Ask “Mr. Music”
Jerry Osborne


DEAR JERRY: Among our album collection is “A Christmas Gift to You,” a compendium of music produced in the 1960s by Phil Spector.

I read once before in your column about another Phil Spector record that had very high value. Now I am hoping that my copy of his Christmas album is one of those valuable LPs.
—Stephen Candola, Lakeland, Fla.

DEAR STEPHEN: The one you read about must be Ike and Tina Turner's “River Deep, Mountain High,” also a Phil Spector production. An original copy of that 1966 release, on the Philles label, can bring close to $10,000.

“A Christmas Gift for You,” which first came out in 1963, sold quite well and is a far more common item.

If your copy has a blue label, it could be worth around $125. For those with a yellow label, the value drops to about $75.

The tracks from these Spector-produced sessions, featuring the Ronettes, Crystals, Darlene Love, and Bob B. Soxx and the Blue Jeans, are definitely among the all-time most-played Christmas classics. They will outlive those who made them as well as those reading and (gulp!) writing about them.

DEAR JERRY: I have a 1989 Royal Christmas Card, which Princess Diana personally signed by hand.

Of particular interest is that it is only signed by Diana, and not by Prince Charles, though Charles is pictured on it, in full uniform. Also shown are the then-young Princes Harry and William. Of course, Diana is the focal point of the family photo.

Everyone who sees this card wants to buy it, but I have no clue as to its possible worth. Can you research it for me?
—Mary Lyn Bishop, Gig Harbor, Wash.

DEAR MARY LYN: That is a Royal treasure for sure, and obviously finding an interested buyer is not a problem.

I have been unable to learn the exact number of these cards sent that year, but it is generally believed there are 100 to 150 out there somewhere.

Recent sales and auctions indicate prices for this card to be in the $500 to $750 range.

DEAR JERRY: This past summer, my teenage daughter followed closely the TV contest show “American Idol.” In fact, she picked the winner long before the game ended.

As one of her Christmas gifts, I would like to get her an album of the music from that series, if one exists that is.

Please advise me about this.
—Marinda Rodriguez, Eddyville, Ky

DEAR MARINDA: Yes, there is a soundtrack CD with a collection of tunes from that show.

Titled “American Idol: Greatest Moments” (RCA 68141), this collection is just what your daughter needs.

Among the 15 tracks, there are four dynamic selections by the winner, Kelly Clarkson: “(You Make Me Feel Like A) Natural Woman; Respect; A Moment Like This” and “Before Your Love.”

By not receiving your letter until mid-December, you may not be able to pull this off by Christmas day. Hopefully, since this is a currently charted item and easy to locate, you can get it for her before the end of the year.

Picking the eventual winner was not so difficult. Clarkson's vocal endowment was light years ahead of the other contestants.

IZ ZAT SO? Both “A Christmas Gift for You” and a 1972 repackage of it titled “Phil Spector's Christmas Album” made the Christmas charts, though neither reached No. 1.

The only Various Artists Compilation album to do that is “A Motown Christmas,” 1973 issue that features five of that label's hottest acts: Diana Ross and the Supremes, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Temptations, Stevie Wonder, and the Jackson 5.

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