In December 2013, we reviewed an early Japan-for-U.S. pressing of Lou Reed’s classic album from 1972, Transformer. That write-up can be found here. In that post, the focus was a particularly rare early Japanese Denon pressing that is paired with inserts printed in Japan. Reference was also made to a more common Japanese Denon pressing of Transformer found with U.S. inserts. This later Japan-for-U.S. disc was considered for a follow-up post on Transformer, but we instead take a look here at a U.S. pressing that bears similarities to those earlier discs from Japan.

We often discuss here that an appealing characteristic of early CDs is their colorful labels. As the CD became the mainstream physical format and the pressing plants ramped up production accordingly, simpler disc designs were chosen by the record labels likely to lower production costs.

The aforementioned Japan-for-U.S. pressings of Transformer have as their label design a thick blue outer ring, blue text, a large white RCA logo, and no paint coating. Later U.S. pressings of Transformer, like other RCA titles, are typically found with a later, plain design of a black outer ring, black RCA logo, black text, and no paint coating. Here we consider a U.S. pressing of Transformer with the original blue and white design that appears to be rare. This U.S. pressing bears the same catalog number as earlier Japan-for-U.S. discs — PCD14807.

The featured disc was pressed at Denon’s U.S. plant, and the matrix code is “PCD14807 2/89 2DB3”. Thus the catalog number is contained in the matrix code. The “2/89” in the matrix code suggests that the glass master for this U.S. pressing was made in February 1989. Assuming this to be true, it is particularly interesting. The aforementioned early Japanese pressing of Transformer posted back in December 2013 stems from 1983 or ’84 by virtue of the matrix code style. Given that, it would seem that RCA used the original label design on the U.S. pressing some five or six year later.

Shown below are the cover and back insert for the unique U.S. pressing of Transformer, along with the CD.

 

The cover for the U.S. Denon pressing of Lou Reed Transformer (RCA, catalog number PCD14807). The RCA CD logo is printed in the bottom center. This same cover artwork was used for the earlier Japan-for-U.S. pressings.

 

The back insert for the U.S. Denon pressing of Lou Reed Transformer (RCA, catalog number PCD14807).  As noted along the bottom, this insert was printed in U.S.  The booklet was also printed in U.S. The early Japan-for-U.S. pressing of Transformer posted in December 2013 has inserts printed in Japan.

 

The U.S. Denon pressing of Lou Reed Transformer (RCA, catalog number PCD14807). This is the same colorful label design used for the earlier Japan-for-U.S. pressings. The matrix code on this U.S. pressing is “PCD14807 2/89 2DB3”. The matrix code suggests that the glass master was produced in February 1989.

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