As the U.S. is in full March Madness mode, why not take a look at a Madonna CD? (That reminds me of a Garbage Pail Kids card from my youth, but back to the CD). To the experienced collectors in the audience, the idea of an early Madonna CD immediately evokes thoughts of those target pressings of Madonna (self-titled debut album) and Like a Virgin. Nice discs, no doubt, but let’s go with something not so obvious.
The eponymous debut album took the pop world by storm in 1983. The look, the style, the moves, the beat, the hits. Madonna and the album had it all. Given Madonna‘s popularity, WEA made it among their first releases on CD on its Sire label. There are both West German and Japanese Target pressings of Madonna. These are not the only collectable versions of the album, however.
In Europe, once the Target discs went out of print, Madonna was reissued under the title The First Album. The cover photo was also changed (now color instead of the original black and white). The catalog number for The First Album is shown on the inserts as 923 867-2, which is just a different grouping of the catalog number characters shown on the Target discs (9 23867-2). 923 867-2 is the typical character grouping used by WEA in Europe, while 9 23867-2 is the U.S. character grouping. The debut album stayed in print in Europe as The First Album for many years and is typically found as a budget issue with various German pressings. The original issue of The First Album, however, appeared as a West German Non-Target pressing.
The West German Non-Target was also issued in the U.S. with the standard Madonna album artwork. The album title is shown on the disc as Madonna, not The First Album. The disc has a plain label design of just black text with no paint coating. The catalog number is shown on the disc in the format 9 23867-2. The disc was pressed by Philips-DuPont Optical (PDO), the renamed version of the original PolyGram plant in Hanover, West Germany. The disc states “Made in West Germany by PolyGram” at 9 o’clock and also has “MADE IN WEST GERMANY BY POLYGRAM” printed along the perimeter. The PDO identifier is found in text stamped on the inner aluminum hub near the center hole. On the play side near the hole is found “MADE IN W. GERMANY BY PDO”. The matrix code on this pressing is “7599 23867-2 2893 683 01#”.
As stated above, U.S. collectors will find the West German Non-Target with typical U.S. inserts. The copy featured here is unique by virtue of the inserts (again, unique cover photo and unique title). As a European issue, the inserts state “Manufactured in Germany by Record Service GmbH, Alsdorf”. Thus, the inserts were printed in anticipation of inclusion of German Record Service pressings. It could be that WEA had remaining West German PDO pressings on hand to distribute with the new inserts first or that PDO discs were supplemented to meet demand that Record Service could not address initially. Either way, the combination of the West German Non-Target with The First Album inserts is relatively uncommon and a curiosity for the collector.
Shown below are the inserts for The First Album as well as the West German Non-Target pressing.
The cover for Madonna The First Album released in Europe (Sire, catalog number 923 867-2). The photo is different than the one used for the original self-titled release.
The back insert for Madonna The First Album released in Europe (Sire, catalog number 923 867-2). The catalog number is printed in the European format beneath the barcode in the upper right corner. “Manufactured in Germany by Record Service GmbH, Alsdorf” is printed along the bottom.
The West German Non-Target pressing of Madonna (Sire, catalog number 9 23867-2). The catalog number is shown in the U.S. format below the CD format logo at 6 o’clock. This disc was issued in the U.S. with standard Madonna inserts and in Europe with The First Album inserts shown above. “Made in West Germany by PolyGram” is printed at 9 o’clock. Although partially hidden by the shadow of an outer mirror band, the disc has “MADE IN WEST GERMANY BY POLYGRAM” printed along the perimeter. Note also that the disc has “MADE IN W. GERMANY BY PDO” stamped on the play side near the center hole. The matrix code is “7599 23867-2 2893 683 01#”.