A&M Records Catalog Numbers

Cuyler

Bright colored pinwheels go 'round in my head.
Thread Starter
Hello!

I've generally been curious -- what was the methodology A&M Records used to assign catalog numbers to an LP or to a single? I ask because the Carpenters' Offering (1969) was released as SP-4205 (the catalog number it maintained/continued after being re-marketed as Ticket to Ride), then Close to You (1970) was SP-4271, I believe Bless the Beasts and Children (1971) was SP-4322, but Carpenters (1971) was SP-3502, and it seems to go back up again from there.

Was every number used? For example, was there an SP-3503, SP-3504, etc.?

Looking forward to becoming educated in the cataloging practices of A&M Records!

NB: My post is in reference to the U.S. catalog. HOWEVER, please feel free to chime in if you have anything to add about A&M cataloging practices in other countries as well!
 

Cuyler

Bright colored pinwheels go 'round in my head.
Thread Starter
Sorry... as a corollary, has a super-fan ever tried to reconstruct a database or spreadsheet documenting all of the catalog numbers of all A&M releases?

Looking at Discogs, I've found the following:
  • SP-3501 - Burt Bacharach, by Burt Bacharach (1971)
  • SP-3502 - Carpenters, by Carpenters (1971)
  • SP-3503 - Wings, by Michael Colombier (1971)
  • SP-3504 - Booker T. & Priscilla, by Booker T. & Priscilla (1971)
  • SP-3505 - A Song for You, by Bill Medley (1971)
  • SP-3506 - Performance Rockin' the Fillmore, by Humble Pie (1971)
  • SP-3507 - I Wrote a Simple Song, by Billy Preston (1971)
  • SP-3508 - ??
  • SP-3509 - Chilliwack, by Chilliwack (1971)
  • SP-3510 - Ain't Supposed to Die a Natural Death (Tunes from Blackness), by Melvin van Peebles (1972)
  • SP-3511 - A Song for You, by Carpenters (1972)
 

GDB2LV

Well-Known Member
Good question! I often thought it had to do with the album list price 4.98, 5.98, 6.98 etc. Why they went from the 4000’s to the 3000’s was definitely a mystery to me. I know Christmas Portrait had two different numbers, 4726 original and 3210 for the reissued Value Line. The Singles Sp-3601 1969-1973 has 6.98 on the spine, while Now & Then SP-3519 has 5.98 on the spine. Maybe the all knowing A&M historians can help?
 

Cuyler

Bright colored pinwheels go 'round in my head.
Thread Starter
Good question! I often thought it had to do with the album list price 4.98, 5.98, 6.98 etc. Why they went from the 4000’s to the 3000’s was definitely a mystery to me. I know Christmas Portrait had two different numbers, 4726 original and 3210 for the reissued Value Line. The Singles Sp-3601 1969-1973 has 6.98 on the spine, while Now & Then SP-3519 has 5.98 on the spine. Maybe the all knowing A&M historians can help?
Your comment reminds me that, in the CD era, I noticed most of the time "SP" was just replaced with CD, so Ticket to Ride was CD-4205, but(!!) Close to You was CD-3184, and not CD-4271 as may be expected by the SP catalog number. I don't know, was Close to You reissued as SP-3184 for "Value Line"? (Ooh, I found SP-3184, reissued in 1982. I wonder why? Carpenters – Close To You (1982, Vinyl))
 

GDB2LV

Well-Known Member
Yes, the value line list price was $5.98. That Christmas Portrait number is the Value Line catalogue number. Turn Polygram and later UMe gave them all new and longer numbers with the invention of the sku tag. Another thing they did for awhile was put a -1 or -2, -4 etc. after the catalogue number. So 567890-1 vinyl, 567890-2 cd, 567890-4 cassette. They did it for early dvd, vhs, and maybe laser discs too. It’s interesting, but a bit of a mess at the same time.
 

Cuyler

Bright colored pinwheels go 'round in my head.
Thread Starter
Yes, the value line list price was $5.98. That Christmas Portrait number is the Value Line catalogue number. Turn Polygram and later UMe gave them all new and longer numbers with the invention of the sku tag. Another thing they did for awhile was put a -1 or -2, -4 etc. after the catalogue number. So 567890-1 vinyl, 567890-2 cd, 567890-4 cassette. They did it for early dvd, vhs, and maybe laser discs too. It’s interesting, but a bit of a mess at the same time.
Ooh, I didn't know that! All I know about the 1990s & 2000s era, with regard to reissues/remasters, is that the "SP" catalog number is hidden within the barcode. So, for example:
  • Carpenters LP: SP-3502
  • AM+ Carpenters CD: CD-3502
  • Remastered Classics Carpenters CD: 82839 3502 2
With regard to the Remastered Classics CD, do you think it ends in 2 because it's a CD?
 

GDB2LV

Well-Known Member
Yes! The 3502-2 is a cd code. The 3502 is the early A&M catalogue number for all formats, Lp, 8-track, cassette, and CDs. BTW -3 VHS and -6 for laserdisc.
 

Michael Hagerty

Well-Known Member
Contributor
The answer is it started simple and got messy.

The first A&M LP was Bob Regan and Lucille Starr's SAY YOU LOVE ME. The catalog number was LP 100. For stereo, SP 4100.

When CTi became an A&M imprint in 1967 (at which point A&M was only up to LP 125/SP 4125 or so), it was given a lower series (LP 2001/SP 3001) so that as the main A&M catalog numbers climbed, there wouldn't be a conflict.

The SP 3500 series was launched after CTi had left the building and it was unlikely the label's jazz output would hit 500 LPs. And GDBY2LV, you're correct. That series, beginning with SP 3501 (BURT BACHARACH) was created for product with a $5.98 list price. The $4.98 line continued from SP-4299 to SP-4300, ending at SP-4426, when the list price climbed to $6.98 and the SP-4500 series was created.

Numbers were skipped for that reason and for releases that were on the internal calendar but that ultimately were not released (think STONEBONE and CALIFORNIA SOUL).

Cuyler, the work of tracking A&M's releases over the years (and that of pretty much every label) has already been done by BSNPubs.com. They started more than 20 years ago and have been updating ever since. It's a tremendous resource (and time suck).

 
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Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Site Admin
The first A&M LP was Bob Regan and Lucille Starr's SAY YOU LOVE ME. The catalog number was LP 100. For stereo, SP 4100.
From our Mr. Bill, who with LPJim, have been our numerical mavens, this quote:

SP4100-This was created by A&M Canada (Quality Records by license agreement) at the time. Though numerically it appears before LONELY BULL (the first A&M LP) it was actually released after SP4107, Ms Starr's A&M solo debut...

1623940250117.png

So, the real first LP was 101, 101S, 4101, THE LONELY BULL
 

Mike Blakesley

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Moderator
SP4100-This was created by A&M Canada (Quality Records by license agreement) at the time. Though numerically it appears before LONELY BULL (the first A&M LP) it was actually released after SP4107, Ms Starr's A&M solo debut...

1623940250117.png



So, the real first LP was 101, 101S, 4101, THE LONELY BULL

Thanks, Harry.... I'd been living all these years thinking (knowing) that The Lonely Bull was the beginning of A&M Records (and Herb even talked, in one interview, about how it was Jerry Moss' idea to use "101" for the catalog number, so people would think there were 100 prior releases from this unheard-of label). So thanks for proving that my prior knowledge wasn't misplaced!
 

Cuyler

Bright colored pinwheels go 'round in my head.
Thread Starter
I wanted to add a little tidbit of what I noticed yesterday. I believe quad LPs are prefixed QU-5####

So... Carpentersʻ Now & Then is SP-3519--quad version is QU-53519; Carpentersʻ Horizon is SP-4530--quad version is QU-54530.
 

rockdoctor

Well-Known Member
When Captain and Tennille's Come In From The Rain was released, its number was SP 4700 with a list price of 7.98. Their Greatest Hits was released later with a 46 starting number at the 6.98 list price. Michel Colombier's Wings has two catalog numbers: SPX 4284 and SP 3503. I have the former on the copy that I have.
When record companies started doing the Value Price reductions for albums, they changed numbers or the letters preceding the numbers.. I have a copy of Whipped Cream, originally released as SP 4110 with a sticker on the lower spine as SP 3157. The rest of the cover has SP 4110 at its normal spot on the front and back and on the record itself which was a later pressing with the new record design.
The Columbia Group would keep the same number but change the prefix to C from KC or PC when some albums went from 5.98/6.98 back to 4.98. It would result in increased sales of the older albums. It would be a stamp or sticker and the record itself has the KC/PC or whatever they were using to designate the higher list pricing.
 

rockdoctor

Well-Known Member
Another interesting note is that when A&M started its Value Pricing series, not only did the number change but sometimes the covers as well. Fool On The Hill went from a gate fold cover to single cover. The front stayed the same but the back became the inside color photo of Sergio and the album information.
South Of The Border had the back reworked as well, eliminating the other A&M albums seen on the earlier editions with larger print of the album notes. The label on the record itself had the new number and was primarily black and the new catalog number was printed on the front and back and the old number was gone.
 

Bobberman

Well-Known Member
Another interesting note is that when A&M started its Value Pricing series, not only did the number change but sometimes the covers as well. Fool On The Hill went from a gate fold cover to single cover. The front stayed the same but the back became the inside color photo of Sergio and the album information.
South Of The Border had the back reworked as well, eliminating the other A&M albums seen on the earlier editions with larger print of the album notes. The label on the record itself had the new number and was primarily black and the new catalog number was printed on the front and back and the old number was gone.
Although My First Copy of The South of the Border LP was SP 4108 the Back cover on that one was the same as the later SP 3263 Larger print liner notes and the Earlier A&M Albums eliminated. Etc. this change i assume took place Sometime in the 70s I will say personally I prefer that back cover to the original even though I lost that particular copy Long Long ago
 

rockdoctor

Well-Known Member
Another cover difference is the location of the SP number versus the LP number. SP and Stereo are at the top and LP is at the bottom of many records. The covers had both printed on them and the cover was adjusted to hide the LP if it was Stereo and vice versa.
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Site Admin
My SOUTH OF THE BORDER copies all have the small ads at the bottom.
 

rockdoctor

Well-Known Member
My "Value Edition" of South Of The Border was a cutout when I bought it. I have seen very few cutouts of the A&M releases but that was discussed in another thread.
 
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