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Capitol Records wasn't pleased with how it looked and how it was received, so they spent a quarter of a million dollars to recall , copies that had shipped to stores. If you've got the 45 in mint condition, it could be worth up to five grand. The Rolling Stones did something creative for the original mono pressings of their album Their Satanic Majesties Request - they put it in a sleeve with a 3D lenticular image. Unfortunately, because it made production costs so high, later editions replaced the lenticular image with a photograph.
Also, if you happen to have a version of the Stones' "Street Fighting Man" single, check the cover. If it's a photograph of police brutality during the riots at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, you're in luck. The label thought the artwork was too controversial and changed it, but a very small number of records with the original picture still came out. You'll know you've got an early copy if instead of the iconic prism your record has a solid blue triangle on it.
Picture discs are gramophone phonograph records that show images on their playing surface, rather than being of plain black or colored vinyl.
Collectors traditionally reserve the term picture disc for records with graphics that extend at least partly into the actual playable grooved area, distinguishing them from picture label discs , which have a specially illustrated and sometimes very large label, and picture back discs , which are illustrated on one unplayable side only.
A few seven-inch black shellac records issued by the Canadian Berliner Gramophone Company around had the " His Master's Voice " dog-and-gramophone trademark lightly etched into the surface of the playing area as an anti-piracy measure, technically qualifying them as picture discs by some definitions.
Apart from those debatable claimants for the title of "first", the earliest picture records were not discs, strictly speaking, but rectangular picture postcards with small, round, transparent celluloid records glued onto the illustrated side. Such cards were in use by about In the s and throughout the rest of the vinyl era, picture postcard records, usually oversized and often featuring a garish color photograph of a tourist attraction or typical local scenery, were issued in several countries.
These and similar small novelty picture records on laminated paper or thin cardboard, such as were occasionally bound into magazines or featured on the backs of boxes of breakfast cereal,  are usually not classed with the larger and sturdier discs that were sold in record stores or used as promotional gifts by record companies, but a few featured famous performers and are now eagerly sought by collectors of those artists' records.
The first picture discs of substantial size, sold as records meant only to be looked at and played, not put into a mailbox, appeared in the s.
Their first wave of significant popularity did not arrive until the start of the s, when several companies in several countries began issuing them. Some were illustrated with photographs or artwork simply designed to be appropriate to the musical contents, but some graphics also promoted films in which the recorded songs had been introduced, and a few were blatant advertising that had little or no connection with the recording.
Some politicians and demagogues explored the potential of the discs as a medium for propaganda. Adolf Hitler and British fascist Oswald Mosley were each featured on their own special picture discs. Most of these records were made of a simple sheet of fairly thin printed cardboard with a very thin plastic coating and their audio quality was substandard.
Some were more sturdy and well-made and they equaled or actually surpassed the audio quality of ordinary records, which were still made of a gritty shellac compound that introduced a lot of background noise.
A rigid blank shellac core disc was sandwiched between two illustrated sheets and each side was then topped with a substantial layer of high-quality clear plastic into which the recording was pressed. These were deluxe picture discs, priced much higher than ordinary records, and they sold in very small numbers. In the early s the entire record industry was being devastated by a worldwide economic depression and the proliferation of the new medium of radio, which made a wide variety of music available free of charge.
Picture discs of all kinds were among the casualties. Vogues were a well-made product physically similar to RCA Victor's improved issues except that their core discs were aluminum instead of shellac. The Victor discs had been illustrated in high Art Deco style, often in sober but elegant black-and-white. Vogue's discs featured artwork done in the styles typical of s commercial illustration and pin-up art, most of it gaudily colored, some dramatic, some humorous, some very cartoonish.
The audio quality was excellent by contemporary standards and they featured professional talent, most with names known to the general public, but Vogue was handicapped by the lack of any big "hit" names. Top-tier talent was usually under exclusive contract to companies such as Mercury Records , for whom Sav-Way manufactured special attention-grabbing, quiet-surfaced picture discs that Mercury distributed only to radio disc jockeys.
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