LONDON SILVER LABELS 8399-8625
8399-8625 Small or Normal Text on Catalog Numbers
Just to see how far this actually goes, we checked this series for copies we had. Titles 8601, 8605, 8617 and 8620 only exist as the post 8625 design, as do others. 8604, 8607, 8608, 8609, 8615, 8618 and 8623 exist as the earlier type so it's not a clean changeover. So this explains why the last of the earlier typeface style we found is 8625 The Monotones which is a little harder to find as the 1957 style label.
London HL-A 8618 Everly Brothers Rarity.
One of the biggest sellers of the 1950s, 8 weeks at Number One, but of course there is a very rare variant. London changed the label styles after 8625 as 8626 Jack Scott is only found with the large sans-serif typeface. Most copies of 8618 exist with the large sans-serif text & normal sized catalog number if a few have an odd large catalog number & wider print as we have in stock. But the rare one is the Small Text 8618 with the 1957 type label. Title in small sans-serif & artist in small serif print with small 1957 type catalog number. We had one several years ago in high grade & it sold too fast for £20 so it is a known one if 45cat hasn't got a picture. The Buckingham codes on the one we found are "I+N" showing an early press if labels were likely stockpiled with the old labels at the bottom of the pile & the newer font ones used first, the 45-HL-A 8618 wide print & regular print, later just 45-HLA8618 no "-". Clearly London issued a lot of singles in May 1958 in this changeover time, as 8613-8635 are all May 1958 issues. Consider the 1957 style label one a high rarity for you London collectors. One that is noticeable not the tedious matrix code nonsense that no-one has any interest in.
As shown below on a mule 8437, two types of label design with Small Text or Normal Text (ie larger size) on the Catalog Number were generally used apparently at random. They are interesting though and some may prove rarer than the others, but it's too minor. We're not doing a list of what exists as what type as this is a minor variation unlike other variations like Gold & Thick Tri. You can say the small text ones are related to the Gold earlier labels in style & the larger text to the earlier large number & matrix, but as that page shows, neither can conclusively be stated as before the other as it varies too much. Neither is worth more or less than the other! Until one is noted as Rarer simply by the other turning up more often, eg 8408 noted below. Only by recognising the variants can you find buyers want one type more than another. Just to try it out, 2 small text turn up much less than the large text, ie 8506 & 8604. Also having showed both variations of 8435 Gladiolas on actual 45s to a 60s Psych collector, just to see what appealed more visually, he found the harsh sans-serif font of the smaller text one quite ugly & the serif text of the larger text one more pleasing.
BRUNSWICK similarly lost the 1957 typeface by 05743 Four Aces in May 1958 so to find 05742 Bill Haley with the great "Skinny Minnie" with the 1957 label design is a tough one, from what we've seen very few have this early label & are unheralded rarities like HLA 8618 similarly, if 05742 didn't chart if sold steadily.
8408 Carl Perkins 'Matchbox' is a classic 45 from Apr 1957 & there are copies around, so not as rare as Blue Suede Shoes, but nearly all are the typical 'serif' font, but there is now one with the narrower sans-serif font & the white-base paper like the later Golds used. See 8407 Fats Domino in our London gallery for similar. The initial press has to be the typical one, but the narrow text one may be a new batch from a few months later, or may be a few dozen extra made up to fill the initial pressing quantity, or a very early one. This narrow style is exactly the same as the Gold later style & as London labels appear to have been printed in 2 places until 8625, the Gold once discontinued in both places was just replaced with Silver ink. The narrow print "Gold Style" Silver label press is interesting. It has the same matrix number on the vinyl as the Standard print, ie MSC overwritten +2C on both sides. The Buckingham codes are "B+B" wheras the few ones you can actually see the vinyl on Popsike show "U" with an "H" below it. The one we have is just "B+B". It has '65c' written on it as you find on some UK copies, usually NOC, that were exported. So for the "B" code, the Narrow Print is the very earliest press. One Known Copy! 28 copies of the Standard Label on Popsike with 2 with listed as the B side title, our one is on there as sold & some fool returned it not realising it was unique! The other two of his 1950s London exist on both standard & the narrow print.
As of typing, the only early 8400 we have in 2 versions is 8435 Gladiolas. Both are No Centre copies & this together with 8301 Joe Turner is not so hard to find NOC but the Tri Centre copies are very limited. For Jukebox use is why & Gladiolas done as the The Diamonds cover version 78 only unless a US copy was imported, they put the London one instead. Not very helpful as the wider print one has "N+?" and the narrow print has no codes at all, the B of the wider one has no code either! 8457 Jerry Lee Lewis is always the same wide print, though the earliest ones with crisper print have 'Vocal' in Capitals both side, later big-sales ones are as we typed it. 8437 we have one copy with a mule of styles as pictured with "BB+I" and the both wide print one as "K+U". Considering Narrow Print is the same as the later Gold if in Silver, appears the wider ones are more likely to be earlier, if the narrow ones much rarer. But 8433 exists on narrow print only, so there is no fixed rule as with Gold vs Silver, only which is rarest should matter.
Some long text title-artist 45s after 8626 such as Johnnie & Joe 8682 exist with a different sans-serif small or normal print on the title as does Little Anthony 8704 & possibly others. Pre 8626 Small Text labels always have MSCF instead of MSC that the Normal Text labels have, as did the Golds that were also issued as Silver. The vinyl matrix on comparing 2 types of the same press shows it has little meaning otherwise, ie MSCF or MSC on the 3 Little Richards labels, but the vinyl may have MSCF or MSC. The RIS London book says the F is for 45 (Forty Five). It appears to be random, so will be ignored. The fact 8437 and also a newly found 8509 exist with mule labels as explained above, shows the labels were printed in different places/with different machinery yet the fact the label styles were mixed together on pressing means one type ran out before the other could match it.
The Small Text labels apparently printed where the small text Golds were printed with the title in sans-serif print. The Normal Text serif text matches the early Silvers with Large Matrix-Large Catalog Number as explained on the Golds page.
The fact is some big £££ records, that you can compare several copies labels online etc, only exist with one style, like 8482 Dale Hawkins is with B+B codes on Normal Text & 8433 Eddie Cochran is with B+B codes on Small Text shows absolutely no proof that small text is the first!
But... the small cat number can sometimes be seen as the rarer of the two IF the large (normal) exists, ie 8526 Sam Cooke is rare on small text as mostly found large (normal) text. Oddly 8526 exists with 1C & 2C matrix code on the vinyl, odd for a small hit record. As you'll read elsewhere, the actual matrix 1C etc is pretty meaningless so ignore it except on a tiny few where the music actually differs. Having played the 1C & 2C of You Send Me to compare, the 2C is slightly crisper sound and slightly less bassy, else the music is identical. The minor sound difference is due to the mastering engineer & the equipment used. The 2C has no other codes except the matrix, showing Decca often made errors, so take anything not too literally without comparisons. It's interesting though, which is why we've written all this!
From a sample of 71 Londons 8399-8626 we had to check on doing this article, 1 was a round 1961-2 press, 1 was a mule of types, 6 were the post 8626 label, 16 were small type & 47 were normal type. 3 had the codes unreadable as too feint or unstamped in error. On some big hits that sold for an extended time the codes can extend pretty high, eg a 1961-2 press of Everly Bros 8626 has HB+HU codes. HU = 82nd press if B is the first and U is the second! On our sample, for those who'd like to know, Small Text B+B found 3 out of 16; Normal Text B+B found 3 out of 47. Small Text highest codes were H+H on 8467 and I+I on 8506.
Starting 8626 the title & artist are in a larger sans-serif, ie plain text. Again the odd variant as you'd expect, but nothing much happens now until 8900 series with the Tri or Round, see the next article.
According to the VRC book at this exact point overnight the sleeves changed from blue with small centre to blue with large centre, though it is unlikely to be that clean a change over as with anything records. Through years of having thousands of sleeves, the small hole Londons are always on thicker paper. Sea Green Londons appear to be up to 8199. Many have sticker tears from the early days of collecting where sleeves were just a cover and stickered by thoughtless sellers. Number got written on sleeves by the shops selling when new: 8498 is a small hole, 8590 is a large hole. Just to carry it on a bit further, the large hole Blue London sleeves went through certain variants of shading & paper thickness until finally about Dec 1960, when the white with blue lines ones began, which carried on until 1967 when the 'box' London logo started & the red-white sleeves start. Firstly small holes which we considered were 1957 sleeves, then large centres on the same thicker paper as early 1958s and thinner paper thru 1958-59 you find blue with the white corner for the cat number, then very thin paper dark but paler blue until about May-June 1960. Brown-buff with blue lines appears to be a short lived variant late 1959-early 1960, then the familiar white with blue lines by c.Dec 1960. The exact changeovers could only be proved by having an untouched B+B code with the number on the sleeve. The buff paper is found on some early Warner Bros as WB1 Everlys was issued May 1960.
To conclude this section, Buckingham codes ARE the best way to age a record, ie early & find label types etc, but used TOGETHER with the LABEL style it proves facts. Of course some minor facts here could be proved wrong by records that contradict them. If you can prove something worthwhile, let us know!
There are several 1960-61 repressings
we've had or seen of pre 1960 releases that do use earlier labels, any round repress of a pre 1958 is usually rarer than the first. They are oddities really & make no difference in price to any design of a round one, we've tried. Usually found with the bigger name artists who sold certain 45s steadily, though 1954 Matty O'Neil was apparently available into the mid 1960s, we've had a Round 1960-61 press with a 1958 type label. London round centres with 1958 style labels exist, though only ever seen a Slim Whitman Gold one on a round centre 1960-61 press.
HL/HLU 8874 Dion & Belmonts-Delmonts typo. This is a well-known oddity & not so rare. But as we are London based we've never actually found one in our area, the ones you see on ebay are from sellers more Up North of the UK. The One Sided solid centre demo is "Dion & The Delmonts" so it may be assumed the earlier typo & HL labels were used for non London-town regions. Dion & The Bs had three previous releases & oddly the Delmonts one has HL-8874 as the catalog number but the Belmonts one as HLU-8874. The earlier D&Bs had HLH-8646, HL-8718, HL-8799 & a later one HLU-9030. But because the world is disordered, we found a BELMONTS A side, DELMONTS B side. 45-HL-U 8874 and HL 8874 on one disc. "BA+U" Buckingham codes, 1C on A, 2C on B for those interested.
TOTALLY UNKNOWN CHUCK WILLIS LONDON DISCOVERY!!
This concerns a CHUCK WILLIS 45 on London 8818 (Feb 1959), so best put here. The tracks on the label are "Thunder and Lightning" and "My Life". But all of the several copies we've had always played "My Crying Eyes", a track on a 1957 single instead of the slow but soulful track "My Life" as on the USA 45 & the 1960s UK LP reissue of the USA 1958 one. But here's the thing, we've found a REVISED PRESSING clearly made after the bulk of sales were made & someone complained, as it actually PLAYS "My Life". The matrix number cleary gives it away as 45-MSC-2955-T2-IC instead of the usual one without the "T2". As with the Buddy Holly 1960s LP with the wrong track later revised, most buyers would have bought the record on release & few shops would have noticed the error or bothered to reorder once the initial sales were made as it was not a particularly good or popular 45 after the good selling one before, "What Am I Living For"/"Hang Up My Rock & Roll Shoes" which was repressed in 1963 on a Round London-Atlantic. No further 45s were issued by London though more turned up on USA Atlantic, but were not particularly outstanding like the 45s London did issue. The 1961 Fontana EP of his 1952-54 Okeh tracks was clearly issued to take advantage of Elvis covering "I Feel So Bad" and is still a top rarity if not making the huge prices of before.
For this to go "undiscovered" for 54 years is remarkable & is clearly extremely rare, or no-one has bothered play it knowing the earlier London 45. The seller we got it from was a collector who found some extreme rarities, like the 2 1960 Tri Brunswicks we picture elsewhere, but he thought the one with the wrong track was the rare one, we know better as dealers seeing more.
UPDATES. We can't remember how many we've seen, though how many copies of any non chart record do you see? If 20 seen, you'd not play every one unless you knew there were 2 versions! Only until all copies still existing are found on 45 & 78 will we know. Odds are more copies of the first "B+B" version exist as few shops would have sold enough to reorder more. Shops that sold the T2 version may have ordered it in for a customer, but not stocked it. On another page, we've been working out how rare Jimi Hendrix "No Experience" Polydor "Hey Joe" 45 is because we've been looking for it & it's easy to spot. Our high grade copy of Chuck Willis still being unsold for £100 as New News could take up to 10 years (if not 20) in the pre-internet days to filter through we've found, 45cat guys found this page & still aren't sure of rarity. Some have the T2 version but be sure no-one else has bothered even to find out. After how well R&R Shoes sold sales of this were clearly much less, but "My Life" would have appealed to "What Am I Living For" buyers. "T&L" is spoiled with the pop chorus & isn't a great song at all. The matrix numbers suggest "T&L" was the A side but most sources show "My Life" was the A side. DJs would have played the track (or not at all) and only these later presses had the correct track which is actually a real nice track. Having "My Crying Eyes" titled "My Life" we just assumed (before getting the "Betty & Dupree 45") was a likely title if not in the lyric. So gaze at our photo below! Over the years we have played other copies & still not found "My Life". Until more time passes & more read this & 45cat, well it's an unknown. For stamper code fans, "T&L" has the regular 1C with a 1 on the left & oddly a C sideways on the right so assume it meant U. "My Life" T2-1C has 1 on left, U on right. First press (not got one currently) as was the first batch pressed will have "B+B" codes, the T2 with "U+U" codes. The first batch may have been in anticipation of good sales & may have been 500-1000 copies? But who spotted the error? Did they withdraw the error pressing? Had interest waned by the time the error was spotted? The UK 45 is from tapes, not dubbed & only a person with the USA Atlantic copy will have spotted the error, or perhaps the error-spotter had the "Betty & Dupree" 45 & wrote in asking why the exact same song has two titles. London couldn't repromote it as they'd look foolish & shops would still have the duff issue! On our high grade copy, you can hear that both tracks were dubbed as fidelity isn't the best, "T&L" has more USA vinyl noise just before the music, "ML" only has a tiny amount. So they would have had either the USA 45 or more likely the USA Atlantic 8012 LP "The King Of The Stroll" and picked the wrong track? Only folk with access to the old music papers, like those kind souls who found the LP chart actually went back to 1956 not 1958 as previously thought, will be able to page search & find a letter to a music paper. Only research can find these things out.