Thursday, April 11, 2013

Mystery "Top of the Pops" LP has us perplexed...

Cataloguing "Top of the Pops" albums from around the world has been a hobby within a hobby for me, almost since I started collecting the UK pressings. By the latest count, I think that we have around 170 international albums on file, which outstrips the number in the UK by some way. They are as far-flung as Kenya, New Zealand, Brazil and Bulgaria - but something happened this week, which is a first.

The record below has been added to my worldwide collection, but here's the rub: I have no idea which country it's from!

What clues do we have? Hardly any. The labels state "Made in England", but that's not too unusual for overseas editions. There is nothing else anywhere on the package to suggest where it was released, or even where the sleeve was printed. The sleeve itself is slightly smaller than a standard UK sleeve, and slimline - ie, no "spine", just a sharp fold in the card - like a 12-inch single sleeve. The catalogue number is the same as the UK volume 11, although the contents are different (see below). Even the etchings in the run-out groove offer nothing - just the matrix numbers CHM 685-655-A and CHM 685-655-B.

I am stumped! I wonder if anyone reading this can offer any suggestions? Has that white cover ever been spotted elsewhere? Please leave comments if you can help identify this mystery LP...

Putting aside the issue of its provenance, this LP is quite a fascinating find for me. As mentioned above, it shares quite a bit with the UK volume 11, including the photo on the front. Here's the UK edition:

The front of the cover is basically the same, although whitened out. The back is also rather similar, retaining the sleevenotes but losing (crucially) the small print which might tell us where it's from. The track listing is different however. Gone from the usual volume 11 are "I Can't Tell The Bottom From The Top", "Question", "I Don't Believe In 'If' Anymore" and "Brontosaurus". In their place are four new tracks, all pulled from the much earlier volume 8: "Yester-me, Yester-you, Yesterday", "Wonderful World Beautiful People", "Sugar Sugar" and "Something". (The inclusion of the latter makes for two Beatles hits on the same album - quite unusual in itself!)

Why was volume 8 plundered this way? It's not clear. Volumes 9 and 10 would have contained more recent material, so why were they overlooked? Had they already been released in whichever country this LP comes from? On the subject of volume 8, it will be noted that the catalogue number in the UK was CHM 660. Recall the matrix number on this overseas LP: CHM 685-655. Odd: CHM 685 belongs to volume 11, of course, but CHM 655 belongs to the apparently unrelated volume 7! Stranger and stranger...

One of the great appeals of this LP is the amended cover art. Volume 11 has appeared in several guises around the world, so while we are here, we may as well take a look at them.



West Germany:

...and a couple of Spanish spin-off singles released under pseudonyms:

So, where's this one from !??:

1 comment:

  1. It doesn't answer your question of course, but you may or may not have seen this: