Between 1983 and 1985, RCA Records released 19 David Bowie albums on CD. This catalog features studio albums, compilations, and even Bowie’s narration of Peter and the Wolf. For many of Bowie’s most popular albums of the era, RCA released distinct CDs for the U.S., European, and Japanese markets. For each market, this means that the Bowie album was released under a unique catalog number with unique inserts. For example, there are different RCA releases of The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars for the U.S., Europe, and Japan.

Unless you are a Bowie completist, you really need just one RCA release of a particular album. The original Japanese issues are very rare, so seek out the more common U.S. or European issues. Now, these discs are seldom found in CD/record stores, so search for them online.

A unique title in the RCA Bowie catalog is the 1978 double live album, Stage. For whatever reason, RCA only released Stage on CD in Europe. This means that copies are particular rare in the U.S., for example, since they only would have been sold by retailers who specialized in import releases.

RCA released Stage on CD under catalog number PD89002. This catalog number format is typical for early European RCA CDs. The set is packaged in the typical “fat” two-disc jewel case with a booklet in the center section between the two discs. Both Stage discs have a gray paint coating on the bottom half with gray “sun rays” in the top half. Text is printed on the discs in black, and a silver paint RCA logo runs vertically along the left side of the disc. This design is also typical of early European RCA CDs.

The Stage CDs were pressed in West Germany by PolyGram, and the matrix codes for Discs 1 and 2 are “PD 89002.1 2895 347 01 #” and “PD 89 002.2 2895 348 01 #”, respectively. Both discs state “Made in Germany” beneath the track list. West German RCA pressings often cite Germany instead of West Germany.

Both discs show phonogram dates of 1978, while the inserts show a copyright date of 1983. Thus, the album was originally released in 1978, while the RCA CD set was released in 1983. The inserts state “Printed in Germany”.

With a copyright date of 1983, Stage was among the first David Bowie albums released on CD. In fact, the booklet contains a short list of other titles available from RCA on CD, and Ziggy Stardust is the only Bowie album listed. Most of the 19 Bowie titles were released by RCA in 1984 and ’85.

As noted above, Stage is an interesting part of the Bowie RCA CD catalog since it was only released in Europe. It likely will come at a premium if found online, but it is worth tracking down by hardcore Bowie fans and CD collectors given its rarity.

Shown below are the front and back inserts for the RCA issue of Stage, along with the Disc 1 from the two-disc set.

 

The front insert for the RCA issue of David Bowie Stage (catalog number PD89002). This is the typical cover artwork for this album. Note that the CD in the RCA logo in the bottom left corner is actually formed by the letters ‘C’ and ‘D’.

 

The back insert for the RCA issue of David Bowie Stage shown in the original jewel case (catalog number PD89002). The white “MADE IN WEST GERMANY” sticker is adhered to the back of the jewel case, likely indicating that this was an import copy to the U.S. The insert states “Printed in Germany” along the bottom, and the copyright date is 1983.

 

Disc 1 of the RCA issue of David Bowie Stage (catalog number PD89002). This label design is typical of early RCA CDs released in Europe. The matrix code is “PD 89002.1 2895 347 01 #”. Disc 2 has the same label design.

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