Impulse! Complete 1st Pressing Label Reference Set: Mono (1961-8)

LJC Illustrated Reference Guide to the label of 1st pressings:

Mono A-1 through to A-9165

Last Updated: November 12, 2018

(Synopsis by DottorJazz)

A-1 to A-33: a product of AM PAR record comp

A-34 to A-100: a product of ABC Paramount records INC

A-1 to A-80 (except A-79-A), A-99, A-100: NO suffix -A/-B

A-79-A, from A-81-A on: suffix -A/-B

(A-9101?): third in a series without suffix-A/-B, may exist without suffix -A/-B

A-9101-? to A-9132-A, A-9135-A, A-9136-A, A-9143-A: a product of ABC Paramount records INC

(Except A-9120-A: a product of ABC records INC New York, N.Y. 10019-made in USA)

WHITE PROMO, orange label not yet found, if exists: no credits, no address

A-9126-A, A-9133-A, A-9137-A, A-9140-A, A-9144-A, A-9147-A,

A-9149-A, A-9150-A, A-9151-A, A-9152-A, A-9153-A, A-9154-A,

A-9155-A, A-9157-A, A-9158-A, A-9159-A, A-9163-A

A-9138-A, A-9142-A: a product of ABC records INC New York, N.Y. 10019-made in USA)

A-9139-A, A-9165-A: later ABC white promo

A-9165-A: LAST IMPULSE MONO? only in later white promo

A-9141-A, A-9145-A, A-9146-A, A-9148-A, A-9156-A, A-9160-A,

A-9164-A: ??, not found

A-9156, A-9161, A-9162, A-9166 and higher STEREO ONLY


LJC Illustrated Reference Guide: 1st pressing original label Mono 

Pictured, the label of original first pressing of every title released in mono by Impulse A-1 through to A-9165. (Quality of screengrabs and downloads varies, colour depends on light under which original was photographed or scanned)

Click to view full screen at 2000 pixel-wide

A-1 to A-25: Orange/black ring label, Am Par Record Corp


A-26 to A-50 Transition from Am Par to ABC-Paramount Records Inc.

(Updated November 12, 2018, with A-29 – found as Am Par)


A-51 to A-75 (updated August 12, 2018)


A-76 to A-100 (Updated August 12, 2018)

At A-79, introduction of A/B suffix to catalogue number (except A-80):  A-##-A / A-##-B format.  Any title A-1 to A-78 with A/B suffix (e.g. A-33-A) is a later pressing, not original.


A9010 to A-9125


A-9126 to A-9150 Transition from ABC Paramount to ABC Records Inc. Mono increasingly found only on white label destined for radio play/ promo; commercial releases are stereo



Thereafter, AS-9166 and higher, the Impulse imprint became Stereo-only.

A few titles in the run up to A-9165 are not found in mono. The final run of mono releases are likely only white-label promotional copies destined for radio play.

This Guide relates to US Impulse pressings. European pressings were mastered locally from copy tape (see ♪) for example, UK HMV reissues, and may have continued in mono format for some time, as consumer uptake of stereo was behind the US curve.  Insufficient information has been collected at this time.

Note – exceptionally, a European edition of an Impulse title has been seen bearing Van Gelder stamp, indicating use of original US metalware. The title in question, Oliver Nelson Blues and The Abstract Truth, may be unique or possibly one of a number of Italian Impulse pressed in this way. It was common practice between Prestige and UK Esquire in the late ’50s/ early ’60s so there is a precedent, but it is otherwise a rare form of overseas distribution.

Update: September 10, 2017

Eagle-eyed reader Rob G spotted this late series mono title, A-9152, on orange/black label, among a hoard of white promo label Impulse LPs, no doubt collection of a disk jockey or radio station.

A9152-mono orange black s1-LJC

Photo credit: Rob G

Possibly a rare example of a promo issued on a regular label, but not a commercial mono release.

UPDATES August 12, 2018 – addition of missing and improved quality label-shots courtesy of record collector and Impulse completist Maurizio, my thanks.



10 thoughts on “Impulse! Complete 1st Pressing Label Reference Set: Mono (1961-8)

  1. DottorJazz:
    This is a wonderful article that separates great record versions from the poor quality marketing scams so prevalent in the industry that often plagues those of us who are new to the offerings at Discogs.

    Thank you.


  2. I have a question gentlemen. How do we know conclusively that the earlier suffixed releases are represses and not concurrent pressings? I understand its widely accepted that the Cat #’s on the labels without suffixes are first pressings yet I have some of both and the runouts appear to be the same. Why was nothing done to distinguish the metalwork. My current obsession is to collect the first 100 titles in mono first pressings although the represses seem to be excellent, that is the orange and black labels. Any elucidation is appreciated.


    • Hi, obsessives welcome.

      With second pressings, or more properly “repressings”, the metalwork will be of the same stock. I can’t think of any reason why they would need to annotate the metal. The recording is not remastered, merely pressing more copies from the existing mothers/stampers. The change in numbering convention – the alpha suffix – identifies the printing of further batches of labels at some later date, typesetting in line with the numbering convention at the time.

      The point of printing fresh labels (rather than using up old stock) is, I think, the preoccupation of the label with changing corporate parent names – AmPar, ABC Paramount, and such like. The addition of the alpha suffix is a mere technical detail that is important only in retrospect, guessing the date of manufacture.


      • Thanks for the response! So interestingly I think there might be some crossover in label stock occasionally as I’ve got two copies of A-73, Shirley Scott, that have A-73-A on Side 1 but simply A-73 on side 2. The image in the label guide is of Side 2. As I’ve also been submitting and editing on Discogs I’m reticent to call the release a repress at this point.


  3. I’m curious about the early mono pressings of “A Love Supreme”, A-77, which seems to be near the boundary for the change in labels to include the A/B suffix. I have a mono copy that I can say with about 90% surety was purchased on August 20, 1965, some 8 months after its release. (The original buyer is still with us, and sold his whole collection to a used vinyl dealer that I know well. The dealer and original buyer visit on a regular basis, and the original buyer wrote the purchase date for every LP on the jacket.) The label and other attributes comply with the “first pressing” characteristics you describe, with the exception of the label numbers on the label itself, which included the A/B suffix (e.g. A-77-A). Was the first run of this release so limited that Impulse had to repress in less than a year? Just curious. The LP sounds terrific and I didn’t pay a ridiculous price for it, and so I’m very happy with it either way. Just curious as to your thoughts. Thanks for a great site. Your work has helped me a great deal in my quest for great vinyl. Cheers.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Impulse and many other labels around this time were surfing the wave of demand, unlike labels like Savoy, who seemed to press one optimistic order, then look to cut-outs to offload the unsold stock. It is my impression that Impulse ordered more copies pressed to match demand, and that varied with every title. Since there is no means of verifying the date of manufacture of these “pressing little and often” labels beyond “seismic changes” like a major label change, there doesn’t seem any forensic that helps date their manufacture, except possibly vinyl weight, and that is imprecise.


    • Late to the mono-Impulse!-party.. well: got a similar verrry well looking/playing A-77 A/B in the mail this afternoon. Now looking for Acknowledgement (pun intended) that mine is an early repress likewise 🙂
      And likewise: no outrageous sum paid, friendly online seller, and outrageously happy to have this important Coltrane in my hands.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. If you can fill in any gaps, that would be more than welcome, email me. It is sensible to separate out promos from commercial releases, though that would leave large gaps in each series. I mixed them up but gave priority to promos as they are useful in corroborating “early/first pressing” detail, but with Impulse in transition from a mono and stereo label to all-stereo bar some promos, this is a mighty task.

    Right now I’m wrestling with a series on Jazzland/ Riverside, which has long been a gap in my label guides, but it’s a pig, the quality of ebay auction pictorial and written seller material is simply dreadful, some of the worst I’ve seen. Lower value items don’t get the attention given to Blue Notes. Onward onward.


  5. For what it’s worth I can verify the existence of orange label mono pressings of the following CAT #s which are not pictured in orange: 9137, 9144, 9145, 9146, 9149, 9150, 9155, 9157 & 9158. I can provide photos of most upon request. Despite the confirmed existence of orange label stereo counterparts I cannot verify the existence of orange label mono pressings of the following CAT #s: 9133, 9139, 9140, 9147, 9151, 9152, 9153, 9159, 9163 & 9164. If anyone has any evidence of orange label mono pressings of any of these 10 releases I would definitely like to see them.


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