Originally, the 1997 series of figures was planned to include a repainted Breaker and a repainted 1983 Rock and Roll figure. Handpainted samples were shown on the back of the Star and Stripes set. But, the molds for those figures were "lost". Hasbro resorted to some quick replacements and both characters were released in 1997 as repaints of the 1986 Roadblock body with different heads. Somewhere along the way, though, there was a miscommunication. Somehow, Rock and Roll was given black skin. This may have been a holdover from the Roadblock color templates that were used. But, a good amount of the mis-painted figures were packaged into Stars and Stripes sets and sold in Toys R Us stores across the country.
Today, this variant is rather tough to find and is worth a couple of hundred dollars. But, in 1997, the figure was findable. Anecdotally, collectors of the era estimated that about 1 in 30 Stars and Stripes sets had the variant. As the production run for the set was believed to be around 30,000 sets, that would place 1,000 Rock and Roll variants into the collecting community. Of course, that "back of the napkin" estimate could be wildly off. But, the variant was quickly discovered by collectors of the time. However, the figures weren't overly desirable and you could easily trade a spare 1997 Alley Viper straight up for one.
The variant set that includes this Rock and Roll also contains a significant Breaker variant. But, since it's just a color hue change, no one cares about it and it lacks the cachet and value of the Rock and Roll. It was extremely rare for Hasbro to race change a figure mold in the US. So, in the cases where it did occur (either intentionally or by accident) the resulting figures have found great collector interest. You used to be able to find sealed Stars and Stripes sets with the variant figures in mislabeled online sales and could get deals. But, it's been more than a decade since those dried up and this figure is now well known and accordingly priced in the community. It's safe to say that almost all of the variants ended in collector hands due to the rapid identity and communication of the variant. But, it's still one of the rarest and most significant retail variants in the history of the G.I. Joe line.