Stereo promo singles discography?

lukpac

Member
Thread Starter
Hi there...new user with a question. I did a search here but didn't come up with anything. Is there a list of stereo promo singles (where the stock copies were mono)? I wasn't even aware of such a thing until I came across one recently. Also, were these typically processed with CSG, or did it depend? I'm especially curious about those tracks that were never issued on LP (or CD), and thus are basically unknown in stereo.

Thanks!
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
Staff member
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Hi lukpac. Welcome. I'm a little confused by your questions. Let's take 'em one at a time.

Is there a list of stereo promo singles (where the stock copies were mono)?
In all cases except one, Carpenters stock singles (sold in stores) were stereo. "Ticket To Ride" was the one that had a mono issue. Many singles issued to radio as white-label promos were stereo on one side and mono on the other. These were usually denoted by ink color of the printing on the label - red on the stereo side, black on the mono.

Also, were these typically processed with CSG, or did it depend? I'm especially curious about those tracks that were never issued on LP (or CD), and thus are basically unknown in stereo.

Thanks!
There were a number of promo singles with the CSG processing on the stereo side, and pure mono on the mono side. Generally, the CSG processing was NOT applied to the stock copies, but I believe there are some exceptions to that.

Nearly a decade ago, we did a thread about the mono mixes: http://www.amcorner.com/forum/threads/carpenters-the-mono-mixes.1130/

There are some that have minor differences from the stereo, usually things like a fade-out being a tiny bit longer, or just fold-downs that resulted in the vocals being a little louder in the mix.

To date, I don't think anyone's found an official mono promo of "(They Long To Be) Close To You."

Harry
 

lukpac

Member
Thread Starter
Hi, Harry,

In all cases except one, Carpenters stock singles (sold in stores) were stereo. "Ticket To Ride" was the one that had a mono issue. Many singles issued to radio as white-label promos were stereo on one side and mono on the other. These were usually denoted by ink color of the printing on the label - red on the stereo side, black on the mono.
While I wouldn't object to such information, I wasn't really looking for information on Carpenters singles, just A&M stereo promos in general. I'm assuming these would be primarily (exclusively?) from 1968 or so.

As an aside, I find it interesting how some tracks were issued as promo singles with the same thing on both sides. Perhaps a different cutting, but otherwise identical (not mono/stereo).
 

Harry

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Staff member
Moderator
Heh. I'm so wrapped up in a discography project for the Carpenters I hadn't noticed that you properly placed your queries in the general music thread.

As it turns out, I believe the first stereo single on A&M might have been "(They Long To Be) Close To You" in '70. I know that Herb's singles in '68 and '69 were still coming out in mono only.

The stereo-on-both-sides singles were done in the '80s I believe. By the mid '80s, all of the mono stuff was over with and promo singles had stereo versions on both sides, the theory being that a radio station would use one side until it was worn, and then could flip it over and use the fresh other side.

Harry
 

lukpac

Member
Thread Starter
More details in a week or so, but I'm aware of a couple of examples, both from 1968 (I think). AFAIK, neither had a stock stereo issue, and one was never issued on LP, so was never issued in stereo, period. However, promo stereo copies were in fact issued.
 

lukpac

Member
Thread Starter
Ok, here's something:

A&M Special: Stereo Singles (Mar 4, 1967)

LOS ANGELES - A&M has bowed to requests from 86 radio stations and will make available stereo singles releases for broadcasters.

Bob Fead, national sales manager, said the company would send out 600 stereo singles of each release to this first batch of stations. The service will be offered "to anyone that wants it," he said.

The principal radio exposure for stereo product is on FM, which Fead says offers the company a new avenue for artist exploitation.

Claudine Longet's new effort "Here, There and Everywhere" is the first stereo broadcasters release.

This will be followed by "Live" by the Merry Go Rounds, "Wade in the Water" by Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, "Amy's Theme" by Nick DeCaro, "Because of You" by Chris Montez and "For Me" by Brasil '66.

Fead said the company was aware of Kapp's activities in servicing broadcasters with stereo singles and this, too, prompted their decision to spend extra money in having a separate stereo run in the pressing plant.
Interesting...I'm surprised how early that is.
 

Rudy

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Staff member
Site Admin
Wow, that is early. :agree:

As for a discography in general, I'm aware of singles discographies of A&M, but not one dedicated to promo-only releases. I know that in 12" singles, A&M did seem to have a separate numbering series for those (the SP-17000 series, IIRC?), but not sure about the singles.
 

lukpac

Member
Thread Starter
It appears the stereo promos were suffixed with -S and had "STEREO" on the label but were otherwise identical.

I'd really love to know if these were just select releases or if all of the releases from a period had stereo promo counterparts.
 

lukpac

Member
Thread Starter
I've been slowly going down the catalog numbers. I haven't found much, but here are a few bits:

858-S - Out And About - Boyce & Hart
Not certain on this one - there isn't much in the listing, and the same thing is on both sides, which I haven't seen otherwise with the stereo releases.

863-S - You're A Very Lovely Woman/Where Have You Been All My Life - The Merry-Go-Round


880-S - Cuando Salí De Cuba/Softly As I Leave You - Sandpipers
No photo, but it looks like one is for sale.

883-S - Watch What Happens/Windy - Wes Montgomery


I also found this:

Hykker said:
I have 3 stereo A&M promo singles from 1967..."Live" and "Very Lovely Woman" by the Merry Go Round & "Child Of Clay"--Jimmie Rodgers. Neither Merry Go Round song made the top 40 nationally, but they were good-sized regional hits.
None of mine are mono/stereo...all 3 have the same B side as the commercial single, only in stereo.
You're A Very Lovely Woman is mentioned above. Live (b/w Time Will Show The Wiser) would be 834-S, while Child of Clay (b/w Turnaround) would be 871-S. A search of those catalog numbers didn't turn anything up, though, so 1) these must be fairly rare, 2) I have a feeling many listings don't make specific mention of stereo or the -S suffix and 3) there are almost certainly more out there.
 

Rudy

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Staff member
Site Admin
This would be a great project to make a part of the discographies here, as I don't know of anyone else who has compiled the information. There are discographies for singles and albums, but only the commercial ones from what I remember. I have cobbled together a discography of the A&M Audiophile Series LPs (which were pressed by JVC Japan, alongside the early MoFi albums), plus we have a few other projects (including a massive site overhaul) in the works as well.

I have very few promo A&M singles (maybe two or three), but I will check them out to see what I have. If anyone else here would like to hop in, by all means feel free!
 

lukpac

Member
Thread Starter
Here's a start, incorporating the singles mentioned in the Billboard article:

832-S - Here, There And Everywhere/Man And A Woman - Claudine Longet
834-S - Live/Time Will Show The Wiser - The Merry-Go-Round
836-S - For Me/Gente - Sergio Mendes & Brasil '66
838-S - Amy's Theme/Spanish Flea - Nick De Caro
839-S - Because Of You/Elena Chris Montez
840-S - Wade In The Water/Mexican Road Race - Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass
858-S - Out And About/(My Little Chickadee?) - Boyce & Hart
863-S - You're A Very Lovely Woman/Where Have You Been All My Life - The Merry-Go-Round
871-S - Child Of Clay/Turnaround - Jimmie Rodgers
880-S - Cuando Salí De Cuba/Softly As I Leave You - Sandpipers
883-S - Watch What Happens/Windy - Wes Montgomery

I wish I had concrete evidence for all of these, but I'd say it's relatively safe to assume some things based on the article and forum post.

I noticed the article seems to imply that this would in fact be standard for all releases: "the company would send out 600 stereo singles of each release to this first batch of stations". I wonder how long they stuck with that. Of course, based on the Billboard article, there were some holes, at least initially (unless they simply weren't mentioned):

833 - Cry Of The Wild Goose/Spanish Moss - Baja Marimba Band
835 - For Baby/La Bamba - Sandpipers
837 - Gruesome/Nowhere Land - Mike Evans

Unless the article meant "of each single that is receiving a stereo release"?

I'll have a little more in a few days.
 

lukpac

Member
Thread Starter
Ok, the auction is done, so I can stop being coy :)

This is what tipped me off to these stereo promo singles in the first place:

957-S - 'Til The Day After/Highway - The Merry-Go-Round


What makes it especially interesting is that Highway has (to my knowledge) never been released on LP, and thus has never been issued in stereo, and while 'Til The Day After was later issued on Emitt Rhodes' The American Dream, it was re-worked slightly; I believe some of the vocal was re-recorded for starters. So the version from the 45 has never been on LP or in stereo.

There are a few more Merry-Go-Round tracks that were only issued on 45 at the time; I have to wonder if any of those also saw a stereo promo release.
 

Rudy

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Site Admin
If I recall, all of the promo singles were vinyl pressed, where the commercial versions were on styrene.

Very interesting about that non-album side. :agree: Let us know what the outcome is when you receive it!
 

lukpac

Member
Thread Starter
If I recall, all of the promo singles were vinyl pressed, where the commercial versions were on styrene.
I've been thinking about the vinyl/styrene thing lately, but I'm clueless on the subject. How does one differentiate? I have a mix of stock and promo MGR singles.
 

Rudy

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Site Admin
Generally speaking, the stock singles were usually styrene, and promos were vinyl. For the styrene, you can often tell by the feel of the plastic (it feels "cheaper" and lighter and if bent, will crack easily). If you look at the edge of the styrene single, it will be cut off square. With a vinyl single, the edge of the single will be more like an LP or a dull knife-edge, tapered down rather than cut off completely square.

Columbia pressed many of the A&M singles, and Columbia also used styrene for many of theirs. As I've found, styrene wears faster and is damaged easier than vinyl. I do not own many 45RPM singles, but for the few I've bought, I've had the worst luck with styrene having the most groove wear.

Somewhere I actually have an LP pressed in styrene. It even sounds odd when you tap on it! :eek:
 

lukpac

Member
Thread Starter
Ok, looking now, all of my MGR 45s - both stock and promo - seem to be the same, and they seem to all be styrene. Seems like that might explain the additional wear/distortion.
 

Harry

Charter A&M Corner Member
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Moderator
You can also usually identify styrene vs. vinyl by looking at the label itself. Styrene labels tend to have a "pasted-on" look about them, with bubbles and/or wrinkles in the paper. They look as if you could almost peel them off.

Vinyl singles usually have very smooth labels that almost look as if they're part of the vinyl surface.

I suppose there are variations to this, but it's a general rule of thumb. Once you see and feel the difference, you'll know right away.

Harry
 

lukpac

Member
Thread Starter
Funny, that was one thing I was looking for, but I honestly wasn't noticing a huge difference in that department (comparing other various singles that seem to be vinyl).

Anyway, hopefully 'Til The Day After shows up sooner than later.
 

lukpac

Member
Thread Starter
957-S - 'Til The Day After/Highway - The Merry-Go-Round




Also pressed on styrene. One tip I came across for identification, which I thought worked well, is looking at the reflection of a light bulb. Vinyl will more or less have a mirror finish, while styrene scatters the light; you won't see a clear image like with vinyl.

Highway sounds pretty good, but unfortunately 'Til The Day After is quite worn, and has some damage right at the start. Samples:

'Til The Day After [stereo 45]
Highway [stereo 45]

In terms of the overall catalog, I bounced this off of somebody who has some Merry-Go-Round knowledge. Apparently the only 3 stereo promos that are known to exist are the ones I have listed here; there aren't known to be stereo mix reels of the other tracks. So it doesn't look like these were issued for every single.
 

lukpac

Member
Thread Starter
New arrival:




I honestly just picked this up (in a lot of other promo 45s) as a curiosity, but wow, was I ever glad I did. "Live" seems to be identical (or at least very similar) to the stereo LP mix. However, not only is "Time Will Show The Wiser" a unique mix, it has the drums not present on the stereo LP mix. For anyone not familiar, the mono mix has a drum track, but the stereo LP mix does not, which was always something of a curiosity. A few compilations utilized the mono mix for this reason. I think the general assumption was there was some technical reason why the stereo mix couldn't have drums, although even that was unclear (for instance, why would the drums have been the last thing recorded, assuming a "live to mono" overdub?). But clearly this promo stereo mix shows that wasn't the case.

What I find really interesting is that not only does this mix exist, but the only mentions I've seen of the promo 45 before make no mention of a mix difference:

http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/spectropop/message/16671
Art Longmire said:
The discussion on stereo 45's got me to thinking about a 45 I have by
the Merry Go Round on A&M records. It's a white label promotional
copy of "Live" in stereo, and is the only stereo 45 by the group I've
come across. Of course, this dates from 1967 when stereo 45's were
far from common. In fact this is the ONLY stereo 45 I've found
from '67. Has anyone else seen this Merry Go Round 45? I have several
other of their later promo singles-for instance " 'Til The Day After"-
but none are in stereo. Also the font is different on this "Live"
promo.
[...]
Have any Merry Go Round or Band experts run across these? I'd
appreciate any info!
http://launch.groups.yahoo.com/group/spectropop/message/16671
Clark Besch said:
Art, Glad to hear that SOMEONE has the stereo "Live" 45. I knew
about it since Billboard printed a small one paragraph about A&M
deciding that they would for the first time release a special
mono/stereo 45 of "Live" to FM radio stations. So, it was the
first on A&M, and possibly since the early 60's stereo 45 demise!
Hold on to that baby! I love Emitt, by the way! I too, have his
other MGR dj 45s and none are stereo.
http://www.top40musiconcd.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=5575
Hykker said:
I have 3 stereo A&M promo singles from 1967..."Live" and "Very Lovely Woman" by the Merry Go Round & "Child Of Clay"--Jimmie Rodgers. Neither Merry Go Round song made the top 40 nationally, but they were good-sized regional hits.
None of mine are mono/stereo...all 3 have the same B side as the commercial single, only in stereo.

AFAIK, these stereo singles weren't around for long...other than a handful of mono/stereo promos, any other A&M promos I know of from '68/69 were just white-label versions of the stock single.
Of course, nobody even mentions "Time Will Show The Wiser".

Also interesting - "Live" was clearly the "hit", but the Monarch delta number for it has an X next to it, indicating it was supposed to be the B-side. And the master number (?) is lower for "Time Will Show The Wiser" as well - 1280 vs 1281.

One wonders if there are other unique stereo mixes out there, not only of tracks not otherwise released in stereo, but also of tracks that *were* released in stereo on LP.

One question: did A&M issue normal (mono) promos with pairings that matched the stock copy around this time? All of the non-stereo MGR promos I have feature the same song on both sides.
 

bob

Active Member
hi I have a few promo singles myself. dore alpert I'd do it all again/special kind of love I belong mono/stereo All my loving/el presidente Mexican drummer man/ the great manolete South of the Border/Up Cherry Street The Work Song/plucky from Canada. Slick same songs on both Sides. Casino Royale My Favorites Things/The Christmas song Without Her and Without Her/Zazueira
Whistle Song African Summer/The You in Me .Foreign Natives/Mama Way with Hugh Masekela Lobo Street Life Rotation Love me The Way I am. Oriental Eyes Diamonds and keep your eye on me All in mint shape.
bob
 

JeffM

Active Member
Recently heard of another easy way to tell styrene from vinyl 45s; take a strong flashlight, one of those little LED types works great; hold the disc in one hand and shine the flashlight thru it from beneath with your other hand. If it's styrene, you'll see a dim reddish spot of light shining thru the record; if it's vinyl, you won't see nuttin'. It works!
 

lukpac

Member
Thread Starter
Recently heard of another easy way to tell styrene from vinyl 45s; take a strong flashlight, one of those little LED types works great; hold the disc in one hand and shine the flashlight thru it from beneath with your other hand. If it's styrene, you'll see a dim reddish spot of light shining thru the record; if it's vinyl, you won't see nuttin'. It works!
I think there must have been some different formulations of styrene. I just tried this and while it definitely works for some pressings, others (which definitely seem to be styrene) are totally opaque.
 

lukpac

Member
Thread Starter
957-S - 'Til The Day After/Highway - The Merry-Go-Round


Also pressed on styrene. One tip I came across for identification, which I thought worked well, is looking at the reflection of a light bulb. Vinyl will more or less have a mirror finish, while styrene scatters the light; you won't see a clear image like with vinyl.

Highway sounds pretty good, but unfortunately 'Til The Day After is quite worn, and has some damage right at the start.
This copy sounds much better:

 
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