For the most part, I keep just a single copy of any likeable or collectible album. I don’t hoard. I sell ’em off.
For the most part.
Besides saving my allowance and picking empty beer bottles out of Ottawa Valley and Outaouais ditches to buy a new record every week or so, I spent a lot of time in the audio-visual section of the public library in Pembroke, Ont. where I grew up.
Picture it — a big room about the size of an elementary classroom with rock posters all over the walls. I clearly remember the one from London Town. If you had an adult library card, you could take out seven records a week. I was just a kid, so I used my dad’s card and always got the maximum number.
Years later when the library got rid of its vinyl collection in favour of CDs and VHS tapes, I snapped a few of my favourites up. I still have ’em — The Name Of This Band Is Talking Heads, Tumbleweed Connection, Here And There (Elton live album), Led Zeppelin II, Eat Your Paisley and True Colours by Split Enz.
It’s the Split Enz one that’s important to this story.
This particular album — from 1980 — laser etched on both sides with fancy designs similar to the ones on the cover. When light hit the record, you could make the designs spin about the room. The album was the first to ever use this technique, originally designed to discourage the creation of counterfeit copies. I also have a copy of Paradise Theatre by Styx which has the feature, and the Superman II soundtrack album.
But, I have FOUR copies of True Colours. Why? Because there are four different versions of the original covers: Yellow and blue, red and green, purple and yellow, and blue and orange.
The band did a similar thing with the follow-up Waiata (1981). There’s four or five different covers, depending on where you bought it. So far, I have two of them.
Then, there’s Abacab (1981) by Genesis. I have all four of its different colour schemes.
But, I don’t know if I’ll ever have all the variants of Synchronicity (1983) by The Police.
So far, I have five of the 36 variations of the album — which was available in different arrangements of the three front and three back colour stripes and different photographs of the band members within those stripes.
And, similar to True Colours, the actual record itself is pretty cool if you find an original pressing. It looks like a normal album, but when you hold it up to the light — OMG — it’s actually purple. That’s because, like those Mobile Fidelity records, it was pressed on audiophile vinyl.
Also, hey — it was mixed at the former Le Studio in Quebec, so that’s neat. Five down, 31 to go.
• • •
Area Resident is an Ottawa-based journalist, recording artist, music collector and re-seller. Hear (and buy) his music on Bandcamp, email him HERE, follow him on Instagram and check out him out on Discogs.