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Bond Age

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Two weeks ago, James Brown announced the imminent issue of $30 million in so-called Bowie Bonds -- joining the Thin White Duke and Ashford & Simpson in the continuing rage for securities based on future royalties. Now comes word that an unnamed politically conscious Motown legend will soon have his oeuvre posthumously "securitized," with proceeds going to his children. Should you build your retirement plans around "Sex Machine" or "Space Oddity"? Perhaps. But, as always, we counsel portfolio diversification; consider holding out for the next (inevitable) brand of bonds. Below, a few securities that take advantage of untapped pockets of music-biz collateral.

* Hammer Bonds Unlike a certain spendthrift MC, overextended one-hit wonders need no longer file for Chapter 11 when the clock strikes "Hammer Time." Fans and financiers alike will be lining up for shares of those 40-room mansions and gold-plated Rolls-Royces.

* BK Bonds From the Ohio Players' "Fire" (Burger King) to Big Star's "In the Street" (That '70s Show), Madison Avenue is always looking to use art to push product. Be the first on your block to bank on the phenomenon.

* Beatle Bonds With an as-yet-untitled follow-up to "Real Love" and "Free as a Bird" slated for release this summer, there's no better time to get your piece of the unending stream of "newly discovered" John Lennon compositions!

* Tufnels Named for (fictional) Spinal Tap axman Nigel Tufnel, this subclass of Hammer Bonds allows out-of-work metal icons to raise capital against massive guitar collections.


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