Welcome to my web site! Here you will find information related to early pressings on compact disc. Included is an up-to-date list of my collection of these and other collectable CDs, along with pictures of some of my rare discs. I hope you find this site to be a useful resource!

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CBS/Sony opened the first commercial CD pressing plant in Japan in 1982.  In the early days of the CD, many record labels turned to CBS/Sony to press their discs.  As a way to track the many manufacturing projects in the plant, for both outside labels and their own, CBS/Sony developed a system of project identification codes.  These codes appeared on discs and inserts for many titles issued outside of Japan.  Additionally, this system was later applied to discs coming out of CBS/Sony’s Digital Audio Disc Corp. (DADC) plant in the U.S.  Common project identification codes with their definitions and/or uses are as follows:

  • DIDP: Digital Identification Project; DIDP numbers were used on CBS/Sony rock, pop, and jazz titles.
  • DIDC: Digital Identification Classical; DIDC numbers were used on CBS/Sony classical titles.
  • DIDX: Digital Identification External; DIDX numbers were used on non-CBS/Sony titles.
  • DIDZ: The definition of the ‘Z’ is unknown, but DIDZ numbers were used on non-CBS/Sony titles as an alternative to DIDX numbers.
  • DIDY: The definition of the ‘Y’ is unknown, but DIDY numbers were used on Columbia Record Club mail-order issues.

For the most part, a non-CBS/Sony title was assigned either a DIDX or a DIDZ number.  However, certain early A&M titles released in the U.S. were issued both numbers.  Discs are not found with both numbers.  Rather, two different issues exist, one with a DIDX number and one with a DIDZ number.  Both discs were pressed by CBS/Sony in Japan, and the discs and inserts are very similar in appearance.  The DIDX or DIDZ number appears on both the disc and the inserts.  It is presumed that the DIDZ discs were pressed first because the inserts in most cases were printed in Japan, whereas inserts with the DIDX discs were printed in the U.S.

Shown below are two early U.S. issues of Supertramp Breakfast in America with catalog number CD-3708.  Both discs were pressed by CBS/Sony and have “CSR COMPACT DISC” repeating in the plastic ring.  The top disc bears “DIDZ 10078” beneath the catalog number, and the matrix code is “DIDZ-10078 11”.  The bottom disc bears “DIDX-26” beneath the catalog number, and the matrix code is “DIDX-26 21”.  It is not clear to me why both issues exist.  As stated above, both are early U.S. issues.  There is no information on the inserts to suggest different distribution channels for the two discs.

Other A&M titles that exist as Japanese CBS/Sony DIDX and DIDZ pressings are Supertramp Crime of the Century (DIDX 25 and DIDZ 10076), The Police Ghost in the Machine (DIDX 2 and DIDZ 10070) and Synchronicity (DIDX 1 and DIDZ 10057), and Herb Alpert Rise (DIDX 3 and DIDZ 10074).  In my experience, both pressings for these titles and for Breakfast in America are quite rare.

 

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One of my favorite songwriters died a little over a week ago.  The world lost Dan Fogelberg on December 16th.  He was just 56.  I thought I would take this opportunity to remember Fogelberg with a post here.  Now, I realize that this tribute in no way does justice to the great talent that Dan Fogelberg possessed, but I hope that it helps you focus more on the wonderful music he gave us and less on his passing.

My favorite Fogelberg song is “Leader of the Band”, off his 1980 album The Innocent Age.  The song was inspired by his father, himself a musician.  The solemn, heartfelt lyrics and music made me feel as though I was close to Fogelberg, as though I knew him.  That is a unique quality that I felt Dan Fogelberg brought to his music.

Provided below are pictures of some of my favorite early Dan Fogelberg CDs.  Perhaps these albums showcase some of your favorite works from the Fogelberg catalog.

 

The original Japanese issue of Dan Fogelberg Greatest Hits (Epic/Sony, catalog number 32 8P-203).

 

The original Japanese CBS/Sony pressing of Dan Fogelberg Souvenirs for the U.S. market (Epic, catalog number EK 33137).

 

The original Japanese CBS/Sony pressing of Dan Fogelberg Phoenix for the U.S. market (Epic, catalog number EK 35634).

 

The original Japanese issue of Dan Fogelberg The Innocent Age (Epic/Sony, catalog number 50 8P-48-9).  Shown is disc one of the two-disc set.

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I thought it was time to throw some holiday cheer into keithhirsch.com with a Christmas CD…or two!  Described here are two rare Elvis Presley Christmas discs.

In 1984, RCA issued the Elvis Presley Merry Christmas album on CD in the U.S. and Europe.  Although one might expect this album to be a staple in the Elvis catalog, it is long out of print.  Merry Christmas was issued in the U.S. under catalog number PCD1-5301, and the disc was pressed in Japan by Denon.  In Europe, Merry Christmas was released under catalog number PD85301, and the disc was pressed in West Germany at the Polygram and PDO (Philips-DuPont Optical) plants.  The U.S. version was in print for only a very short time and is extremely rare.  It draws considerable attention from collectors in online auctions.  The European issue stayed in print longer, and while more common than its U.S. counterpart, is still quite rare.

Shown below are scans of the two versions of Merry Christmas along with the cover and back insert.  Happy Holidays!

 

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The U.S. issue of Elvis Presley Merry Christmas (RCA catalog number PCD1-5301). This disc was pressed in Japan by Denon for release in the U.S. in 1984 and is very rare, as it went out of print quickly.

 

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The European issue of Elvis Presley Merry Christmas (RCA catalog number PD85301). This disc was pressed in West Germany for release in Europe. This particular copy has “MADE IN W. GERMANY BY PDO” stamped on the play side in the hub area.

 

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The cover for the U.S. issue of Elvis Presley Merry Christmas (RCA catalog number PCD1-5301). The cover for the European issue is very similar.

 

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The back insert for the U.S. issue of Elvis Presley Merry Christmas (RCA catalog number PCD1-5301). The back insert for the European issue is very similar.

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Among my latest acquisitions is a very rare Japanese Target CD pressing of Led Zeppelin “IV”.  Shown below, this disc bears the original European catalog number of 250 008.  The disc was pressed at the CBS/Sony plant, as evidenced by “CSR COMPACT DISC” repeating in the plastic ring.  The matrix code is “DIDZ-10058 31A3”.

Based on the catalog number, this disc is believed to be an early European issue.  The red coating with “aluminum” text and aluminum target squares was only used on a handful of Target CDs.  In my experience, this is one of the rarest Target CDs.

 

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The vast majority of early Japanese pressings of CBS/Sony titles for the U.S. market have “MADE IN JAPAN” or “MANUFACTURED IN JAPAN” stamped along the perimeter at the end of a copyright statement.  Certain discs, however, have a “MADE IN JAPAN” sticker affixed beneath the CD format logo at 3 o’clock.

It is not clear to me why the stickers were used rather than the conventional stamp along the perimeter, but in my experience, these stickered discs are very rare.  Shown below are two Japan-for-U.S. issues of Bruce Springsteen Born to Run (CBS, catalog number CK 33795).  The first copy has the “MADE IN JAPAN” sticker at 3 o’clock.  The matrix code is “35DP-21-1 1A1” in a crude font.  This crude matrix code font is indicative of a very early Japanese CBS/Sony pressing.  The disc also has “MANUFACTURED BY CBS/SONY RECORDS INC.” stamped on the clear plastic ring.

The second copy of Born to Run has the conventional “MADE IN JAPAN” stamp along the perimeter.  This disc has the same matrix code as the stickered version, but it has “CSR COMPACT DISC” repeating in the plastic ring.

I also have stickered versions of REO Speedwagon Hi Infidelity (Epic, catalog number EK 36844), Boz Scaggs Silk Degrees (CBS, catalog number CK 33920), and Toto Toto IV (CBS, catalog number CK 37728).  Each title also exists as a Japanese CBS/Sony pressing with “MADE IN JAPAN” stamped along the perimeter.

 

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The first Japanese CD issue of The Police Synchronicity was released under catalog number 38XB-2.  There are two pressings that differ in several ways.  Importantly, the first pressing mimics the original LP release in that it has just 10 tracks rather than the typical 11.  “Murder by Numbers” does not appear on this disc.  Shown below are pictures of the discs, front covers, and back inserts that highlight differences between these two pressings.

 

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The first pressing of the Japanese issue of Synchronicity with catalog number 38XB-2.  This disc has 10 tracks and lacks “Murder by Numbers”.  This label design with the partial black coating was used by A&M in Japan on only a few early pressings.  The disc was pressed at the CBS/Sony plant in Japan.  It has “CSR COMPACT DISC” repeating in the plastic ring, and the matix code is “38XB-2 11A1”.

 

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The second pressing of the Japanese issue of Synchronicity with catalog number 38XB-2. This disc has 11 tracks and has “Murder by Numbers” as the last track. The label design is very similar to the one used for the original U.S. issue. In fact, this disc bears the original U.S. catalog number of CD 3735 beneath the A&M logo. The disc was pressed at the CBS/Sony plant in Japan. It has “CSR COMPACT DISC” repeating in the plastic ring, and the matix code is “38XB-2 31A8 +++++”.

 

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The front cover for the first pressing of the Japanese issue of Synchronicity with catalog number 38XB-2.  The booklet opens from the right.  Thus, the cover artwork is presented in an unconventional vertical orientation.  Also note the shadow effect on “THE POLICE” and “SYNCHRONICITY” on the right side.  Lyrics and other text are printed in both English and Japanese inside the booklet.  There is no separate Japanese lyric sheet.

 

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The front cover for the second pressing of the Japanese issue of Synchronicity with catalog number 38XB-2. The booklet opens from the right. Thus, the cover artwork is presented in the conventional horizontal orientation. Note that there is no shadow effect on “THE POLICE” and “SYNCHRONICITY” at the top. This booklet is identical to one used for an early Japanese pressing issued in the U.S. All text inside this booklet is printed in English, but a separate Japanese lyric sheet is included.

 

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The back insert for the first pressing of the Japanese issue of Synchronicity with catalog number 38XB-2.  The picture is oriented such that the spines are on the left and right sides.  Thus, like the front cover above, the artwork appears in the unconventional vertical orientation.  Once again, note the shadow effect on “THE POLICE” and “SYNCHRONICITY” on the right side.  The gray strip on the right looks like the back of an obi strip, but it is actually a printed portion of the back insert.

 

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The back insert for the second pressing of the Japanese issue of Synchronicity with catalog number 38XB-2.  The picture is oriented such that the spines are on the left and right sides.  Thus, like the front cover for the second pressing above, the artwork appears in the conventional horizontal orientation.  Note that there is no shadow effect on “THE POLICE” and “SYNCHRONICITY” at the top.  The gray strip on the right is an obi strip of sorts.  It is a separate piece of paper from the back insert.  Thus, it covers a portion of the back insert and also covers one spine.  Notice that part of “SYNCHRONICITY” is covered by this obi strip.

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Here is another disc that I had been searching for for a very long time.  It is the original Japanese CBS/Sony pressing of Jethro Tull Aqualung for the U.S. market.  This pressing is very rare in my experience, as I have only come across three copies.  The disc has “CSR COMPACT DISC” repeating in the plastic ring, and the matrix code is “DIDX-68 11”.

 

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A recent acquisition is the rare Japanese Target CD of Randy Newman Trouble in Paradise.  I first became aware of it in 2006 and know of only two other copies.  The disc was pressed by CBS/Sony, as evidenced by the text “MANUFACTURED BY CBS/SONY RECORDS INC.” stamped on the clear plastic ring at the center.  CBS/Sony pressed a handful of titles with the Target design, and these pressings are generally very rare.  In the case of Trouble in Paradise, the West German target pressed by Polygram is considerably more common.

The Japanese Target is pictured below.  Unfortunately, the scan does not do the disc justice, as the black coating is striking in person.

 

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