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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Collecting early CD pressings for some 12 years now, I have learned a lot.  Particularly interesting was learning about first issues of popular albums I had no idea existed due to their rarity.  At the start, I, like many people I have come across, believed that the first U.S. CD issue of Miles Davis’s 1959 classic Kind of Blue was the Columbia Jazz Masterpieces CD bearing catalog number CK 40579.  I only knew of two U.S. issues — that Columbia Jazz Masterpieces CD and the 1997 remastered CD.  So, the Columbia Jazz Masterpieces CD was the first.  It was released in 1986, so it was the first.  Right?  Wrong.

Kind of Blue is considered by many to be the best jazz album of all-time, if not the best album of all-time, period.  It is a stellar album, regardless of where it ranks.  Five tracks that are so engaging and sound just right.  The legendary group joining Miles’ trumpet of Cannonball Adderley on alto sax, John Coltrane on tenor sax, Bill Evans and Wynton Kelly on piano, Jimmy Cobb on drums, and Paul Chambers on bass is incredibly tight.  Everything aligned just right for this album.  The right personnel with the right music at the right time.

Given the positive reception that the album received early on and that grew intensely over the years, it would seem strange that CBS/Sony would have waited until 1986 to release it on CD.  As it turns out, CBS/Sony originally released the album on CD in Japan and the U.S. in 1984.  The first Japanese CD, from 1984, was released under catalog number 35DP 62 on the CBS/Sony label.  The first U.S. CD, from 1984, was released under catalog number CK 08163 on the CBS label.

The aforementioned Columbia Jazz Masterpieces CD from ’86 is an odd one in a few respects.  Most obviously, the album cover photo is not the original one.  The picture is from Miles’ fusion/electric era of the late ’60s or early ’70s, not from 1959.  Also, the negative of the photo is reversed, so Miles appears to be playing left-handed.  Additionally, from an audiophile’s perspective, the mastering leaves a lot to be desired.  Fortunately for collectors, the first U.S. issue is presented correctly.

The CK 08163 issue of Kind of Blue uses the original 1959 album cover photo.  The mastering is also “pure” compared to the Columbia Jazz Masterpieces CD.  In short, the CK 08163 CD sounds much better.  (What Sony was thinking for the Columbia Jazz Masterpieces release from the standpoint of sound and artwork we may never know.)  The CK 08163 issue exists both as Japanese CBS/Sony and U.S. DADC pressings.  Both are rare.  In my experience, the U.S. DADC is a bit more difficult to track down.  It could be that this issue of Kind of Blue went out of print shortly after pressing at the DADC plant commenced.

These early Japanese and U.S. pressings of Kind of Blue are found with identical inserts.  The two discs also are similar in appearance.  The Japanese pressing shows the Japanese catalog number 35DP 62 in the matrix code and is typically found with “CSR COMPACT DISC” repeating in the clear plastic ring at the center.  The U.S. pressing shows “DIDP 50062” in the matrix code, and it has “Made in USA – Digital Audio Disc Corp.” stamped on the plastic ring.  50062 is obviously derived from the Japanese catalog number 35DP 62.  This correlation between Japanese CBS/Sony pressings and U.S. DADC pressings is found for many early U.S. CBS titles.

As a result of the overwhelming popularity of Kind of Blue, many well-mastered CDs and Super Audio CDs (SACDs) have been released over the years.  There are better-sounding versions than the CK 08163 CD of Kind of Blue that are easier to find today.  However, from the standpoint of the collector, this first U.S. issue, whether the Japanese or U.S. pressing is considered, is both rare and well-mastered.  It is well worth seeking out.

Shown below are the front and back inserts and a spine label for the CK 08163 Kind of Blue CD, as well as the U.S. DADC pressing.

 

kind of blue ck 08163 cover_500

The cover for the original U.S. issue of Miles Davis Kind of Blue (CBS, catalog number CK 08163).  The original 1959 album cover photo was used for this CD release.

 

kind of blue ck 08163 back insert_500

The back insert for the original U.S. issue of Miles Davis Kind of Blue (CBS, catalog number CK 08163).  Note the statement “Record manufactured in Japan…” at the bottom.  This back insert is found with both the Japanese CBS/Sony and U.S. DADC pressings.  Thus, the “Record manufactured in Japan…” statement remains for the U.S. pressing.

 

kind of blue ck 08163 spine_500

A spine label for the original U.S. issue of Miles Davis Kind of Blue (CBS, catalog number CK 08163).

 

kind of blue ck 08163_500

The original U.S. issue of Miles Davis Kind of Blue (CBS, catalog number CK 08163).  This disc was pressed in the U.S. at the DADC plant.  It has “Made in USA – Digital Audio Disc Corp.” stamped on the plastic ring, and the matrix code is “DIDP 50062 11A2”.  “DIDP-50062” is printed beneath the catalog number at 3 o’clock.  “MADE IN U.S.A” is printed along the perimeter at 6 o’clock.  Note the “triangle-in-circle” symbol beneath the CD format logo at 3 o’clock, which is a symbol of the U.S. DADC plant.  The original Japanese CBS/Sony pressing is similar in appearance to this U.S. pressing, though it lacks the triangle-in-circle symbol.

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As a new audio format, the compact disc in the early days was targeted primarily for audiophiles, those who wanted uncompromised sound (“Perfect Sound Forever”, no snap, crackle, pop).  (Whether the CD delivered that can be debated until the cows come home and will not be debated here.)  Many record labels focused their efforts around the fledgling digital medium on the genre of classical music, believing that audiophiles and those that could afford the new format had a refined palate and were classical music aficionados.  Examples of such labels include CBS/Sony, EMI, Philips, and Nimbus.  Another one, which is the focus of this post, was Delos.

Delos jumped on the CD bandwagon in the U.S. around 1983.  Their earliest titles bear catalog numbers of the form D/CD 3XXX.  For later titles, the catalog number prefix changed from D/CD to DE.  Early titles released by Delos were pressed in Japan.  Most of these discs were pressed by Sanyo, but a handful of early titles were pressed by CBS/Sony.  By 1985, Delos titles were being pressed in the U.S.

One of the few Delos titles pressed in Japan by CBS/Sony is Antonio Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons performed by the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra with Gerard Schwarz as conductor.  This recording features Elmar Oliveira on violin.  Delos released this version of The Four Seasons under catalog number D/CD 3007.  Here we consider two CBS/Sony pressing variations of The Four Seasons.

The two pressing variations of The Four Seasons are found with identical inserts.  As an early Delos release, there is no barcode on the back insert, and the inserts were printed in Japan.  Although we are talking about an early release in general, early is relative.  We will distinguish the two CBS/Sony pressings of The Four Seasons by classifying one as earlier and one as later.

The difference between the two CBS/Sony pressings is obvious upon inspection.  For the earlier one, the aluminum portions of the label side have a gold tone.  The play side has the conventional aluminum color.  While this may seem unusual, CBS/Sony released its earliest classical, jazz, and rock titles in Japan in 1982 with a gold tone on the label side.  It would therefore appear that the earlier CBS/Sony pressing of The Four Seasons on Delos was pressed in ’82.  This disc has the text “MANUFACTURED BY CBS/SONY RECORDS INC.” stamped on the clear plastic ring at the center.  The matrix code character grouping also represents an early format.  The matrix code is “D/CD-3007-1 1A1”.  The top portion of the disc label has a black paint coating with the Delos logo in “aluminum”.

For the later CBS/Sony pressing, the aluminum portions of the label side are the conventional aluminum color.  This disc has “CSR COMPACT DISC” repeating in the clear plastic ring.  The matrix code character grouping is more conventional for Japanese CBS/Sony pressings.  The matrix code is “D/CD 3007 11A2”.  The top portion of the disc label has a blue paint coating instead of black, with the Delos logo in “aluminum”.

Shown below are the front and back inserts found with the two Japanese CBS/Sony pressings of The Four Seasons.  The two pressings are also shown for direct comparison.

 

vivaldi four seasons delos cover_500

The cover for Japanese CBS/Sony pressings of Antonio Vivaldi The Four Seasons performed by the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Gerard Schwarz (Delos, catalog number D/CD 3007).

 

vivaldi four seasons delos back insert_500

The back insert for Japanese CBS/Sony pressings of Antonio Vivaldi The Four Seasons performed by the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Gerard Schwarz (Delos, catalog number D/CD 3007).  There is no barcode.  As noted in the bottom right corner, this insert was printed in Japan.

 

vivaldi four seasons delos earlier cbs sony_500

The earlier Japanese CBS/Sony pressing of Antonio Vivaldi The Four Seasons performed by the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Gerard Schwarz (Delos, catalog number D/CD 3007).  “Manufactured in Japan” is printed at 3 o’clock.  Note the gold tone, which is similar to the gold tone found on the earliest CBS/Sony CDs released in Japan in 1982.  This disc has “MANUFACTURED BY CBS/SONY RECORDS INC.” stamped on the plastic ring, and the matrix code is “D/CD-3007-1 1A1”.  Note the black paint coating at the top.

 

vivaldi four seasons delos later cbs sony_500

The later Japanese CBS/Sony pressing of Antonio Vivaldi The Four Seasons performed by the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Gerard Schwarz (Delos, catalog number D/CD 3007).  “Manufactured in Japan” is printed at 3 o’clock.  This disc is the conventional aluminum color.  It has “CSR COMPACT DISC” repeating in the plastic ring, and the matrix code is “D/CD 3007 11A2”.  Note the blue paint coating at the top, compared to the black coating on the earlier pressing above.

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After nearly a decade of success as one half of Hall & Oates, Daryl Hall embarked on a periodic solo career with 1980’s Sacred Songs.  It has been “periodic” in that Hall’s solo albums have been separated by additional charting offerings by the famous duo.  Hall’s second solo effort came in 1986 on RCA as Three Hearts in the Happy Ending Machine.  RCA released the sophomore album on CD in the U.S. in 1986 under catalog number PCD1-7196.  This release came to market as a Japanese pressing, which is rather common as far as early CDs are concerned.

To further expand the market for the compact disc, record labels in the mid-’80s began releasing CD singles, taking a cue from the familiar 45 and other singles on vinyl.  Some of these CD singles were released at retail, while others were promotional releases.  Record labels gave promotional CD singles to radio stations and music retailers and encouraged them to regularly (incessantly) play them to promote their artists and albums, as well as the new medium for hearing them.  Daryl Hall’s Three Hearts in the Happy Ending Machine yielded the hit “Dreamtime”, and RCA issued a promotional CD single in the U.S. to promote the song and album.  This CD single is rare.

The “Dreamtime” single is a simple release.  It contains just the album version of the song; no “B-side”, no alternative mix, no radio edit, etc.  RCA released the single under catalog number CR-14386.  The single was released in a jewel case with front and back inserts.  As this was a promotional issue, there is no barcode on the back insert.  Both the disc and back insert are labeled “PROMOTIONAL ONLY” and “NOT FOR SALE”.  The front insert is just a single card rather than a booklet.  Artwork is printed on the front, but nothing is printed on the back.

Interestingly, both the CD and back insert reference Three Hearts in the Happy Ending Machine on vinyl, not CD.  The back insert reads “TAKEN FROM THE LP THREE HEARTS IN THE HAPPY ENDING MACHINE”.  Also shown beneath this statement is the LP catalog number, AFL1-7196.  This may have been an error in that the text may have taken from a vinyl single for “Dreamtime” or it may have been recognition on the part of RCA that many consumers still were buying albums on vinyl instead of CD in 1986.

The label side for the “Dreamtime” CD single bears the standard design of early U.S. RCA releases — a royal blue ring around the perimeter with royal blue text, a white vertical RCA logo, and no paint coating.  The CD was pressed in the U.S. at the LaserVideo plant, which was one of the first CD pressing plants to open in the U.S. (for a unique commemorative CD from the opening of the LaserVideo plant, go Purchasing Tramadol Overnight).  The matrix code is “CI05110 -0- CR-14386”.  Also included in the mirror band is “10001 MANUFACTURED IN U.S.A. BY LASERVIDEO INC.”

Shown below are the front and back inserts and a spine label for the “Dreamtime” single, as well as the disc itself.

 

 hall dreamtime front insert_500

The front insert for the U.S. CD single of Daryl Hall “Dreamtime” (RCA, catalog number CR-14386).  The RCA CD logo in the bottom right corner is atypical.  Note that the logo contains the letters “C” and “D” together to form a disc on a tray.  The common logo shows the C and D as an aluminum CD with light reflecting off the surface.

 

 hall dreamtime back insert_500

The back insert for the U.S. CD single of Daryl Hall “Dreamtime” (RCA, catalog number CR-14386).  There is no barcode.  Note the reference to the LP release of Three Hearts in the Happy Ending Machine beneath the production credits.  “PROMOTIONAL ONLY” and “NOT FOR SALE” appear beneath the LP reference.  As noted in the copyright paragraph, this insert was printed in the U.S.

 

 hall dreamtime spine label_500

A spine label for the U.S. CD single of Daryl Hall “Dreamtime” (RCA, catalog number CR-14386).  It possesses the red-orange-yellow color spectrum typical of early U.S. RCA CD releases.

 

 hall dreamtime single_500

The U.S. CD single of Daryl Hall “Dreamtime” (RCA, catalog number CR-14386).  This disc was pressed in the U.S. by LaserVideo and bears the standard label design of early CDs released by RCA in the U.S.  “Made in U.S.A” is printed at 4 o’clock.  Like the back insert shown above, this disc shows a reference to the Three Hearts in the Happy Ending Machine LP and promotional statements.  The matrix code is “CI05110 -0- CR-14386”.  “10001 MANUFACTURED IN U.S.A. BY LASERVIDEO INC.” is also stamped in the mirror band.

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The story of Steely Dan is very well known among music lovers and audiophiles alike.  Donald Fagen and Walter Becker met at Bard College in New York in 1968 and eventually formed Steely Dan.  Fagen and Becker complimented each other, and beginning with their Steely Dan debut album, Can’t Buy a Thrill, in 1972, the duo developed a reputation for excellent production and cerebral publishing with sardonic and analytical tendencies.  Through the 1970s, Steely Dan added jazz elements to their songwriting, and their style continued to evolve, arguably reaching its pinnacle with their sixth studio effort, 1977’s AjaAja offered just seven songs, but they were seven very well conceived and recorded performances.  Critics and fans agreed, as Aja peaked at #3 in the U.S. and #5 in the U.K.  In 1978, Aja won a Grammy for “Best Engineered Non-Classical Recording”.

With its popularity in the late ’70s into the early ’80s, Aja was chosen by MCA for worldwide release on CD in 1984.  The original U.S. issue will be featured here at a later date, but today, we consider the first Japanese issue.  In 1984, MCA partnered with Victor Musical Industries to release CDs in Japan.  Victor Musical Industries was the music arm of the better-known JVC or Victor Company of Japan, Ltd.  Early rock and pop CDs released by Victor in Japan bear a VDP catalog number prefix.  Many of the earliest titles from the VDP series, meaning with a catalog number suffix less than 100, are very rare.  Aja, assigned catalog number VDP-27, is one of these very rare titles.

As a Victor release, the VDP Aja CD was pressed by JVC.  Like other titles in the series, the disc features a unique black coating design with “aluminum” text.  This label design was picked up by Varese Sarabande, which also released CDs in partnership with Victor in the 1980s.

The matrix code on the VDP Aja CD is “VDP 27 1 3B11”.  The lack of hyphens between groups of characters in the matrix code (i.e., VDP 27 1… as opposed to VDP-27-1…) is indicative of an early Japanese JVC pressing.  As noted, this CD is very rare, as it rarely appears for sale online.  The second Japanese CD issue, released under catalog number 32XD-112, is more common.  Shown below are the front and back inserts and a spine label for the VDP Aja CD, as well as the disc itself.

Note: Steely Dan’s follow-up to Aja, 1980’s Gaucho, was also released on CD in Japan in 1984 by MCA in conjunction with Victor.  The catalog number is VDP-26, and the disc bears the same design as the Aja disc shown here.  Like the VDP Aja CD, the VDP issue of Gaucho is very rare.

 

aja vdp cover_400

The cover for the first Japanese issue of Steely Dan Aja (MCA/Victor Musical Industries, catalog number VDP-27).  This is the standard cover artwork for this album.  Note the catalog number printed in the top right corner.

 

aja vdp back insert_500

The back insert for the first Japanese issue of Steely Dan Aja (MCA/Victor Musical Industries, catalog number VDP-27).  The retail price of ¥3,500 printed in the bottom right corner is typical of an early single-disc release in Japan.

 

aja vdp spine_500

A spine label for the first Japanese issue of Steely Dan Aja (MCA/Victor Musical Industries, catalog number VDP-27).  The other spine label is printed in Japanese.

 

aja vdp cd_500

The first Japanese issue of Steely Dan Aja (MCA/Victor Musical Industries, catalog number VDP-27).  The matrix code is “VDP 27 1 3B11”.  The disc is dated 1984 beneath the MCA logo at 3 o’clock.

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In March of this year, the classic bossa nova album Getz/Gilberto, a collaboration by tenor sax legend Stan Getz and Brazilian guitarist and singer João Gilberto, celebrated its 50th anniversary.  In March of last year, the original West German CD pressing of Getz/Gilberto was featured in this spot (click Is It Legal To Order Tramadol Over The Internet).  Back then, it was noted that West German pressings showed differences in the mastering and the inserts.  In fact, it was said that a follow-up post highlighting these variations would be offered “in a few months.”  Oops!  Well, if you consider 14 months a few, then all is well.  In any case, we look here at a later West German pressing that shows the aforementioned variations when compared to the original West German disc.

To summarize, here are key features of the first West German pressing of Getz/Gilberto, featured in the March 2013 post:

Later West German pressings of Getz/Gilberto have a more common label design with black text over aluminum (i.e., no paint coating).  The original mastering with Astrud Gilberto’s vocals in the right channel in “The Girl From Ipanema” can be found with this later label design.  This disc has the same matrix code as noted above, meaning that the same glass master was used for discs showing both label designs.

It would seem that Verve discovered the incorrect channel orientation in “The Girl From Ipanema” fairly early, as West German pressings exist with a different mastering where the channel orientation is correct.  These discs have the later label design of black text with no paint coating and matrix codes of the form “810 048-2 XX”.  The last two numbers of the matrix code vary, indicating different glass masters being used.  Here, we consider a West German pressing of Getz/Gilberto with matrix code “810 048-2 07 *”.   Like the original pressings cited above, this disc was pressed by the Polygram plant.  The asterisk may have been added by Polygram to indicate a different mastering from the original pressings.

The “07 pressing” of Getz/Gilberto has the correct channel orientation for Astrud Gilberto’s vocals in “The Girl From Ipanema” (left).  Additionally, the front cover has the catalog number printed in the top right corner.  The back insert now has the track times added.

Shown below are the inserts for the 07 pressing of Getz/Gilberto, along with the disc.  Compare these pictures to the ones shown in the original post from March 2013.

 

getz gilberto 07 cover_400

The cover for a later West German pressing of Stan Getz and João Gilberto featuring Antonio Carlos Jobim Getz/Gilberto (Verve, catalog number 810 048-2).  The catalog number is printed in the top right corner.  The cover associated with the earliest West German pressings does not show the catalog number.

 

getz gilberto 07 back insert_500

The back insert for a later West German pressing of Stan Getz and João Gilberto featuring Antonio Carlos Jobim Getz/Gilberto (Verve, catalog number 810 048-2).  The track times appear next to the song titles.  The back insert associated with the earliest West German pressings does not show track times.

 

getz gilberto 07_500

A later West German pressing of Stan Getz and João Gilberto featuring Antonio Carlos Jobim Getz/Gilberto (Verve, catalog number 810 048-2).  This disc has the second and more common label design of black text with an aluminum background.  The matrix code on this disc is “810 048-2 07 *″.  Unlike the earliest West German pressings, this 07 pressing has the correct left-channel orientation for Astrud Gilberto’s vocals in “The Girl From Ipanema”.

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When the CD format was launched in 1982, EMI Music in Japan was known as Toshiba-EMI, as in Toshiba the electronics giant.  For historical purposes, the label in Japan was founded in 1960 as Toshiba Musical Industries.  In 1973, Capitol EMI bought a 50% stake in the company, and the name was changed to Toshiba EMI Limited.  In 1982, Toshiba-EMI began releasing CDs in Japan.  These early CDs are referred to as “black triangles” by collectors by virtue of the label design.  Single-disc classical titles bearing the black-triangle design were released on the EMI label under the CC38 series.  CC38 is the catalog number prefix for these CDs, and 38 referred to the retail price of ¥3800 (yen).  Similarly, pop, rock, and jazz single-disc black-triangles were released by EMI in 1982 in the CP35 series, where 35 indicated the retail price of ¥3500.

Catalog numbers for the initial CP35 series followed the form CP35-3XXX.  A CP35-5XXX series bearing the black-triangle design followed.  The first title in the CP35 series was Paul McCartney’s 1982 album Tug of War, which was released on the EMI/Odeon label under catalog number CP35-3001.  Most Toshiba-EMI black-triangle CDs were pressed in Japan at the Toshiba-EMI plant, but the earliest titles were pressed in Japan by CBS/Sony.  Here, we feature the early and very rare Japanese CBS/Sony pressing of Tug of War.

The CBS/Sony pressing of Tug of War shows the tell-tale signs of being an early pressing.  The disc has “MANUFACTURED BY CBS/SONY RECORDS INC.” stamped on the plastic ring at the center.  Also, the matrix code is stamped in the original CBS/Sony crude font.  The matrix code is “CP35-3001-1 1A1”.  Another indicator that this is an early pressing is the observation that this particular copy came in a smooth-edge jewel case with one long booklet retaining bar on the right side (see the picture of the album cover below).  Jewel cases of this type were manufactured for a short period at the launch of the format and are rare.  This jewel case has “Patent pending” embossed on the back.

Although Tug of War was first pressed by CBS/Sony, Toshiba-EMI plant pressings followed and are more common.  Shown below are the inserts and a spine label assocated with the CBS/Sony pressing of Tug of War, along with the black-triangle CD.

 

 tug of war cover_500

The cover for the Japanese black-triangle CD of Paul McCartney Tug of War (EMI/Odeon, catalog number CP35-3001).  Note that the catalog number is printed in the top right corner.  The booklet is shown in the original jewel case.  The single long booklet retaining bar to the right represents a rare, early jewel case design that was quickly replaced with the more conventional two shorter retaining bars.

 

 tug of war back insert_500

The back insert for the Japanese black-triangle CD of Paul McCartney Tug of War (EMI/Odeon, catalog number CP35-3001).  Back inserts for Toshiba-EMI black-triangle CDs were typically printed with much of the text in Japanese.  Note that the retail price is shown as ¥3,500 in the bottom left corner.

 

tug of war spine_500

A spine label for the Japanese black-triangle CD of Paul McCartney Tug of War (EMI/Odeon, catalog number CP35-3001).  The other spine label is printed in Japanese.

 

 mccartney tug of war_500

The Japanese CBS/Sony pressing of Paul McCartney Tug of War bearing the black-triangle label design (EMI/Odeon, catalog number CP35-3001).  “MANUFACTURED BY CBS/SONY RECORDS INC.” is stamped on the plastic ring at the center.  The matrix code is “CP35-3001-1 1A1” and is stamped in the early CBS/Sony crude font.

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In the 1970s, Styx, hailing from Chicago, transformed from one of many prog rockers of the era to the archetypal arena rock group.  This transformation began with their highly successful 1977 effort The Grand Illusion, featuring the hit title track and radio staples “Fooling Yourself (Angry Young Man)” and “Come Sail Away”.  It continued with 1978’s Pieces of Eight, which offered “Blue Collar Man”, and 1979’s Cornerstone, which produced the landmark ballad “Babe”.  Styx’s position as a leading commercial act arguably reached its peak with 1981’s concept album, Paradise Theater.  The album is a fictitious account of the 1928 opening of the Paradise Theater in Chicago, which is met with great optimism, and then its eventual decline and closure and is considered a commentary on the changing view of the United States as a whole over the period.

Released on A&M Records, the line-up on Paradise Theater is as follows: Dennis DeYoung, keyboards and vocals; Tommy Shaw, guitar and vocals; James Young, guitar and vocals; Chuck Panozzo, bass; John Panozzo, drums and percussion.  Songs were written by DeYoung, Shaw, and/or Young.  Paradise Theater is a good mix of ballads (DeYoung’s “The Best of Times”) and driving rock (the trio’s “Rockin’ the Paradise”).  Additionally, the album offers one of Styx’s biggest hits in Shaw’s “Too Much Time on My Hands”.  In 1981, Paradise Theater reached #1 on the U.S. Billboard albums chart.

Given the aforementioned success, it should be no surprise that Paradise Theater saw early releases on CD in Japan, the U.S., and Europe.  We will consider the U.S. release here, though other early CDs of Paradise Theater may be posted at another time (hint, hint).  The U.S. CD is commonly found bearing catalog number CD-3240.  There are in fact Japanese pressings (Denon) bearing this catalog number, which would indicate an early U.S. release.  What many collectors and Styx fans may not realize, however, is that CD-3240 does not represent the first U.S. release of Paradise Theater on CD.

The original U.S. CD issue of Paradise Theater was released under catalog number CD-3719.  This issue exists as Japanese Matsushita and Denon plant pressings, and these discs are very rare.  Thus, the CD-3719 release was replaced quickly by the CD-3240 release.  As stated above, the CD-3240 issue first appeared as Japanese Denon pressings, but this version is still in print as a U.S. pressing.

For the CD-3719 issue, we focus on the Japanese Matsushita plant pressing.  As an early Matsushita pressing (circa 1984), this disc has the text “MADE BY MATSUSHITA ELECTRIC IND.CO.,LTD.” and the Technics audio logo stamped on the plastic ring (Matsushita was the parent company that owned Technics).  The CD has matrix code “3719 2” stamped in a crude font, also indicative of an early Matsushita pressing.  The inserts with this CD were printed in Japan, and the back insert has no barcode.

Shown below is the cover, back insert, and a spine label for the CD-3719 release of Paradise Theater, along with the Japanese Matsushita pressing.

Note: When inspecting the CD-3719 disc and inserts, both the British and American spellings of “theater” are noted (i.e., theater vs. theatre).  For example, theatre is shown on the album’s cover featuring the 1928 “Gala Premiere”.  However, theater is shown on the back cover of the CD booklet and back insert, which feature the modern-day dilipidated building.

 

paradise theater cover_400

The cover for the original Japan-for-U.S. CD of Styx Paradise Theater (A&M, catalog number CD-3719).  This is the standard cover artwork for this album.

 

paradise theater back insert_500

The back insert for the original Japan-for-U.S. CD of Styx Paradise Theater (A&M, catalog number CD-3719).  Note that there is no barcode.  As indicated along the bottom, this insert was printed in Japan.

 

paradise theater spine_500

A spine label for the original Japan-for-U.S. CD of Styx Paradise Theater (A&M, catalog number CD-3719).  Catalog number CD-3719 pertains to the rare first U.S. issue that was quickly replaced by a CD bearing catalog number CD-3240, which is still in use today.

 

paradise theater_500

The original Japanese Matsushita pressing of Styx Paradise Theater (A&M, catalog number CD-3719).  “MADE BY MATSUSHITA ELECTRIC IND.CO.,LTD.” and the Technics audio logo are stamped on the plastic ring.  The matrix code is “3719 2”.  Note that “Made in Japan” is printed beneath the CD format logo at 8 o’clock.

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Back in 2007, a rare West German pressing of Rush’s 1981 landmark album Moving Pictures was featured on keithhirsch.com.  This disc bears Mercury Records’ first CD label design, referred to as the “Green Arrow”.  More on this CD can be found Ordering Tramadol Online Illegal.  Now we consider another early Rush CD.  In September 1982, the Canadian trio of Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson, and Neil Peart released their follow-up to Moving Pictures (well, a live album came in between).  Signals demonstrated Rush’s adaptability, as synthesizers complimented their familiar guitar-heavy rock and told their fans that they were embracing the 1980’s.  Signals was heavy, mind you, but with a very different sound than what fans were used to from the group.  With the change in sound, Rush still was able to turn out hits, as Signals offered the popular “Subdivisions”, “The Analog Kid”, and “New World Man”.

Mercury Records released Signals on CD in 1982 under catalog number 810 002-2.  The first copies were pressed in West Germany by Polygram and bear the same green-arrow label design referenced above for Moving Pictures.  While the Green-Arrow pressing of Moving Pictures is rare, Signals is even rarer.  The matrix code on the Signals CD is “810002 2 01”.  The format of this matrix code is indicative of the earliest Polygram CDs produced.  This is due to the lack of a space and hyphen separating groups of characters.  A later and more common West German pressing of Signals, for example, bears matrix code “810 002-2 02”.

The Signals CD featured here is rare by virtue of the green-arrow design.  Mercury switched quickly to the more familiar “atomic” design, which bears red and silver lines on the disc and the atomic symbol at the center (this design is shown in the aforementioned Moving Pictures entry).  The earliest Atomic copies of Signals, which were also pressed in West Germany, bear the same matrix code as the Green-Arrow pressing (“810002 2 01”), meaning that the same glass master was used.  Although this Atomic pressing was made from the original glass master, it is far more common than the Green-Arrow version of Signals.  Later West German Atomic pressings of Signals were made from different glass masters that show the matrix code with a space and hyphen as mentioned in the preceding paragraph.  (It should be noted that early U.S. pressings are also found with the atomic design.)

The inserts with the Green-Arrow pressing of Signals were printed in West Germany.  Unfortunately, the inserts cannot be used to spot this rare CD, as more common West German Atomic pressings were issued with the same inserts.  Shown below are the inserts issued with West German pressings of Signals, along with the rare Green-Arrow CD.

 

signals cover_400

The cover for West German pressings of Rush Signals (Mercury, catalog number 810 002-2).  This is the standard cover artwork for this album.

 

signals back insert_500

The back insert for West German pressings of Rush Signals (Mercury, catalog number 810 002-2).  Note that it states “Printed in West Germany” along the bottom.  A barcode appears in the top right corner.  This back insert is found with the West German Green-Arrow CD and later West German Atomic pressings.

 

signals green arrow_500

The rare West German Green-Arrow pressing of Rush Signals (Mercury, catalog number 810 002-2).  The matrix code is “810002 2 01”.  Note that “MADE IN W-GERMANY” is printed on the CD at 7 o’clock.

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