With this post, I turn my attention to the classic 1976 double-album from Stevie Wonder, Songs in the Key of Life. Specifically, I would like to take a look at the original Japanese CD pressing on Tamla for the U.S. market (catalog number TCD06115TD-2). In my experience, this is the rarest of the original CD issues of Songs in the Key of Life, the others being Japanese pressings for the Japanese and European markets.

The two discs for Songs in the Key of Life were issued together and are designated Volume 1 and Volume 2. For the original Japan-for-U.S. pressing, the two volumes were issued in separate jewel cases, each with a booklet and back insert. This set was pressed in Japan by CBS/Sony. As early CBS/Sony pressings, the discs and accompanying inserts bear DIDX numbers — DIDX 108 and 109.

It took me a very long time to locate this Japan-for-U.S. pressing. Early U.S. DADC and Sanyo pressings that followed were also issued in separate jewel cases under catalog number TCD06115TD-2, with identical inserts to those found with the Japanese CBS/Sony pressing. I do not see the early U.S. pressings often, but they are considerably more common than the Japanese pressing. Most often, I see later U.S. pressings in a “chubby” two-disc jewel case. All of these U.S. pressings pre-date the 2000 remaster, which is packaged in a slim two-disc jewel case with a flip-out disc tray.

I have generally found Japanese CBS/Sony pressings of non-CBS/Sony titles to be quite rare. This pressing of Songs in the Key of Life is one such example. I am not aware of any other Japan-for-U.S. pressings of Songs in the Key of Life. In a future post, I will discuss the original U.S. issue of Stevie Wonder’s two-disc compilation, Original Musiquarium I, Volume I and Volume II, for which there are Japanese CBS/Sony and Japanese JVC pressings.

Shown below are pictures related to the original U.S. issue of Songs in the Key of Life. These pictures are all of Volume 1. Pictured is the album cover, back insert, a spine label, and the Japan-for-U.S. pressing.

 

The cover for the Japan-for-U.S. pressing of Volume 1 of Stevie Wonder Songs in the Key of Life (Tamla, catalog number TCD06115TD-2). The cover for Volume 2 is similar, the main difference being that the color scheme is purple instead of orange.

 

The back insert for the Japan-for-U.S. pressing of Volume 1 of Stevie Wonder Songs in the Key of Life (Tamla, catalog number TCD06115TD-2). Note the catalog number and DIDX number at the bottom center. As noted, Volume 1 (disc one) bears DIDX-108. Volume 2 (disc two) bears DIDX-109.

 

A spine label for the Japan-for-U.S. pressing of Volume 1 of Stevie Wonder Songs in the Key of Life (Tamla, catalog number TCD06115TD-2). Note that both DIDX numbers are shown at the left.

 

The Japan-for-U.S. pressing of Volume 1 of Stevie Wonder Songs in the Key of Life (Tamla, catalog number TCD06115TD-2). The disc was pressed by CBS/Sony. It has “CSR COMPACT DISC” repeating in the plastic ring, and the matrix code is “DIDX-108 31”. The DIDX number appears beneath the catalog number at approximately 3 o’clock. Volume 2 also was pressed by CBS/Sony and looks similar to Volume 1. The matrix code for Volume 2 is “DIDX-109 11”.

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