All The colours of the fricin Rainbow?: Black Sabbath – Paranoid

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Even in 1970, Paranoid was a monster of a record. Released worldwide in every format of the time (yes that does mean 8 track), Black Sabbath put out what remains their quintessential album. The original vinyl can be found just about anywhere at decent prices by crate hoppers… with one HUGE exception. For whatever reason, Paranoid did not carry the same cover or even title in several countries including Israel. Instead it was called Attention with a ridiculous black and white cover of the band members faces.

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The only thing that remained of the art work was the swirl design on the record itself. While finding copies of Attention is not too difficult, your wallet will feel the punch if looking for the 1970 Israeli edition. Discogs has it priced over $300 CAD, and while ebay has inexpensive listings for copies from Yugoslavia and Germany there are none currently for that rare Israel disc. Of course, if you want a genuine first pressing from the US, that could also set you back several hundred as ebay will quickly direct you to one for over $400.

So, lets look at new editions that will not break the bank… yet.

In the last few years, Paranoid has had multiple vinyl releases in a bunch of colours that seem to match a small box of crayons. In 2010 NEMS gave us several different versions on 180 gram vinyl including a clear wax edition. The following year they added a red translucent vinyl edition to the collection and a picture disc.

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Jump ahead to 2015 and more colour fills the sky. Warner Brothers put out two editions for the general public. The first was a blue marble 180 gram disc with the other being a two disc black vinyl edition in a gatefold cover.

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At the same time, a limited 140 gram version of the record was being sold through Vinyl Me Please on a very cool purple vinyl disc that also included a poster and cocktail card.

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Simultaneously, NEMS jumped back into the rainbow by releasing a grey marbled 180 gram disc in Europe while UK label Sanctuary adding a light blue heavy weight wax version.

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Due to demand, 2016 saw more reprints from Warner of the Deluxe 2 disc set and blue vinyl. As far as I can tell from the music forums, people do not seem to like the NEMS sound quality. Per usual those same sources will tell you to search out the original pressings. However, I’m quite enjoying my Vinyl Me Please disc, and have gifted it as well. Anyway you decide to go…PLAY IT LOUD!!!

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“I Know It Sounds Absurd…” or Supertramp – Breakfast In America

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Selling a million records in Canada is not the easiest thing to do. In a country of only 30 million, it’s a pretty big thing to get Diamond status. In 1979, Breakfast In America pulled it off in the same year of its release. For many people it was and is the equal of all those giant sellers by The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac and yes, even Michael Jackson. Not bad for a band that was considered to be a light weight FM prog band that quite suddenly became everyone’s favorite artists. In those moments before glam-metal and new wave, Supertramp was being played on every radio station on both the AM and FM dial. From the cool kids to the geeks, everyone knew the words to “The Logical Song.”

With those kind of numbers you would have expected that Breakfast In America would have been given the royal treatment. If you’re a fan of CD and audio blu-ray, then sure, you got yourself lots of remastered goodies to play with; but vinyl has been more gimmick than actual special treatment.

You can easily find the original vinyl pressing while crate digging and it will cost you next to nothing. My own copy isn’t showing its age, which is pretty miraculous seeing as how the early teenage version of me must have played it several thousand times.

In 1982, Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab put out a pressing that is still in high demand. Resellers are asking for over a hundred dollars for used copies.

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Mobile Fidelity did a complete remaster in 1990 for a 24 karat gold CD release. It still fetches over $75 for used copies in great shape.

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It wasn’t until 2000 that another remastered vinyl edition was released by Simply Vinyl on 180 gram wax.

Ten years later the box set came out with a bunch of things… but good luck getting a copy for under $150. It contained 2 CD’s, a DVD and a 180 gram vinyl version of the record. Honestly, that price is steep. A single 180 gram vinyl edition was released at the same time.

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2013, saw the last of the more recent releases with two new offerings. The first was a blu-ray copy of the album marked as ultra high audio, no video content.

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At the same time Breakfast in America was also released as a pretty awesome looking vinyl picture disc.

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The disappointing thing in all this is that if they had done a similar treatment to Breakfast In America as they did to Crime Of The Century just last year, a lot of fans would have been extremely happy. Oh well, maybe for the 40th anniversary in 2019 they’ll get it right.

Like Green Eggs and Ham… or David Bowie – Pin Ups

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Funny how some albums by the world’s biggest artists just don’t get given the respect they are entitled; or funny that some records can find reverence in one place and not another. Then there are those that are outright discarded or left out of the conversation because they don’t fit the mystique and narrative created by the artist themselves. Pin Ups is just such a record on all those levels. It was merely considered adequate by critics, and casual fans of Ziggy and Aladdin just seemed confused. It charted on three different occasions in the UK, but did little (by Bowie standards) in North America. Bowie’s  grand design to record two covers albums with songs from first the U.K. (Pin Ups) and then the U.S.(Bowie-ing Out) fizzled and the second record never materialized.

This might explain why as a teen I had avoided the record. Sure, I was a Bowie fan but I didn’t have cash for something I wasn’t going to really like. However, during a visit to my trusted used record store I picked up a copy, and found out that – I really do like this record. Like Green Eggs and Ham, I guess I should have tried it.

Now I find myself wondering if I can get my hands on a “collectible version.” The copy I purchased came from a batch of regular black vinyl that was released in unison with that new technology, the compact disc back in 1984. But… it wasn’t the only vinyl Bowie released that year. A series of limited edition and numbered picture discs also came out. The series included Hunky Dory, Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane, Pin Ups and Diamond Dogs. Amazingly, you can get mint copies of it still for about $60 American and used copies around $40. (However, Ziggy has asking prices over $250 in case you started thinking about it.)

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The next remaster did not occur until 1990 and things got a little complicated at this point. Pin Ups was released worldwide by EMI, but in North America RYKO got hold of the remaster job, and they did things a little differently. Rather than the black vinyl with gatefold cover as EMI had done, RYCO released a limited edition numbered copy in clear vinyl. For comparison sake, you can get the EMI version for about $30 but the RYCO vinyl will set you back about $100 plus shipping on the reseller market.

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Of course, any crate digger out there will tell you they can get an original in decent shape for a fraction of all those prices… so, give it a listen on whatever handy device you have. Then you can decide on a budget, because if you’re anything like me, you’ll want a copy.

Living In The Li… well you get the point! Or Sebadoh – “Limelight”

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Many many many (did I say many) alt-rock luminaries have a love for Rush. So, in honour of the Canadian rock gawds 40th anniversary, Sebadoh have recorded a cover of the Rush hit “Limelight” from the 1981 album Moving Pictures. The original batch of 978 picture discs sold out.

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However, the good people at Joyful Noise have done another printing on clear vinyl for those of you who feel you missed out the first time. You can order it here.

You can also check out the original recording of “Limelight” by watching the video above.