Saturday, February 2, 2013

Top of the Pops LPs discovered from Portugal

As blog regulars will know, I'm constantly researching Top of the Pops releases from around the world and trying to find new examples. It's always a buzz to find records from completely new countries, and so I was extraordinarily lucky this week to get hold of not one but three LPs from Portugal. These are the first known to me from that country.

The LPs in question arrived here yesterday. There is one copy each of volumes 14, 16 and 21, and in each case the artwork on the front shows different colouration as compared to the UK albums. Volume 16 has only a minor colour modification, but the other two are quite obvious.

The backs of the sleeves are quite noticeably different however. The Portuguese editions have the sleevenotes removed completely, and the text above it shunted down to fill the gap. And, they have coloured print on the backs, whereas the UK albums still had plain black at this stage. Here are the sleeve scans:

Portugal volume 14
Portugal volume 14 (back)
Portugal volume 16
Portugal volume 16 (back)
Portugal volume 21
Portugal volume 21 (back)

These LPs date to between late-1970 and late-1971. There are probably several more in existence - at least, those which fall between these volume numbers. Research is not easy, and probably the reason these have only just come to light is that they are in most ways indistinguishable from the standard UK LPs. The covers are much the same, and the catalogue numbers remain unchanged. Moreover there is no written indication of where they are from, and with the usual postal address for Hallmark given on the backs (Cricklewood, London) it would be difficult to spot a Portugal album without seeing it in the flesh. 

The backs of the sleeve are a good indicator of course, particularly now that we know what Portuguese editions look like. Better still is the record label itself - Hallmark, of course, but printed on a bronze coloured paper as opposed to the dark Blue used in the UK.

I hope that more of these will surface in time. If Portugal is anything like Spain, there might even be spin-off singles and cassettes waiting to be found. Meantime, research will continue...

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