Thursday, 26 June 2014

Ultramega OK


When I stopped writing about Ultraviolet LPS, was sometime after May 2013. I just stopped. I couldn't get anyone interested in the subject beyond my friend who assisted me greatly in tracing the "phenomena" back to the 1950's. It needed to go back further to stop those who had been informed of its existence, from thinking it was a by-product of 1960's hippie culture, or 1970's club culture. My gut feeling was it preceded these decades. I just needed to establish I was right. And the avenue was this friend who was locally close to many record shops in the Washington, D.C. area. And he was the one, instructed with "go either RCA Victor or Capitol in the hunt", who found it going back to 1955. I just provided the criteria. He provided the expense and time. But these weren't expensive purchases. As evidenced in this post back from May 2013 at a group I created to collate data.

Nat King Cole "This Is Nat King Cole" (1953) - strike out. My mistake, should've asked the seller if it was from the USA as listed in the item details. Thing arrives, manufactured in Canada. Negative. Bah. I still like the King though. It was £1.99.

Kingston Trio "Here We Go Again!" (1959) - Mono. Negative. Bah. It was £1.00.

David Bowie - "Heroes" (1977). The effort to get a full set of Bowie LPs that do this. "Low" "Heroes" "Lodger", I'm getting a general sense of what to look for in these 3 albums. In the original pass through of the LPs by him I have, "Hunky Dory", "Low" and "Heroes" were the only albums that had nothing. So the mission was to get these with the anomaly. Low/Heroes/Lodger all have attributes that made it possible to make an educated guess of what was more likely to have signs of the anomaly. After much searching through items for sale, found a "Heroes" that looked likely. Received today. Result: POSITIVE.
After Cole and Trio I was getting a bit meh. Bad run of finding stuff, and the effort to find ones before 1959 looked long and laborious. Decision made, can't count on Capitol before 1959 in this search. Sticking with artists on RCA Victor when affordable. The Perry Como, Fats Waller, Julie Andrews, Elvis Presley, Eartha Kitt and others brigade. Just trying to find affordable ones.
 OR THIS from April, 2013

Our first Elvis sighting.
All Shook Up/That's When Your Heartaches Begin
I was waiting for him to turn up, I just don't have any of his stuff in my collection. But someone else did. And I had a pretty strong hunch he would show up. Which is why in a record shop the other day I was going through his albums like never before, looking for particular things.
Elvis is important in this, because it might be a good indicator of how far BACK it goes. I don't know when it started, and I surely don't know when it ended. But getting an idea of these unknown dates, is better than not knowing at all. And Elvis is a good start to finding a beginning.
(Almost picked up Nat King Cole, and Perry Como the other day, but the issue of 45 single I felt much too late. Needed earlier. I also saw a 78rpm LP for the first time in my life going through a charity shop. Dag, those things were heavy.

Proving this pre-dated the 1960's was vastly important. One, it may establish WHEN it began. And with WHAT record company. And if you could trace what record company it started with, you could follow somewhat a trail of how it spread out amongst many record companies. Was it an employee? Was it a union? A cabal? What the hell was it? Finding out how it came to be, is essential in finding out what it was. 

Why have I chosen to go full force with this again?

Because no one seems interested that's why! These are the most unexplained LPs manufactured in the 20th century, that's why! We have no idea why they were made, we have no idea how they were made, we have no idea how many were made, and we certainly have no idea why certain artists received this treatment and not others. And why it followed that artist even if they changed record companies. Like the case of Ringo Starr going from APPLE to ATLANTIC. Or James Brown going from KING to POLYDOR. It followed them. One explanation would be, both Atlantic and Polydor were already practicing this procedure before Brown or Starr ever showed up. That's one explanation. Which opens up the original question. WHY?

 The former missives posted were all part of a thing entitled "The Ramblings of Viola Turtle" (there's an anagram in there somewhere). I got 32 pages in I believe. I easily could have made it 100. I had enough material evidence to stretch it that far, and enough questions. Raising this issue up again, and its appearance at RED DIRT is really a full blown effort to find out what these albums are all about. It would be great if they made an income. Made these albums the choice of collectors. Like those baseball cards of years ago. In fact, my mission in the beginning was to get all The Monkees and David Bowie albums as a full ultraviolet set. I just needed to get the ones I didn't have (which I didn't know I had for almost 30+ years). And to get those remaining Beatles albums that glowed beyond Sgt. Pepper. 

As written back in 2013:

These are what you're specifically looking for at present. These ones do it, in differing ways.

MEET THE BEATLES (Stereo - 1st Pressings - Los Angeles Pressing Plant - * symbol)
BEATLES' SECOND ALBUM (Stereo - 1st Pressings - possibly Jacksonville Pressing Plant)
SGT PEPPER'S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND (Mono - 1st Pressings - Scranton Pressing Plant - IAM symbol)
LET IT BE - (This is on the APPLE Label, and distributed by Capitol. Jacksonville Pressing Plant - () symbol.)
HEY JUDE (THE BEATLES AGAIN) - Apple Label, and distributed by Capitol. Scranton Pressing Plant - IAM Symbol)
ROCK 'N' ROLL MUSIC - (Capitol Label - More information needed about these. Scranton was closed by this point so no IAM need be looked for. Most likely Winchester with the ----< symbol, or Jacksonville with the () symbol.)

PAUL MCCARTNEY - London Town (1978 Capitol Records) - Winchester Pressing Plant
GEORGE HARRISON - Thirty Three & 1/3 (1976 Dark Horse/Warner Bros Records) - Winchester Pressing Plant.
JOHN LENNON - Shaved Fish (1975 Apple Records) Jacksonville Pressing Plant.
Rotogravure (1976 Atlantic/Warner Bros Records)
Ringo the 4th (1977 Atlantic/Warner Bros Records)

Meddle (1972 - Harvest Records - distributed by Capitol Records - Winchester
Pressing Plant)
Animals (1977 - Columbia Records - possibly New York, have to research their
pressing plants.)

But don't stop there. Check all you have or come across. These are the known
ones. Also check singles/45s, especially Hey Jude/Revolution and Let It Be/You
Know MY Name (Look Up the Number), both on Apple Records.
Research. I did heavy research into the Ultraviolet albums. And this was gathering information from different people who had known ultraviolet albums. I didn't need them to send me the LP. I didn't need them to go out and buy any. I needed to know what they had, and what the criteria was. And that's all. With information one can assemble a basic system, identifying those that do, from those that don't. If today you asked me "can you get me a Sgt.Pepper that glows?" I would say YES. I can. You go out, hit Ebay or whatever, ask that seller what the matrix code is and what plant produced it, and I can get you that glowing pepper in one shot. Just like I did with HEY JUDE (The Beatles Again) on the first try. I bought it for less than £10. In the listings of the album for sale from multiple sellers, it was the only one I was absolutely sure would be ultraviolet. I was right. Not because I'm lucky. Not because I'm a good guesser. It was because I researched, gathered data, and knocked out the ones that wouldn't from known failures, to establish the success. It's not rocket science. There was a system to these, you just have to figure it out.

BOWIE was a little harder. Capitol has a very simple numbering system when compared to RCA Victor. And when RCA Victor pressed albums for Motown, it gets even more confusing. So isolating the Bowie albums that were known to have ultraviolet properties, required a lot of deadwax information from different sources. 

I wrote about the difficulties with the Diamond Dog back last year. Click 'An Oddity'  below.

When going through that sweep of 1000+ LPS in my collection, David Bowie was the anomaly. When you've got a stack of 200 LPS, sitting on a bed, under an ultraviolet light, and none of them glow at all; and then you get to your Bowie albums, and nearly every one of them (Space Oddity {1969} through to Scary Monsters {1981}) look all crazy under a black light, believe me you notice it. I was disappointed finding ones that didn't. And I didn't have all that many. Which set me out obtaining the ones I didn't have yet to complete the collection. And all I had to go on to secure such a thing, was the albums I had that DID, and the ones I had that DIDN'T. 

And when you're looking at quite a few different matrix codes for multiple albums, it can get frustrating. Especially when you approach different people you know who have the same albums, that could check for you if they do glow, therefore eliminating more of your choices to narrow it down to a select few ... and they don't do it. Very frustrating. 

So BOWIE took some work. 

Aladdin Sane (1973)

The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1972)

The Man Who Sold the World (1970)

I had to get LOW, HEROES and LODGER to glow. All by figuring out which ones were more likely to, and which ones weren't. From hundreds of online sellers. Information, is indeed, power.

"HEROES" (1977)

And from my encounters with The Monkees albums (and later 10cc) I knew that I didn't always have to go to the USA to get an ultraviolet album. 

I could go in through West Germany and get near, to the same results. And different colour combinations.


  1. Great post! And thank you for the shout-out! Still haven't heard from any vinyl experts ... yet ...

    1. Me neither! It's like shouting into a canyon.

    2. Gerard,
      I found your posts on this subject fascinating! I decided to check my Beatles etc album collection and found the following UV glowers
      (all purchased at or near time of release):

      The Early Beatles (US mono)
      A Hard Day's Night (US mono)
      Yesterday and Today (US mono)
      Yesterday and Today second state stereo
      Revolver (US mono)
      Rock n Roll Music (1976)
      The World's Best (from Germany, EMI Electrola, 1981)
      John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band
      All Things Must Pass (all 3 records)
      Monkees- Head
      Bowie--Station To Station
      Firesign Theatre -- Don’t Crush That Dwarf & Everything You Know is Wrong
      Monty Python--Matching Tie & Hankerchief (the one with the dual grooves on side 2)
      Queen--A Night At the Opera

      Also just came across this vid on YouTube:

    3. I've heard Rock and Roll Music is an impressive one, and is your Head in the original foil cover or the substitute for that.

      Thank you for the YouTube link - I have to see if that guy can trace the EARLIEST example he can find, because he hasn't seemed (at that time of video shooting) to cotton on that its only particular record companies doing it

    4. And thank you for the response. Head is in the original mylar cover, and on the back cover in the corner is an embossed 'Not For Sale. For Promotional Use Only.' It has an impressive red-orange sheen under UV.
      I also began checking my Beatles & related 45's. LOTS have the same marble-ing or color effect under UV. Granted I don't have all the original Beatles 45s on Capitol--only mid-period and subsequent Apple releases. With few exceptions, the majority of their singles from 66 on til 1970 are ultraviolet, as are a number of their solo singles through 1973. Mind Games especially has a nice effect. Out of 19 other miscellaneous artists 45s I have from that time frame, 7 are UV. Labels include Mala (the Box Tops); Dunhill, TK records, Tamla, and Atco. All from the 60's to 1974.
      What's puzzling is if this effect was simply a by-product of the manufacturing process (as someone stated in the comments to that YouTube vid), why do certain artists (e.g. Beatles, Monkees, Bowie) seem to have a predominance in this area?
      You've done some great research on this topic. A tip of the hat to you, sir!
      I hope this helps.

    5. That's what I would expect with Head, or many of The Monkees/COLGEMS albums. A red-orange sheen, not exactly either colour, something in-between.

      Apple definitely received the UV treatment, it's just finding the ones that do post-Beatles and into the solo careers proves a bit daunting.

      Dunhill I expect to glow, as well as Tamla. Atco I'm a little surprised glows, I didn't run across any that did, so that's pretty important you found one.

      It did help, and thanks ;)