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Thread: Vinyl Record Label Colours

  1. #1
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    Question Vinyl Record Label Colours

    People.

    I have used the search future but have not been able to find what I am looking for.

    What do the different Colour codes mean on vinyl labels? Some Capitol vinyl pressings have the Rainbow label while others are blue and some are red. As for Columbia labels, some have a six eyes logo and some donít. Most of my Erroll Garner albums from the Columbia years have the six eyes logo. Is that what they used in the 1950s? Where can I find the answers as is to what era these are and which are of better quality?

    Any assistance would be greatly appreciated as I am thinking about collecting more vinyl albums of the Capitol years seeing as though Larry Walsh disks are hard to come by. Not to mention how I like watching the record spin round and round.

  2. #2
    Guest
    Hi Andrew,

    mine is possibly not an exact response to your interesting question - but I know there are several people/vinyl cracks out here who do know much more about vinyl trivia than I do, and might embark on the Columbia/Capitol stuff more easily than I could (I have some notes but would have to cull them together, I will do but it might take some time).

    Anyway - I think there is an extraordinarly fine website that illustrates the complexity of the topic, in this case regarding the Reprise records and their different labels. Check here for starters:
    http://www.bsnpubs.com/warner/reprise/reprise1000.html
    (There's a link guide at the bottom of that sub-page to all sections of the webpage).

    I'm not aware that any such graphically illustrated page is available for Columbia/Capitol on the WWW - but I (hopefully) may be wrong!

    Regarding Sinatra, major discographical enterpreneurs, like the "Sinatra Database CD-Rom", make mention of different label colors and hence offer a clue to their differences, but with little illustrations (yet).

    The music never ends.

    Bernhard.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Lodi, New Jersey
    Beginning with the LP era, up until the black/rainbow labels, the different labels had different purposes - record size, and prices for different releases.

    The 10" LP's had purple labels, and also maroon. Not sure if there was another. I believe the maroon ones were to be cheaper than the purples - "H" prefix 10" LP's should have purple labels, and "L" prefix should have maroon. I have a 10" Swing Easy that actually has the maroon label, though it's still an "H". I'm *guessing* they were changing the price, maybe before the 10" version was phased out, as somewhere on the cover, IIRC one of the markings where the "H" would be was changed to an "L". I haven't looked at it in a while...

    The 12" LP's had gray or turquoise labels. The grays were "W" prefix, and the turquoise were "T" prefix and also were $1 cheaper than the grays. Originally both had a 3/4 circle on the label, then that was removed, with LONG PLAYING only at the bottom, then lastly LONG PLAYING HIGH FIDELITY at the bottom.

    The black/rainbow label replaced the gray and turquoise labels (by that time the 10" LP's were gone for years). The new label came with Capitol beginning to issue stereo LP's, though it was used on both stereo and mono LP's. The colorband reflected all the tonal colors that their recordings captured. There are 3 variants to the label - the original had the Capitol logo @ 9 o'clock, with "LONG PLAYING HIGH FIDELITY" written on the label, as did the later gray/turquoise labels did, though in a different position. Next was the version with the Capitol logo again @ 9 o'clock, a revised colorband, and "points" replacing the LONG PLAYING HIGH FIDELITY text. After that came the version with the Capitol logo @ 12 o'clock, with the same colorband as the 2nd black/rainbow label. They kept this label from appx. 1962 to around 1969, and replaced it with an ugly green label. Years later they revived the black/rainbow label, but the older ones were more attractive.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2002
    Location
    NYC
    Basically original pressings of Sinatra's Capitol LPs will be on the "Grey" and the "Rainbow" labels.

    If the label is the "Orange" label the record is a re-issue.

  5. #5
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    Lodi, New Jersey
    Almost forgot - the only red label I know of when Frank was at Capitol was for promo 45's, and one STEREO EP release (at least 1 for Frank). There were also white label promo 45's. The stock issue 45's had a purple label, then later yellow/orange "swirl" labels. The EP's had green labels. The jukebox stereo 7" 33 1/3 records had black/rainbow labels.

    There were yellow label promo LP's, at least in the gray/turquoise label era (not too sure of the time span these were made).

  6. #6
    Guest

    Red Columbia label

    I found a Columbia recording with a red label in the basement (my private stock).
    It is a 78: Oh What a Beautiful Morning, flip side: People Will Say We're In Love
    Joe

  7. #7
    Guest
    Martin you seem to have nearly all the answers for stuff like this So looks like for most of the stereo albums the Rainbow label with the Capitol Label at 9 o' clock and the "LONG PLAYING HIGH FIDELITY" would be the one to go for as it is the most original and the actual recording would have been copied less before it was finally pressed onto the vinyl.

    But I suppose you can not get more original than the rainbow label for the stereo recordings which I now know is what I am after. Thanks to you

    As for the grey or turquoise labels Iíll be very tempted if I should come across any.

    And Bernhard that link answers nearly all of my questions for the reprise series!! Thanks very much I have added that to the bookmarks.

    Martin' Do you know anything about the red label Columbia six eyes logo?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2002
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    Lodi, New Jersey
    Look at the dead area on an old U.S. Capitol LP. For example, you should see something like this on a side 1 - "SW1-1491-D2".

    Before Capitol changed their lettering system, for which lathe was used/where a lacquer was cut, "D" signified a lacquer cut in Los Angeles from the master, and "N" was used for lacquers cut in New York from a dub. This system was replaced around 1962/63 (around the time the bad tinkered with dubs began to be used all over for the mono only Sinatra LP's), with more letters used - a different letter for each lathe. The # after the letter was the number for the lacquer cut.

    This is nothing... Go over to engineer Steve Hoffman's Forum. There's a guy there named William Brown (username W.B.) that REALLY knows this kind of stuff. You'd probably appreciate Steve's Forum anyway...

    http://www.stevehoffman.tv/forums

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by andrew View Post
    Martin Do you know anything about the red label Columbia six eyes logo?
    What about them? They were used from the mid-50's to the early 60's. The monos have COLUMBIA at the top, and the stereos have it at the bottom, with STEREO FIDELITY at the top (and arrows).

  10. #10
    Guest

    Thumbs up

    Yes i thought the Columbia Red Label Six eyes logo ment mid 1950s. Sounds like i am talking about vintage wine lol. Thatís amazing to me that Capitol pressed labels directly from the masters. I would sure love to get some of those. But they must be very rare these days. At least I know how to tell the difference now.

    Yes thanks for the link to Steveís forum. I'll do some searching around on there and see what I can find. Donít know if I will join up. I seem to be spending 2 hours a day lately just reading around on this one! Not to worry.

  11. #11
    Guest
    Wow that site is amazing!!! I found a video on how they used to make High Feldelity recordings back in the 1950s I'll post the video here.

    I found it very interesting history to watch. The presentation is a bit boring and old fashioned but worth a look. Explains everything from the COMPLICATED recording process to pressing the record


    Its in quick time format and the video took about 5 minutes to load on my 1.5Mbs connection. Take a look.

    http://ia300102.us.archive.org/0/ite...TheS_256kb.mp4

  12. #12
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    Mar 2006
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    Philadelphia
    The 12" LP's had gray or turquoise labels. The grays were "W" prefix, and the turquoise were "T" prefix and also were $1 cheaper than the grays. Originally both had a 3/4 circle on the label, then that was removed, with LONG PLAYING only at the bottom, then lastly LONG PLAYING HIGH FIDELITY at the bottom.
    My understanding is that the only Capitol artists to ever receive the "W" prefix on their Lps were Sinatra, Nat Cole, and Jackie Gleason. Obviously three of the more successful artists on Capitol's roster and apparently the record-buying public had little problem shelling out the extra buck.
    Jordan

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by andrew View Post
    Thatís amazing to me that Capitol pressed labels directly from the masters. I would sure love to get some of those. But they must be very rare these days. At least I know how to tell the difference now.
    Records from the masters. They're out there, but the trick is finding them in nice shape. The sound can vary depending on the mastering, taken from the master or not. Even the average ones usually sound good (at the least).

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by taylorjy View Post
    My understanding is that the only Capitol artists to ever receive the "W" prefix on their Lps were Sinatra, Nat Cole, and Jackie Gleason. Obviously three of the more successful artists on Capitol's roster and apparently the record-buying public had little problem shelling out the extra buck.
    I never thought about that before, but I think you're right, at least for artists who got their releases in it regularly back then. Some others got at least a few "W" releases - that so so "In Hi-Fi" series, like Kenton In Hi-Fi, etc.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by MMM View Post
    I never thought about that before, but I think you're right, at least for artists who got their releases in it regularly back then. Some others got at least a few "W" releases - that so so "In Hi-Fi" series, like Kenton In Hi-Fi, etc.
    Martin,

    As soon as I wrote that I realized Kenton - and perhaps a few others - received a few "W" prefixes on their LP releases. It was not something I had ever paid attention to until it was pointed out to me by someone in the know. For the most part, though, it appears that it was those three who only got consistent "W" billing.

    That would mean that a "W" Lp would run about $4 ca. 1960 - not cheap by the standards of the time, but well worth it in the long run.
    Jordan

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by BuffaloJoe View Post
    I found a Columbia recording with a red label in the basement (my private stock).
    It is a 78: Oh What a Beautiful Morning, flip side: People Will Say We're In Love
    Joe
    I forgot to mention, this 78 was of Frank Sinatra

  17. #17
    Guest
    Haha thanks for that Joe! Its a nice find

    I am yet to hear Kenton in Hi-Fi. Cant wait to hear Intermission Riff like it was performed right in front of me

    Gota let the other people my age here what that sounds like. Kenton is the noise!!

  18. #18
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    Mar 2005
    Location
    Largo, Florida
    I've enjoyed this thread - thanks for the info. I went through my collection last night and found that 3 of my Sinatra albums are the D gray label versions - Wee Small Hours, Songs for Young Lovers/Swing Easy and Nice'n Easy. Andrew - they are out there - I don't think I paid more than 5 or 6 bucks a piece and they are in great shape. Another one to add to the list for "W" issues are the Andrews Sisters - as mentioned this is one of the "Hi-Fi" series from 1957.

    Ron

  19. #19
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    Feb 2006
    Location
    Toronto, Canada

    Columbia Green Labels

    Not previously mentioned is the fact that many of the Columbia 78's had the usual logo with the musical notes but printed on GREEN labels.

    This very well may have indicated that the record came from a 4 disc album set but I'm only guessing here. Bob may be the one to know although I hate to interrupt his work on a new Columbia Thread.
    NICK
    Old School Teacher

  20. #20
    Guest
    Lucky you Ron on having those D print Capitol Lp's! They must sound so good.

    Never seen any green label Columbia 78s before Nick so it looks like you have something there that is well worth hanging onto!

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