Friday, July 29, 2016

Mystey golden album - can anyone translate?

Summer 2015, and while this blog was in golden slumbers, I discovered the record below. Years of looking at covers albums has taught me to spot them easily (especially when the small print says "Beatt International") so of course I had to have it. £1 I think it was:

Wow - Benson & Hedges Celebration, it says. For those not in the know, Benson & Hedges, or B&H, were/are a brand of cigarettes famous for their gold boxes:

So this album has something to do with a promotion for cigarettes, but what? The most surprising thing of all is the script on the back. It's definitely some sort of Arabic, but exactly where this LP originated I cannot work out! What's needed is someone who can read the script - here are a few close-ups, if anyone can help:

As for the label, it's instantly recognisable as a Music for Pleasure design, and in fact says so across the tops. For what we have here, far from being some exotic Middle-Eastern concoction is, in fact, none other than our own "Smash Hits '75", draped in gold (only the sides have been swapped):

Interestingly, in the UK this was mfp's final cover version LP of the sort, not counting a couple of albums on their side-label, Fanfare, and closed off the "Hits" / "Hot Hits" concept which had been running for more than eight years.

So what do we make of this golden edition? It would be great to know the country of origin, and the rest of the story behind it. The promotional purpose is clear enough; but which countries in the region were big on B&H? Help us out if you know!

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