Saturday, 8 August 2009

The Dark Side...

Nerd alert. This post will only conceivably be of interest to people who find the following piece of information remotely interesting. You can establish exactly how early or late a pressing of your EMI records you have by using the following code:

G R A M O P H L T D.

It's a simple code: G = 1, R = 2, A = 3 and so on. So if you look in the run-off of your old Beatles or Cliff Richards LPs, you'll see a letter (or letters) at a 45 degree angle to the matrix number which represent(s) the number of the stamper used to press your very own copy of the album. So, for instance, my copy of Abbey Road

has the code PDP on side one PGH on side two so by the time they got around to manufacturing mine, they were onto stampers 696 and 617. The idea being that the earlier the pressing, the newer the stamper used to transfer the information onto the platter in your hand and the better the sound. Each stamper would normally produce around 300 copies, so you can see that mine is number....erm.....quite a lot... and obviously a pretty long way from being one of the much-coveted (and crisper sounding) early pressings. I have a copy of A Hard Day's Night from a stamper in the 20s, I think, and there is a notable brilliance to the sound that none of my other Beatles stuff has. Anyway, to cut a long story short, if any of *your* old Beatles LPs have a 'G' etched into the run-off, you're onto a winner... The Beatles D.N.A. site has a host of fascinating stuff like this if you want to learn more about the arcane (and infinitely tedious) minutiae of Beatles/record collecting.

OK, so that's whittled the readership down even further, but in the unlikely even that any of you have stayed the course this far, you might also be interested in this:

That's right, it's a black EMI records inner sleeve. I picked it up for 20p - having first liberated it from the BBC Sound Effects Library LP (Volume 9: Disasters) it had been erroneously coupled with - in the rather pongy depths of the Romanian Orphans shop up in town (they were *fresh* out of Romanian Orphans, unfortunately, but at least the journey wasn't completely wasted...) I could have got it for 10p, but it's good to give the odd offering to the Goddess of Record Collecting. She's a capricious mistress, but experience has taught me that the odd karmic act of self-sacrifice (paying a little over the odds for something you know is in any case vastly more valuable than your pathetic humanoid gelt, leaving that Linda Lewis disco LP in the cancer research shop for someone who will appreciate it more than me to pick it up, stuff like that) often pays dividends in the long run. I was rather hoping it would turn out to be an original Apple sleeve which would have fitted this little beauty nicely:

Sadly, on researching it here, I discovered that the Patent numbers (1125555 & 1072844) don't match any of the sleeves that were exclusive to the Apple records arm of the search continues...

All was not entirely lost though. I discovered here that I *was* at least able to reacquaint this stray orphan with a suitable bedfellow....

Which is nice. Unfortunately, it's missing its polythene innard (Pam's probably using it to maintain her killer-diller, dressed to the hilt look, I suppose...) but I'm sure that'll turn up somewhere. So, all's well that ends well. And at least it's given me the chance to post up that iconic Abbey Road album cover, the photo of which was taken 40 years ago yesterday. So, Happy Birthday Abbey, from all of us here at Garrod & Lofthouse!



  1. Have you tried playing it backwards?

  2. Black sleeve = Onoz! Paul is teh ded!

  3. I wondered why, every time I list a record on ebay, there's a lot of palaver about pressing and matrix numbers. There just like WV on blog comments then. Thanks Mort for the explanation!

    (I'm beginning to wish I'd never unloaded my copy of "More" by Pink Floyd and all my early Shadows EP's now.)

  4. My head hurts now!

    But I'll be back.


  5. Dickster: yes, it sounds something like "Stig is a water buffalo and has been dead for ages, honestly..." Or something like that.

    Yes, Richard. I'm surprised that wasn't heaped in with all the other Paul is Dead stuff. My favourite is the OPD armband he's wearing on the Sgt Pepper cover. 'Officially Pronounced Dead'? Or Ontario Police Department...? All a bit too convenient for me...

    Oh yes, Rog - don't even *think* about buying something if it doesn't have a matrix number ending in -1 (Especially if it's Side two of Revolver - that was hastily withdrawn because it was pressed up with the wrong mix of 'Tomorrow Never Knows' and hastily re-pressed with the right one. That makes any true furst pressings of the album especially scarce) Conversely, I could be wrong, but I thing there's a 'loud' mix of Rubber Soul that has a -2 matrix...exception that proves the rule. I'll have to check that up...

    Mapster - sorry. If it's any consolation, my head's like that all the time!