Monday, 28 July 2014

Crimson and UltraClover

A big thank you must go to Redwel Trabant, who brought to my attention an article he read a few years ago. Which becomes very relevant today. 

I quote:

Gerard, I came across this some years ago when researching the Sgt. Pepper Code but, having reread it, I thought it worth bringing to your attention as it mentions the glowing Pepper, and this in 1968! 

The link provided is this. I think it's best I put in my own thoughts within the piece itself. Because if I save it all to the end, you're going to have to go back to the relevant text to see what I'm talking about:

Sergeant Pepper Re-visited; Invitation to a Phantom Feast

Remember last summer? Remember "Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band"? If you don't you should, because what else was there all winter but that record to drown out the snowstorms and the academic storms and the political storms outside? One wandering spirit, dreaming of sunlit beaches, spent all of the winter reading period attempting to crack the Beatles code. The startling message he discovered in the album buried in the lyrics, the recording and the record jacket, we now present for your amazed perusal.
The possibility of there being a cryptogram was first brought to my attention when a friend showed me a letter from Bryn Mawr. It revealed that the Beatles' record "Sgt. Pepper" was one big cryptogram. Subsequent discussions led us to believe that the cryptogram idea was hotly discussed in the Philadelphia area in the summer of 1967 but no details were immediately available, so we started with only the information contained in the letter.


The Bryn Mawr mentioned is that one. As brought to my attention by Mark Providence. Whom I quote:

Bryn Mawr is a private school for the elite class in Pennsylvania. Particularly for Pennsylvania, Maryland and New York. An all girls school to boot.
As Mark observed, Bryn Mawr does not imply they are a school for the elite, but they are.   

A cryptogram is a type of puzzle that consists of a short piece of encrypted text. Generally the cipher used to encrypt the text is simple enough that cryptogram can be solved by hand. Frequently used are substitution ciphers where each letter is replaced by a different letter or number. To solve the puzzle, one must recover the original lettering. Though once used in more serious applications, they are now mainly printed for entertainment in newspapers and magazines.

Other types of classical ciphers are sometimes used to create cryptograms. An example is the book cipher where a book or article is used to encrypt a message.

The girls not only believed in the existence of a cryptogram but they had formulated a rather complete solution to it. The Beatles were inviting everyone to a party. Why? They were lonely. When? Valentine's Day, 1968. Where? 10 Somerset Street, Cowes, Isle of Wight, England. How do we let them know we are coming? Send them the postcard that comes with the cutouts in the album. How do we get there? Meet a maid Wednesday morning at 5 o'clock (Valentine's Day was on a Wednesday). She takes you there by boat, train, and taxi. "A splendid time is guaranteed for all." 

This is all quite plausible, believe it or not. There is a city named Cowes on the Isle of Wight. (The Isle of Wight is, of course, mentioned as a haven in When I'm 64.) Is there a Somerset Street? The people in the map room at Lamont were very helpful. They found the British Geological Survey maps of the famous Isle, but there are no street maps of any of the towns on the Isle of Wight. 

There's a Somerset Road in the Isle of Wight, in the Ryde section, and a Somerset Road in the Seaview section. But I don't see a Somerset Street in Cowes. Google Maps can't find any location matching. 
The girls derived Cowes from the shrubbery on the cover which is shaped like a guitar. If you turn the record over, this shrubbery makes the letters COW, and then over on the right side, that is, the left side, if you turn the record back frontwards again, there is an S. An ingenious hunch but a little difficult to believe. 

The ultimate usefulness of the Bryn Mawr "theory" was to make us aware of the phenomenal number of proper names and of specific day, time and place references in the lyrics of the album. Our attack follows two lines of reasoning: checking out the names in order to make verbal contact with a planted clue, and comparing the song motifs to see if a specific time and place was delineated. 

There are three specific people named: Sgt. Pepper, Billy Shears, and Mr. Kite. Sgt. Pepper himself has provided no clues. Billy Shears, on the other hand, has lots of possibilities. One night last February we tried to call him. The transatlantic operator was very friendly, but refused to place the call unless we could give her an exact number. A conversation with her lasting thirty minutes produced the following information. 1) There was a number listed for a Mr. Billy Shears in London. 2) She knew what it was, but wouldn't tell us. 3) At that time there were approximately twenty calls placed every night to Billy Shears. 4) Some of the people placing calls gave the correct number. 5) Those calls that did get through heard only a recording which said something about the office being closed, won't you please call again during business hours. 

This led us to believe that somehow the various numbers listed on the album could be used to derive the proper telephone number. For example, "ten to six" would mean 1026. English telephone numbers consist of an exchange, which gives three letters, and four digits. We felt that the intent of the unhelpful recorded message was to tell us that if the call were placed at the proper time, a more enlightening message might be given. There are several times mentioned on the album: Wednesday 5am, Friday 9 am, Saturday 5:50pm, etc. (Transatlantic time and day changes would have to be taken into account.) 

Mr. K of Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite is the disc jockey Murray the K. He is now broadcasting for CHUM radio, Toronto. A reliable source indicated to us that Murray the K, when asked if he was the "celebrated Mr. K" of Sgt. Pepper's, replied, "yes, but I can say no more." George Harrison is a possible Mr. H. Look at the large pictures on the inside of the album. The strange box hanging around George's neck seems to have a face on it. Another reliable source told us he had made a blow-up of this photograph and identified the face as that of Murray the K. 

In the early spring of this year Murray the K was supposed to have been in England acting as MC at a show in the Bishopsgate theatre district of London. That fact has not been thoroughly researched. 
As highlighted in a previous blog. Bishopsgate is the ONLY place mentioned in Being for the Benefit for Mr. Kite, that is NOT on the original poster advertising the event. 

More on Bishopsgate HERE.
We started carefully examining the words to some of the songs, to find out whether specific references could be analysed to provide a time and place of contact. There would have to be some way to positively identify the contact; and some sort of password system, so the contact would know that we were worthy of further information. By reducing the phrase "Meter Maid" to "Meet a maid" the Bryn Mawr girls had provided a profound insight. Given that you could get to the right place at the right time, the contact could be identified as a "maid," that is, a girl. There are two ways to make a maid-girl distinctive: She could be wearing a maid's uniform; or she could wear medieval clothes, like Maid Marion of Robin Hood fame. 

The password system we came up with was as follows:
You: (Ask the maid some trivial questions)
She: I'm sorry, but I can say no more!
You: (Responding to her cue line) Please say no more. (Go see Help again if you don't follow) 
She: (Starts giving information) 

The place to meet the maid is derived from the specific references in Lucy in the Sky. They are: "boats," "river," "flowers overhead," "a girl with sun in her eyes," "bridge," "fountain," "rocking horse people," "newspapers and taxis," "train," and "train station." The song itself is a description of meeting a girl. In London there is a footbridge with railroad tracks across the Thames which runs between Charing Cross and Waterloo stations called the Hungerford footbridge. On the Charing Cross side there is a dock. To one side are the Victoria Embankment Gardens, to the other the South Bank Gardens. These Gardens are full of flowers, and also serve as a playground for children, who are "rocking horse people." If you were on the river in a boat, the flowers would be overhead. A few blocks away is Trafalger Square, which has fountains. We have already determined that we are looking for a girl. The importance of the sun being in her eyes is that it puts her on the Charing Cross side of the river, if we consider the late afternoon, about "ten to six." 

The final clue to the girl's location would be if there was a bank on that side of the river. This is derived from the title: Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, which is anagrammatic for Lsd, which stands for pounds, shillings, and pence, which implies a bank. (We are indebted to Mr. Peter Stansky for this observation.) Unfortunately, my map of London does not show banks. 

We never got around to checking the paper of the album covers under ultraviolet light, or for watermarks. I have been told that the record itself fluoresces under UV light. Whether this is simply due to the diffracting characteristics of the record grooves being enhanced by using long wavelength light, I do not know. 
No. Certain copies of Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band glow under ultraviolet light. You were told correctly. People knew about it in 1967 / 1968. It just never went "mainstream" as it should have. Why is that?
We did tear open the side of the album cover that the record does not slide into, in a frenzy of wondrous hope, only to find that it was empty. 

We tried to determine if the faces on the cover were the key to a cipher, but were unable to break the code. Any attempt to do this requires a key to the faces. "Sixteen" magazine published one last summer sometime. The gravest fault in the "Sixteen" key was that instead of admitting their ignorance when they couldn't identify a face, they called them all "Indian Gurus." There is an almost infinite number of ways a cipher could be built into the crowd of faces. It is a very frustrating way to spend a weekend. 
Much the frustration I had finding "A Vargas Girl" or "The Petty Girls". I see that in 40+ years, this has not changed much at all. 

A Vargas Girl
The Petty Girls
There is, of course, the question of George Harrison's finger. On the back cover, you will see that he has his hand at his waist, clenched into a fist. Something that should be his thumb, but looks more like a hot dog, is sticking up. It is really too long to be a thumb but it could be a thumb turned backwards by trick photography. In any case it is pointing directly at the line "five o'clock." If you extend the line of his "finger" up across the album with a ruler you will find that this line crosses many of the significant phrases already discussed. 

The strange manner in which the type is set up is quite striking. By running a clear plastic ruler, available at the Coop, under the lines across the back you will find that it makes fascinating reading: "Follow her down to a bridge by a stepping outside she is free. Then you may find peace of mind is good morning, Good morning." Many times the ruler will cut off some lines in the middle, while lying correctly under others. This forces you to skip columns as you read across on particular lines. I can't help feeling there is something significant about this. 

A close listening to the Reprise will reveal that Paul is shouting something in the background. This is supposed to be clearer on the mono copies. At the very end of the Reprise the group in the background starts singing the chorus to an old Rock and Roll song called "Farmer John." You can find out who sang it in the Yellow record catalogue at College Music Shop in Central Square. 
It has turned out, that what Paul is shouting is this, or what anyone could closely decipher:

Paul is Dead; really, really dead... Paul is dead and you can't xxx with the mustache... Tank You!... Mustache man is Billy Shears.

That's the description of what is said by that YouTube user. I can neither confirm nor deny that. But the first bit, really, really dead, does sound like that. 

 Farmer John:

Has anybody seen Kosher Pickle Harry?
If you see him tell him that Herbert's looking for him
Herbert Who?
OK ladies and gentlemen here we go - The Premiers!
(This appears on the single version as an introduction. A crowd of people is heard, and then a voice says the above. )

Farmer John
I'm in love with your daughter
The one
With the champagne eyes
She knows that I love her
Ever since she showed me those eyes

Farmer John
Someday I will marry
The one
With the champagne eyes
She won't accept my hand
She won't wear my wedding band

I dig the way she walks
The way she talks
She really knocks me out
When she starts moving slow

Let me tell ya Farmer John
I'm in love with your daughter
The one
With the champagne eyes
With the champagne eyes
With the champagne eyes
The cover was designed by MC Productions and photographed by Michael Cooper, whose initials are MC. The designers must have contributed to the formulation of the cryptogram. The same people designed the cover to the Stones new album, "Their Satanic Majesties Request." The Stones' album has its own little puzzle, which has a number of possible solutions. Why shouldn't the two be connected? The man in blue with only his back showing on the back cover of the album is, after all, Mick Jagger, not Paul. The Beatles are hidden in the three dimensional picture on the Stones cover. This interesting mutual exchange could have gone deeper than the mere covers of the albums. Our analysis of the Stones album is continuing. 

There are many people who maintain that whatever message the cryptogram contained has long since become useless knowledge. If this is true, it can only be due to the Beatles' disappointment when they found that no one in the world was hip enough to play their game, and win. 

The author of this piece is Michael Cohen. On the 22nd January, 1969, another piece he wrote appears at the Harvard Crimson. Entitled:

The Who: It's Very Cinematic, You Know

Who is Michael Cohen?
There is this Michael Cohen who is a musician
Michael Cohen musician.jpg

But he seems to be based in New York City.

Here's our choices so far:
  • Michael Cohen (academic), Director of the Graduate Program in International Affairs at The New School
  • Michael Cohen (actor), Canadian actor
  • Michael Cohen (doctor), Doctor of Dental Medicine who first identified Proteus Syndrome
  • Michael Cohen (musician) (1951-1997), 1970s singer-songwriter
  • Michael Cohen (composer) (1938-), American composer of musicals including I Am Anne Frank
  • Michael Cohen (politician), former member of the New York State Assembly
  • Michael Cohen (pharmacist), president of The Institute for Safe Medication Practices
  • Michael Cohen (writer) (born 1970), Australian writer on paranormal phenomena
  • Michael D. Cohen (born 1945), co-founder of the Garbage Can Model
  • Michaël Cohen, French actor in Them
  • Michael H. Cohen, American attorney, professor, and author
  • Mickey Cohen (1913–1976), American gangster
 The only clue we have to his identity is at the end of the Who article. 

Michael Cohen is a former junior in Dudley House who dropped out of school and is now living in Boston.

Welcome to Dudley House!

Dudley House is the center at Harvard University for students in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and a community of undergraduates, offering intellectual, social, and recreational opportunities to Dudley House members. Activities are planned by and for GSAS students, and they include dinners with faculty members, a classic film series, outings to museums and restaurants, student-run musical ensembles, and athletic and public service opportunities.

Dudley House is home to the Café Gato Rojo, the Dudley Café, several meeting rooms, a game room, and a library and is the primary location for activities organized by Dudley Fellows for GSAS students and other Dudley Members. Dudley is located in Lehman Hall, at the southwest corner of Harvard Yard nearest the T stop.

Well, if he's our musician Michael Cohen based in New York City, releasing albums in the 1970's, he's been dead for quite some time. 

So in brief closing. They knew about the ultraviolet albums when they came out, at least in the instance of MONO USA copies of  Sgt Pepper that had this anomaly. But they stayed quiet. Because if that didn't hit the mainstream BACK when that album was released, and we're still here almost 50 years later and you can't find much about them, if at all, unless you go Paul Is Dead, then surely that tells you something. Surely.


Saturday, 26 July 2014

Billy and Me (2014)

I highly recommend watching it. 

Confirms quite a few things I thought about iamaphoney, its source and connection to APPLE, and also solidifies why pursuing photographic evidence is something I rarely pursue. I believe the evidence is found other ways.

Thursday, 26 June 2014


I am reposting this question posed to me regarding the Ultraviolet albums by a friend. And it's not to highlight his confusion about these albums. It's to address their SIGNIFICANCE. 

"Guys, I am scratching me head trying to figure out what the big deal is? I know
Collectables , but is there anything more to the significance of this find other than
rarity? I thought perhaps decoded messages or something?"

With any ultraviolet album that was released to the public, the record company announced it. I was trying to find you an image of one of these. You can tell they have had a treatment done to them, and most actually look a bit gimmicky. 

With these ultraviolet albums:
  1. The consumer never got an announcement. 
  2. The oldest one found so far was from 1955. And they didn't know it was UV then, and they STILL don't know it's UV 60 years later. 
  3. We don't know the process they used.
  4. Whatever the process is, the LP itself looks just like any normal LP. But it's not. 
  5. Multiple record companies in direct competition with eachother have employed this process, not told the consumer, and not sought profit / gain in doing so. (That right there should make you say ????????????????)
  6. There is a possibility these same record companies in direct competition with eachother did not even know this process was being done to their products. 
  7. We don't know if these are radioactive, harmful, or using a chemical we have never heard of. 

I could go on and on. These are simply the most rare, unexplained, unknown amount of albums manufactured in the over 100 year history of album manufacturing. In the recording world, these are your Pyramids.

And we don't even know how many are out there. I have 1000+ LPs. I found 5% to 7% of my album collection were UV. 

At best, 70 albums. Out of a rounded 1000. 

Go to Sgt Pepper. Let's say 200,000 mono copies were manufactured. 14,000 is our mean figure of ultraviolet version Peppers. But we can't go off of that because not all 200,000 Peppers that are mono 1st pressings, glow. We don't actually know how many are out there, because they never said a word about making them in the first place.

A guy has 35,000 LPs in his collection. 

Only 2450 of them are likely to glow. At best. That is NOT a lot. It's the difference between a warehouse and a garage.

Here's the world's largest record collection. 1 million LPs.

One, the probability this guy doesn't even know some of his albums are UV, is high. 

Only 70,000 of them might glow. And that's without knowing when this process started (because they let no one know), and when it ended. (If it did)

You've barely cracked 100,000 of those LPS and you still got 900,000 more that are "regular". Do you realise how rare they are??? And we don't even know why they were made!!!!

These are the Pyramids of the Recording World. I can say that no other way than that.

Ultramega OK


When I stopped writing about Ultraviolet LPS, was sometime after May 2013. I just stopped. I couldn't get anyone interested in the subject beyond my friend who assisted me greatly in tracing the "phenomena" back to the 1950's. It needed to go back further to stop those who had been informed of its existence, from thinking it was a by-product of 1960's hippie culture, or 1970's club culture. My gut feeling was it preceded these decades. I just needed to establish I was right. And the avenue was this friend who was locally close to many record shops in the Washington, D.C. area. And he was the one, instructed with "go either RCA Victor or Capitol in the hunt", who found it going back to 1955. I just provided the criteria. He provided the expense and time. But these weren't expensive purchases. As evidenced in this post back from May 2013 at a group I created to collate data.

Nat King Cole "This Is Nat King Cole" (1953) - strike out. My mistake, should've asked the seller if it was from the USA as listed in the item details. Thing arrives, manufactured in Canada. Negative. Bah. I still like the King though. It was £1.99.

Kingston Trio "Here We Go Again!" (1959) - Mono. Negative. Bah. It was £1.00.

David Bowie - "Heroes" (1977). The effort to get a full set of Bowie LPs that do this. "Low" "Heroes" "Lodger", I'm getting a general sense of what to look for in these 3 albums. In the original pass through of the LPs by him I have, "Hunky Dory", "Low" and "Heroes" were the only albums that had nothing. So the mission was to get these with the anomaly. Low/Heroes/Lodger all have attributes that made it possible to make an educated guess of what was more likely to have signs of the anomaly. After much searching through items for sale, found a "Heroes" that looked likely. Received today. Result: POSITIVE.
After Cole and Trio I was getting a bit meh. Bad run of finding stuff, and the effort to find ones before 1959 looked long and laborious. Decision made, can't count on Capitol before 1959 in this search. Sticking with artists on RCA Victor when affordable. The Perry Como, Fats Waller, Julie Andrews, Elvis Presley, Eartha Kitt and others brigade. Just trying to find affordable ones.
 OR THIS from April, 2013

Our first Elvis sighting.
All Shook Up/That's When Your Heartaches Begin
I was waiting for him to turn up, I just don't have any of his stuff in my collection. But someone else did. And I had a pretty strong hunch he would show up. Which is why in a record shop the other day I was going through his albums like never before, looking for particular things.
Elvis is important in this, because it might be a good indicator of how far BACK it goes. I don't know when it started, and I surely don't know when it ended. But getting an idea of these unknown dates, is better than not knowing at all. And Elvis is a good start to finding a beginning.
(Almost picked up Nat King Cole, and Perry Como the other day, but the issue of 45 single I felt much too late. Needed earlier. I also saw a 78rpm LP for the first time in my life going through a charity shop. Dag, those things were heavy.

Proving this pre-dated the 1960's was vastly important. One, it may establish WHEN it began. And with WHAT record company. And if you could trace what record company it started with, you could follow somewhat a trail of how it spread out amongst many record companies. Was it an employee? Was it a union? A cabal? What the hell was it? Finding out how it came to be, is essential in finding out what it was. 

Why have I chosen to go full force with this again?

Because no one seems interested that's why! These are the most unexplained LPs manufactured in the 20th century, that's why! We have no idea why they were made, we have no idea how they were made, we have no idea how many were made, and we certainly have no idea why certain artists received this treatment and not others. And why it followed that artist even if they changed record companies. Like the case of Ringo Starr going from APPLE to ATLANTIC. Or James Brown going from KING to POLYDOR. It followed them. One explanation would be, both Atlantic and Polydor were already practicing this procedure before Brown or Starr ever showed up. That's one explanation. Which opens up the original question. WHY?

 The former missives posted were all part of a thing entitled "The Ramblings of Viola Turtle" (there's an anagram in there somewhere). I got 32 pages in I believe. I easily could have made it 100. I had enough material evidence to stretch it that far, and enough questions. Raising this issue up again, and its appearance at RED DIRT is really a full blown effort to find out what these albums are all about. It would be great if they made an income. Made these albums the choice of collectors. Like those baseball cards of years ago. In fact, my mission in the beginning was to get all The Monkees and David Bowie albums as a full ultraviolet set. I just needed to get the ones I didn't have (which I didn't know I had for almost 30+ years). And to get those remaining Beatles albums that glowed beyond Sgt. Pepper. 

As written back in 2013:

These are what you're specifically looking for at present. These ones do it, in differing ways.

MEET THE BEATLES (Stereo - 1st Pressings - Los Angeles Pressing Plant - * symbol)
BEATLES' SECOND ALBUM (Stereo - 1st Pressings - possibly Jacksonville Pressing Plant)
SGT PEPPER'S LONELY HEARTS CLUB BAND (Mono - 1st Pressings - Scranton Pressing Plant - IAM symbol)
LET IT BE - (This is on the APPLE Label, and distributed by Capitol. Jacksonville Pressing Plant - () symbol.)
HEY JUDE (THE BEATLES AGAIN) - Apple Label, and distributed by Capitol. Scranton Pressing Plant - IAM Symbol)
ROCK 'N' ROLL MUSIC - (Capitol Label - More information needed about these. Scranton was closed by this point so no IAM need be looked for. Most likely Winchester with the ----< symbol, or Jacksonville with the () symbol.)

PAUL MCCARTNEY - London Town (1978 Capitol Records) - Winchester Pressing Plant
GEORGE HARRISON - Thirty Three & 1/3 (1976 Dark Horse/Warner Bros Records) - Winchester Pressing Plant.
JOHN LENNON - Shaved Fish (1975 Apple Records) Jacksonville Pressing Plant.
Rotogravure (1976 Atlantic/Warner Bros Records)
Ringo the 4th (1977 Atlantic/Warner Bros Records)

Meddle (1972 - Harvest Records - distributed by Capitol Records - Winchester
Pressing Plant)
Animals (1977 - Columbia Records - possibly New York, have to research their
pressing plants.)

But don't stop there. Check all you have or come across. These are the known
ones. Also check singles/45s, especially Hey Jude/Revolution and Let It Be/You
Know MY Name (Look Up the Number), both on Apple Records.
Research. I did heavy research into the Ultraviolet albums. And this was gathering information from different people who had known ultraviolet albums. I didn't need them to send me the LP. I didn't need them to go out and buy any. I needed to know what they had, and what the criteria was. And that's all. With information one can assemble a basic system, identifying those that do, from those that don't. If today you asked me "can you get me a Sgt.Pepper that glows?" I would say YES. I can. You go out, hit Ebay or whatever, ask that seller what the matrix code is and what plant produced it, and I can get you that glowing pepper in one shot. Just like I did with HEY JUDE (The Beatles Again) on the first try. I bought it for less than £10. In the listings of the album for sale from multiple sellers, it was the only one I was absolutely sure would be ultraviolet. I was right. Not because I'm lucky. Not because I'm a good guesser. It was because I researched, gathered data, and knocked out the ones that wouldn't from known failures, to establish the success. It's not rocket science. There was a system to these, you just have to figure it out.

BOWIE was a little harder. Capitol has a very simple numbering system when compared to RCA Victor. And when RCA Victor pressed albums for Motown, it gets even more confusing. So isolating the Bowie albums that were known to have ultraviolet properties, required a lot of deadwax information from different sources. 

I wrote about the difficulties with the Diamond Dog back last year. Click 'An Oddity'  below.

When going through that sweep of 1000+ LPS in my collection, David Bowie was the anomaly. When you've got a stack of 200 LPS, sitting on a bed, under an ultraviolet light, and none of them glow at all; and then you get to your Bowie albums, and nearly every one of them (Space Oddity {1969} through to Scary Monsters {1981}) look all crazy under a black light, believe me you notice it. I was disappointed finding ones that didn't. And I didn't have all that many. Which set me out obtaining the ones I didn't have yet to complete the collection. And all I had to go on to secure such a thing, was the albums I had that DID, and the ones I had that DIDN'T. 

And when you're looking at quite a few different matrix codes for multiple albums, it can get frustrating. Especially when you approach different people you know who have the same albums, that could check for you if they do glow, therefore eliminating more of your choices to narrow it down to a select few ... and they don't do it. Very frustrating. 

So BOWIE took some work. 

Aladdin Sane (1973)

The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1972)

The Man Who Sold the World (1970)

I had to get LOW, HEROES and LODGER to glow. All by figuring out which ones were more likely to, and which ones weren't. From hundreds of online sellers. Information, is indeed, power.

"HEROES" (1977)

And from my encounters with The Monkees albums (and later 10cc) I knew that I didn't always have to go to the USA to get an ultraviolet album. 

I could go in through West Germany and get near, to the same results. And different colour combinations.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Cross the Border and Find Infrared and Ultraviolet

A method you say? Surely there’s a reasonable explanation why certain artists at certain
record companies, received an unheard of treatment to their products, that was not
announced or advertised by any of these individuals or organisations, and remained
unknown to the public for decades. Surely. In a world of Capitalism believe that Art for
Art’s Sake MIGHT still exist. There’s a reason these LPs glow under ultraviolet light.
I’m sure there is. I’m just not sure what that reason is.

One question that bugged me to no end was, how did people miss this? Especially those
1960’s pot smoking black light party Hippies. Or those 1970’s disco blacklight DJs? And
since this process continued on for decades, I could not see how this escaped the
public’s attention. Surely there’s a reason for that too.

But I can understand how the Hippies and DJs missed this. It didn’t become clear to me
until I looked at my own spotcheck of my collection, and talking to a friend whose dad
never noticed this anomaly while partying it up blacklight style. In the 1960’s. You see
what I was doing was taking stacks of LPs and one by one, checking through each and
every one of them. I have at least 1,000 LPs. And when you’ve gone through 250 LPs one
after the other, spotting this anomaly becomes a lot, lot easier. You recognise it as soon
as you take it out of the inner sleeve. Unlike the 249 other LPs you just looked at, that
reflected only black, this one LP goes all murky and dirty looking. Like something’s on it.
And the closer you bring it to the light, the more clear and bright it becomes. It
sometimes goes one complete colour. Other times it comes out looking marbled. Other
times it looks flecked like an Iris would. It seems a random process, but with desired
results. And each one is aesthetically pleasing with the colors the record label used.
Even if they changed label design for a brief time.

Like Motown Records, who used RCA Victor’s pressing plant to make their records until
they could do their own. Their light yellow and brown TAMLA labels go very well with
the ochre coloured ultraviolet effect. Someone knew what they were doing.

Or RCA themselves, who changed their label many times, and assigned different colours to
specific genres in their roster. If the label was Orange, then the ultraviolet effect was a deeper or lighter orange. Always complimentary.

RCA gives the best examples of the variants I believe, and it’s my research into record
manufacturing history that tells me either RCA Victor, or EMI came up with this
“procedure.” Whatever it is. Which might be a liquid. And if you read as many
books/documents as I’ve read, you’d actually start thinking this was a magical elixir that
such people in the occult world like A.E. Waite did not care to find out if it existed.
Which is odd. I think that’s why Aleister Crowley despised Waite. What if there WAS an
occult fluid of magickal, alchemical changing properties. Who is a man like Waite to
dissuade anyone from imagining it might be so. Just because he doesn’t believe it. I
would have the same problem with Waite as Crowley had. If that was one of the

But let’s scoot away from magical elixirs. Or alien liquids.

Okay, let’s really scoot away from such theories. This process was important enough to
keep going for decades undetected by the consumer. If it had damaging effects to the
product itself, recalls would have been consistent enough to stop the process
altogether. It has none that I know of. Apart from PVC degrades under ultraviolet light
be releasing hydrochloric acid when under it. Keep your records out of sunlight they say!
But hold it under this type of light and see some beautiful colours and stunning effects.
All quite aesthetically pleasing. One of my favourites is James Brown’s “Mighty
,” stereo version.

That’s one’s really nice. It’s that flecked effect that makes it truly artistic and beautiful.
So is this a mark of 1st pressings? To make sure genuine versions of the product can be
identified later on? Maybe. But then in the case of Sgt.Pepper, why wouldn’t ALL first
pressings of Sgt Pepper bear this distinction. Why is it only certain ones do it, and others
not. With money, ultraviolet markers are placed so that vendors/bankers can tell the
counterfeits from the real. That isn’t done to only certain £5 notes. It’s done to all of
them. So marking LPs with an ultraviolet stamp of authenticity would be given to all
products. No? The mark of the true doesn’t seem to apply here. So why is this done to
certain ones and not others. And why certain artists, and not others? And why certain
record labels and not others?

I haven’t found many instances, if at all, yet on Columbia, CBS, Epic, Elektra or Virgin. It
was “not found” so much, I practically counted on it not happening. The exception
would be Pink Floyd, when they changed record label after Dark Side of the Moon from
Harvest/EMI, to Columbia/CBS. The process “followed” them. Much like James Brown
going from KING Records to Polydor in the 1970’s. It followed him. Or Ringo Starr
changing from Apple Records to Atlantic in the mid-70’s. It followed him.

And You'll Get Them for Free, Infrared and Ultraviolet

             ~ THE PEPPER PREPPER ~

Cool title aye? I think deliberating over that took longer than deliberating over what was
going to come next. But I feel it’s important to approach this first, because it then makes
the next bit make more sense. The next bit is a LOT of speculation. And theorising. This
bit here is the same, but with more facts and data presented. Making those guesses and
hmmms a bit more weighty.

I’m not sure why Stereo took so long to catch on, because in essence, Life is in Stereo.
Sound surrounds us everywhere. But it’s not like Stereo was not being experimented
with. Multiple speaker systems were being utilised in avant garde circles, that made
surround sound and quadraphonic seem primitive compared. Sound was to be utilised
and experimented with. So Mono and its perceived limitations, just by today’s
expectations, would seem shorter lived than its truer to life cousin. But it wasn’t. It was
an exceedingly popular way of listening to recorded works. And as said, Beatles albums
were mixed for Mono. Stereo was a fad. The mixes for the stereo versions of their
albums are sometimes vastly different to the Mono versions. Which are why the Mono
versions are sought out. Different edits, different speeds or tempo, etc. John Lennon
even said, you have not heard Sgt Pepper until you’ve heard the Mono mix of it.
So why in the above photo of two Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band Mono copies,
does one appear flat black when held up to ultraviolet light, and the other looks like
someone’s eye?

I don’t know! I’m trying to figure that out, and have been for the past few months.
Back when I was deliberating whether I should even try and buy one of these 1st
pressings, to see if it would glow, I didn’t know what I know now. I know now I was
extremely lucky to get one on the first attempt. With what I believed to be the right
criteria, which turned out to be wrong. Let’s go over those again.

A. It needs to be a 1st pressing of the LP.
B. It needs to be from the Scranton, Pennsylvania CAPITOL pressing plant, marked by an IAM in the deadwax area, surrounded by a triangle.
C. The sleeve must have no mention of NEMS Enterprises Ltd. Or Maclen Music
publishing. None.
D. The label must say “A Little Help From My Friends”

After receiving mine in the post, discovering that one of above bullet points did not
match what I received, looking at the instances of people posting their success and
failure results online from 7 years ago, I had the thought come to me. There must be
something else signifying which of these LPs are going to do this. It must have a pattern.
There must be a system. What is it.

Let’s go back to Capitol Records for a minute. Actually, let’s go back to the Astronaut
who in 2002, went and told George Martin something no one had heard before.
Somewhere in Palo Alto, California, a young man walks into a record shop on the 1st
June, 1967, and buys Sgt.Pepper. Most likely a Mono copy. He brings it home, plays it,
then dreams of becoming an astronaut one day. Or something. Years later he notices it
glows under ultraviolet light.

Back in 1967 Capitol had 3 main production plants. Its main one, that produced most of
its LPs nationally, was the Scranton, PA plant. They had a plant in Jacksonville, IL, and
another in Los Angeles, CA. As the astronaut did not give much more information, our
natural presumption is that he received a local pressing of this LP. We might be wrong
though. Just because he bought it in California, does not mean it was produced there. It
may have been a Scranton pressing. Most of the early 60’s Capitol LPs you find will bear
the stamp of the Scranton plant, which looks like this.

It’s a triangle with the letters IAM in it. It’s also the mark you are more likely to find on LPs that have ultraviolet properties. Why? Because. That’s the way it is. We don’t even know why they have ultraviolet properties, and now you want to know why just this particular plant? You want the world. I’ll give you this instead. IAM stands for the International Association of Machinists' union, whose members worked at Capitol’s Scranton plant. Does that have anything to do with it? I’m not sure about that either. It might, it might not. I may address it later. For now, it’s enough you know their symbol, and that it appears on Beatles albums that are more likely to glow. The other album shown in the comparison, comes from Los Angeles, as denoted by a symbol that looks like this.

It looks a little like a snowflake or star. So we’ll signify Scranton from this point on as IAM, and Los Angeles as
So we have one difference between the two of them. Still, this is not enough. Yes we can find instances that even having an IAM does not guarantee you an ultraviolet LP. No we do not know what plant produced the astronaut’s album. We have problems based on limited information and criteria. The two albums shown above both have matrix numbers in their deadwax area. The one from IAM, that glows, has this:

What does this tell us? Well first, let’s recall the Boring Chapter. And I’ll bring up some
other information I had to find out, by approaching serious collectors of all things
Beatles. Just to get an estimation of what we’re talking about here.

Back in the studio, the engineer either stamped, or wrote the matrix number on the
Lacquer disc. In the case of Capitol, this was more of the handwritten type. Each
alpha/numeric character signifies something about that product. In the instance of the
ultraviolet version it is:

MAS - 1 - 2653 - F1 #2

We’ll just deal with Side One for now. The first letter signifies whether this release is
Stereo or Mono. With this record, it is Mono. Therefore M. The second letter signifies
how many LPs are contained within this recording. Capitol used an alpha character to
identify this, such as A=1, B=2 etc. In this instance, there is 1 record in this package. We
have the second identifier. This album is Mono, and contains 1 LP. I have information for
one identification of a Capitol album, with a different set of Matrix numbers, so the
third character is a guess. My guess is that S signifies the packaging or the price code of
this product. So it’s Mono, with 1 LP, set at this price code, or packaging standard.
The 1 indicates which side of the recording this Lacquer Disc is. Either Side One or Side
Two. This is Side One.

The 2653 is the catalogue number of this product. Sgt.Pepper bears the catalogue
number MAS 2653 for Mono versions. This is also on the label of the LP itself.
The last components tell us what Stamper was used in the pressing. The Stamper is
based off of what Lacquer Disc was sent to the plant. In this instance, F1 #2 was used.
The question is, how many Lacquer Discs were manufactured, and which one was the
first? In the 1960’s, F and G denoted 1st pressings of Mono LPs. P and T denoted second
pressings. What’s the difference between a 1st and second pressing? Let’s see if we can
find out. As we know, the original audio recording that was etched into the Lacquer Disc
is on a reel to reel tape. This tape is going to deteriorate over time. So that first
recording, onto that first Lacquer Disc, is the best that product is going to sound. As time
wears on, and more discs are made, that audio recording is going to lose clarity, fidelity
and eventually, may even deteriorate to a degree it cannot be played anymore. And
until modern computer/digital methods, this was the case for all recordings. The
Lacquer Disc goes to the pressing plant. It’s used to make the Master disc, which is then
used to make the Mold, and then the Stamper. The Stamper may make anywhere from
one to 250,000 LPS in a day. In Capitol’s case, by 1967, this was 50,000 LPs a day. On
good days. We know in the instance of Pepper, that Stereo copies outnumber Mono
copies at least 4 to 1. And in contacting collectors of Beatles recordings, an estimate was
made about the number of Mono LPs out there. This has to be somewhere above
200,000 LPs. How many are 1st pressings? That’s anyone’s guess. Even though this
information would actually be available if Capitol, like RCA Victor, implemented a
system in which all LPs made were filed into a database system. This would tell you
what press produced which LPs, how many on any given date, where these were
shipped to, etc. I believe Capitol would do this, especially in the instance of a product
recall. Or having to reprint the sleeves for the product, which Capitol had to a number of
times for Sgt Pepper. And its labels. This information would also tell you what stamper
was used on what press, and how many LPs that stamper was used for. Because like all
things, the Stamper becomes unusable. It’s pressing, heating, and cooling individual
products 50,000 times on a good day. If the press is completely operational, and without
error. Which is why the IAM crew would be at this plant to fix any major problems with
a press. A press may break down after 5,000 pressings. Or it may have a whole run of

Either way, like that reel to reel audio source recording, the stampers wear out as well.
So new ones have to be made. And the best way to do this, to get the best quality, is to
go back to the studio, and record another Lacquer. Should the LP be a major seller, the
amount of times this is done to that master recording is unknown. But each time it’s
going to wear down that tape. And the process only begins all over again when going
back to the pressing plant. This is why 1st pressings are so valuable to collectors and
audiophiles. They are the 1st generation of products, and hold the truest, accurate
sound that was aimed for by the artist/production team.

In hunting down information about Sgt.Pepper, and what its matrix numbers were, and
what ones were most likely to have ultraviolet properties, I had to ask a lot of people.
Mainly people who were selling them on Ebay or elsewhere. It was no indicator whether
they glowed or not. It was solely to gather data, to get an idea of what kind of
production run Pepper had, and how many possibly pressings were utilised. I also went
back to the people who tried, succeeded and failed to get an ultraviolet version of this
album. Though they hadn’t spoke of such things in detail 7 years ago, I was able to get
enough information from those who were still around now, to get an idea of the new

What was this new criteria? Well, it’s in that F. I found an instance where someone had
purchased a Sgt.Pepper, that had all the wrong criteria for sleeve, label etc, but it turned
out to be an ultraviolet LP. The matrix numbers for both sides of this LP, ended in F1.
The only difference in each side’s matrix number was the identifying it as side one or
two. From that information, and then looking at a series of other matrix numbers, my
hypothesis was that this double sided F1 series, could in fact be the FIRST Lacquer disc.
The original, the very first. The one that was tested for its quality after it had etched into
it the best run of the audio recording.

This is what I had to work with, after establishing that F1 on both sides may mean the 1st
pressing of them all.

MAS-1-2653-F1 #2
MAS-1-2653-F1 #5
MAS-2-2653-G2 #3
MAS-1-2653-F1 #3
MAS-2-2653-G2 #3
MAS-1-2653-G2 #3
MAS-2-2653-F4 #2
MAS-1-2653-F1 #3
MAS-2-2653-G2 #2
MAS-1-2653-F1 #2
MAS-2-2653-G2 #4
MAS-1-2653-G5 #2
MAS-2-2653-F1 #4
MAS 1 2653 G2 #1
MAS-2-2653-G2 #2
MAS-X1-2653 G22 #2
MAS-X2-2653 G16 #2
These were combined matrix numbers from sellers, searchers for the ultraviolet, my
own copy, and another copy purchased knowing it did not have the anomaly. But
possessed something else having to do with a typo on both sleeve and label. All but the
last set come from IAM. The final one is from *, and our photo comparison Pepper. I
gathered the ones that did have ultraviolet properties (MY OWN/SEARCHERS), and
compared them to the ones that didn’t (SEARCHERS). And then took into account the
ones that were unknown (SELLERS). What were these numbers telling me.
They were telling me that only certain matrix numbers were going to have ultraviolet
properties, and that others were going to show no ultraviolet properties at all. No
matter if it was a first pressing or not. As shown before, Capitol used F and G to denote
1st pressings of this product. All the above are 1st pressings. But the number of Stampers
used you see has been growing all along. Let’s call the double F1 matrix number,
Stamper No. 1. Without saying, which ones glow and which ones don’t, what do we see
by these sequences of numbers?

That F1 has an increasing number after it, as does G2. Without the total number of
matrix sequences, I have no idea truly how many increments they went up to. We know
from the * pressing that G has gone into the double digits. We also know that’s the one
that was pressed at a different plant than the others. We know it doesn’t have
ultraviolet properties. So we presume; products that come out of this particular plant,
are less likely to have ultraviolet tendencies. So scratch them off the list of must get. Out
goes Los Angeles. We then concentrate on IAM. I know which ones glow and which ones
don’t. I know this from a combination of seller/searcher/self owned Pepper LPs which
are more likely to glow than others. And it’s down to what matrix number they have.
The engineer at the studio assigns these. Of all people, they would know which Lacquer
discs received something special that the others didn’t. If this process was implemented
at the studio, before ever going to press. At the pressing plant, it’s business as usual,
because the PVC remained to production standards. We know this, because there was
no mass recall for defective product with this anomaly for Pepper. The recalls came
because of misprints and typos on the sleeves. They were not due to errors with the
recording. Which would have been noticed before it ever left the studio, or after the
first record was produced at the plant. By the time it actually gets to be pressed, the
album has already been listened to numerous times before ever having a production

Which brings up the instances of receiving a record which signifies a 1st pressing, but in a later sleeve variant.

The production rolls out as scheduled. By the end the Scranton plant has manufactured
200,000 Mono copies of Sgt.Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. The sleeves are ready,
the labels have been affixed. The stock destined for each state of the union has been
assigned and logged. I don’t know when or how this happened, but it was noticed that
one of the songs was mistitled. Here’s an indication of the number of times the sleeve and labels had to be changed. This was more true in the case of the Stereo copies, as more were distributed. The changes were adhered to. As Mono was going out of popularity, these changes were not necessarily followed. It was kind of “let go.”

Version 1 of the sleeve mistitled “With a Little Help From My Friends” as “A LITTLE HELP
FROM MY FRIENDS.” As did the label affixed to the LP itself. It also gave no publishing
copyright notification to NEMS Enterprises or Maclen Music. This of course, had to be
amended. So back comes the product. OR a new batch of sleeves are printed, and any
remaining stock of the first pressings are simply repackaged into the new variation.
Which seems far more likely than re-running a whole new slew of LPs, which would be
at cost, and unforeseen loss. The plan was make 200,000. They did. The sleeves are
wrong. Make another 200,000 LPs? Hardly. We’ll just reprint the sleeves with the
amendments, and then take that remaining stock and just shove it in there. OR notify
our sellers that whatever stock they possess needs to be repackaged. As this would
involve a retail outlet unwrapping the received product, putting that stock in a new
sleeve, and then shrink wrapping it back up again, I highly doubt that was the
procedure. So somewhere along the way, someone noted the sleeve was in error.
Someone got notified. Someone took already manufactured LPs and put them in new
sleeves. That’s what I know. I know this because people get glowing LPs regardless if the
sleeve says this or that. Or that “first pressing” is a true indication of ultraviolet

As you can see, the sleeve went through 3 more changes before getting it right. And in
truth, there’s at least 7 to 8 variations that needed to be done to make sure everything
was amended. They just seemingly stopped bothering with the Mono versions of
repackaging/reprinting. There were far less to worry about than the Stereo versions.
Let’s not forget with all this rumination, that some of these LPs glow under ultraviolet
light. And not only was this a highly anticipated album, but it was by a group that if they
could sell a toilet seat one of them sat on, they would do it.

So why no

And keep trying, because eventually you’ll get one. And each one you fail at getting,
only earns Capitol Records more money. It’s win win. You get a sense of adventure and
accomplishment. We get the profit.