Alan Parsons Project – I Robot Classic Records 45 RPM Clarity test pressing side A1

alan parsons - i robot clarity test pressing

Offered for sale is a one-sided 45 RPM test pressing of side A1 of the unreleased 4 disc Clarity vinyl pressing of I Robot by the Alan Parsons Project, pressed by Classic Records.

About this copy:  This test pressing is of side A1 only, containing the tracks “I Robot” and “I Wouldn’t Want to Be Like You.”

The disc was issued in a plain white cover with a sticker indicating the catalog number.

Cover and the clear vinyl Clarity vinyl disc are M-.  The disc looks unplayed, but does have a few tics during the first minute or so of play.

Background: In 2007 or so, Classic Records released a high quality audiophile pressing of I Robot, pressed on black vinyl and cut at the standard 33 1/3 RPM.

They intended to release the album at 45 RPM, pressed on their new clear “Clarity” vinyl in the form of four single-sided discs but the company went out of business before they could do so.  While they never commercially released the title in that format, a few test pressings of the complete set exist.

This is a test pressing of the first disc only from that set, containing the first two tracks from the album.

It sounds terrific.

Country of origin: U.S.
Size: 12″
Record Label: Classic Records
Catalog Number:
AR-8040-45-200G A1
Year of Release: 2010
Format: Stereo
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Ella Fitzgerald – A Night in Tunisia Classic Records unreleased 78 RPM test pressing

ella fitzgerald - A night in tunisia 78 rpm test pressing

Offered for sale is a one-sided unreleased test pressing of “A Night in Tunisia”/”You’re My Thrill” by Ella Fitzgerald, released by Classic Records cut at 78 RPM on 180 gram vinyl.

About this copy: This is a one-sided 12″ single containing the sonsg “A Night In Tunisia” and “You’re My Thrill” by Ella Fitzgerald, taken from the album, Clap Hands, Here Comes Charlie!

This single-sided disc was pressed on 180 gram vinyl and plays at 78 RPM.

The disc was issued in a plain white cover, stamped with the date “Dec 5 1994” and the catalog number “MGVS6 4053 A1 78.” Side one of the disc is a standard RTI test pressing label with the same information stamped on it as on the cover. The B side label is blank, as is the B side of the record itself.

Record and cover are in M- condition. The record appears to have had little, if any, play.  It sounds terrific, of course.

These were issued as test pressings only and were not intended for commercial release.  Only 10-20 copies were pressed for in-house use at Classic Records.

Background: Ella Fitzgerald’s Clap Hands, Here Comes Charlie! was originally released in 1961 and has long been a favorite among audiophiles.

In the mid-1990s, Classic Records founder Michael Hobson had mastering engineer Bernie Grundman cut at least four different titles at 78 RPM as a test to see how they would compare in sound quality to their 45 RPM and 33 1/3 RPM pressings.

The first of those was “A Night In Tunisia,” as Hobson was concerned about some issues with vocal sibilance, and Grundman told him that cutting at 78 RPM could minimize that problem.

They cut four different titles to test this.

Due to the limitations of the 78 RPM format, particularly the short playing time, these recordings were not considered for commercial release, but were instead used only for in-house testing. It is estimated that no more than 20 copies were pressed of any one title.

You can listen to “A Night in Tunisia” here:

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Acetates and Test Pressings – Souvenirs of Record Production

Acetates and Test Pressings – What Are They?

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailacetates Example of an acetate label[/caption]

Most record collectors, like any other buyers of phonograph records, are primarily interested in commercial releases; that is, copies of records that were manufactured with the intention that they be sold at retail to the public. These are the kinds of records that are likely to comprise the bulk of anyone’s record collections

Serious collectors are usually interested in owning just about anything and everything produced by artists that they admire, and unusual items such as acetate pressings (also known as “acetates” or “lacquers”) or test pressings. These are records or components of record production that were manufactured not for sale, but to evaluate the process of making the commercial record itself.

As both acetates and test pressings are fairly rare, they tend to command a lot of interest in the collector market. While such pressings by any artist are rare, there is generally a lot of interest in acetates and test pressings by artists who are themselves popular with collectors, such as the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan and so on.

In this article, we’ll discuss the nature of acetates and test pressings, how they are made, why they are made, and what makes them of interest to collectors.

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Acetates and Lacquers

While acetate pressings are usually referred to by record sellers and collectors as “acetates,” the term used to describe them within the industry is “lacquers.” That term makes more sense, as there isn’t any acetate used in the production of these records. For purposes of this article, however, we’ll call them “acetates,” as that’s the popular term used in the record collecting world.

Acetates represent the first step in the physical manufacture of a record, be it a single or an album. While acetates are technically “records” in the sense that they can be played on a turntable or phonograph, they are not pressed out of plastic using mechanical stampers, as are commercial records.

Acetate cutting lathe (photo credit: JacoTen)
Acetate cutting lathe (photo credit: JacoTen)

Instead, acetates are individually created using a cutting lathe, which is a device that loosely resembles a turntable. Acetates are lacquer-coated aluminum discs that are entirely smooth when first manufactured. They are “cut” by placing them on a cutting lathe that has a signal fed to the cutting head from either a live audio source or a performance recorded on magnetic tape. As the music plays, the cutting head cuts a groove in the soft lacquer surface.

The lacquer-coated disc rotates while the music plays, and the recording engineer controls the lathe, which must be periodically adjusted to compensate for changes in volume during the performance and to allow for gaps in between tracks.

In the early days of recording, music was played live in the studio and recorded directly to acetate discs. Since the 1940s, most performances are recorded first to magnetic tape and then transferred to acetates at the convenience of the record company.

Once the cutting process is complete, the disc is playable on any turntable to evaluate the performance, if necessary. Due to the softness of the lacquer coating, acetates are not particularly durable and will wear out and become noisy with repeated play. Acetates that are used for evaluation purposes are not generally used for production. Other discs will be cut for that purpose and then will be nickel-plated as part of the process to produce the stampers that will be used to make test pressings and later, records for sale to the public.

Uses for Acetates

Acetates are made for two purposes – to evaluate a recording and its suitability for pressing records and to use in the production of the finished product itself. For production, an acetate is first nickel plated and the plating is removed to create a negative image known as a father.

beatles acetates
A genuine Beatles acetate

This process can be repeated by plating the father to produce a positive image known as a mother. The mother can be duplicated to create stampers. Typically, a father can be used to create about ten mothers and each mother can create ten stampers. A stamper can be used to press anywhere from 300-1000 finished records.

If all of the mothers and stampers are exhausted due to high production, another acetate must be cut and the process repeated.

Acetates are considerably heavier than records of a comparable size and usually weigh two to three times as much. While most acetates do have a label, these are generally generic labels with blank lines intended to be filled in by hand. Information found on the labels of acetate pressings usually consist of the name of the artist, the title(s) of the song(s) and perhaps the date the disc was cut and the timing of the song(s) on the disc.

Lacquer-coated blanks used to cut acetates used to have more than one hole near the center. One was the usual centering hole for the cutting lathe and/or turntable spindle; the other was a drive hole that fit a pin on the lathe to ensure that the disc wouldn’t slip on the lathe. More modern cutting lathes use a vacuum pump to hold the disc in place, making the drive hole unnecessary.

On rare occasions, there is a third purpose for acetates – sometimes, when a record company is in a hurry to get their album or single to radio stations, they will send acetates directly to radio. These are usually supplemented with regular vinyl pressings as soon as it can be arranged, as acetates are entirely unsuited to repeated play, as might be warranted by having them played on the radio.

Collector Interest in Acetates

What is the appeal of lacquers and acetates to collectors? There are a few reasons that collectors might be interested in owning acetates by the artists whom they collect:

velvet underground acetate
An original 1966 Velvet Underground Acetate that sold for $25,000

They’re rare. Obviously, as acetates must be cut on a lathe, one at a time, they are going to be extremely limited in production. In general, there are probably fewer than a half dozen acetates cut of any single or album title. Most will be used for record production, and the process of plating them to produce a father destroys them.

A few others will be used for evaluation or promotional purposes, though it’s relatively rare for acetates to find their way out of the hands of record company personnel and into the public market. Their rarity alone makes them desirable. A popular album may sell in the millions, but only a couple of people are likely to ever have the opportunity to own an acetate copy of that album.

Good sound – Acetates sound terrific. While acetates are not suitable for repeated play on a turntable, they are playable and they usually sound better than the finished records sold at retail. Acetates are cut directly from the tape, where records are made from stampers that are made using multiple plating processes. Each step on the process to create a stamper creates a slight loss in quality, so acetates that haven’t been worn out from too much play will almost always sound better than finished records.

Unique content – Sometimes, artists have acetates prepared of songs just to hear how they sound as a record, though they may not have any intention of releasing them commercially. These may be working versions of songs that are later changed before release or songs that aren’t intended to be released at all.

On other occasions, acetates may be cut of “working” versions of albums, where the order of the songs may not be final. In other cases, one or more songs may appear on an acetate made early in the production process of an album but the final version of that album may not include them, making the acetate a rare collectible. We recently saw an acetate of the 1977 album The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl that was a working version of the album that contained two songs that were not on the finished LP. Those two songs have never been commercially released, making that particular acetate a desirable Beatles rarity.

About two years ago, someone found a box containing nearly 150 Bob Dylan acetates in a building in New York. Many of these acetates contained unreleased songs and/or different versions of songs from the versions that have been commercially released. Several of these discs have been sold publicly at prices in the several-thousand-dollar range.

bootleg acetate
A Pink Floyd bootleg album issued as an acetate

A few bootleg albums have been released in acetate form over the years, simply as a gimmick. The only titles we have seen like this originated in Japan, usually in limited editions of no more than twenty five copies. As producing discs one at at time is both expensive and labor intensive, product of bootleg acetates as a commercial product is not a very common practice.

Prices for acetates can vary widely, depending on the artist and the content. Obviously, the more collectible the artist, the greater the interest from the collecting community. While all acetates are rare, collectors will be more interested in (and pay higher prices for) examples that feature unreleased material or versions of songs that are not otherwise available.

An acetate of an album by an artist that isn’t particularly collectible might sell for $10 or even less. On the other hand, an acetate containing unreleased material by a well-known artist might sell for thousands of dollars. About ten years ago, an acetate containing rough versions of the material that became the first album by the Velvet Underground sold for more than $25,000. That material has since been released commercially.

An acetate of Elvis Presley’s first recording sold for $300,000 in 2015 to musician Jack White of White Stripes fame.

Counterfeit Acetates

beatles counterfeit acetates
A counterfeit Beatles acetate

Unfortunately, in the collecting world, nearly anything of value has been counterfeited, and that includes test pressings and acetates. They’re rare, they’re in demand, and they can sell for a lot of money, and that has led unscrupulous individuals to create acetates that appear to be original, record company-produced products but are actually homemade items that have no inherent value.

While counterfeit acetates exist for a number of artists, the most common artist represented by these discs is the Beatles. Many of these fake discs have labels that say either “EMIDISC” or have a representation of the Beatles’ own Apple label.

Since legitimate Beatles acetates turn up infrequently, few potential buyers have enough experience to be able to determine if an item offered for sale is a legitimate item or a counterfeit.

Many of these counterfeits have been artificially aged to give them a look of authenticity, and a number of them have sold for three and four figure prices at auction. The best advice we can offer to potential buyer is to know your seller and to get a guarantee when you make your purchase.

Test Pressings

test pressings
A sample test pressing label

Along with acetates, collector also have a lot of interest in records known as test pressings. It’s not a clever name; a test pressing is exactly what the name suggests – a record manufactured for the express purpose of evaluating the finished product.

Test pressings might be manufactured for the purpose of listening to material that is being considered for commercial release or they might be made as a test of production stampers for a finished commercial record.

Unlike acetates, test pressings are vinyl records pressed from stampers and are physically virtually identical to commercially available records. The only difference is that test pressings usually have custom labels similar to those found on acetates. These labels might have the words “test pressing” pre-printed on them and may include blank lines that can be filled in by hand to indicate the name of the artist, the title of the album, the catalog number and perhaps the date of manufacture.

Like acetates, test pressings are occasionally sent out to radio stations for promotional use if the production discs aren’t yet ready, but most of the time, they’re simply used to evaluate the finished product. This would include making sure that the record contains the correct and intended versions of the songs on it, that the sound quality is acceptable and that the playing order is correct.

Test pressings are usually found without printed covers. They are usually packaged in plain white covers. Often they will be accompanied by a “label copy sheet,” which is a sheet of paper that contains the information that would ordinarily be printed on the label of a finished album – the album title and catalog number, the name of the artist, song titles and running times, the name of the record company and publishing information for the songs themselves.

Collector Interest in Test Pressings

Collectors like test pressings for many of the same reasons that they like acetates. While they are made further along in the manufacturing process than acetates, test pressings are usually the first discs made from production stampers, so they will likely sound better than commercially available, or “stock” copies of the records sold in stores.

Scarcity – Test pressings, like acetates, are also relatively rare. While acetates may be unique or limited to just a couple of discs, test pressings are usually manufactured in larger, though still limited, quantities. Unless test pressings are made to be issued as promotional copies, they are generally limited to no more than twenty copies, though the number of discs manufactured can vary widely.

A colored vinyl album by the Doors, issued only as a test pressing
A colored vinyl album by the Doors, issued only as a test pressing
genesis test pressings
A test pressing of the unreleased Genesis live album

Alternate or unreleased material – Like acetates, test pressings sometimes contain either unreleased material or songs that are different in some way from the commercially available versions of that particular album. The 1972 Beach Boys album Holland was originally intended to include a song called “We Got Love,” but the record company was unhappy with the song selection. The group recorded a song called “Sail On, Sailor” that was used in the place of “We Got Love” on the commercial release. A few test pressings of the earlier version exist and are of great interest to Beach Boys collectors.

A few test pressings of Bob Dylan’s 1975 LP Blood on the Tracks exist with different songs from the released version. The album was close to its release date when Dylan decided to rerecord a large portion of the album. Reportedly, only five copies of the test pressing of the original recording are known to exist. One of them recently sold for $12,000.

Test pressings of Bruce Springsteen’s 1975 album Born to Run were sent to radio stations in a printed gatefold cover that was blank on the inside and which featured the name of the artist and the title of the album in a font that looked like handwriting, rather than the block print used on the final version. Several hundred of these “script cover” test pressings were sent out to radio stations and are quite sought after today, usually selling for upwards of $1500 when they’re offered for sale.

The first live album by Genesis, 1974’s Genesis Live, was briefly intended to be a two record set but was ultimately released as a single album. A few test pressings of the two record set were made in the Netherlands. This set includes material that has otherwise never been released, and the few copies that have turned up over the years have sold for as much as $4000 at auction.

The audiophile label Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs released eight titles in the early 1980s as Ultra High Quality Recordings, or UHQR, as they are known. These titles were made using a then-uncommon heavy-weight 200 gram vinyl pressed with a special “flat” profile that the company did not use for their regular pressings. All eight titles were limited to 5000 copies for commercial sale. The company also made test pressings of a handful of titles that they were considering releasing in the UHQR format, but which they ultimately decided not to release.

These titles included all thirteen of the UK Beatles albums, along with A Trick of the Tail by Genesis, Rickie Lee Jones’s first album, and The Grand Illusion by Styx, among others. These rarely-seen test pressings usually sell for upwards of $1000 each on the rare occasions when they are offered for sale.

Unreleased albums – Occasionally, artists will complete an album with the intention of commercial release, only to have the release canceled for any one of a number of reasons. These unreleased albums usually exist in the form of test pressings, and sometimes they turn up for sale.

One good example would be Läther, by Frank Zappa. The album, intended as a four-record set, was recorded in 1977. Zappa’s record company rejected the finished album, though test pressings exist. The album was finally released officially in 1996.

Another unreleased Zappa album, Crush All Boxes, was intended for release in 1980, but was scrapped in favor of releasing You Are What You Is instead. At least one test pressing is known to exist of that title.

Counterfeit Test Pressings

While counterfeit acetates are fairly common, counterfeit test pressings are not. We have seen a few examples over the years, including the original version of Bob Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks. The most common counterfeit test pressings would be for titles that were otherwise unreleased. Buyers should exercise due diligence when considering a purchase, but as a rule, counterfeit test pressings are relatively uncommon.

The nice thing about test pressings is that they are physically no different from a commercially available album, which means that they can be played as often as any other record. Most collectors don’t buy them to play them, however; instead they tend to buy them as a collectible item in addition to the regular version of the album.

Acetates and Test Pressings Conclusion

While acetates and test pressings could hardly be regarded as something that every collector might find essential, they are unusual and interesting items to add to one’s collection. They’re relatively rare, they usually offer superior sound, and they occasionally offer access to material that otherwise might not be commercially available.

Click here to see our selection of acetates
Click here to see our selection of test pressings


Johnny Rivers – New Deluxe Japan-only red vinyl test pressing with obi

Johnny Rivers - New Deluxe Japan-only red vinyl test pressing with obi

Offered for sale is a red vinyl test pressing of the Japan-only compilation LP New Deluxe by Johnny Rivers, released in 1968.

About this copy:  This copy of New Deluxe is an original red vinyl test pressing of the Japan-only LP.  The LP has test pressing labels, but the song titles are printed, and this copy was undoubtedly sent to Japanese radio for promotional use.

The cover is M- with a very tiny amount of corner wear.  The obi is M- and includes the “hojyuhyo”, or reorder tag.  The lyric insert is missing.

The red vinyl disc is M- and may be unplayed.

A beautiful copy of a rare Johnny Rivers LP.

Background: While many artists who were popular in the United States were also popular in Japan, most Japanese buyers had only a passing interest in non-Japanese popular music.  For that reason, Japanese record companies often issued compilation LPs for those buyers who only wanted to hear the hits.

New Deluxe by Johnny Rivers is one such album.  The LP was released only in Japan in 1968 and contains most of his mid-1960s hits.  The LP was originally released on red “Everclean” vinyl.

Tracks are:

  • Brother, Where Are You
  • Poor Side Of Town
  • California Dreamin’
  • If I Had A Hammer
  • By The Time I Get To Phoenix
  • Look To Your Soul
  • Blowin’ In The Wind
  • A Whiter Shade Of Pale
  • Mountain Of Love
  • A Taste Of Honey
  • 500 Miles
  • Summer Rain
  • Baby I Need Your Lovin’
  • Where Have All The Flowers Gone?

You can listen to “Poor Side of Town” here:

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Eric Clapton/Cream/Blind Faith – Classic Cuts test pressing of promo-only 2 LP set

Eric Clapton/Cream/Blind Faith - Classic Cuts test pressing of promo-only 2 LP set

Offered for sale is a rare test pressing of the promo-only 2 LP set Classic Cuts from RSO’s Collectors’ Editions, featuring tracks by Eric Clapton, Cream, Derek and the Dominoes and Blind Faith.

About this copy: This copy of Classic Cuts from RSO’s Collectors’ Editions is an original 1976 test pressing of the 1977 promo-only release.  The two discs were issued in plain white covers and include the label copy sheets.  (See photo for an example of the cover for the released version, which is not included.)

The two discs have labels that say “Advance Promotional” and “Columbia Records, Pitman New Jersey.”  Sides 1 and 3 have the side and catalog number written on them in ballpoint pen; the other two sides have no writing.

Both discs are M- and look unplayed.

A nice copy of a rare Eric Clapton LP.

Background: It’s hard to believe, given how popular those bands were, but in the mid-1970s, the entire Cream catalog, Eric Clapton’s first solo album, the only album by Blind Faith, and Layla and Assorted Love Songs by Derek and the Dominoes were all out of print in the United States.

In 1977, all of those albums, originally available in the U.S. on the Atco label, were reissued by RSO Records.  In order to promote them, RSO pressed a special double album containing the best tracks from those albums for use on radio and for in-store play to encourage sales.  This album was titled Classic Cuts from RSO’s Collector’s Editions.

While it’s a great collection of just about everything you’d ever want to hear from Eric Clapton’s classic period, this double album was not sold in stores, and it’s rather hard to find today.

Tracks are:

Record 1

  • Cream – Badge
  • Cream – NSU
  • Cream – Four Until Late
  • Cream – I’m So Glad
  • Cream – Mother’s Lament
  • Blind Faith – Presence of the Lord
  • Cream – White Room
  • Eric Clapton – After Midnight
  • Cream – Strange Brew
  • Derek and the Dominoes – Bell Bottom Blues
  • Eric Clapton – Let It Rain

Record 2

  • Derek and the Dominoes – Why Does Love Got to Be So Bad
  • Blind Faith – Can’t Find My Way Home
  • Derek and the Dominoes – Layla
  • Derek and the Dominoes – Thorn Tree in the Garden
  • Cream – Crossroads (live)
  • Cream – Sleepy Time Time (live)
  • Cream – Sunshine of Your Love


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Modern Jazz Quartet – Lonely Woman 1962 Japan test pressing with obi

Modern Jazz Quartet - Lonely Woman 1962 Japan test pressing with obi

Offered for sale is an original Japanese stereo test pressing of the 1962 LP Lonely Woman by the Modern Jazz Quartet, complete with the ultra-rare obi.

About this copy: This copy of Lonely Woman is an original 1962 Japanese stereo test pressing, complete with the ultra-rare obi, which is nearly always missing.  The cover is M-, though it does have a faint stain in the lower left hand corner of the back cover and a couple of faint creases.

The obi is M-.  This LP was issued without an insert.

The disc is VG++, with a couple of faint marks that don’t affect play.

A beautiful copy of a terrific (and very rare) record.

Background:  Lonely Woman was the 12th album the MJQ recorded for Atlantic, and according to, Lonely Woman is one of their best:

Having sponsored Ornette Coleman at the School of Jazz near Lennox, MA, pianist and composer John Lewis helped launch the controversial career of one of the last great innovators in jazz. Lewis’ support of the ragtag Texas native was somewhat unique in jazz circles at the time and even surprising, especially considering the gulf between the classical jazz formality of his group the Modern Jazz Quartet and Coleman’s radical notions of free improvisation. Nevertheless, Lewis not only saw in Coleman the first jazz genius since bebop’s Parker, Gillespie, and Monk, but put pay to the praise with the MJQ’s 1962 rendition of one of Coleman’s most famous numbers, “Lonely Woman.” (Along with Art Pepper’s 1960 version of “Tears Inside,” this was one of the earliest of Coleman covers done.) The 1962 Atlantic album of the same name turns out to be one of the band’s best efforts. A great disc that’s perfect for the curious jazz lover.

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James Gang – Rides Again 1970 first issue test pressing LP

James Gang - Rides Again 1970 first issue test pressing LP

Offered for sale is an original 1970 test pressing of Rides Again by the James Gang, complete with the full unedited version of the song, “The Bomber.”

About this copy: This copy of Rides Again is an original 1970 test pressing of the LP, pressed at the Monarch pressing plant.  This is the original, unedited version of the album, including the long (and later withdrawn) version of “The Bomber.”

The disc is VG+, with a number of sleeve scuffs and a few light marks.  It’s fairly heavy for its time, weighing 158 grams.

Matrix information:

Side 1 ABCS-711A  ?14798

Side 2 ABCS-711B ?14798-X “Love From Jessica”

Test pressings are issued without covers, and that’s how we received this one. We’ve found a fairly nice original and correct cover (that mentions “Bolero” inside and on the back).  The cover is VG+, with light ring wear, some edge wear and a repaired bottom seam split.

A nice copy of a terrific record, and a nice collectible from a band that really doesn’t have a lot of collector’s items in their catalog.

Background:  Test pressings are records manufactured prior to the release of an album in order to verify that the sound of the finished product is acceptable and to make sure they’re using the correct stampers.  Only a handful of test pressings are usually made for any given title and they’re frequently discarded after they are no longer needed to evaluate the pressing in question.

Rides Again, released in 1970, was the second album from the James Gang, and it’s the album that finally made stars out of them. Featuring the radio favorite “Funk #49,” the album was certified gold by the RIAA.

On original pressings of the album, the track “The Bomber” was divided into three sections, with the middle section being an instrumental rendition of Maurice Ravel’s “Bolero” that ran about a minute and a half.

Due to legal issues with the Ravel estate, this section of “The Bomber” was removed from all subsequent vinyl pressings of the album, though manufacturing errors led to versions of the album that listed the long version but didn’t play it, and other versions that did not list “Bolero,” but did include it.

Most vinyl copies of Rides Again do not include the “Bolero” section.

You can listen to “The Bomber” here, complete with the “Bolero” section:



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Peter Frampton – Frampton Comes Alive! yellow vinyl/picture disc test pressing

Peter Frampton - Frampton Comes Alive! yellow vinyl/picture disc test pressing

Offered for sale is an ultra-rare test pressing for the limited edition picture disc pressing of Peter Frampton’s Frampton Comes Alive! with one side pressed on gold vinyl and one side a picture disc.

About this copy: This copy of the picture disc of Frampton Comes Alive! is a test pressing and may be unique.  As a test for the commercial picture disc release, this disc was manufactured in a strange way – it’s a picture disc only on one side!

One side of the record is a picture disc, but the other side is not. The other side is yellow vinyl, with a test pressing label for the Fideltone Manufacturing Co. on it.

We’ve seen picture disc test pressings before that had different pictures from the final release and even a few that played the wrong music.  This one plays the correct Peter Frampton songs on both sides, but is an odd colored vinyl/picture disc hybrid.

The record is VG-, with numerous marks and a few deep scratches and a slight warp that does not affect play.  As this was made to test the manufacturing process, it’s likely that no one intended to keep it, so whoever made it didn’t go out of their way to take care of it.  The album was issued without a cover, but we’ll provide one.

One of the oddest records we have ever offered for sale.

Background: Frampton Comes Alive! was one of the biggest selling albums of the 1970s and it turned the former Humble Pie guitarist into a superstar overnight.  Two years after the album’s original release, A&M Records issued an abridged, single-LP version of the album as a picture disc, with slightly modified artwork from the original cover.

Song titles on the picture disc version are:

Show Me the Way
Baby, I Love Your Way
Shine On
Jumpin’ Jack Flash
Do You Feel Like We Do
(I’ll Give You) Money

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Cheap Trick – Dream Police test pressing of promo picture disc LP

Cheap Trick - Dream Police test pressing of promo picture disc LP

Offered for sale is a rare test pressing of the promo-only picture disc edition of Dream Police by Cheap Trick, pressed in 1979.

About this copy: This copy of Dream Police is a picture disc test pressing, with no image on it at all on either side of the disc.  It’s all white with a black border.  The disc is M- and appears to have had little, if any play.

A rare and unusual Cheap Trick item.

Background:  Dream Police was the fourth studio album by Cheap Trick, and it was certified platinum for sales of more than 1 million copies shortly after its 1979 release.  To help promote the album, Epic records pressed a few hundred copies of the album as picture discs.

These discs were promotional items only, sent to radio stations.  They were not offered for sale to the public.

They are themselves quite scarce, but the copy offered for sale is even more unusual – it’s a test pressing of that promotional picture disc LP, pressed without a picture.

The test pressing was likely made just to make sure that they were using the correct stampers and to test the manufacturing process.  Instead of using the printed photo of the album cover (which may not yet have been ready,) the pressing plant made this disc using a simple white sheet with no image or printing on it whatsoever.

The result is a picture disc with a picture of nothing at all, though the matrix numbers etched in the vinyl match the catalog number of the finished product.  In all likelihood, fewer than 5 copies of this disc were pressed this way.  See the photos for a look at how the version sent to radio stations (not for sale) appeared.

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Metallica – Death Magnetic 2008 5 LP 45 RPM test pressing

Metallica - Death Magnetic 2008 5 LP 45 RPM test pressing

Offered for sale is an ultra-rare test pressing set of the 5 disc, 45 RPM version of Metallica’s 2008 album Death Magnetic.

About this copy:  This copy of Death Magnetic is a test pressing of the 5 disc, 45 RPM set.  Test pressings are the initial discs pressed at the factory for the purpose of evaluating a pressing in order to make sure that the album sounds as it should and that the records sound the way they were intended to sound.  You can read more about test pressings here (new window.)

These discs were pressed on August 23, 2008, as indicated by the stickers on the cover.  This was about a month before the album’s release date. This is the 2008 first issue; this title was remastered in 2010 and some test pressings bear that date.   The five discs each have the catalog number and the letters indicating which disc in the set they are on the A side. (A/B, C/D, E/F, G/H, I/J)  The B side labels are blank.

We don’t know how many of these were pressed, but it’s likely that they made no more than 10-20 copies.

The discs are packaged in individual plain white covers, each of which has a sticker with the catalog number and the letters to indicate which disc it is in the set.

All discs are M-, though there’s a faint hairline through side J, so we’ll call that side VG++.  It appears that this set may have been played no more than once.

An ultra-rare Metallica item and a really good album, too.

Background: 2008’s Death Magnetic was Metallica’s first studio album in five years, the first since St. Anger.   Unlike that album, Death Magnetic sold well and received acclaim from the critics, and was seen as a return to form. gave Death Magnetic 4 stars:

Call Death Magnetic Kirk Hammett’s revenge. Famously browbeaten into accepting Lars Ulrich and producers Bob Rock’s dictum that guitar solos were “dated” and thereby verboten for 2003’s St. Anger — a fraught recording chronicled on the 2004 documentary Some Kind of Monster — Metallica’s lead guitarist dominates this 2008 sequel, playing with an euphoric fury not heard in years, if not decades.

There is no denying that the band is older and settled, no longer fueled by the hunger and testosterone that made their ’80s albums so gripping, but on Death Magnetic older doesn’t mean less potent. Metallica is still vitally violent and on this terrific album — a de facto comeback, even if they never really went away — they’re finally acting like they enjoy being a great rock band.

Death Magnetic was sold in two versions on vinyl – a 2 LP set that played at 33 1/3 RPM, and a 5 disc set that played at 45 RPM for better sound quality.  The 45 RPM version was limited in production and sold far fewer copies than the regular 33 1/3 version.

This record is eligible for PayPal Credit financing by PayPal. U.S. customers may choose to pay later at checkout, and may receive up to six months financing with no interest. Click the banner below for more information. (opens in a popup window)