~ A METHOD TO THE MADNESS~
A method you say? Surely there’s a reasonable explanation why certain artists at certain
record companies, received an unheard of treatment to their products, that was not
announced or advertised by any of these individuals or organisations, and remained
unknown to the public for decades. Surely. In a world of Capitalism believe that Art for
Art’s Sake MIGHT still exist. There’s a reason these LPs glow under ultraviolet light.
I’m sure there is. I’m just not sure what that reason is.
One question that bugged me to no end was, how did people miss this? Especially those
1960’s pot smoking black light party Hippies. Or those 1970’s disco blacklight DJs? And
since this process continued on for decades, I could not see how this escaped the
public’s attention. Surely there’s a reason for that too.
But I can understand how the Hippies and DJs missed this. It didn’t become clear to me
until I looked at my own spotcheck of my collection, and talking to a friend whose dad
never noticed this anomaly while partying it up blacklight style. In the 1960’s. You see
what I was doing was taking stacks of LPs and one by one, checking through each and
every one of them. I have at least 1,000 LPs. And when you’ve gone through 250 LPs one
after the other, spotting this anomaly becomes a lot, lot easier. You recognise it as soon
as you take it out of the inner sleeve. Unlike the 249 other LPs you just looked at, that
reflected only black, this one LP goes all murky and dirty looking. Like something’s on it.
And the closer you bring it to the light, the more clear and bright it becomes. It
sometimes goes one complete colour. Other times it comes out looking marbled. Other
times it looks flecked like an Iris would. It seems a random process, but with desired
results. And each one is aesthetically pleasing with the colors the record label used.
Even if they changed label design for a brief time.
Like Motown Records, who used RCA Victor’s pressing plant to make their records until
they could do their own. Their light yellow and brown TAMLA labels go very well with
the ochre coloured ultraviolet effect. Someone knew what they were doing.
Or RCA themselves, who changed their label many times, and assigned different colours to
specific genres in their roster. If the label was Orange, then the ultraviolet effect was a deeper or lighter orange. Always complimentary.
RCA gives the best examples of the variants I believe, and it’s my research into record
manufacturing history that tells me either RCA Victor, or EMI came up with this
“procedure.” Whatever it is. Which might be a liquid. And if you read as many
books/documents as I’ve read, you’d actually start thinking this was a magical elixir that
such people in the occult world like A.E. Waite did not care to find out if it existed.
Which is odd. I think that’s why Aleister Crowley despised Waite. What if there WAS an
occult fluid of magickal, alchemical changing properties. Who is a man like Waite to
dissuade anyone from imagining it might be so. Just because he doesn’t believe it. I
would have the same problem with Waite as Crowley had. If that was one of the
But let’s scoot away from magical elixirs. Or alien liquids.
Okay, let’s really scoot away from such theories. This process was important enough to
keep going for decades undetected by the consumer. If it had damaging effects to the
product itself, recalls would have been consistent enough to stop the process
altogether. It has none that I know of. Apart from PVC degrades under ultraviolet light
be releasing hydrochloric acid when under it. Keep your records out of sunlight they say!
But hold it under this type of light and see some beautiful colours and stunning effects.
All quite aesthetically pleasing. One of my favourites is James Brown’s “Mighty
Instrumentals,” stereo version.
That’s one’s really nice. It’s that flecked effect that makes it truly artistic and beautiful.
So is this a mark of 1st pressings? To make sure genuine versions of the product can be
identified later on? Maybe. But then in the case of Sgt.Pepper, why wouldn’t ALL first
pressings of Sgt Pepper bear this distinction. Why is it only certain ones do it, and others
not. With money, ultraviolet markers are placed so that vendors/bankers can tell the
counterfeits from the real. That isn’t done to only certain £5 notes. It’s done to all of
them. So marking LPs with an ultraviolet stamp of authenticity would be given to all
products. No? The mark of the true doesn’t seem to apply here. So why is this done to
certain ones and not others. And why certain artists, and not others? And why certain
record labels and not others?
I haven’t found many instances, if at all, yet on Columbia, CBS, Epic, Elektra or Virgin. It
was “not found” so much, I practically counted on it not happening. The exception
would be Pink Floyd, when they changed record label after Dark Side of the Moon from
Harvest/EMI, to Columbia/CBS. The process “followed” them. Much like James Brown
going from KING Records to Polydor in the 1970’s. It followed him. Or Ringo Starr
changing from Apple Records to Atlantic in the mid-70’s. It followed him.