August 17th, 2013
Here we have an uncommon early promotional CD. Most of the promotional discs from the dawn of the CD era are samplers that were intended to promote a record label and the CD format. These samplers were included with CD players, given to radio stations, demoed at industry trade shows, etc. Some of these early samplers have been featured on this site. In the interest of keeping things fresh on keithhirsch.com, the promotional CD featured here is not a sampler. Rather, it is a promotional copy of a studio album by a relatively unknown rock band from Seattle named Widow. The album, released in 1985, is titled Rockit and is Widow’s second album. Widow’s debut, Gone Too Far, was released in 1984.
Widow was a formulaic rock band of the ’80s. Their lineup was Robin Taylor on vocals, Karl Van Der Velden on lead guitar, Kevin Dillon on guitars, Jay Boone on bass, and Geoff Saddler on drums. Rockit contains 9 songs and features a typical ’80s rock production style. The Rockit promotional CD was released by Albatross Records under the CBS Associated Records banner and was assigned catalog number ZK 40163. The catalog number follows the format of a U.S. commercial release, but alas, Rockit was never released on CD commercially.
The Rockit promotional disc was not issued with a booklet, but there is a back insert. Both the disc and back insert are dated 1985 and both are labeled “FOR PROMOTION ONLY” and “NOT FOR SALE”. The Rockit CD was pressed in Japan. Although a CBS title, the disc was not pressed at the CBS/Sony plant in Japan. Rather, it was pressed by Denon (aka, Nippon Columbia). By the mid-’80s, CBS had opened the Digital Audio Disc Corporation (DADC) pressing plant in Terre Haute, Indiana. As a result, CBS stopped pressing CDs at its Japanese CBS/Sony plant for import to the U.S. However, to keep up with increasing demand in the U.S. in the mid-’80s (i.e., beyond what DADC could handle), CBS farmed out manufacturing of many titles to the Denon and JVC pressing plants in Japan. These Japan-for-U.S. Denon and JVC pressings are generally rare, and this promotional Widow CD is no exception.
The Rockit CD shows the matrix code in the typical Denon dot-matrix font, and the matrix code is “ZK-40163 1A1 59”. Shown below is the back insert, a spine label, and the promotional CD of Rockit.
NOTE: A similar promotional CD of Widow’s debut album Gone Too Far was released by CBS Associated/Albatross under catalog number ZK 39888. This disc was also pressed in Japan by Denon. A counterfeit pressing of Gone Too Far surfaced on ebay.com in 2010. The counterfeit is identified by an unusually wide mirror band.
The back insert for the promotional CD of Widow Rockit (CBS Associated/Albatross catalog number ZK 40163). It is dated 1985 in the bottom left corner and is labeled “FOR PROMOTION ONLY” and “NOT FOR SALE” at the bottom center. Note that there is no barcode.
A spine label for the promotional CD of Widow Rockit (CBS Associated/Albatross catalog number ZK 40163).
The promotional CD of Widow Rockit (CBS Associated/Albatross catalog number ZK 40163). Like the back insert, it is dated 1985 and is labeled “FOR PROMOTION ONLY” and “NOT FOR SALE”. The disc was pressed in Japan by Denon, and the matrix code is “ZK-40163 1A1 59”.