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.

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