Back to rock, or to be more specific, prog rock. For the last few months, we’ve looked at early CDs in the jazz, reggae, and pop realms. It’s been a while since we focused on a rock album. Let’s do that. In this post, we consider the British rock group Procol Harum. Prog, psychedelic, blues, they covered a lot of ground in the late ’60s into the ’70s. Of course, Procol Harum are best known for the hit “A Whiter Shade of Pale” with its unmistakable organ melody. This is a fitting title for the early CD compilation headlining this post.

The independent British label Cube Records released the 14-track Procol Harum compilation titled A Whiter Shade of Pale on CD in 1986. At the time, Cube fell under the parent label TELDEC Schallplatten Gmbh. The catalog number for this compilation is 8.26290 and follows the format of other TELDEC titles from the era. The compilation leads off with the title track and also includes the hit “Conquistador” as track 8. Overall, the compilation covers Procol Harum songs from 1967 to 1970.

The Cube CD was pressed in Japan by Denon and has the common Denon dot-matrix matrix code font in the mirror band. The matrix code is “T8-26290 1B1 6Y”. Thus, the first part of the matrix code contains the catalog number. The ‘T’ leading off the matrix code presumably represents TELDEC.

The label side of this compilation is typical for an early TELDEC CD. It has blue text with no paint coating and light blue and royal blue lines running across the CDs, just below the Cube Records logo that appears at 12 o’clock. The inserts were printed in West Germany. The disc bears the original Phonogram dates from the recordings, 1967-1970, while the inserts show a Phonogram date for the compilation of 1976 and a copyright date for the CD of 1986.

As a European release, this compilation is not very common in the United States, but it is not so rare in its native Europe. It also should not be too difficult to track down online. It is a worthy addition for the collector as it represents one of the first Procol Harum releases on CD. Shown below is the cover and back insert for the compilation, along with the Japanese pressing.


The cover for Procol Harum A Whiter Shade of Pale (Cube, catalog number 8.26260. The blue stripes along the top represent a typical motif appearing on TELDEC CD releases in the mid-’80s. Rather than a multi-page book, this is just a two-sided front insert. The track list is printed on the reverse side, similar in appearance to the back insert shown below.


The back insert for Procol Harum A Whiter Shade of Pale (Cube, catalog number 8.26260). As noted along the bottom, this compilation bears a copyright date of 1986. This insert was printed in West Germany.


The Japanese Denon pressing of Procol Harum A Whiter Shade of Pale (Cube, catalog number 8.26260. Note the blue stripes below the Cube Records logo. The matrix code is “T8-26290 1B1 6Y” and is stamped in the common Denon dot-matrix font. Note that “Made in Japan” is printed at 3 o’clock.

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