Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Top of the Pops vol 22 - demonstration copy

One for the hardcore record collector: A short time ago I reported on the sale of a white label test pressing from the Avenue LP series. These things are almost unheard of where covers LPs are concerned. Areas well-known to mainstream collectable records - white labels, acetates, promos, demos - are conspicuously absent in the annals of the budget cover version, which is why that white label was such a surprise to see.

Now another item has turned up which is not quite so special, but still extremely rare, and which I was delighted to add to my Top of the Pops collection this week. Here's the photo from Ebay:

What it shows is a copy of the UK volume 22 (circa Feb 1972), but this copy - which is probably still unplayed - is stickered with DEMONSTRATION RECORD NOT FOR RESALE, and it comes housed in a plain white card sleeve (original) which is stamped DEMONSTRATION RECORD.

For those not up to speed with the minutiae of record manufacture, I'll briefly explain what this is: When a new record is about to come out, advance copies are made and sent out to disc jockeys, reviewers, shops, etc. to publicise the release. Often they have the full commercial labels on the discs, marked "demonstration" or "demo", which prevents them from being passed off as sale stock. It is usually the case that these represent the very first pressings, for obvious reasons, and they generally go out before the standard edition is released. So, on that assumption, this LP was from the first press-run, and might have been "issued" before the full album was ready - which might also explain the absence of a printed cover.

OK, so that's the story. Below are some pictures of the cover and labels, plus an image of the commercial sleeve featuring Nicola Austin. To date this is the one and only demonstration copy I have discovered from the cover version world. There are bound to be more out there - let's hope they come to light!


  1. I like the plain cover of the demonstration record - looks a bit like the cover for The Beatles white album. By the way - isn't that Nicola Austin on the cover of vol 22? :-)

  2. Many thanks - yes, it's Nicola Austin. Must have been having a funny five minutes! I've changed it.

    It made me think of the White Album too. That also had a hand stamp on it - the original serial numbers.

  3. Very interesting to see a demo pressing. As you mention that demo's were sent out to dj's etc, one thing i always mean to ask, is did the cover version albums/singles get airplay at all from any of the radio stations in the 60s/70s? I know some did very well in the charts but i cannot ever recall hearing them on the radio (was quite young at the time though)

    1. Good question.

      Very rarely, I think. Remember the vast majority were LPs and EPs, rather than singles (let alone hit singles!), and I guess there'd be little point in playing a soundalike while the original was in the charts. There is one famous case of Kenny Everett playing the Top of the Pops version of Bohemian Rhapsody, and challenging his listeners to tell it apart from the original.

      I wouldn't be surprised if one or two tracks from the number 1 LPs TOTP and Hot Hits got played on national radio though, while they were top of the album charts. I wonder if there's a database anywhere, for, say Radio 1?

  4. Hi. I have this exact same demo copy what is it worth?

  5. Impossible to say, but not much - people don't tend to collect these things.