With CDs doing their part to signify the start of the digital age in the early ’80s, it is appropriate to look at early CDs of music from the era. Of course, music usually represents the culture and beliefs of the period in which it was written. When the CD went commercial and began to gain steam as a convenient replacement for records and tapes, many pop groups were gaining popularity on the airwaves and on MTV. They had the style, the sound, and in some cases, the optimism that has been associated with the 1980s. One such group was the all-female Go-Go’s hailing from Los Angeles. Led by Belinda Carlisle, Go-Go’s burst on the scene in 1981 with a pop sound augmented by elements of punk and new wave.

That 1981 debut by Go-Go’s was titled Beauty and the Beat and contains the smash hits “Our Lips are Sealed” and “We Got the Beat” among its 11 tracks. Beauty and the Beat was released in ’81 by I.R.S. Records (International Record Syndicate), a pop label under the A&M banner. The album first appeared on CD in the U.S. under catalog number CD70021. The catalog number follows the standard format utilized by A&M with the CD prefix followed by a four- or five-digit number.

The original copies of Beauty of the Beat were pressed in Japan by Denon (also known as Nippon Columbia). The earliest pressings were produced in the 1982-83 time frame and have the matrix code stamped directly onto the plastic ring. This was Denon’s original matrix code format, which was later replaced by the more common dot-matrix font stamped on the aluminum mirror band. (We’ve looked at other early Denon pressings with the matrix code stamped on the plastic ring. Have a look around the site!)

For the copy considered here, the matrix code is “CD70021 1-12”. The two character groups are separated in the plastic ring by 180 degrees. Also, the second character group is proposed to be 1-12, but the first character may not be correct. Often, Denon had a letter ‘A’ in this place, so this second grouping could be “A-12” with the ‘A’ being incomplete.

Being an early issue, the inserts were printed in Japan, and there is no barcode on the back insert. This release is quite rare, having been produced in small quantities as an early issue. In the mid-’80s, Beauty and the Beat was reissued under I.R.S. catalog number CD75021. Japanese Denon pressings bearing the second catalog number have the typical dot-matrix matrix code. This second issue is considerably more common than the original one shown here.

Shown below is the cover and back insert for the original issue of Beauty and the Beat, along with the early Japanese Denon pressing.

 

The cover for the original Japan-for-U.S. issue of Go-Go’s Beauty and the Beat (I.R.S. (A&M), catalog number CD70021). This is the standard cover artwork for this album.

 

The back insert for the original Japan-for-U.S. issue of Go-Go’s Beauty and the Beat (I.R.S. (A&M), catalog number CD70021). There is no barcode. As noted in the bottom center above the I.R.S. logo, this insert was printed in Japan.

 

The early Japanese Denon pressing of Go-Go’s Beauty and the Beat (I.R.S. (A&M), catalog number CD70021). The matrix code is stamped on the plastic ring and is “CD70021 1-12”. The disc states “Made by NIPPON COLUMBIA Co., Ltd. (DENON) JAPAN” at 6 o’clock.

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