A popular subset of early CD pressings among collectors are those released by EMI primarily in the U.S. and Europe bearing a colored paint coating on the label side.  These CDs were pressed in Japan or West Germany.  Common colors for these discs are red and black (one color to a CD, not combinations).  An example of a disc with the red paint coating is the Japanese pressing of Queen Greatest Hits (EMI, catalog number CDP 7 46033 2).  A very popular disc with the black paint coating is the Japanese pressing of Pink Floyd The Dark Side of the Moon (Harvest/EMI, catalog number CDP 7 46001 2).  Although red and black were typical, a handful of early EMI discs were produced with unique color coatings.  One such CD is the original West German pressing of Iron Maiden Powerslave released on the EMI label under catalog number CDP 7 46045 2.  Let’s explore this album and CD a little further.

Powerslave is arguably Iron Maiden’s best and most successful album.  It contains such classics as “Aces High”, “2 Minutes to Midnight”, and the excellent adaptation of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “Rime of the Ancient Mariner”.  The release of Powerslave in September of 1984 coincided with market penetration of the CD beginning to expand across the globe.  As such, EMI wasted little time releasing the popular album on CD in various markets.  As alluded to above, the original U.S. and European release was a West German pressing.  To fit the album artwork’s pseudo-Egyptian motif, EMI assigned a bronze paint coating to this West German pressing.*  No other EMI title was issued with the bronze coating.

The bronze-painted Powerslave CD was pressed by Polygram.  As such, there is no clear plastic ring at the center.  The matrix code for this pressing is “746 045-2 2893 919 02 #”.  As an early release, the back insert does not have a barcode.  This original West German pressing is quite rare and very popular with collectors, as it typically draws many bids in online auctions.  Shown below are pictures of the Powerslave cover, back insert, spine label, and CD associated with this early release.

* A later and far more common West German pressing also exists under catalog number CDP 7 46045 2.  This CD was pressed by the Sonopress plant, has no color paint coating (i.e., black text with an aluminum background), and has a clear plastic ring at the center.

 

The cover for the original West German pressing of Iron Maiden Powerslave (EMI, catalog number CDP 7 46045 2).

 

The back insert for the original West German pressing of Iron Maiden Powerslave (EMI, catalog number CDP 7 46045 2).  Note that there is no barcode.  Although difficult to read, “Made in West Germany” is printed in white in the lower right corner.

 

A spine label for the original West German pressing of Iron Maiden Powerslave (EMI, catalog number CDP 7 46045 2).

 

The original West German pressing of Iron Maiden Powerslave (EMI, catalog number CDP 7 46045 2).  The disc was pressed by Polygram, and the matrix code is “746 045-2 2893 919 02 #”.  Note that the disc has “Made in West Germany” printed at 9 o’clock.  This is the only early CD released by EMI with the bronze paint coating.

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