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ATLANTIC / ATCO vinyl labels and deadwax - what do the codes mean?

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by TLMusic, May 5, 2012.

  1. TLMusic

    TLMusic Musician & record collector Thread Starter

    Lots of observations and questions...

    Trying to decode Atlantic/Atco labels and deadwax for vinyl made in the late 60s through the 80s.

    LABELS
    On the label will be the title, song list and times, and catalog number. But there's also another sequence of letters and numbers.

    Here's an example from Led Zeppelin I:

    ST-A-681461-MO

    I am guessing
    ST = stereo
    A = Atlantic records
    681461 = the first two letters seem to indicate the year released (1968), but have no idea what the next four numbers mean. Usually side two will have a number one higher than side one.

    MO = Monarch Records pressing plant

    For the letter(s) after "ST" I think other options might be

    A = Atlantic Records
    C = Atco
    CAP = Capricorn
    FC = Famous Charisma
    SS = Swan Song
    AS = Asylum
    (Perhaps there are others)

    For the final letters in the code, we have
    PR = Presswell
    RI = Richmond Indiana
    MO = Monarch
    SP = Specialty Records
    CT or CTH = Columbia, Terra Haute
    LY = Louisville?
    AR = ???

    This system seems to be pretty consistent for stereo records from the late 60s onward. But how do the mono labels work? And what is this code called?

    ON TO THE DEADWAX
    A modified version of the code also appears in the deadwax of Atlantic and associated label LPs.

    For example, LZ I again, side one

    ST-A-681461CC

    ST = stereo
    A = Atlantic
    681461 = the release year and some other numbers
    CC = the cutting letters? From this site I have learned to assume that these letters indicate the lacquer cutting for that particular pressing, with A being the first, and B the second, and so on. And what is the second letter, always the same letter as the first, and usually fainter? Does that second (or third) letter indicate an additional metal part, perhaps a new mother?

    Also on "AR" pressings, the cutting letter is replaced with a handwritten delta symbol.

    OTHER SCRIBINGS IN THE DEADWAX

    handwritten "AT/GP" = mastered by George Piros at Atlantic

    handwritten "AT/DK" = mastered by Dennis King at Atlantic

    stamped "ATLANTIC STUDIOS DK" = mastered by Dennis King at Atlantic

    LWP = Longwear(sp?) Plating = company that made the metal parts, mothers, stampers perhaps?

    REPL = what's this mean, replate?

    PR = this one shows up in the deadwax of records from various different pressing plants, not just Presswell. What's it doing there?

    Lastly, records made by Monarch will have a stamped circle with "MR" in it, and a bunch of numbers preceded by a delta sign. Anyone have any idea what those numbers mean?



    So are there any experts out there that wish to add to this info, and make corrections?
     
    bluemooze, waaguirr and zphage like this.
  2. TLMusic

    TLMusic Musician & record collector Thread Starter

    Another example:

    Aretha Franklin - Aretha Now

    Side one label
    ST-A-681267CT

    Side one stamped deadwax
    CT ST-A-681267-1E

    So this record is stereo, album released in 1967, mastered by Columbia (5th cutting) and pressed by Columbia in Terra Haute, Indiana? Sound right?
     
    bluemooze likes this.
  3. motorcitydave

    motorcitydave Enlightened Rogue In Memoriam

    Location:
    Las Vegas, NV, USA
    When it says 'AT' in the deadwax, like the copy of 'Disraeli Gears' that I have, does that mean mastered @ Atlantic?
     
  4. TLMusic

    TLMusic Musician & record collector Thread Starter

    Yet another example:

    Eagles ST

    Side one label
    ST-AS-722515 PR

    Side one handwritten deadwax
    ST-AS-722515 - D

    LP is stereo, on the Asylum Records label, released in 1972, fourth cutting mastered at Atlantic, made by Presswell. Sound right?
     
    bluemooze likes this.
  5. TLMusic

    TLMusic Musician & record collector Thread Starter

    It very well could. I'm waiting for the experts to weigh in.




    Now the "A" in the pressing code just indicates that the album is released on the Altantic Records label (I think). I assume you are talking about an addition "AT" floating around somewhere in the deadwax.
     
  6. motorcitydave

    motorcitydave Enlightened Rogue In Memoriam

    Location:
    Las Vegas, NV, USA
    Correct. It's a Monarch press, with 'AT' and 'LW'
     
  7. TLMusic

    TLMusic Musician & record collector Thread Starter

    Another LZ example:

    Led Zeppelin - Presence

    Side one label
    ST-SS-763559-SP

    Side one hand written deadwax
    ST-SS-763559 - E "ATLANTIC STUDIOS"

    Stereo album on the Swan Song label, released in 1976, mastered at Atlantic, 5th cutting, pressed by Specialty.



    Sound right?
     
  8. motorcitydave

    motorcitydave Enlightened Rogue In Memoriam

    Location:
    Las Vegas, NV, USA
    My copy has 'Atlantic Studios' on both sides.
     
  9. TLMusic

    TLMusic Musician & record collector Thread Starter

    Sorry--it should read "album released in 1968"
     
  10. TLMusic

    TLMusic Musician & record collector Thread Starter

    What do the abbreviations "LY" and "AR" on the labels mean?
     
  11. Tom Perry

    Tom Perry Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
  12. W.B.

    W.B. The Collector's Collector

    Location:
    New York, NY, USA
    There were also these codes:
    - CP - Columbia (Pitman, NJ)
    - CS or CSM - Columbia (Santa Maria, CA; very infrequently)
    - And RI, in terms of specifics, signified PRC Recording Corp., Richmond, IN (they had to do that because "PR" had already been taken for Presswell).

    Catalogue prefices used on Columbia pressings of 45's on the Atlantic group of labels included:
    - A = Atlantic (Feb 1967 - Feb 1969)
    - ATC = Atco (very rarely, through Jan 1967)
    - DAK = Dakar
    - T = Track Record (on The Crazy World of Arthur Brown's "Nightmare" / "I Put a Spell on You")
    Most Atco singles, plus those on Stax and Volt, always used 45- catalogue prefices on Columbia pressings - also, up to Jan 1967, Atlantic itself.

    As for numbers with the delta symbol on the deadwax - this apparently originated with the company that did plating on the West Coast (Alco Research & Engineering in Los Angeles), and their system was used by a host of L.A.-area plants including their own, plus Monarch and another plant called AFM Engineering.
     
  13. bigmikerocks

    bigmikerocks Forum Resident

    Curious....why does everybody refer to these as delta symbols instead of just triangles. I've always know the delta symbol from taking physics, but I would imagine just calling it a triangle would make more sense unless there was a special reason
     
    fluffskul likes this.
  14. Raunchnroll

    Raunchnroll Senior Member

    Location:
    Seattle
    We tend to be mystical.

    Triangle..... its like asking "is that European music?"
     
    Evan Guest likes this.
  15. Raunchnroll

    Raunchnroll Senior Member

    Location:
    Seattle
    Thats my belief. I've seen the exact same scribings on say a Monarch and a Presswell, but one LP will have just A, the other AA.... the first 'A' looking identical on both, the 2nd 'A' being fainter and looking added on.
     
    cmndrums likes this.
  16. TLMusic

    TLMusic Musician & record collector Thread Starter

    It's not always the case, but I have noticed that Presswell's tend to have a single cutting letter (A). Monarch's often have two cutting letters (-AA). RI's often have three cutting letters (-AAA).

    Maybe Presswell would typically get the first mother, and other plants might get separate metal parts made from the second and third mothers. (This is conjecture)
     
  17. TLMusic

    TLMusic Musician & record collector Thread Starter

    Thanks for this fantastic information! I do wonder if the delta symbol numbers have any significance (mystical, perhaps). :)
     
  18. TLMusic

    TLMusic Musician & record collector Thread Starter

    Updated codes for LPs

    Record label codes (the letters after "ST")

    A = Atlantic Records
    C = Atco
    CAP = Capricorn
    FC = Famous Charisma
    SS = Swan Song
    AS = Asylum
    MC = Manticore



    Pressing plant codes for LPs:

    PR = Presswell Records Mfg. Co., Ancora, NJ (they handled most of Atlantic's LP's during much of this period)
    LY = Shelley Products, Huntington Station, NY
    SP = Specialty Records Corp., Olyphant, PA
    MO = Monarch Record Mfg. Co., Los Angeles, CA
    PL = Plastic Products, Inc., Memphis, TN
    RI = PRC Recording Corp., Richmond, IN
    AR = Allied Record Co., Inc., Los Angeles, CA
    CT or CTH = Columbia, Terra Haute, IN
    CP = Columbia (Pitman, NJ)
    CS or CSM = Columbia (Santa Maria, CA; very infrequently)
     
  19. simonux

    simonux Custom Title

    Location:
    France
    I have some ATCO pressings with handwritten matrix but no pressing plant code, where can we suppose they are pressed at ?
     
  20. TLMusic

    TLMusic Musician & record collector Thread Starter

    The pressing plant code is on the labels. That's how you can determine where a LP was pressed.

    [​IMG]
    For example, this Led Zeppelin record has the pressing code at the bottom right of the label. It's "PR", so the LP was made by Presswell.





    Exceptions seem to be records with custom labels, which have no pressing plant code.
     
    EasterEverywhere likes this.
  21. TLMusic

    TLMusic Musician & record collector Thread Starter

    It's also worth mentioning that ATCO / Atlantic records made before the late 60s do not seem to have a pressing plant code.

    [​IMG]
    (Code says stereo, Atco label, released 1959, but no pressing plant info)


    Does anyone know when the pressing plant codes started?
     
    EasterEverywhere likes this.
  22. simonux

    simonux Custom Title

    Location:
    France
    I know that :winkgrin:

    An exemple of what I'm talking about :

    [​IMG]

    and I have a "Wheels of fire" that has the same lack of pressing plant code.
     
  23. TLMusic

    TLMusic Musician & record collector Thread Starter

    I'm not sure how you could tell the pressing plant on that Wheels of Fire, unless it was made by Monarch, and had the "MR" in a circle stamp in the deadwax.



    Perhaps some experts will weigh in.
     
  24. simonux

    simonux Custom Title

    Location:
    France
    My Wheels on Fire is not a Monarch pressing, no triangle and no MR in deadwax.
     
  25. W.B.

    W.B. The Collector's Collector

    Location:
    New York, NY, USA
    Actually, in this case the code meant nothing, as that particular copy was an RCA Record Club pressing from Indianapolis, IN. They simply copied the "PR" suffix from the label copy text. Not to mention using a color scheme which had nothing to do with Atlantic but instead was used on stereo ATCO LP's of the time.
     

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