Since the late 1970s, interview discs have proven one of the most popular means by which an unknown label can boast a superstar artist in its catalog.
Because spoken word is not covered under any copyright law, any interview material is fair game, and thousands upon thousands of discs — 45s, LPs and CDs — have appeared, bearing the private and public thoughts of rock’s greatest names. Few are issued by the artist’s actual label.
A variety of gimmicks, including colored vinyl, picture discs and intriguing shapes have been employed to make these more attractive, but, specialist collectors notwithstanding, there is little interest in these releases. However, a handful have become legends of sorts, most notably the Wibling Rivalry Oasis interview, which became the first such release ever to make the U.K. chart in 1995 (Fierce Panda NING 12CD).
If commercially available interview discs have little after-market appeal, promotional releases fare quite the opposite. Radio transcription discs have a reasonable audience among collectors; issues made to accompany new release CDs, too, are popular — REM’s Talk About the Weather and Neil Young’s Silver and Gold discs are among those in high demand.
There is also an array of radio-interview 45s issued during the early to mid-1960s featuring “open-ended” interviews, in which a script (read aloud by the DJ, of course) provided the questions, while the artist answered back on the disc. Many such discs exist, although they are in short supply.
For around 15 years, roughly between 1960 and 1974, many record companies issued jukebox albums, or little LPs, for use in jukeboxes capable of playing 33 1/3 rpm, 7-inch releases. Often considered a variation on the popular EP format, jukebox albums are also frequently found cataloged as promos, in that they were not generally available to the record-buying public.
Jukebox albums featured between four and (less frequently) six songs from a current LP, usually packaged in two-color picture sleeves depicting the LP cover, with an attached title strip for placement in the jukebox’s selection index.
Predictably, the most collectible items are by the most collectible bands. Jukebox album versions of The Beatles’ Second Album (Capitol 2080), Bob Dylan’s Bringing It All Back Home (Columbia 9128), Elvis Presley’s 1973 Aloha From Hawaii (RCA Victor 2006), some seven different Rolling Stones albums (including the super-rare Their Satanic Majesties Request — London 54; and Exile On Main Street — Rolling Stones Records 22900); and Led Zeppelin’s IV (Atlantic 7208) and Houses Of The Holy (Atlantic 7255) are all highly prized.
The Beach Boys, too, have some very scarce Little LPs in their discography, including Surfer Girl (Capitol 1981), Shutdown Volume Two (but not, apparently, volume one — Capitol 2027) and Today (Capitol 2269). However, with patience, there are many more major acts of the era who can be located on jukebox albums, ranging as far afield as Jethro Tull and Marvin Gaye and The Grateful Dead and Eydie Gorme.
Be warned, however. Jukebox albums basically exist in just two grades — unplayed and still sealed, or played to death and virtually worthless. The latter, of course, are by far the most common.
A term coined by Japanese record collectors, “labelology” is, quite simply, the study of individual record label designs, isolating varieties within the most