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


  1. Hey,
    the Matrix of my record look like this:

    SR -1- 6042 - WW1#2 STERLING ----◄
    SR -2- 6042 - WW1 STERLING ----◄

    do you think this was pressed in-between the 1st and 2nd press you listed here?
    the labels look exactly like the one in the picture you posted of the first press version.

  2. Hello This serie End of the Century is First edition??
    matrix are: SRK-1-6077-RE-1-WW-1 #3 -- AMIGO-PB


    Memo Ramone from Chile South América.