November 24th, 2011
1978 saw a three-man band from the U.K. break onto the music scene with a fresh punk/rock/reggae sound and creative, insecure, honest, and sometimes humorous lyrics. That band, of course, is none other than The Police, led by frontman Sting and joined by guitarist Andy Summers and drummer Stewart Copeland. Their debut album, the distinctively titled Outlandos d’Amour, contained the hits and still widely played “So Lonely”, “Roxanne”, and “Can’t Stand Losing You”.
So, what about Outlandos d’Amour on CD? With The Police’s popularity in overdrive when the CD format was launched globally in 1983, it should be no surprise that their record label, A&M, wasted little time getting their music out on the shiny silver discs. For collectors of early CD pressings, there are many interesting Japanese and West German Police pressings to seek out (the first Japanese issue of Synchronicity was featured here in September of 2007; click here). Getting back to Outlandos d’Amour, let’s have a look at the first European issue, a rather unique early CD.
When A&M released their first CDs in Europe in 1983-84, they partnered with CBS/Sony. As such, these early A&M CDs resemble the early European CBS/Sony releases. They have the same label design and similar catalog number formats — a CDA prefix and five-digit suffix is common for A&M titles and CDCBS, CDEPC, and similar prefixes with five-digit suffixes are found for CBS/Sony titles. These early A&M titles were, therefore, pressed in Japan by CBS/Sony. Examples of A&M titles resembling CBS/Sony releases are Joe Jackson Night and Day (catalog number CDA 64906) and Styx Paradise Theater (catalog number CDA 63719).
The original European issue of Outlandos d’Amour is an unusual one. It doesn’t fit the mold described above. It has a CBS/Sony-like catalog number — CDA 68502 — and the back insert states that the disc was pressed by CBS/Sony in Japan. However, the actual disc was pressed in Japan by JVC. What’s more, the disc bears the original U.S. catalog number, CD-4753. Despite showing the U.S. catalog number, the disc is a unique pressing that was never actually issued in the U.S. It is only found with the European CDA 68502 inserts. The disc also bears ID number “DIDP 10180”, which is not found on U.S. issues.
I have never seen a Japanese CBS/Sony pressing of Outlandos d’Amour for the European market. Additionally, I have never seen an Outlandos d’Amour CD bearing catalog number CDA 68502. The Japan-for-Europe issue described here is unique and is very rare in my experience.
Shown below are the inserts for the Japan-for-Europe issue of Outlandos d’Amour and the CD.
The cover for the Japan-for-Europe CD issue of The Police Outlandos d’Amour (A&M, catalog number CDA 68502). This is the same cover found with other releases of the album.
The back insert for the Japan-for-Europe CD issue of The Police Outlandos d’Amour (A&M, catalog number CDA 68502). There is no barcode. The copyright paragraph at the bottom states that the disc was made in Japan by CBS/Sony, while it was actually pressed in Japan by JVC.
A spine label for the Japan-for-Europe CD issue of The Police Outlandos d’Amour (A&M, catalog number CDA 68502). With the exception of the different font for the catalog number, it resembles the spine label for the original U.S. CD issue.
The Japan-for-Europe CD of The Police Outlandos d’Amour (A&M, catalog number CDA 68502). The disc was pressed by JVC and bears the original U.S. catalog number, CD-4753. This disc was not issued in the U.S. Note “DIDP 10180” printed beneath the catalog number at 6 o’clock. This DIDP number is unique to the European issue. The matrix code is “DIDP 10180 2E11”.