The album was titled Make It Big, and they sure did. Wham!, the British pop duo formed by George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley, released the sophomore effort in 1984 and propelled to the top of the pop world. “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go”, “Everything She Wants”, “Freedom”, “If You Were There”, “Careless Whisper”. The album runs like a greatest hits compilation. While most consumers rushed out to buy the LP or cassette (or both) in ’84, some “advanced” listeners bought it on CD while the album was still dominating the airwaves and MTV.

Make It Big was released worldwide on the Epic or Columbia labels, both part of CBS/Sony. In Europe, the album was released on Epic. The original European CD release was released under Epic catalog number CDEPC 86311, and the earliest copies were pressed in Japan by CBS/Sony. This pressing can be found fairly readily online. A rarer early disc is a Japanese JVC pressing. As we have discussed here before, CBS/Sony occasionally called upon the JVC and Denon plants in Japan in the early days to meet demand. Generally speaking, these JVC and Denon pressings are rare.

The Japanese JVC and CBS/Sony pressings of Make It Big share the standard early design for European CBS/Sony releases — a black curve on the perimeter with an inner black ring, black text, and no paint coating. For the JVC pressing, the matrix code is “DI8P 60 2E11”. “DI8P 60” represents the pressing plant project number and is derived from the catalog number of the original Japanese CD release of Make It Big — 32 8P-60.

If you own a U.S. LP, cassette, or CD of Make It Big, you may not think much of the cover artwork with the large neon letters. Interestingly, this artwork is unique to U.S. releases (considering the major markets). In Europe and Japan, a different cover photo of Michael and Ridgeley was used, and the surrounding text is printed in large black letters, all caps. This is the cover artwork found with European CD issues.

The back insert for the Japanese JVC and CBS/Sony pressings of Make It Big has no barcode, typical of early European CBS/Sony titles. For the JVC pressing, the back insert was printed in Holland.

Given its rarity, it may take a bit of luck to track down the Japanese JVC pressing of Make It Big. Online vendors are your best bet, especially if you live outside Europe. Shown below is the cover and back insert for the European issue of Make It Big, along with the Japanese JVC pressing.

 

The cover for the original European CD issue of Wham! Make It Big (Epic, catalog number CDEPC 86311). This is the standard cover artwork used in Europe.

 

The back insert for the original European CD issue of Wham! Make It Big (Epic, catalog number CDEPC 86311). There is no barcode. Note “Printed in Holland” along the bottom. The European catalog number and the pressing plant project number, “DI8P 60”, are printed beneath the Epic logo. The U.S. CD catalog number, EK 39595, is printed beneath the project number.

 

The Japanese JVC pressing of Wham! Make It Big (Epic, catalog number CDEPC 86311). This is the typical label design for early European CBS/Sony releases. The disc erroneously has “MANUFACTURED BY EPIC/SONY Inc. IN JAPAN” printed along the perimeter. This is a holdover from the earlier Japanese CBS/Sony pressing. The matrix code is “DI8P 60 2E11”.

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