March 9th, 2008
In 1985, Vertigo, a sub-label of Phonogram, issued the world’s first CD single in Europe to promote the landmark Dire Straits album Brothers in Arms and the resulting world concert tour. The four-track single featured long and short versions of the album’s title track, a portion of “Why Worry” from Brothers in Arms, and “Going Home”, a solo hit by Mark Knopfler. This CD single was released in conjuction with the concert tour’s sponsor, Philips, a co-inventor of the CD format with Sony.
The “Brothers in Arms” CD single was pressed in West Germany by Polygram and was released under Vertigo catalog number 884 285-2. Two variations of the CD single were released. The variations are marked by a subtle difference on the front cover. The first version has a concert tour date of 1985 in a blue triangle. As the concert tour extended into 1986, the cover was modified with the new date, and the appearance of the triangle was improved with additional colors. I have read that just 200 copies of the 1985 version were released, while only 500 copies of the 1986 version were released. While I cannot verify these numbers, both versions are rare in my experience.
Shown below are pictures of the disc, the two cover variations, and the back insert. Once again, the two versions of the CD single differ only by the cover.
The world’s first CD single, Dire Straits “Brothers in Arms” (Vertigo, catalog number 884 285-2). The disc was pressed in West Germany by Polygram. The label design is very similar to the one used for original issues of the Brothers in Arms album CD, except for the single, the guitar motif is pink instead of blue. Two versions of this CD single were issued that differ only by the date on the cover. Thus, this disc was issued with both versions.
The first cover for the Dire Straits “Brothers in Arms” CD single. Note the statement “Live in 85” in the blue triangle. I have read that only 200 copies of the single with this cover were issued, but this has not been confirmed.
The second cover for the Dire Straits “Brothers in Arms” CD single. Note the statement “Live in 86” in the multi-colored triangle. As can be surmised, the cover was modifed as the Brothers in Arms concert tour extended into 1986. I have read that only 500 copies of the single with this cover were issued, but as with the first cover version, I have not been able to confirm this.
The back insert for the Dire Straits “Brothers in Arms” CD single. The track list is provided. Printed in the bottom right corner is “Printed in West Germany” and “Made in West Germany”. This back insert was used for the 1985 and 1986 versions of the CD single.