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The Elite 8 of Rock Star-Used Instruments

The Yamaha Portasound used on Three Dog Night’s “It’s a Jungle Out There”

If you listened to the radio between the years of 1969 and 1974, you’re no doubt familiar with the collected works of pop-rockers Three Dog Night, whether you like it or not. The “Joy to the World” hitmakers sold more records than the Beatles and more concert tickets than the Rolling Stones during this period, but you wouldn’t necessarily gather that by reading rock magazine Rolling Stone’s Top 500 Albums of All-Time list.

On a November 12 episode of popular History Channel series Pawn Stars, a musician named Paul brought in the Yamaha Portasound keyboard used by Three Dog Night keyboardist Jimmy Greenspoon on “It’s a Jungle Out There” from the group’s 1983 reunion album, It’s a Jungle. Even with a notorized letter from 3DN vocalist Danny Hutton, the seller had to settle for $500, which seems like a small figure until you realize it was played on the lowest-selling album by a group that was never exactly a critic’s darling to begin with.

“We get a lot of music memorabilia in the store and we usually don’t have a problem selling it when it’s Hendrix or the Beatles, but Three Dog Night, honestly, I don’t know if there’s that big a market for this stuff,” explained the show’s Corey Harrison (whose father Rick is apparently a big 3DN fan) on the limited marketability and selling point of collectibles related to the group.

Paul probably would have had more luck cashing in on the instrument had he dealt with someone who celebrates the band’s entire catalog. Or if he’d brought in any one of the following eight album- and stage-used guitars, basses and pianos, which would surely have much more caché with collectors.

8. John Entwistle’s (The Who) 4001 Prototype 8-String Bass

The late Who bassist John Entwistle played this eight-string bass (for those non-musicians keeping score at home, that’s twice as many strings as usual) on the track “Success Story” on 1975’s The Who by Numbers. Only one of two ever made, the instrument sold for $7,200 at a May 2003 Sotheby’s auction.


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