Happenings Ten Years Time Ago -
There are one or two rare-
The full collection of 4 Fabulous Song Books by The Beatles is hard to come by as a collection; I've had mine for nearly 50 years. Some music copies are scarce because they weren't printed heavily, weren't easily obtainable, or weren't popular choices. Adam Faith sheet tended to use the same photo on the cover, differently presented or coloured; so did a lot of Roy Orbison sheet music. Anything by Ricky Valance is hard to come by. "Tell Laura I Love Her" is here on the first page, but it's the one which includes pictures of the other two recording artists (John Leyton & Ray Peterson). If you look on Ricky Valance's own website, you'll see scans of his sheet music, but no Tell Laura I Love Her. I suspect this one was never printed, which is strange when you consider what a huge hit his song was. Try finding a picture of The Ramrods (Riders In The Sky) any where on the Internet.
Three of the scans come from 1959, but were still being played in the 60's so -
I haven't included every piece of 1960's sheet music I've got. Some of them are too grubby, ripped or stained to include. She's not there by The Zombies is one of these, and one of my copies of Arthur Brown's Fire is another, although better copies of both are included on the list.
If anybody viewing the site has copyright to any of the photographs, and doesn't want them on view -
Over the last year or so I've acquired a few more pieces of sheet music via Ebay or antique & collectors book fairs, but you have to be careful. Dealers who've latched on to the fact people collect 60's music, are coming out of the woodwork and trying to obtain ludicrous prices for old tatty pieces of sheet music from the sixties. Typical examples are The Move's Blackberry Way and Arthur Brown's Fire -
If I've got two or more copies of a piece of sheet music -
I had the amusement of watching Pink Floyd’s Apples And Oranges start at £150 on Ebay not so long ago, and finish at getting on for £600. I truly hope the new owner didn't buy it to learn the song, because the original sheet music doesn't contain the complete song. I know -
Collecting Sheet Music
As far as I can see the internet contains no articles, help, advice or information on the subject of collecting 60's sheet music; if it does, I've never found it. It's not as if there's no interest in the subject, because Ebay has no end of adverts for sheet music from the 1960's. Ebay -
There are one or two sellers/dealers on Ebay who keep a pretty good stock of 60's sheet music. All their music is shown and described fairly, and it's up to you if you want to pay the price asked. Anything else -
The Beatles: I collected The Beatles at the time; the majority of my sheet music has survived and is shown on these pages. One or two of them are a bit worn, but considering how many people probably handled them at the time, this is hardly a surprise. They were published in their thousands almost from the time they became popular, so don't be mislead into thinking that any of The Beatles sheet music is necessarily rare. Obviously, though, anything in really fine condition is going to be hard to find. The Beatles were one of the few groups who had single sheet music copies published from their LP's. I Call Your Name would very scarce if it was a UK publication, but it isn't. It was given to me years ago by a friend who bought it somewhere abroad while he was serving with the merchant navy. If I was going to stick my neck out and name a scarce sheet music copy by The Beatles, it would be Rain -
On the subject of signed sheet music, another one to watch out for is Don’t Bring Me Down by The Pretty Things. The front cover looks like it’s signed by all band members -
Condition: when I think of the way we treated our sheet music in the 1960's, it's a wonder any of it survived at all. Despite that, I managed to keep the majority of my sheet music without folding it, or without scribbling chords or other annotations on the inside. I still don't buy sheet music which has been folded.
If a seller on Ebay describes his piece of sheet music as "OK For Its Age " this usually is a euphemism for rotten condition. Don't take any notice of sellers claiming their sheet music copy is rare. I've seen Blackberry Way by The Move called "rare", and Fire by The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown described as "very rare". Both songs were number one hits, heavily published, and I've got more than one copy of each. "Hard to find" and "Rare" or "Very Rare" is a matter of opinion. Purple Haze by Jimi Hendrix I'd class as scarce. Had it in the 60's -
A lot of sheet music came with extra pages inside the folded cover, and these are common casualties inasmuch as they often go missing with time. Sellers -
The Last Time/Play With Fire by The Rolling Stones pops up regularly on Ebay. I've got 5 copies of this, but I've only got one with the original Play With Fire insert; most came with sheet music collections. One I bought off Ebay a few years ago was described as in "fine condition". It was, as it happens -
Sheet Music Sources: gone are the days when music shops sold off their old or obsolete sheet music stocks cheaply. And if there are still a few about, I'm pretty certain that all the 60's ones have long gone. ATV Television sold off their entire sheet music library a few years ago, and some of these pop up from time to time to time on Ebay -
I don't do Car Boot Sales, but last year a friend of mine 'phoned one Sunday evening. He was about to ruin my week, but didn't know it. He'd trying phoning me that morning but we were out. He'd spotted two Yardbirds sheet music copies at a car boot sale he frequents. Apparently he ended up not buying them because the seller wouldn't budge with his price of £1 each, and Chris wouldn't move from his offer of £1 for the two. Over Under Sideways Down and the very-
Book Fairs: I regularly find sheet music copies in my friends large second hand book shop; he usually gets them in job lots from other dealers, or the occasional attic or house clearances. Book fairs are a good place to find sheet music, but you do have to stand and sort through endless piles and boxes which contain mainly 30's & 40's piano music, or traditional classical music. You will find piles of sheet music occasionally in antiques fairs, but -
I've mentioned Ebay, which is a good source of sheet music -
Another thing worth mentioning; there’s a lot of music turning up on Ebay with the description PVG Sheet Music (PVG -
One absolute must with Ebay: make certain before you buy the sheet music that you and the seller have the same understanding of how you want the music copy packed -
Also worth mentioning; not everybody has the same idea of what is a good piece of stiff card. I always mean a piece of thick corrugated card and I say so, because some sellers think that stiff card is the back of a corn flakes box.
Below are the guidelines I personally use for sheet music condition. I don’t buy sheet music which has been folded, nor has had heavy annotations added.
Mint. As good as you are ever going to find. Possibly an unused publishers copy that’s never even been opened. No signs of handling or wear. Rare but not impossible.
Fine. The most practical best condition likely to be found. No tears, rips, folds,creases or stains. Bright and clean and crisp with no shop stamps or annotations of any sort. Obviously any insert pages should be present and in the same condition as the rest of the sheet music.
Excellent. Bright and clean with no rips, tears,folds, creases or stains. No annotations. Signs of handling acceptable with very minor corner creasing. A shop stamp is acceptable if the sheet music is scarce or hard to find.
Very Good. Bright and clean with no rips, tears, folds or stains. Minor creasing likely and acceptable as is a shop stamp. No annotations. A discreet previous owners name is acceptable if the sheet music is a scarce or hard to find one.
Good. To me -
Fair. Below the standard I will buy unless it’s one of the scarce ones, but sadly the most common condition generally available on Ebay -
Of course, these are only guidelines. Sometimes the scarcity of the sheet music will have an impact on the price even if the condition wouldn’t normally be acceptable. Sometimes you get lucky; I’ve got a copy of Johnny Kidd’s Restless in fine condition. Found it in a bookfair for £4. Johnny Kidd’s Always And Ever I found in a bookshop in with a pile of old music. Cost me £3, but it came with punch holes -
Going back to watching what you buy on Ebay, have a look at the two copies of See Emily Play below. The one on the left I bought in 1967 from Fidlings (honestly -
1st October 2017