Saturday, May 24, 2014

The UK version of Sheena Is A Punk Rocker

A full page ad from NME, may 1977.

The release of Sheena Is A Punk Rocker in the UK was backed up with full page ads in the music press – and a t-shirt offer.
The first 1 000 buyers who posted the Ramones eagle emblem from the back of sleeve together with 99p got an "hand-finished T-shirt".
The campaign resulted in a peak at number 22 in the UK single chart.
Sheena was released in the UK in may 1977 both as a 12" and a 7" single. The 12" has a great picture sleeve with the perforated eagle eagle emblem on the back for the T-shirt offer. It is limited to 12 000 numbered copies.
The single, on the other hand, only came in a Phonogram company bag, no picture sleeve.

Sheena Is A Punk Rocker//Commando/I Don't Care
Format: 12"
Number: Sire/Phonogram RAM 001
Year: 1977.
Country: UK.
Notes: Pressed in 12 000 numbered copies.

Injection moulded labels, solid centre.

DJ-copy with big centre hole.

Sheena Is A Punk Rocker//Commando/I Don't Care
Format: 7"
Number: Sire/Phonogram RAM 001
Year: 1977.
Country: UK.

Finally, if you want to pay a fortune for the original T-shirt you have the chance right now on Ebay...

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Rocket To Russia – the record club releases

A newspaper ad for Columbia Record Club from 1978. CRC sold 8-track 
tapes until 1988 and vinyl albums until 1992.

Columbia Record Club, CRC, was formed in 1955 by CBS/Columbia Records. The idea was to distribute records directly by mail. By 1975 the record club had over 3 million members.

In 1977 Rocket To Russia was offered to the these members. The copies I have seen has all been pressed at the Columbia pressing plant in Santa Maria, CA (identified by the code S1 handwritten in the dead wax).

The labels of these CRC releases have a different look compared with the normal Sire/Warner release. The typesetting is different and the Columbia pressings has a bigger circular indent on the labels. This is the easiest way to identify them. But the Columbia staff had problems marking the labels with the correct distributor. Some copies have "MARKETED BY ABC RECORDS" in the outer rim (wrong, it was Warner by the time of the release of Rocket To Russia), other have the correct information "MARKETED BY WARNER" and a third version have no info at all.

The sleeve marked with "CRC" on the spine.

The only sign on the sleeve that this is a record club release is a small "CRC" printed on the spine (see picture). But I have also seen copies without the mark, if these records have ended up in a wrong sleeve somewhere or if CRC printed sleeves without the mark, I don't know. Same goes for the printed inner sleeve with lyrics. Some copies have the inner, some don't.

But if you find a copy of Rocket To Russia with this label design, at least the record is a CRC pressing:

Matrix number: SR 6042 - A - 1A   SXT   STERLING S1  /  SR 6042 - B - 1A   SXT   STERLING S1
Year: 1977 (?).
Notes: Pressed at the Columbia Santa Maria Pressing Plant (S1) for Columbia Record Club. No info in the outer rim.

Matrix number: SR 6042 - A - 1A   STERLING S1  /  SR 6042 - B - 1A   STERLING S1
Year: 1977 (?).
Notes: Pressed at the Columbia Santa Maria Pressing Plant (S1) for Columbia Record Club. Marked with Warner in the outer rim. The sleeve has CMC on the spine.

Apart from the CMC mark the sleeves are the same as on the ordinary retail version. The same goes for the inner sleeve.

Rocket To Russia part 1 – the US pressings

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Here are the two versions of the Meltdown 10"

As I have written before, those responsible the Record Store Day continues to go for Ramones when they decide what to be release for the yearly event. 
This time, on april 4, they offered a 10" version of the 1980 EP Meltdown with the Ramones.
There are two versions of this release, in Europe the record is on pink vinyl, the US version is on blue vinyl.
The european version is limited to 750 copies, the US version is pressed in 3 000 numbered copies.
Is this the last official Ramones vinyl release? I doubt it.

Album: Meltdown With The Ramones
Format: 10"
Number: Sire/Rhino R1 541407
Year: 2014.
Country: US.
Notes: Record Store Day release in USA. Blue vinyl. 3 000 copies., numbered.

Album: Meltdown With The Ramones
Format: 10"
Number: Sire/Rhino 8122796059
Year: 2014.
Country: EU.
Notes: Record Store Day release in Europe. Pink vinyl. 750 copies.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Rocket To Russia – the US pressings

Ramones third album Rocket To Russia captures the band at their absolute peak. If I had to chose one Ramones album for the rest of my life it would be this one.
The record was originally called Ramones Get Well but somewhere in the process the title was changed. Rocket to Russia was the name of a song that in the end transformed into Ramona.
In august 1977 the band started the recordings with engineer Ed Stasium at the Media Sound Studio in NYC. The total cost for the recording was between $25,000 and $30,000 and in November 4, 1977 the album hit the stores. This time with the mighty Warner as distributor instead of ABC. But even if the album got a full record-company support it only charted on the US Billboard at number 49.
I'm going to present all the original pressings here on the blog, starting with the US versions. In 1977 the album was pressed at three different pressing plants connected to Warner. The different pressings are identified by the matrix number etched in the vinyl. For example: SR -1- 6042 - LW1. The last two letters are the pressing plant code, in this case L stands for Los Angeles Plant. W stands for Warner:

This is how you read the matrix number, in this case SR -1- 6042 - LW1:
SR = Sire
1 = Side 1
6042 = Catalog number
LW = Los Angeles Plant, Warner
1 = The first lacquer cut

In 1977 Warner was using Capitol records pressing plants in the US. Here are the three pressing plants that made the first, original pressing of Rocket To Russia:

Capitol Records Pressing Plant, Los Angeles, CA
Identified by: Pressing plant-code LW in the matrix number along with a six pointed star "✲" stamped into the vinyl. The star stands for Hollywood.

Capitol Records Pressing Plant, Winchester, VirginiaIdentified by: Pressing plant-code WW in the matrix number along with a symbol  for a Winchester rifle stamped into the vinyl, ----◄

Capitol Records Pressing Plant, Jacksonville, ILIdentified by: Pressing plant-code JW in the matrix number along with the symbol "O" stamped into the vinyl.

All pressings have "STERLING" stamped into the dead wax. It stands for Sterling Sound, NYC, the mastering house.

Over the years Rocket To Russia has been released and rereleased and rereleased again. Here is an attempt to sort out the different US pressings. I stick to the era before the bar code. Everything with a bar code is obviously a repress in this case.

Rocket To Russia – testpress

Matrix number: SR -1- 6042 - LW1   ✲ /  SR -2- 6042 - LW1   ✲
Year: 1977
Notes: Pressed at the Capitol plant in Los Angeles (LW). This copy also includes a two pages press release and two photos. 

Rocket To Russia – first press stock version

First press with no Warner address.

Matrix number: SR -1- 6042 - LW1 ✲ /  SR -2- 6042 - LW1 ✲ (LA plant)
SR -1- 6042 - WW1    ----◄ /  SR -2- 6042 - WW1   ----◄ (Winchester plant)
SR -1- 6042 - JW1   O /  SR -2- 6042 - JW1   O (Jacksonville plant)
Year: 1977
Notes: This is the first US press of Rocket To Russia. The easiest way to identify it is by the perimeter text round the bottom part of the label. The text is smaller and don't have the Warner Burbank address as on the second pressing. Includes printed inner sleeve with lyrics.

Rocket To Russia – first press promo version

Matrix number: SR -1- 6042 - LW1    ✲  /  SR -2- 6042 - LW1   ✲ 
Year: 1977
Notes: Actually the stock version but with a promo-sticker on the sleeve. Once again a Los Angeles-pressing. All US Ramones promo singles between 1977 and 1981 was press at the Los Angeles pressing plant but I'm not sure if it's the same with the albums. The record has the same labels as the stock version. Includes printed inner sleeve with lyrics.

Rocket To Russia – second press

Second press with full Warner address, smaller text.

Matrix number: SR -1- 6042 - WW1    ----◄ /  SR -2- 6042 - WW1 #3   ----◄ 
Year: Sometime in the early 80's.
Notes: The second press has the same sleeve and innersleeve as the the first press. The only difference is the Warner Burbank address in the text at the bottom of the label. This copy is pressed at the Winchester plant, I don't know if the second press was made anywhere else.

Rocket To Russia – third press (Super Saver-series)

Third press with no perimeter text at all.

The Speciality Records logo stamped
in dead wax. Warner started pressing 
Ramones records here in the 80's.

The Super Saver-sticker.

Matrix number: SR-1-6042-WW1 1-1  /   SR-2-6042-SR1 1-1 
Year: Not sure, in the late 80's, I think.
Notes: This record was made by a fourth pressing plant that Warner started to use in the 80's, Speciality Records Corp., Olyphant PA. Code: SR. Even if this copy still have the WW-code on the A-side both sides are marked with the Speciality Records logo. And the matrix number on side B includes SR. 
Notice the different label on this one – no perimeter text at all. This was sold at a lower price as a part of the Super Saver-series. No printed inner sleeve, Super Saver-series-sticker on the shrink wrap.

Next part: The record club-editions