Sunday, April 28, 2013

Earliest overseas Top of the Pops ever?

It's got a chance! Pictured below is my latest TOTP find - a Norwegian pressing of volume 2.

This came out on the Tip label, as shown, and there is some uncertainty over Tip, inasmuch as many of their releases appear to be West German. However there are two compelling reasons why this is a Norwegian release: 1) West Germany was releasing its own editions of Top of the Pops through 1969, on the Bellaphon label. (They re-named the LPs, English Top Hits.), and 2) the sleeve is printed by an Oslo-based firm, Team Trykk. So I am satisfied that this LP, with its Norwegian-made sleeve, is indeed from that country. 

Norway issued a run of Top of the Pops albums in 1969 - so far I have pinned down volumes 2, 3, 4, 7 and 8. But is this one not only Norway's first, but a world first outside the UK? Possibly!

I have never heard of an overseas volume 1, and in truth, such a release would be unlikely. However the case is not quite closed, for two reasons. Firstly, the date on the label here is given as 1969; the UK edition was 1968. And secondly, importantly, there is good evidence that this same volume 2 was issued in France, and if so, it could quite possibly rob Norway, and its 1969 edition, of the crown!

Here's the evidence... below is the back of the sleeve to the French LP, U.S. On The Pop. It is just possible to make out the small print, and there, listed against catalogue number 30.171 is an untitled album with exactly this track listing. Surely it's a French edition of volume 2? Come on experts - tell us what you know about this!

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