Atlantic US Label 1955-75

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Guide to the labels of Atlantic 
at-a-glance

Atlantic-Cheat-Sheet-Nov-2013

Atlantic jazz catalogue was more limited than the specialist jazz labels – Mingus, Coltrane (briefly), and Ornette. Atlantic recordings were licensed for UK release through Decca’s London label, so vintage US Atlantic originals are not something seen very often here.

1.1  1955-59 Black Label, mono

1.2 Stereo

Atlantic-1200-series-stereo-label

Picture:  Discogs

2. 1959-60 Orange/Plum wheel and fan, DG, Mono

Atlantic 1 cap

2.1 Green/Blue wheel and fan US (stereo)

Atlantic-stereo-ring-800

Photo courtesy of Tim

3. Atlantic  White Fan (1960-62)

3.1 Orange / Plum, White Fan, Mono

Early titles – no registered trademark above fan

Atlantic 2 cap

Later titles – with registered trademark above fan.

3.2 Blue / Green  White Fan, Stereo US DG

Early example – no registered trademark symbol

Atlantic-Stereo-White-Fan-1000px

4. Atlantic Black Fan 1962-66

4.1 Mono – Orange/ Plum, Black Fan

4.1 StereoGreen/Blue Black Fan

Atlantic Black Fan Stereo US 800-labels

This Stereo variation is so-called “logo-box” – the name “Atlantic” and symbol “A” together with the fan are contained all together in a box. This appears quite different from the mono, so its exact place in labelography is not known, but it is later design, possibly the 1966-8 predecessor to the eponymous Green/ Orange (1968+)

The following year, in October 1967, Atlantic was sold to Warner Bros.-Seven Arts, later Warner Communications (whose name appears on the label after 1975) who’s talents were in distribution and marketing and displayed little understanding of vinyl quality production, assisting its terminal decline as a source of recorded music.

5. 1968-73 Green/Orange, 1841 Broadway NY address, Stereo

6. Mid 70’s  Green / Orange, 75 Rockerfeller Plaza address with Warner Communications logo.

The green/orange label, “A Warner Communications Company” and disappointing audio quality from here on. In some cases the only way to own it on vinyl, though CD will provide an equivalent audio experience. Below, the1981 release of previously unreleased Tristano/Konitz live Sing Song Room of The Confucius Restaurant NYC sessions. Despite best efforts to restore these iconic sessions the vinyl still lacks the presence you would normally find on late Fifties / early Sixties vinyl.

Atlantic-1981-label-1000

Next: Atlantic in UK/Europe

 

 

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33 thoughts on “Atlantic US Label 1955-75

    • I have the same question as regards 45rpm labels. Have a Ray Charles 45 that looks like the original 1959 release except for the presence of that fan logo on the left (with an ® next to it). Would like to be able to date it.

      • The registered trademark ® appears on Atlantic label for the first time in 1961/2, so that opens the window on dating. A lot of records went on to multiple repressings so you have to follow things like cover detail, logo design, cover addresses, to narrow it down further. I’m afraid you need to sweat the data yourself, no simple answers.

    • Obviously dependent on the original recording quality (If that’s crap you are snookered anyway) from the few I have listened to, new releases on Orange Green 1841 Broadway, yes.

      My reservation is when it comes to reissues of earlier released titles. Your best option is always going to be the original release label (plum/orange and blue/green are generally pretty feisty)

      The green/orange reissue will almost certainly have been re-mastered for reissue (no original metal) a hostage to what the engineer liked, and tapes copied / aged. I’ve heard a few horrors, and some that have borne up remarkably well, so the label is not itself the guarantee of quality. But they are cheap, no big deal if its not so good.

      • I’m looking at picking up John Coltrane’s “Plays The Blues.”the “1841 label.” I LOVE this website! Thanks for all the information here. I’ve been using it as guide to find great sounding records! I just picked up “A Day In The City, Six Varitations On A Theme, The Don Friedman Trio.” I’m researching the label now!

  1. Hi LJC,

    I have several questions concerning the Orange / Plum White fan labels (60-62):
    – I think the early ones didn’t have the “R” in the Orange part, do you know until when?
    – Do you know when are the transitions (category catalogue) between Orange / Plum White fan and Black fan labels and between Orange / Plum Black fan and Orange / Plum logo-box labels?
    – I am looking for Ornette Coleman “This is our Music” original mono pressing. What should the label look like? Ring or White fan? With an “R” or not, etc?

    Thanks in advance for your answers,
    Antoine

    • Hi Antoine
      Atlantic hasn’t been given as much attention as Blue Note Impulse and Riverside, but we need to put that right and I will do it.

      The broad lie of the land with jazz releases are the transitions between the labels, and something I hadn’t noticed until you pointed it out, the Registered trademark “R” which appears on the last of the Plum/Orange White Fan label around 1961, before the transition to the Plum/Orange Black Fan label

      The transitions by catalogue number look roughly as follows, Mono First Pressings should be

      Atlantic 1200 series, titles up to 1332 should be Black Label.

      At somewhere between 1332 and 1338, The Plum/Orange White Fan label is introduced, with no R; 1375 looks like the last White Fan without R

      1376 – 1381 are the last White Fan titles and these now carry the R on the label positioned above the logo-box on the general label area

      Around 1382 the Plum/Orange Black Fan is introduced and these all carry the Registered Trademark, initially on the label, then built into the logo-box top right hand corner. This label runs until around 1968, with small changes in the logo-box design.

      Within this framework, Atlantic 1353 Ornette Coleman This is Our Music, original first mono pressing should be Plum/Orange White Fan, no R

      More research required as regards stereo, and exact transition points , but the full Monty with pictures will be added to the Atlantic Label Guide soon.

      • Thanks for recognizing Atlantic records! Should you want more help with your early Atlantic discography? I have been collecting US Atlantic pressings for years and am only a few records shy of having all of the mono, stereo and wlp pressings from the 1200-1500 series. Working on the 8000 series now. I would love to compare notes, share photos, fact check, etc…

        It seems they did not start issuing promo pressing until sometime after 1360?
        Does anyone have any white label promos pre 1360?

        Anyone have any info about
        1315 – Perpetual Emotion – Erroll Garner [1959?] that was unreleased?

        • Hi, there are still a few gaps in the Atlantic Reference Guides to all mono and stereo titles, where a decent label shot could not be found. You may have them.

          https://londonjazzcollector.wordpress.com/record-labels-guide/5-atlantic/atlantic-first-pressing-guide-label-transitions/

          https://londonjazzcollector.wordpress.com/record-labels-guide/5-atlantic/atlantic-label-guide-to-1st-pressings-part-2-stereo/

          Welcome any additions, corrections, replacements.

          • LJC,
            Congratulations on the amazing work you have done so far!
            I can definitely add/replace most of what you have in mono and stereo, I would also suggest the start of a promo only page as well. During this process I am sure we will uncover some corrections. As you know it will take some time for me to photograph my collection. I was figuring I could also do both sides of the covers in the process if you would like to make a page solely for covers. I have found discrepancy’s and variations in the covers as well.
            What would be the best way to send photos?
            I look forward to contributing!
            Cheers 🙂

            • spinalflow: your offer is exciting and promising. I also noted cover variations. More slippery even is the question of inners which changed in the process (red, violet, red again, green etc.)
              I hope the infatiguable LJC finds the time to process the info you are going to supply.

              • I agree the inner sleeve’s are another story. It seems that most of the 1200 series came in a wax paper sleeve before the arrival of the colored white print. I have noticed a trend in which the red,violet inner sleeves seem to be found with the mono’s where as the blue and green sleeves tend to be with the stereos. I am always buying these records used so I can’t be sure an inner sleeve was not switched or replaced. I may have to open a few of the still sealed records I have in this collection to help reveal a bit more of that mystery….

                • true, a used record can be found in any inner sleeve. But very often they are sold with matching inners. One’s has got to have luck. The wax paper for the earlier ones, up to 1295 at least.

            • An elite collector, excellent! It is quite a task but if you are able to do the photography, I am happy, no delighted, to up the level of ambition on Atlantic. A free-standing promo section, and covers, sounds a great idea, do the label proud. I can do the final photo-retouching/ rescaling, but since you have the albums, only you can do the heavy lifting.
              What is needed is pictures square on, evenly-lit, sharp for readability (tripod helps) and at least 1,000 pixel wide or bigger. 2,000 pixel wide is better, jpg format. Photos as described should be around 1 and 2mb file size.

              In terms of workflow, if you can, rename the files (or I will have to) as follows:

              (four digit album catalogue number) then one of the following short descriptions: CV (front cover) BK (back cover) LB1 (label side 1) or LB2 (label side 2) for example: 1400CV 1400BK 1400LB1 1400LB2. This maintains order among a lot of pictures, makes life real easy.

              You can email a bundle of files to my email address as given in CONTACT LJC on the blog banner. Any further questions, email me at that addresss. If it’s all too much, I can get you counselling.

              Start off with just a few albums to get a feel for the workload. We have all the time in the world (which I am told isn’t long)

              LJC

              • LJC,
                I have read and enjoyed your photo school page. I really enjoyed learning how to get the dead wax info to stand out, I am anxious to master that technique. What wonderful information you are sharing with the world! If only your photo school was required reading for all ebay and discogs sellers;) As a seasoned ebay vinyl distributor I feel good to know that my photos have always looked better than the competition. However after reading your blog I am building a new photo booth to your specifications, revamping my light sources and taking a black and white to reveal the dead wax info. I have hit a small snag, my Cannon SLR suffered some internal sand from our last beach trip so until I get a new camera (soon!) the photos will not be as good. In the mean time, I will start with one of the 12-14 megapix point and shoot cameras that we have. They wont be the best although, I will be refining my technique and system for the arrival of the higher end camera. I will follow your numbering system for the file names and send some test photos asap.
                Chat more soon!

    • Yeah, I spotted this just now myself, but it didn’t click because the label looked dirty, as if the record were older. Definitely have one of these with a similar label.

  2. Hi London
    What are the Green/orange labeled Atlantic LP’s like from 1968-1973? Are they noticeably inferior to a mid 60’s Atlantic (assuming same album) or still a nice experience and better than CD?
    Cheers
    Sam

    • Green/orange 68-73 the few I have turned out generally disappointing, though it all depends on the particular recording. Reissues on green/orange of earlier recordings are often lifeless. New recordings fare a bit better.My benchmark is Columbia Six-Eye and Plastylite 47W63rd late Fifties early Sixties, premiere grand cru. Earlier Atlantic I find very good – fresh and lively, later, not so good. Whether it was down to Atlantic’s engineers, the studio equipment, the pressing I don’t know, but they produced at best, table wine. I can’t be more prescriptive. Some people, to their ear – on their system – with their personal history of comparators, – will tell you they are fine and they like them, which is all that matters.. No one really knows what anyone else hears.

      • In the 1970’s period, Atlantic product was pressed by:
        – Presswell Records Mfg., Ancora, NJ (LP’s only) (PR)
        – Specialty Records Corp., Olyphant, PA (SP)
        – Monarch Record Mfg. Co., Los Angeles, CA (MO)
        – Plastic Products, Memphis, TN (45’s only) (PL)
        – Shelley Products, Huntington Station, NY (LY)
        – PRC Recording Co., Richmond, IN (RI)
        – Columbia Record Productions, Pitman, NJ (CP) / Terre Haute, IN (CTH) / Santa Maria, CA (CSM) (very infrequently; after 1969, LP’s only)
        Columbia pressings (sometimes mastered by Columbia itself from tape dubs supplied by Atlantic) were somewhat better in quality, but with all the others it was hit-or-miss. Beginning around 1981, Allied Record Co. of Los Angeles, CA (AR) would press Atlantic LP and 45 product for the western part of the country (with some pressings from them winging their way East, as I – a New York native – have seen AR pressings of LP’s and 45’s on the label over the years).

        Prior to January 1965, primary LP (and 45) product on Atlantic was pressed by MGM Records’ Bloomfield, NJ plant, with label typesetting supplied (as on examples 1.1, 1.2, 2.1, 3.1, 3.2, 4.1 and 4.2) by the Kaltman Press division of Queens Litho. 4.1 and 4.2, however, look like they were pressed after Atlantic shifted most LP pressing to Presswell, given the ‘hump’ ring (approx. 2.8125″ diameter) and second ring of 1.25″ diameter. Pre-1960-61, MGM pressings had DG’s (as usual, a carryover from 78 RPM days), but then switched to a 1.25″ diameter pressing ring as seen on 3.1. It is from MGM’s S.O.P. for custom pressing in the 1950’s that the ‘AT’ in the deadwax of many an LP and 45 had originated, as they also had other codes for different labels they also pressed for in that decade (i.e. ‘M’ = Mercury, ‘AMP’ = ABC-Paramount, ‘RCA’ = RCA Victor, at the height of Elvis-mania).

        MGM also pressed some Atlantic LP’s in 1968, identified by an -MG suffix at the end of matrix numbers at the bottom of LP center labels. Even one of Decca Records’ pressing plants handled Atlantic, with a DCE suffix on one copy I saw.

        It should be noted that the grey-label variant (5) is from Britain, and to my knowledge never used in the U.S. Also, Atlantic mastering engineers over the years included Joe Atkinson, Dennis King, George Piros (an alumnus of Fine Recording), and Sam Feldman (former Bell Sound mastering engineer).

      • I just listened to SD 1440, MJQ Plays George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess. Both sides are AA despite this one being a later 1972 pressing. (The sleeve advertising includes Yes’ Close to the Edge from Sept. ’72.) I think it sounds fine but have never heard an original press. Thin vinyl but quiet and not warped.

  3. I haven’t heard of it either and I think it’s a special with this particular record. I took a look at the run out groove and the engravings stated A 11694-A on side two and 11693-B on side one as well as AT on both sides. Doesn’t make sense to me.

  4. Thank you for this nice labelography. I recently purchased a copy of Fred Kaz’ “Eastern Exposure” – a freaky little record with some nice piano playing, Kaz had his very own style and great bass playing by Vic Sproles – on the orange/plum label. But to my surprise, it had a DG on both sides. One explanation could be, that it’s an early pressing, pretty close to the black labels. The other explanation may be, that it’s a pressing that was manufactured on the West Coast. Same things apply to Verve pressing, where the ones made in New York didn’t have DG, while some of the western pressings have.
    It’s so interesting, because every day brings you something new.

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