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Doin' The Papal Polka

September 20, 1987|Rick Sherwood

Whatever happened to the Pope's 1979 release, "Pope John Paul Sings"? Wouldn't this past week have been the perfect time to sell off the estimated 900,000 copies (of a million printed) that never sold?

But no one seems to know where they went. . . .

The LP, released by the MCA-owned Infinity label in conjunction with the Pope's first U.S. visit, never sold to expectations.

"First of all, the record was in Polish--Polish folk songs or something of that nature," said Bob Schnieders, vp of branch distribution, MCA Distributing. "And putting it in front of the consumer where he actually appeared was very hard to do--it wasn't like any Tom, Dick or Harry could drive up with a van and set up a table. It wasn't quite the same as selling records at a concert, if you know what I mean."

Schnieders said he doesn't know what happened to the unsold discs. Ditto Bruce Resnikoff, vp special markets: "That was done several administrations ago." (Infinity Records itself is long out of business).

Most local collectible shops that we checked never heard of it: "I have some boxed sets (of the Pope) and I'm sure he sings on them, but we don't have that one," said one proprietor. Another found "Pogram of Peace" (filed under "MISC.") and still another "something in Spanish or Italian," but no Polish folk songs.

"Pope John Paul Sings" was pulled from MCA's catalogue a couple of years after its release, and a reported sale of about 100,000 units--which would have been considered respectable had not so many been pressed.

"Let's face it," Schnieders said, "some things like that are going to sell and some aren't."

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