1. Things you need to know about the new ‘Conversations’ PM system:

    a) DO NOT REPLY TO THE NOTIFICATION EMAIL! I get them, not the intended recipient. I get a lot of them and I do not want them! It is just a notification, log into the site and reply from there.

    b) To delete old conversations use the ‘Leave conversation’ option. This is just delete by another name.
    Dismiss Notice

Vinyl record label dates

Discussion in 'music' started by BobMaximus, May 11, 2006.

  1. BobMaximus

    BobMaximus pfm Member

    Hi there

    I think it would be really useful if we could set up a database of to / from dates for vinyl record label usage. I'll post these three, so if anyone can tell me when they were first used / stopped being used, I'd say thanks.

    I've also seen a black and white (almost like a photocopy) version of the original Virgin (virgin + dragon) label (on Tubular Bells). What's the genealogy of this?


  2. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    The black & white ‘two virgins’ label was the earliest Virgin design and used on 1st presses of Tubular Bells, The Faust Tapes, Faust IV, Camembert Electric and probably a few other albums. There are some other variations in between the ones you have listed:

    1st black & white ‘two virgins’ (1973).
    2nd colour ‘two virgins’ as in your 1st pic (1973-4).
    3rd tan with white rim and ‘two virgins’ logo (1975).
    4th green gradient with ‘two virgins’ logo in circle, your 2nd pic (1976).
    5th blue white gradient with Virgin written in red; punk period e.g. NMTB, Magazine’s Real Life, Motors etc (1977-8).
    6th one side green, one side red, your 3rd pic (1978-early 80s).
    7th grey (mid 80s-?).

    The dates are approximate (i.e. from memory) and there was almost certainly some overlap, e.g. Devo’s 1st album always had the 1 side green / 1 side red label despite being released at a similar time to Magazine’s Real Life / The Motors album etc. I think Tubular Bells has been issued on every single label design! Many late 70s / early 80s albums were released with custom labels for that specific title and soon reverted to the one side red / one side green design, e.g. Magazine's Daylight / Correct Use / Play / Murder and Devoto's solo etc, they frequently picked up a new OVEDxxxx catalogue number in place of the original Vxxxx at this point.

  3. Sir

    Sir - - -

    Andy/Tony, a tricky one!
    I'm sure that the Green/Red striped label was introduced in 1978.

    The Green Twins one was being used from at least 1975 into 1978 and overlaps with that Blue/White twinless label which was being used from at least 1976 until late 77, early 78.

    I've also got a goldy/brown coloured 1975 Virgin label, see below.

    The Black/White version of the dragon label dates from the beginning until at least 1976, so more overlapping there! I've seen coloured Dragon ones from 1973 and 1974.
    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Have fun researching, I found this Russian\English website which could be very useful:
  4. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    This makes sense – I remember first seeing that design on the 1st Devo LP (initially pressed on various colours of vinyl) and that IIRC dates from 78.

    That’s my ‘3rd label’ – I’m a bit colour blind, especially in electric light! I’ll amend it to tan / white rim.

    Your 3rd picture (TD Rubycon) is a German variation of the ‘green two virgins’ – if we open this to imports there are a whole host of minor variations! Best stick to UK.

    With companies that frequently change label design there is always some overlap as there is obviously a reluctance to throw perfectly good and paid for labels out. Island are possibly the most confusing in this respect! I think my earlier post is now pretty much correct for introduction dates though end dates are certainly up for debate.

  5. Sir

    Sir - - -

    I was wondering if you'd notice the German label! ;)

    The Blue/White label was in use from 1976, I saw a picture of a Beefheart related '76 release using it (for the U.K. when the U.S. pressing used the first dragon label!), but hotlinks didn't work!

    The Green/Red may have been introduced as early as 1977, I've seen reports of second pressings of 'Pretty Vacant' using it. 'Public Image' certainly used it from the first pressing in 1978.

    Talking of Island, when people talk about 'Pink Islands' is the whole label Pink or just the border of the label? My copies of Eno's '...Warm Jets' and '...Mountain...' both have pink borders around the desert island and sound fantastic compared to releases of those albums on other company labels.
  6. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    The whole label, but again there are several variations...


    1) Solid rough / textured pink label with ‘Island’ written in large black outline text along the bottom and a orange and black circular logo to the left. Dates from late 60s.

    2) Solid rough / textured pink label with black circular logo centralised – I don’t have one of these to hand so I’m going off memory. I think this was the first label for Five Leaves Left by Nick Drake amongst others, so about 1970.

    3) ‘Pink i’ – solid pink label with large white lower case ‘i’ with black outline at bottom centre. Used on early King Crimson, Cat Stevens, Traffic’s John Barleycorn etc, again about 1970. Can be rough or smooth in texture.

    4) Reverse of above, i.e. black label with pink ‘i’, used on early Fripp / Eno collaborations (No Pussyfooting and Evening Star) and ELP’s Pictures, goes along with a HELPxx cat no. Smooth and dates from 70 onwards.

    5) ‘Pink rim palm tree’ the letters of the word Island made to form a desert island with a blank pink rim. Can be rough or smooth and again can date from 70-71 onwards. There was a later variation with a copyright notice round the pink rim dating from somewhere in the mid 70s.

    6) 'Blue gradient' punk period, e.g. Slits Cut, early Grace Jones etc.

    7) 'Rainbow rim' the main 80s design.

    There was another 80s design that was largely orange but I can't think of one I've got off hand.

    If you are looking for early Island albums, e.g. ones released before about 72 then try and find the solid pink rim or one of the pink labels as they sound way better, but again like early Virgin are very loud cuts so many have been misstracked.

  7. RickyC6

    RickyC6 Infuriate the frog-men

    Tony - you need to write a reference book on labels. You do all the hard work - and we benefit. Deal?


  8. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    I think I'm doing that in stages here!


    PS I found a pic of a pink Island 'type 2' on the web (Nick Drake Five Leaves Left) and have updated my pic.
  9. kenneth cooke

    kenneth cooke pfm Member

  10. Mullardman

    Mullardman Moderately extreme...

  11. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    Nixa was a 50s UK label that was bought / absorbed by Pye by the end of that decade. It was most famous for Petula Clark, Lonnie Donnegan and Chris Barber. I’ve got a couple of Barber’s 10” LPs. I was unaware that they did classical, I can’t recall ever seeing any.

  12. Mullardman

    Mullardman Moderately extreme...

    Tony, the classical stuff was apparently much later, when Pye's successor PRT resurrected the Nixa name. Have look at the link I posted above. It's quite comprehensive.

  13. kenneth cooke

    kenneth cooke pfm Member


Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice