Guide to 1st Pressings of Atlantic Records Part 2: Stereo

Atlantic Multi logo 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.

Atlantic-Transitions-Five-Labelst-2000px 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established by mono, in which new label designs are introduced, which run as the current label for new releases, until superceded by the next, with some overlap as titles were pressed out of sequence.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.

Atlantic-Transitions-SD1-STEREO-1200-series-Green-Label--at-2000-px sd 1228 coverThough 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.Atlantic-Stereo--bullseye

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. SD-1228-Green-AND-bullseye 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. Atlantic-White-Fan-R-mark-800-1 Records were rarely pressed in strict chronological order, hence the occasional straggler druing periods of transition (SD 1336) Atlantic-Transitions-SD2-STEREO-1300-series-Green-to-Blue-Green--at-2000-px 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. Black-Fan-1-vs-2 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. Atlantic-Transitions-3-1400-1428-series-Green-to-early-Black-Fan-2000-px   Atlantic-Transitions-4-1430-1455-series-BF1-to-BF2-at-3500px 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. Atlantic Transitions 5 1400 series BF1 to BF2 at 2000px Later Black Fan Design 2Atlantic-Transitions-6-1476-1500-at-2000px 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

Green/Orange/Multi

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”. Atlantic-Transitions-7-1500-series-BF2-to-Green-Orange-1509-at-2000-px 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.

13 thoughts on “Guide to 1st Pressings of Atlantic Records Part 2: Stereo

  1. It’s ironic that you’re doing a feature on Atlantic labels. I just completed my quest for getting 1 copy (at least) of every iteration of Atlantic labels from the gray label with “Atlantic” in white print to the red & purple “logo box.” The only 1 I’m not sure if I have is the pink & tan Atco labels which were used for a few Atlantic releases in ’68 & ’69. I might have a Led Zeppelin 1 with that configuration but if I do, it’s in storage. If anyone needs any pix of these, just let me know and I’ll send them along.

    Marc

  2. Sorry if this was already discussed somewhere and I missed it—when (and why) did the sleeves begin getting stamped with a gold “STEREO” (or silver, I feel like I have a silver Favorite Things).

    • Hi, I haven’t attempted a forensic of Atlantic sleeves. On reflection I should have grabbed the front and back covers during the label research, but the workload was too awful to contemplate, and front covers are usually pretty well documented at cover-lover sites like birkajazz:
      http://www.birkajazz.com/archive/atlantic.htm
      (rarely the rear slick, which excites different parts of the brain, or not) Maybe someone else has an answer.

      It would be helpful if you shoot me a picture of the cover you are referring to, by email (on Contact LJC) Maybe we start another ball rolling. Right now we are starting to boil the Prestige ocean.

  3. Excellent site! Was trying to find out if my newly-purchased copy of Wilber deParis’ “That’s a Plenty” bullseye was a 1st press, glad to see that it is. Or probably is. Question: Is there a way, using matrix and other codes in the run-off groove of Atlantic Records to discern which copy is an earlier pressing? I’m making myself crazy with this stuff, so if anyone has any ideas…

    • Glad if anyone has any further suggestions. To discern matters in the runout it is necessary really to own or have physical access to the records themselves. We would need someone with a large Atlantic collection and a lot of spare time on their hands, I rather suspect no such person exists, but you never know.

      Caller, I have Tokyo on line 1 for you, will you accept reverse charges?

      • LJC – in your response to my orig. post – there was such a man. His name was Peter Grendysa but I believe he’s no longer with us. When I first started really buying records in the early-70’s, he was known to have almost every Atlantic (up to a point) ever released. Will do some research to see where the records have gone. And if you look at most/all of the early black labels, the only info is the matrix number and (sometimes) the side.

  4. This excellent study has had less popular response than the first one, dedicated to monaural Atlantic recordings. I wonder why.
    Now coming to the basics: we see that only four stereo albums came in the bull’s eye version, all four essential albums in a modern jazz library: 1305 (Mingus), 1311 (Giant Steps), 1313 (John Lewis’ finest album to my ears) and 1317 (Ornette).
    The monaural bull’s eyes total five, the above minus 1311, plus 1318 (Wilbur de Paris) and 1312 (Ray Charles).
    Note: 1311 has a black mono first and 1312 has a green stereo first. I guess here (so as from 1313) was supposed to be the turning point, but it did not happen! We will never know why.
    For completeness’ sake, I mention that my Western Suite 1330 is black for mono and lime for stereo. Also I have a second pressing of “The Clown”- Mingus # 1260 with bull’s eye labels, second pressings of Pithecanthropus Erectus # 1237 were with the orange / plum labels.

  5. Great work LJC!
    I have seen some Atlantic stereo records have “OSS Stereo # (and numbers)” etched on deadwax:
    Green label SD 1234: OSS Stereo # 082158 1 (Side 1, last number being a little smaller)
    Green label SD 1281: OSS Stereo # 081858 6 ( same as above)

    Does anyone know what OSS really means?
    From Google I could found the following information about OSS:
    – Olmstead Sound Studio NY, cutting lacquers (Steve Hoffman forum)
    – Optimum Stereo Signal (Stereo recording with the Jecklin disc + 2 microphones)

    ps. My stereo copy of Monk’s Music on Riverside DG black label has also OSS # etched on deadwax.

  6. Just to muddy the waters a bit, I seem to remember that when I lived in France in the mid1960’s , all the Atlantic Records’ French (local) pressings that I owned had either plum/orange or blue/green “bull’s eye” labels complete with a local catalogue numbers and sometimes even a variation of the record sleeve. In the UK there were also a number of Polydor “Atlantic” re-issues with label variations.

    • You are quite correct, Bill the Bullseye label appears on some both European and Japanese releases. Danish Metronome Bullseyes look very similar to US aside from the small print at the foot of the label. Caught me out a few times.

      I have tried to stick to Atlantic’s US first releases only. Overseas pressings is something for another day.

      Atlantic UK releases appear with plum/orange label and local catalogue numbers. My experience of audio quality is good with UK plum/orange, but I tend to avoid anything to do with Polydor.

  7. fantastic job, well done.
    A quick count gives 5 mono bull’s eyes first issues. View the case of Giant Steps, one would expect 6 stereo bull’s eyes first pressings.
    I counted four though. Does that mean that these were in green/lemon? I ask the question, but must find the answer. No time right now.

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