A&M Records Catalog Numbers

JOv2

Well-Known Member
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...

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So, the real first LP was 101, 101S, 4101, THE LONELY BULL
Near as I can figure, A&M released this LP in 1967 in South Africa, Australia, and Canada -- which is why the LP jacket, featuring the work of Whorf, Wilkes, Webster and Corporate Head, is consistent with A&M's look circa '67. The oddity is why did A&M-Canada insist on using SP 4100? I've never heard the LP, so I don't know if these are pre- or post-French Song recordings; one thing appears certain: neither Herb nor Jerry produced the LP.

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Cuyler

Bright colored pinwheels go 'round in my head.
Thread Starter
One thing I am curious about is, what was the policy/procedure behind record numbering? Did memos get passed around from a department up to management for approval, then back to the department/office level for filing?
 

Michael Hagerty

Well-Known Member
Contributor
Near as I can figure, A&M released this LP in 1967 in South Africa, Australia, and Canada -- which is why the LP jacket, featuring the work of Whorf, Wilkes, Webster and Corporate Head, is consistent with A&M's look circa '67. The oddity is why did A&M-Canada insist on using SP 4100? I've never heard the LP, so I don't know if these are pre- or post-French Song recordings; one thing appears certain: neither Herb nor Jerry produced the LP.

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This actually makes sense to me, Cuyler. Using LP100/SP4100 insured that there would be no conflict with future A&M release catalog numbers.
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
Site Admin
Yeah, I get it too. I believe it was only going to be released in Canada, and Lucille Starr's time on the US A&M was rapidly closing, so going a bit backwards for a catalog number made some kind of strange sense.
 

Michael Hagerty

Well-Known Member
Contributor
Near as I can figure, A&M released this LP in 1967 in South Africa, Australia, and Canada -- which is why the LP jacket, featuring the work of Whorf, Wilkes, Webster and Corporate Head, is consistent with A&M's look circa '67. The oddity is why did A&M-Canada insist on using SP 4100? I've never heard the LP, so I don't know if these are pre- or post-French Song recordings; one thing appears certain: neither Herb nor Jerry produced the LP.

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Did some quick research. She split from Regan in 1967 and signed with CBS. My guess is A&M had unreleased material, packaged it and released it in Canada to cash in on her popularity in her home country.

Minus any mention of Herb or where it was recorded, I'll venture a further guess that it was recorded in Canada without A&M's involvement, and Herb and/or Jerry didn't initially feel it was up to the label's standards.

A&M did manage to get SAY YOU LOVE ME, IN SOUTH AFRICA and GREATEST HITS released in other countries before she could get her CBS album in stores.
 

Mr Bill

Gentlemanly Curmudgeon
Staff member
Moderator
Mike Haggerty's reason for "going backwards" and using LP/SP 4100 is exactly correct.

As I compiled images for this website's AOTW file in their own thread(s) I decided to have some fun and continue going backwards with some artists who had singles but no LP...

The one I made for Dore Alpert has actually popped into other websites with comments like "where can I find this album?' LoL...:

I made my own with just about every Herb Dore single I own:

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And I made it "SP 4099." Jim Brent and I once speculated going in reverse from SP4101 assigning LPs to many of the early "singles-only" A&M artists. The impetus was Canadian A&M licensee Quality Records' release of a second Lucille Starr album as "SP4100." Other artists in our imaginary <4100 line were Terry Stafford, The KenJoLairs, Dante & the EverGreens and a second George McCurn album among others...


--Mr Bill
 

Mr Bill

Gentlemanly Curmudgeon
Staff member
Moderator
As for a complete numerical list, as mentioned, BSN has a pretty thorough one online... There was also a reference book writt--, um, compiled by one who's not mentioned around these parts these days. Or you could peruse the AOTW pages I compiled back in the day. Keep in mind there are some holes in that list and it is not 100% complete...

I can't find it to link to it... Perhaps one of my fellow MODS can place a link here (unless it's restricted to the Moderator only portions of the site)

--Mr Bill
 

JOv2

Well-Known Member
Did some quick research. She split from Regan in 1967 and signed with CBS. My guess is A&M had unreleased material, packaged it and released it in Canada to cash in on her popularity in her home country.

Minus any mention of Herb or where it was recorded, I'll venture a further guess that it was recorded in Canada without A&M's involvement, and Herb and/or Jerry didn't initially feel it was up to the label's standards.
Good work, Michael! (Unlike Australia and South Africa, Canada apparently utilized the US LP numbering scheme.)
 
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Mr Bill

Gentlemanly Curmudgeon
Staff member
Moderator
(Unlike Australia and South Africa, Canada apparently utilized the US LP numbering scheme.)
Yes they did. With the exception Starr's SP4100, releases that were unique to Canada had the SP 9xxx prefix, one of the more popular of which was Phil Ochs's Gunfight At Carnegie Hall A&M SP 9010, which came out in 1974, despite being recorded in 1970. In the US it sold as an import via Jem Records. It got a proper US release from Mobile Fidelity in the late 1980s, on CD, and later by Collector's Choice in a double CD with Rehearsals For Retirement.

Gunfight had an interesting release history even before finally appearing on vinyl, four years after it was recorded. Ochs's declining sales on his last two A&M albums led A&M to opt not to release it. In 1974 A&M let Ochs cut a 45 of two of his classic songs -- "Here's to the State of Mississippi" reworked with new lyrics as "Here's to the State of Richard Nixon" and a patriotic bugle, fife and drum version of "Power and Glory." While performing at L.A.'s Troubador, Ochs noticed Jerry Moss and other A&M staffers in the audience and called Jerry up to the stage. Ochs then told of his live album languishing in the vaults and then got Jerry to agree to release the album if the audience got loud enough and the cheers in support of release were louder than those opposed. Naturally, an audience of Ochs fans were highly supportive. Jerry kept the upper hand, though. He DID release it, but only in Canada. I suspect the deal probably was more profitable for A&M with the Jem records import deal than if it had gotten a proper US A&M release. Ochs committed suicide less than two years later.

--Mr Bill
 

Matthew Smith

Well-Known Member
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))
And cassette was “CS” and 8-track was “8T” for the prefix, same 4 digits after as the “SP” and “CD”
 

Cuyler

Bright colored pinwheels go 'round in my head.
Thread Starter
And cassette was “CS” and 8-track was “8T” for the prefix, same 4 digits after as the “SP” and “CD”
I have noticed this thanks to Discogs! I do believe I have a CS-3502 (Tan Album on cassette). Unfortunately, the actual tape and the leader tape became unstuck due to the aging adhesive, so now it's unplayable. :sad:

In some ways, I do admit, when A&M stuck with the system, the numbering or naming convention was pretty straightforward.
 

Michael Hagerty

Well-Known Member
Contributor
Good work, Michael! (Unlike Australia and South Africa, Canada apparently utilized the US LP numbering scheme.)

In some ways, I do admit, when A&M stuck with the system, the numbering or naming convention was pretty straightforward.
It was a small company for a lot of years (and always smaller than the majors). Avoiding complications helped things run smoothly with fewer people.

It's like the line I saw in the trailer for the new Rick Rubin-Paul McCartney series that starts today on Hulu. Rubin says "You and Lennon wrote memorable songs." And Paul says "Yeah, because we needed to remember them."
 

Rudy

¡Que siga la fiesta!
Staff member
Site Admin
Even RCA had simple numbering systems back in the day. Classical LPs in mono were the LM series; stereo was the LSC series. For the popular line, LPM was the mono, and LSP was stereo. There were occasional special series, like the short-lived Stereo Action series with the prefix LSA. Or the live recordings and soundtracks as LOP and LOC (mono) and LSO (stereo). And numbering seemed to be mostly sequential.

Verve was similar. V- for mono and V6- for stereo, and sequential mostly in release order.

They were all simpler until the 80s and 90s when all the mergers started happening and barcodes came into play, and today they're incomprehensible, unless they are smaller labels.

Some European labels used a different style of numbering. For instance, the self-titled Genesis album is GEN CD1 on the Virgin/Charisma label. LPs and 12-inch singles use similar variations on that.
 

JOv2

Well-Known Member
They were all simpler until the 80s and 90s when all the mergers started happening and barcodes came into play, and today they're incomprehensible, unless they are smaller labels
Agreed. For instance, one could easily estimate release dates based on the ID scheme -- it's actually very straight ahead with essentially all labels up until the early 1970s, when the IDs in and of themselves began to take on unique meanings (I remember seeing a barcode for the first time round about 1975). Like Rudy said, once we hit the CD age the old days of following an obvious alphanumeric scheme were gone...
 

Rudy

¡Que siga la fiesta!
Staff member
Site Admin
A&M's CDs were straightforward for a time, but once the Polygram era came along, the numbers changed, although they would still get the A&M digits into part of the catalog number. But once Polygram got bought out, all bets were off.

Although it kind of made sense once the mergers started. If RCA and A&M had been in the same conglomerate, there would have been overlapping catalog numbers at some point (minus the prefixes). But at that point, the entire conglomerate just treated it all as the same product, with no differentiation between labels.
 

Steve Sidoruk

Founder, A&M Fan Net
Staff member
Moderator
After the sale, a series of new UPCs were taken - to differentiate between old and new. Part of the agreement gave Herb & Jerry continuing payments for A&M established artists who performed at a certain level.
 
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