Friday, March 14, 2014

Ramones and the italian jukebox singles

Recently someone on Ebay tried to sell this “rare holecover” for a “jukebox edition” of first italian Ramones single with Glad to see yo go + three tracks.
I couldn’t get this together. First of all there is no jukebox edition of this single. And if someone distributed the record to jukebox owners, why cut a hole in the cover?
Now I have done some research and this is what I found out:
Italy has a remarkable amount of jukebox editions, records specially made for jukeboxes and often with two different artist on A and B-side. The history behind these special editions goes back to the second world war. After the war a lot of jukeboxes came to Italy with US military transports.
The jukeboxes ended up in bars and restaurants around the country but a big problem for the owners was the price of the records, they where to expensive.
By this time two italians friends that had met in the army got an idea. One of them worked in a record store and the other was the son of a the italian RCA manager in Rome. The idea was to distribute singles exclusive for jukeboxes and reduce the cost by not selling the to the public and not use any picture sleeves.
The first jukebox editions was the same pressings as the normal retail version of the record but with a stamp telling that the record was “Edizione speciale per Juke box - Vietata la vendita”, Special Jukebox edition – not for resale. The records was sold to a reduced price and distributed in RCA company sleeves.
But soon dishonest sellers discovered that they cold remove the stamp and sell the records and double the profit. This is why the record labels in Italy started press special jukebox editions and to make it even more valuable for the jukebox owners they usually put an local artist on one side and a bigger, international artist on the other. Two hit songs at the price of one. Or a half, more particularly.
Another way to reduce cost was to use surplus picture sleeves that had remained unsold, cut a hole in them with the size of the label of the record and distribute the jukebox editions in these “holecovers”. They were called “neutral covers” and was used radomly.
This brings us back to the The Ramones “holecover sleeve” on Ebay. This sleeve was made for a jukebox edition single – but not especially for a Ramones record. Any jukebox record could end up in the sleeve.
The only italian jukebox single with a Ramones song is Baby I Love You with the italian band Contessa on the flip. This is how I have seen that single being sold, in a holecover sleeve with an "random" italian artist.

Finally, the italian jukebox singles should not be considered as promos. A promo record is not for sale, the jukebox editions was sold but to a reduced price.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Ramones on Liberation Records

From 1985 the biggest independent label in Australia, Mushroom Records, had a foreign licensing division called Liberation Records. 
In 1989 they got the license deal for the new Ramones album, Brain Drain. Liberation released the album for the australian market along with the single Pet Sematary. The single was issued with a different picture sleeve compared to the rest of the world – but things got wrong.
The writing credits on the back of the sleeve are mixed up and the sleeve was withdrawn. The single was sold in an australian CBS company sleeve. Still it's not that hard to find a copy with the picture sleeve so I guess a lot of them ended up for sale anyhow. Read more about the single here.
After Brain Drain Liberation released three older albums in reverse order. Halfway To Sanity came out in 1989, Animal Boy and Too Tough To Die was released the year after, in 1990.
Brain Drain has the printed inner sleeve, the rest of the albums came in a plastic inner bag only. For some reason the first two releases have a barcode but not Animal Boy and Too Tough To Die.

Album: Brain Drain
Number: Liberation 105218-1
Year: 1989.
Country: Australia.
Notes: With printed inner sleeve.

Album: Halfway To Sanity
Number: Liberation 105220-1
Year: 1989.
Country: Australia.
Notes: No printed inner sleeve.

Album: Animal Boy
Number: Liberation 1L 30323
Year: 1990.
Country: Australia.
Notes: No printed inner sleeve.

Album: Too Tough To Die
Number: Liberation 1L 30324
Year: 1990.
Country: Australia.
Notes: No printed inner sleeve.