Hot on the heels of Atlantic Labeology Part 1 The Guide to Mono First pressings of Atlantic comes LJC’s Guide to the Stereo First Pressings of Atlantic. And I thought this would be easy? Both these guides will be maintained on permanent pages under the Guide to Record Labels/Atlantic Stereo here – Part 2: Guide to Stereo First pressings of Atlantic.
Here we go, deep dive, this may ruffle a few feathers, but I am interested in establishing the facts. If you have better information I am absolutely OK with improving our understanding of this great label (and casting into the darkness record sellers who make spurious claims of “original” status). If you have anything to add, comments are always welcome, help the jazz-loving community.
Stereo more or less follows the pattern established by mono, in which new label designs are introduced, which run as the current label for new releases, until superceded by the next, with some overlap as titles were pressed out of sequence.
1st Stereo – Green Label
The first stereo label is plain green, however very few copies are found of the early titles, suggesting that in 1956 very little was happening in the way of stereo, which had to wait for the later ’50s to gain any traction. The labelography below is missing many early titles as green label not found (though some appear on later labels).Observe for yourself the “intrusion” of the famous bullseye originals into the straight run of green, for selected titles only. This was news to me, may be you knew.
Though discographies confidently list all the mono Atlantic titles with an SD prefix, I was unable to find many stereo copies of early titles offered on the net: if they exist at all they were few in number of sales. (The difference between written discography and photographic evidence) Only Atlantic jazz singer Chris Connor ( born Mary Loutsenhizer, from Kansas ) pops up with any frequency, suggesting release in stereo some years after the original mono.
Green/Blue Ring with Pinwheel on White (“Bullseye” Label)
The “bullseye” label which appears in the middle of a green label run is, as with mono, a highly selective label, for specific titles, and not a general series. I can not account for why this happened, you are welcome to any explanation you can imagine. If you can find a green label of any of these, it is what they should have been issued on, according to the catalogue numbers around them.
Only one “stray” title with both (original) green and stereo bullseye title turned up in this research, the popular jazz singer Chris Connor, SD 1228, with what appears to be a reissue with the same bullseye label as the above originals stereo pressings. Explain that any other way. Then stand on your head while rubbing your tummy.
Green/Blue White Fan
The plain green stereo label, like its black mono counterpart, continued in use for other titles, until eventually retired and replaced by the green/blue/white fan, later versions of which exhibit an circled “R” above the fan. Records were rarely pressed in strict chronological order, hence the occasional straggler druing periods of transition (SD 1336) Green/Blue Black Fan
The next label, green/blue/black fan, also comes in two iterations, first with the vertical left sidebar (1962-6) , and then later with an enclosed logo-box with “Atlantic” below the fan (1966-8). Both are frequently referred to by sellers as “Black Fan” and it is not unknown for Design 2 to be referred to as “original” where the same title can be found with Design 1, separated by potentially up to six years. A helicopter flyover of labels supports the contention that Black Fan Design 1 was in use for a number of years and for titles released in this period, Black Fan Design 2 are reissues. After SD 1466, Black Fan Design 2 was introduced and no Black Fan Design 1 are found on new titles.
There are however a few anomalies, which may be a function of later pressing out of sequence ie SD 1402 is found as Black Fan out- of-sequence amidst White Fan titles in both its mono and stereo release, and SD 1418, whose pressing was deferred two years later than its surrounding titles, hence Design 2 amidst a run of Design 1. Otherwise, there is a fairly continuous run of the first Black Fan, Design 1. Transition from early Black Fan Design 1 to later Black Fan Design 2
This is where it gets messy. Both Black Fan designs turn up, with no visible order as the allocation of catalogue number and physical pressing are separate and not synchronous. Which is the first pressing label for any title is up for grabs. After SD 1475, the later design is established and continuous, before SD 1456 it is similarly the early design. In this territory, anything goes. Later Black Fan Design 2 This is a complete unbroken run of the Green/Blue/ 2nd Black Fan (1966-8) SD 1476-SD 1500 as Atlantic prepares for the Stereo-only future
The Green/Blue/Black Fan 2 gives way to the eponymous green/orange/multicolour logo label at SD 1509, with an anomaly at “SC 1504” – catalogue numbers were pressed out of chronological sequence – something which probably happened all the time but is highlighted in transitions. From SD 1509 the future is orange. Any title below SD 1508 (exception SC 1504) in Green/Orange is a reissue, not “an original”. With the 1500 series (I’m ignoring the 8000 series as out of scope, for now) Atlantic mono ceased to exist and the stereo edition become the only edition in the US market, though mono is still found in some overeas editions, explorations for another day. What an interesting ride of discovery. What a great Jazz label.