who wants an outstanding playing copy of this classic album then…?
Very nice copy of “Octopus”/”Golden Hair” for sale on eBay if anyone’s interested…!
I’ve now had the opportunity to listen to the whole of Led Zeppelin III test pressing. I can see why Jimmy Page rejected it! As well as the treble dropping out of “Immigrant Song”, the same problem occurs part way through “Since I’ve Been Loving You”. Also, the whole LP (both sides) has a different EQ balance to the final master that was approved, A5/B5. Obviously, with this test pressing being A3/B3, Page was also not happy with the next version either! I can imagine his frustration at having to reject A4/B4 too…
As previously mentioned, the only known test pressings of Led Zeppelin III (2401002) were A2/B2 versions, no other known copy of A3/B3 has ever been documented as being sold on the open market (nor A1/B1 and A4/B4).
Just how many copies of A3/B3 were pressed? Given that Jimmy Page had the final approval on the band’s sound, maybe just one copy was pressed for his personal approval…so perhaps this was the only copy and was once owned (albeit briefly) by Page himself. Perhaps he then returned it to the Polydor pressing plant in disgust! My guess is that in subsequent years, someone at Polydor had a ‘clearout’ of white label test pressings and simply gave a batch away without knowing or caring what they were…we’ll probably never know. But I bet you’ll never find another one of these…
Yes it’s a white label test pressing. I have been incredibly fortunate today to listen to this amazing rarity. This is an A3/B3 test pressing of Led Zeppelin III – no other copy of this version has so far been documented. Two A2/B2 test pressings have been sold (one in 1987 and one in 2014) but no A1/B1, A4/B4 and until now, no ‘third’ test pressing copies.
Jimmy Page rejected the first four test pressings of Led Zeppelin III for various reasons and was only happy with the fifth test – which he then personally ‘signed off’ by hand etching the matrix in the dead wax with the famous Aleister Crowley quotes.
It’s speculation of course, but obviously only a handful of the first test pressings are likely to have been done (presumably given to the band members and probably a record company copy), but with the A1/B1 being rejected and subsequent A2, A3, A4 pressings it is entirely probable that only one or two (at the most) copies of the A3 and A4 tests were done; given to Page for approval (he was producer and band leader after all, and therefore had the final say on what his recordings should sound like), rejected by Page as not good enough and either returned to the pressing plant or simply kept by Page.
Why was A3/B3 rejected? Very simply, the opening track, “Immigrant Song” has some real sound issues, namely the treble seems to ‘drop out’ in a few places and there also seems to be some weird stereo phasing going on. Research of the A2/B2 pressings reveals that the same issue was occurring on that pressing too, so Jimmy Page must have been annoyed and disappointed that the problem had not been rectified on this third version – and maybe, speculating again, it was still occurring on the fourth version?
I will be playing the test pressing again in full to analyse track by track if any other audible differences are present and will report back in due course.
For now, the full details of the test pressing are these:
vinyl weight: 139g (compared to my ‘first pressing’ A5/B5 which weighs 149g)
matrix: machine stamped 2401002 A▽3 1 1 1
and 2401002 B▽3 1 1 1 (compared to hand etched A5/B5 of the commercial release)
Initial playback reveals the audio errors as described above but also the test pressing is a much louder cut than the commercial release. Full track by track analysis to follow.
And if anyone is interested in acquiring this super rare Led Zeppelin test pressing, the owner is looking to sell it! Watch this space for more exciting news on when this LP will be going on sale…
Amazon have pulled their finger out and my latest book on Harvest UK Vinyl Discography is now live, you can order it here:
Don’t forget, it’s in full colour throughout (as you can see from the pictures above), and includes tons of great background info on the bands and the recordings as well as vital 1st pressing information – and it’s 230+ pages too!
Just waiting on Amazon to pull their finger out and list the paperback version of my latest book, but for those who can’t wait (or who’d rather have the digital version), the PDF format (contains all the exact same content as the print version) is available to download here:
My latest book on rare and collectable UK vinyl is complete! This one has been a long time in the making. Due to there being around 88 UK releases on the collectable “Gramophone Co. Ltd” label style, it has been necessary to publish this label’s discography in two volumes – otherwise the book would have been huge (!) and massively expensive too! (Don’t forget, all my books are printed in FULL COLOUR throughout, these are not simple black and white ‘listings’ type books).
As with my previous books, I’ve gone into extensive detail on the stories behind each album and band and included all known UK 1st pressing and reissue variants (where possible) and included contemporary news clippings, articles and reviews too – so you get to read what the opinions were of reviewers when the album and single was released.
Volume 1 includes the first 44 albums and related singles. Volume 2 to follow later in 2018.
I’ll be posting links to the online retailers very shortly…so watch this space!
Just when you think you’ve found all known variations on an album sleeve or label, up pops another one! And so it is with Black Sabbath’s “Sabbath Bloody Sabbath”. Here is the newly discovered first issue variation. Have you spotted what’s different about it?
Well, the sharp-eyed amongst you may have spotted that there is no “Pacific Eye & Ear” credit. Specifically, until now, we were used to seeing the following credit below the ‘special thanks’ two lines (just above the central illustration):
‘album concept and design: pacific eye and ear / illustrations: drew struzan / photography: shepard sherbell’
When compared to the second issue sleeve (which does have this credit) one can see that it looks to be added as an afterthought, the text is a little heavier and blacker than the two lines above it. So it was either overprinted onto existing sleeves or it was a new line of type-setting (that didn’t quite match the original) that was added onto the artwork for the next batch of print runs.
This newly discovered version (well spotted Adrian!) joins the ranks of other Sabbath first issue sleeves such as ‘Paranoid Big Bear’ and the debut with ‘copyright subsists in Stereo recordings’…
So who’s got a genuine first issue SBS sleeve then…?!
Grab yourself a super rare version of Cressida’s 1st LP on Vertigo, their self-titled debut was reissued on the iconic swirl label but is even rarer than the initial pressing…you won’t get many chances to see this one. The 1st pressing features the ‘A PHILIPS RECORD PRODUCT’ on the label, but this second issue does not have this wording, but does still have the same 1Y1/2Y1 stamped matrix as the first pressing. I’ve not seen another one like this…