THE ROVING EYE
When it comes to rock and roll memorabilia, there's the Beatles and there's everything else.
So it was no surprise to Wayne Johnson that when George Harrison died earlier this month, interest in all things Beatles spiked at Rockaway Records, his Silver Lake record store that doubles as a veritable mini-museum of rock and roll lore.
"We've sold a lot of collectible CDs, all the Traveling Willburys stuff sold out," said Johnson, 47, who has been collecting since he was 10 and who began buying and selling rare LPs at swap meets with his brother, Gary, a quarter a century ago. "I didn't think it was right to raise the prices and the stuff was cheap so it sold."
Alas, even in death Harrison is destined to remain the under-appreciated Beatle. His passing sparked interest, but nothing like the torrent of nostalgia unleashed when John Lennon was killed in 1980.
"The Beatles are the top of the blue chip stocks of rock and roll," Johnson said. "When Lennon died things shot up dramatically."
Harrison fans can take heart that his signature worth up to $500 now goes for about 30 percent more than that of Paul McCartney, usually the most popular Beatle for collectors.
The Johnsons have filled their store with a vast array of memorabilia and pop culture kitsch, ranging in price from $20 (Elvis Presley Shampoo from the 1970s) to $20,000 (an original gold record from the 1965 "The Beach Boys Today" that was owned by Brian Wilson).
"I'm kind of hoping that one doesn't sell," Johnson said. "Personally I'm more into the Beach Boys than the Beatles."
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