As some releases remained in circulation for many years, several variants of the same release may exist with alternative label and / or sleeve designs. When such changes first came in there would most likely have been a mix of old and new covers and labels. See also the French variant of this label: Plaisir Du Classique (2)
The information below should help to narrow down actual LP release dates based upon label design variants, CFP logo variants, catalog number structure changes and the company address shown on the sleeve back.
CLASSICS FOR PLEASURE LP CATALOG NUMBER, LABEL DESIGN AND LOGO CHRONOLOGY:
This description focuses on UK releases, and may not be applicable to releases from elsewhere.
An advertisement in 'The Gramophone, Oct, 1970 announced the Classics For Pleasure Label and the first 36 LP's, which went on sale on October 16th 1970, priced at 17s. 9d. (89p). The 36 initial releases comprised:
Symphonies: CFP 102,103,104,114,123,141.
Orchestral: CFP 101,105,106,108,120,126,129,137,140,145,149.
Chamber Music: CFP 121,128,152.
Concertos & Recitals: CFP 115,116,119,122,139,148,150,153.
Opera and Choral: CFP 110,111,117,118 (2 records mono),125,142,143,151.
The same advertisement announced the creation of the W.D. & H.O.Wills Embassy Master Series (supporting the London Philharmonic) and the first 3 LP's in this series were CFP 101,106,115. The series was officially launched at a concert on October 8th at the Royal festival Hall, held under the auspices of WD & HO WIlls, the LPO and Classics for Pleasure.
The initial label design had a black background overlaid by a large white square with curved corners. There was black text on white areas and white text on black areas. The Classics For Pleasure logo was black and placed at the centre top of the white square.
Catalog numbers had three digits and ran from CFP 101 to CFP 203.
Earliest releases featured no company address on the sleeve back, simply stating: "MADE IN GREAT BRITAIN BY EMI RECORDS (THE GRAMOPHONE CO. LTD.)" and sometimes also included a joint credit to EMI & Hamlyn Group.
During 1971, the company address started to be printed towards the bottom of the sleeve back. It was ASTRONAUT HOUSE, HOUNSLOW ROAD, FELTHAM, MIDDLESEX. Occasionally this appeared in an alternative variant as "42 THE CENTRE, FELTHAM, MIDDLESEX".
In December 1972 the catalog number format was changed to 5 digits, starting at CFP 40001. The original black and white label design was briefly retained.
Early in 1973 the label design was changed to a cream background with brown swirls across the upper half of the label. The Classics For Pleasure logo was red. .Copyright text was on three lines at the bottom of the label in brown.
During 1974, the company address printed towards the bottom of the sleeve back changed to 80 BLYTH ROAD, HAYES, MIDDLESEX.
Around May 1982, the company address printed towards the bottom of the sleeve back changed to 1-3 UXBRIDGE ROAD, HAYES, MIDDLESEX.
In October 1982, the 5-digit catalog number (CFP 40xxx) was dropped for all new releases, being replaced by a 4-digit one instead (CFP 4xxx). The numbering system carried on with the same sequence, however, simply omitting the unnecessary "0" second digit of the former 5-digit number. The last 5-digit number was CFP 40380 (Liszt Piano Sonata etc) and the first 4-digit one was CFP 4381 (Carl Orff: Carmina Burana)
Spring / Summer 1983:
It was during 1983 that the third label design was introduced. This was essentially a variant of the second one. It retained the cream label background, but this time with a red swirl design across the upper half of the label. The Classics For Pleasure logo was black, and copyright text was on a single line around the upper circumference of the label, initially in black text, but this was later changed to red.
Following the arrival of the Compact Disc in 1983, the Classics for Pleasure LP Catalog Number structure was changed again in the October of that year. The four-digit number sequence was retained, but it was given a 2-digit prefix "41" and a 1-digit suffix "1". The last 4-digit number was CFP 4408 (Beethoven Symphony No. 7 etc,) and the first 7-digit number was CFP 41 4409 1 (Beethoven Violin Concerto etc.) Confusingly the full 7-digit number sometimes only appeared on the label and sleeve back, with the front cover `showing the 4-digit version.
The CFP sleeve front cover logo, which had previously been on a transparent background, changed in May 1985 to be red in colour on a black background.
The CFP sleeve front cover logo was changed in February 1986 to a 3-segment format with the CFP symbol on the left hand side in black on a red background, the text "CLASSICS FOR PLEASURE" in white on a black background on the upper right, and "EMI" in black on a red background on the lower right.
There seems to have been another change of policy in September 1986 when the extended 7-digit number was dropped and the 4-digit one reinstated! The last 7-digit number was CFP 41 4508 1 (Rachmaninov Symphony No. 2) and the first 4-digit one was CFP 4509 (Top Hat: Yehudi Menuhin, Stephane Grappelli, Nelson Riddle)
CLASSICS FOR PLEASURE COMPACT DISCS
The first release of Classics for Pleasure CDs took place in August 1987.