the dawning of the age of cut-out albums

Es­ti­mated reading time is 11 min­utes.

ELVIS CUT-OUT AL­BUMS began ap­pearing in the mid-1970s. The dawning of the age of Elvis cut-outs opened with a handful of ti­tles from a few years ear­lier that had been deleted due to di­min­ishing sales. This ar­ticle is an overview of the cut-out bins of the ’70s and the Elvis al­bums that found their way to them. 1

Stores that had never con­tem­plated a bar­gain bin in their record de­part­ment started one and record buying was never the same. But these records should have had a huge im­pact on the early record col­lec­tors price guides, but did not.

So here are a handful of once common cut-outs that re­main af­ford­able forty years later! This ar­ticle was pub­lished si­mul­ta­ne­ously with “on my first pub­lished price guide” and there will be some over­lap­ping of text. I added a sec­tion unique to this post ad­dressing Elvis al­bums as cut-outs. 2


Elvis Spinout m 800

Elvis Spinout CaliforniaHoliday m 800

The first Elvis album that I saw at a dis­counted price was the UK pressing of CAL­I­FORNIA HOL­IDAY, which I found in the base­ment of Mc­Cro­ry’s in 1967, one of the few stores in Wilkes-Barre to have a bar­gain bin for records. This was also the first im­ported Elvis album that I had ever seen: RCA Victor was very pro­tec­tive of their market and a non-US pressing in an Amer­ican store was a rare thing in those days. But it was not de­faced or marked in any way as a cut-out. It was in the 99¢ sec­tion, and so I bought it. I did not see a deleted Elvis album with a cut-out mark until the 1970s. 

The dawn of the cut-out era

After the Amer­ican record in­dustry stopped man­u­fac­turing al­bums in both mono and stereo in 1968, they had tens of mil­lions of deleted records taking up valu­able space. These were dumped into stores across the country for a frac­tion of their normal price—wholesaling for as little as 10¢ in­stead of the stan­dard $1.35. As these units had al­ready been written off of the com­pa­nies’ taxes as a loss, any­thing they re­ceived for them was gravy.

The stores in turn usu­ally of­fered these (mostly but not ex­clu­sively) mono al­bums for 99¢, al­though I found stores like Wool­worth’s and Mc­Cro­ry’s of­fering them for 3‑for-$1!

These were gen­er­ally family-owned and op­er­ated fran­chises known as “5 and 10 stores” that had es­tab­lished bar­gain bins, some­thing many re­tail out­lets did not.

Need­less to say, these prices met with great suc­cess with cus­tomers. Be­gin­ning in 1968, my record col­lec­tion ex­panded exponentially!

It was a win­ning sit­u­a­tion for the record com­pa­nies, re­tail chains, and record buyers—and it was the birth of the cut-out bin! This gave the in­dustry an outlet to sell mil­lions of records a year that had no com­mer­cial vi­a­bility. It would not be un­kind to refer to the ’70s as the Cut-Out Era of record buying.

Be­cause these al­bums were avail­able at the same time, I have listed them al­pha­bet­i­cally by artist. I se­lected a bak­er’s dozen and stopped, al­though this page could go forever . . .


Association InsightOut 800

The As­so­ci­a­tion
In­sight Out
Warner Bros. W‑1696 (mono) and WS-1696 (stereo)

The group’s third long-player was re­leased in 1967 and was the group’s most am­bi­tious and most ac­com­plished album. It was also the most suc­cessful: car­ried by Windy and Never My Love (both #1 on the Cash Box Top 100), IN­SIGHT OUT was a Top 10 on the LP charts and awarded an RIAA Gold Record by the end of the year.

By the end of the next year, their run of Top 40 sin­gles was over and their al­bums sold less and less and all of them wound up in cut-out bins. Fine record by a fine band that rarely gets its due from historians.

Note that 1967’s Every­thing That Touches You, their last Top 10, has been remixed into bland ‘modern’ stereo (or what one dis­cerning lis­tener termed it, multi-channel mono). To hear this record­ing’s true beauty, find the orig­inal Six­ties stereo mix.


EricBurdonAnimals WindsOfChange m 800

Eric Burdon & The Animals
Winds Of Change
MGM E‑4484 (mono) and SE-4484 stereo)

This 1967 album fea­tured the idio­syn­cratic but big hit single San Fran­ciscan Nights with its corny but en­dearing spoken intro:

“This fol­lowing pro­gram is ded­i­cated to the city and people of San Fran­cisco, who may not know it, but they are beau­tiful. And so is their city. This is a very per­sonal song, so if the viewer cannot un­der­stand it—particularly those of you who are Eu­ro­pean residents—save up all your bread and fly TransWorld Air­ways to San Fran­cisco USA. Then maybe you’ll un­der­stand the song. It will be worth it, if not for the sake of this song, but for the sake of your own peace of mind.”

The album also in­cluded two classic cuts: Good Times (now my theme song: “When I think of all the good times that I wasted having good times”) and Any­thing. Un­for­tu­nately, this album failed to ig­nite the imag­i­na­tion of psy­che­delic rock fans and ended up in dollar bins all over the country. Note that this album in­cludes an in­ter­esting ver­sion of Paint It Black whose intro seems to want to sound like a Bay Area psych workout.


ChadJeremy Cabbages stereo 800

Chad & Jeremy
Of Cab­bages And Kings
Co­lumbia CL-6871 (mono) and CS-9471 (stereo)

Chad Stuart and Je­remy Clyde’s 1967 ex­cur­sion into psy­che­delia as met with de­ri­sion, much of it due to the ab­surdly pre­ten­tious (but fun) Progress Suite that oc­cu­pies all of Side 2 of the record. Too bad, as all of the Side 1 was ex­tremely fine pysch-pop. Thank­fully, suc­ceeding gen­er­a­tions of col­lec­tors have sen the album in a more pos­i­tive light. The follow-up album, THE ARK, was also a cut-out but was hard to find even then.


DaveClark5 5By5 m 800

The Dave Clark Five
5 By 5
Epic LN-24236 (mono) and BN-26236 (stereo)

The DC5 were big enough during the first year of the British In­va­sion (1964) that mag­a­zines de­voted whole is­sues to “Who’s your fa­vorite: the Bea­tles or the Dave Clark 5?” (Or Her­man’s Her­mits; the Rolling Stones did not re­ally come into play as a major at­trac­tion to teeny­bop­pers in the States until ’65.)

By 1967, the DC5 were through as hit­makers, and this al­bum’s single, the bluesy Nine­teen Days, failed to even reach the Top 40. Each of the last three DC5 al­bums reached the cut-out bins: YOU GOT WHAT IT TAKES was the most common, EVERY­BODY KNOWS the hardest to find.


HermansHermits HoldOn m 800

Her­man’s Hermits
Hold On
MGM E‑4342 (mono) and SE-4342 (stereo)

For years, it seemed like every ‘Er­mits MGM album could be had for a buck—except the first one, which re­mains the hardest title to found to this day. When I started selling records via ads in Gold­mine mag­a­zine in 1980 (as Pet Sounds Records), I was able to buy 25-count boxes of Her­mits al­bums for $15—and that in­cluded ship­ping! This sound­track album from 1966 was ar­guably the most common record for this group.


Hollies HeAintHeavy 800b

The Hol­lies
He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother
Epic BN-26538 (stereo)

After Graham Nash’s de­par­ture, the Hol­lies strug­gled to main­tain a hip image. Without Nash, their song­writing was un­pre­dictable and they had to rely on other writer’s ma­te­rial. In 1969 they scored a world­wide hit with a gor­geous reading of Bobby Scott and Bob Rus­sell’s He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother.

Alas, the album of the same name in the US was a rather weak of­fering of their own songs. It sold well for a time and that found its way into the dollar boxes. Of the Hol­lies al­bums that reached the cut-out bins, WORDS AND MUSIC BY BOB DYLAN was easily the most easily found.


LovinSpoonful EverythingPlaying s 800

The Lovin’ Spoonful
Every­thing Playing
Kama Sutra KLP-8061 (mono) and KLPS-8061 (stereo)

While nowhere near as common as Her­man’s Her­mits LPs (what was?), sev­eral Spoonful al­bums could be found as cut-outs throughout the ’70s. Even though this album in­cluded two hits, Six O’­Clock and the mag­nif­i­cently Brian Wilson-ish She Is Still A Mys­tery (and their last single to reach Cash Box’s Top 20), it stiffed and was deleted within a year of re­lease. This album was every­where every­when for years and years . . .


MamasPapas PapasMamas 800 

The Mamas & The Papas
Papas & Mamas
Dun­hill DS-50031 (stereo)

De­spite their string of fab­u­lous 45s, their im­por­tance in the pub­lic’s ac­cep­tance of “hip­pies,” and their promi­nent role in the Mon­terey In­ter­na­tional Pop Music Fes­tival of 1967, by ’68 The Mamas & The Papas had passed their peak and this album sold nowhere near as well as the first three, all multi-million sellers. Con­se­quently, it be­came a cut-out bin staple for years.

Note the hor­i­zontal line on the cover of this 1968 album: it was a gate­fold jacket that opened with photos of John, Michelle, Cass, and Denny on the in­side so that you could flip the front cover flaps and make goofy faces. A goofy idea.


PaulRevereRaiders HardNHeavy color 800

Paul Re­vere & The Raiders
Hard ‘N’ Heavy With Marshmallows
Co­lumbia CS-9753 (stereo)

De­spite a string of great 45s and some fine LPs, the Raiders clung to their teeny­bopper image through the ’60s. De­scribing your music as “hard and heavy with marsh­mal­lows” sounded like bub­blegum with a stone in the center: it was hard, but it was still bub­blegum. Shame, as this was a good album.

While sev­eral Raiders al­bums seemed to be all over the place—including REV­O­LU­TION! and SOME­THING HAP­PENING—it was GOIN’ TO MEM­PHIS that I saw in the cut-out bins the most often. All are good al­bums, too long ne­glected by his­to­rians, in­cluding this 1969 re­lease (de­spite its ghastly title).


PeterGordon LadyGodiva m 800

Peter & Gordon
Lady Go­diva
Capitol T‑2664 (mono) and ST-2664 (stereo)

In a per­fect pop world, Peter Asher would have been Paul Mc­Cart­ney’s brother-in-law while he was recording with his friend Gordon Waller. Lady Go­diva, their last hit on the Amer­ican charts in 1966, was a smartly arranged and pro­duced piece of nov­elty. Mr. Asher went on to pro­duce and sell mil­lions and mil­lions of Linda Ron­stadt records in the ’70s, while Mr. Gordon re­turned to his first love, the theater.


Turtles BattleOfTheBands 800 

The Tur­tles
The Battle Of The Bands
White Whale WWS-7118 (stereo)

The multi-faceted Tur­tles recorded this in­cred­ible record in which they staged a “battle of the bands” by adopting a dozen nom de plumes and cut a dozen tracks in a dozen dif­ferent styles. Of the five al­bums I used here as ex­am­ples, this is the one that has ac­crued the most at­ten­tion from ’60s rock/pop con­nois­seurs over the decades. This 1968 album in­cluded two hit sin­gles: the goofily ironic Elenore (and fans of this song need to hear Billy Bob Thorn­ton’s ver­sion) and a gor­geous reading of Gene Clark’s You Showed Me.


Soundtrack RiotOnSunsetStrip s 800

Movie sound­track
Riot On Sunset Strip
Tower T‑5065 (mono) and DT-5065 (stereo)

No re­view of ’60s cut-out is com­plete with some men­tion of the Side­walk and Tower sound­track al­bums for sev­eral hand­fuls of ex­ploita­tion movies by Roger Corman and Amer­ican In­ter­na­tional Pic­tures. This 1967 album is no­table for having two tracks each by the Standells and Choco­late Watch Band and one by Mom’s Boys, later known as 13th Power who recorded The Shape Of Things To Come as Max Frost & The Troopers.


Soundtrack GloryStompers s 800

Movie sound­track
The Glory Stompers
Side­walk DT-5910 (stereo)

This is ba­si­cally a Davie Allan and the Ar­rows album, as they record as them­selves and as Max Frost & The Troopers while ap­pearing as sideman on other tracks. For more on the com­pli­ca­tions of the credits on this album, refer to “avid record col­lec­tors price guide to Wild In The Streets part 2.”


NU OW Rock 300 2021

The cover photo for this book is my fa­vorite cover of any of my four­teen books. It is a staged garage sale set up at the O’­Sul­livan house; pub­lisher John O’­Sul­livan is the cus­tomer buying a copy of Elvis’ Christmas Album. The con­cept was mine, as were the records used as props.

Something was not right

The al­bums above are all from the ’60s yet were avail­able through most of the ’70s as cut-outs, selling for as little as 99¢ and as much as $2.99. These ti­tles were damn near ubiq­ui­tous in most of the country and were fac­tory sealed and there­fore in un­played mint con­di­tion. Yet each of these was listed in the price guides as being worth be­tween $8 and $15 in played condition.

Some­thing was not right with the guides and everyone knew it. 

Then came me!


Elvis RaisedOnRock LP cutout 800

Elvis Now did not sell par­tic­u­larly well in the “now” of 1972 and was un­cer­e­mo­ni­ously deleted from his ac­tive cat­alog. This copy has a cut-out mark in the lower-left corner re­ferred to as a saw-mark.

Deleted Elvis albums I have known

The first Elvis al­bums deleted from the ac­tive cat­alog were sev­eral sound­tracks that had stopped selling by the end of the ’60s. IT HAP­PENED AT THE WORLD’S FAIR was the ear­liest title to cease selling enough copies to re­main in the ac­tive cat­alog. But I never saw one of them sold in a store’s bar­gain bin.

So most Elvis al­bums missed the dawning of the age of cut-out al­bums! The first ti­tles that I re­call seeing were the lack­luster LOVE LET­TERS FROM ELVIS (LSP-4530, 1971, con­sisting of eleven tracks left over from 1970 and ’71) and ELVIS NOW (LSP-4671, 1972, con­sisting of only ten tracks left over from 1969–1971). Both of these al­bums were des­ig­nated as cut-outs by having their jackets de­faced: in the al­bums that I re­member, each had an ugly rec­tan­gular notch, re­ferred to as a saw-mark, usu­ally in the lower-left corner.

This was a common method of marking a cut-out, but it was soon re­placed by the even worse prac­tice of clip­ping the upper right corner. I do not re­call seeing any Elvis al­bums with its corner clipped in the ’70s.

Cut-out al­bums with holes or saw-marks or clipped cor­ners are al­ways worth less than a reg­ular, un­dam­aged album. When selling such a record, the de­facing mark should al­ways be a part of the written de­scrip­tion. An oth­er­wise NM jacket with a cut-out mark is not a VG+ jacket: it is a NM jacket with a cut-out marking!

Other al­bums that quickly found their way to the cut-out bins in­cluded ELVIS (APL1-0283, 1973) and RAISED ON ROCK (APL1-0388, 1973). In the wake of Elvis’s death in Au­gust 1977, every­thing was brought back into print and kept there into the 1980s. Then they were all deleted to make room for the com­pact disc and the Dig­ital Age (or, as I refer to it, the Age of Dig­i­tally Dam­aging Recorded Music.



POST­SCRIP­TU­ALLY, when grading de­faced cut-outs (and “de­faced cut-out” should be un­der­stood by all as re­dun­dant), the cut-out mark should not be in­cor­po­rated into the grade. An oth­er­wise near mint jacket with a cut-out mark is not a VG+ jacket; it is a near mint jacket with a de­fect. For ex­ample, the copy of ELVIS NOW above should be graded, “near mint jacket with half-inch saw-mark in the lower-left corner.” This tells the prospec­tive buyer ex­actly what he will be buying!



1   The term cut-out refers to al­bums that were deleted from—or cut out of—a record com­pa­ny’s ac­tive cat­alog, usu­ally due to de­clining or non-existent sales. While sev­eral Presley sound­track LPs had been deleted in the ’60s, there were no cut-out ver­sions of those al­bums as the ubiq­ui­tous cut-out bin did not be­come common to record stores until the early ’70s.

2   This ar­ticle was written as an ex­plana­tory page (on Word­Press, a page is dif­ferent from a post) for this site ti­tled “Rock & Roll Record Al­bums Price Guide.” I am re­pub­lishing a por­tion of that piece here as a post as the search en­gines sup­pos­edly see them differently.


6 thoughts on “the dawning of the age of cut-out albums”

  1. Oh,how I look back on those days with fond­ness (and longing). I bought a copy of the ”Riot On Sunset Strip” sound­track at ”Thrifty Drugs” (3 for $1.00). where I found quite a few de­sir­able ti­tles. This week I up­graded my now 45 year old ”Riot” sound­track. I or­dered sealed copies from ”Acoustic Sounds” one in Mono, ($80) and one in ”Duo­phonic Stereo” ($75). Back then, that would have bought close to two hun­dred copies of both!. Each sports a $41 cent price tag , (one came orig­i­nally from an old ”Woolco” store) ‑which, for sheer nos­talgia, I love.

    • PL

      Yeah, I re­member those LPs get­ting dumped on the market in 1968–1969: first they were 99¢, then 50¢, and fi­nally three-for-a-buck! As for paying $80 and $75 for sealed copies: sounds like you got a good price!


      PS: If you haven’t seen the movie lately, you should: it’s held up and is pretty darn cool.

      PPS: Now that I’m 65, I kinda wish someone would cart me off to one of the LSD camps . . .

      • ‘’Riot On Sunset Strip” is my fa­vorite movie, though I only saw it (on TV) six months after I bought the soundtrack.(By the way, the ”L.S.D camps” you re­ferred to, are in an­other A.IP movie, ”Wild In The Streets”.) Lo, these many years later, I have ob­tained quite a col­lec­tion of orig­inal mem­o­ra­bilia from ”Riot”, but those two al­bums ( with their 47 cent price tags), are the crown jewels of the lot. And, for what I paid for them, they’d better be. And, when I think of all the Biker/JD A.I.P Tower sound­tracks I could have picked up for nothing, back then, well... I have most of them now, ”Wild An­gels” ”Glory Stom­pers” etc, and they are near-mint copies, but I sure didn’t pay ”3 for $1.00’’ for them, ei­ther. Phil Lindholm.

        • PHIL

          1. New com­ments are going di­rectly to my Trash file, where they sit until I ap­prove them or delete them. So when you re­spond and don’t see it pop up on my site im­me­di­ately, that is why. You sent two sim­ilar com­ments; I posted this one as it was the more recent.

          2. Yes, the LSD Camps were part of WILD IN THE STREETS! Don’t know why, but I was mixing the two movies up. (Maybe get­ting old has some­thing to do with it?)

          3. In the wake of elim­i­nating mono al­bums from their cat­alog, many record com­pa­nies also dropped count­less ti­tles from their in-print cat­alog. In 1969, mil­lions of these al­bums were dumped onto the market and found their way to chain-stores like the Ar­lan’s in Ed­wardsville, PA. I would spend hours there buying arm­loads of sealed LPs for 99¢ and then sell them to my friends for $3 each and go back and buy more! The Side­walk and Tower ti­tles were abun­dant but very few people wanted them in 1969!

          4. By 1970 or so, many of those ti­tles ended up in 3/$1.00 bins. I could find those at Mc­Crorys and sim­ilar stores. Mono copies of HAPPY JACK and BE­TWEEN THE BUT­TONS were around for­ever!

          5. Pick up a copy of Domenic Pri­ore’s book Riot On Sunset Strip . . .



          PS: I haven’t seen the movie RIOT in a looooooooooooooooong time.

          • It’s avail­able as an ”MGM LIM­ITED EDI­TION DVD. ( The print quality is ex­cel­lent.) If you ever saw the film ”Hot Rods To Hell”, by the same pro­ducer (Sam Katzman) sev­eral of the ac­tors from there ap­pear in it as well. Most no­tably, the beau­tiful Mimsy Farmer, and the equally gor­geous Laurie Mock. In ”Hot Rods” Mimsy was the ”Bad Girl” tor­menting Mock and her family. This time, Laurie is the ”Bad In­flu­ence” who is in­di­rectly re­spon­sible for ”Good Girl” Mim­sy’s L.S.D freak out-and sub­se­quent gang rape. I like both films equally, and don’t re­ally find them all that ”campy”. Low-Budget ex­ploita­tion, maybe, but still well made and per­sua­sively acted.


Leave a Comment