The party is over for the Replacements’ “Let It Be” on original Twin/Tone vinyl. Thirty-one years after the legendary album hit stores, the last sealed copy of it from Twin/Tone Records' original stock pressing was sold earlier this week, according to Twin Cities record retail guru John Kass. Thus, for at least the next few months, the record is more or less sold out on vinyl.
“I’m honestly a guy who likes to sell a lot of records for $3 -- not one for $300 -- but this one seemed like it truly was historic,” said Kass, who runs Hi-Fi Records and Dead Media in Minneapolis and Go Johnny Go in White Bear Lake. A fan from North Carolina paid three Benjamin Franklins for the album via Kass’ website.
New vinyl editions of "Let It Be" and the other three 'Mats albums on Twin/Tone are reportedly in the works from Rhino/Warner Bros., which now owns the rights to the records. They could be issued as early as later this year. Demand for the vinyl likely spiked in the wake of the Replacements reunion shows over the past year and a half.
Rhino is putting out a new boxed set with CD editions of all eight of the original 'Mats albums in time for Record Store Day, April 18, but vinyl takes longer to manufacture. The label is at least putting out a limited-edition 10-inch vinyl reissue of the four-song "Alex Chilton" EP, also for Record Store Day.
Kass got his hands on the last copies of the original “Let It Be” pressing straight from the source: Twin/Tone co-founder Paul Stark unloaded them two years ago when he started snowbirding in Phoenix. Stark believes Twin/Tone manufactured about 30,000 U.S. copies of the album on vinyl, a few thousand of which were used for promotion and "falling off trucks," he said. Twin/Tone ran out of jackets for the LPs toward the end of the run, and the last 1,000 copies of the record wound up being pressed on colored blue vinyl.
There might be some other vinyl copies of “Let It Be” from England available in retail stores here and there, as well as random leftovers and (gasp!) used copies. However, Kass said, "That's it for now. Hopefully, they'll start making them again soon and sell them for the usual $14.99 or whatever so fans everywhere can get it again."