Yugoslavian versions of "The Album" LP
updated about 1 month ago
This list includes all the 11 Yugoslavian "Arrival" LP's by ABBA currently in the database.
To identify your copy you need to check three identifiers:
1) Is there a pressing code on the labels? (from II to XVII - for example "IV-5 000")
2) Is there a sales emblem on the sleeve front? (none, Zlatna or Platinasta - for example "2x ZLATNA")
3) What is the colour of labels? (blue, white or light blue)
4) What is the label style+ ('old' or 'new')
'Unique' identifiers are marked with "(*)". They can't currently be found in any of the other versions. Obviously you still need to check the other identifiers, to make sure you don't have a new, unique version!
Disclaimer: I am not an expert with RTB or Yugoslavian releases. I've relied on the data on the release pages and in submission notes. See also forum discussion about this topic, foremost "Arrival". I was informed there that these releases actually were not intended only for the Yugoslavian market but for other countries in the Eastern Bloc as well. That might well be true but currently I don't have more information - and obviously there's no suitable Country option on Discogs for this kind of situation either.
Last update: April 23, 2019.
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More about the identifiers:
1) Pressing code
Most issues have a 'pressing code' on the labels indicating (what's thought to be) a pressing number and the number of copies pressed, for example "IV-5 000", ie. 4th pressing, 5.000 copies. For some reason there are two variants of the very last pressing, XI. There are also two issues with no pressing code (and with no sales emblem), suggesting they are both first pressings.
These pressing codes are still missing: I, III, V, VIII, X. The 11th issue, XI, is currently the latest. It is likely that the two issues without pressing code or sales award are first pressing issues.
See below for info about the code "I/30000" found in the matrices.
2) Sales emblem
Most issues have an emblem (award) on sleeve front indicating increasing sales: The 'true' first issue has no emblem, followed by 'Zlatna' (gold) and 'Platinasta' (platin). All submitted issues have the same shape star emblem. The placement of the emblem varies. One issue has it at an angle.
3) Colour of labels
Two label colours have surfaced. White appears on most issues. There is one 'blue' issue which appears to be very early (no pressing code or emblem).
4) Label style
There is an 'old' looking variant and a 'new' looking one. The 'old' variant has large text on top part: "RADIO-TELEVIZIJA BEOGRAD" with a centered 'RTB' logo. The 'new' variant has no such text and the 'RTB' logo is at 1 o'clock. The 'old' variant comes with track durations. All except one issue with 'new' variant (IV) comes without track durations.
Rear sleeve is identical on all issues, except the placement of the RTB logo and cat# combination varies slightly. Also, the printing company logo is situated close to the Polar label, except on the very last issue in this list, where it is centered between the Polar logo and the legal text at the bottom. No variants of the cat# appear. All have the RTB cat#. All sleeves come with the Polar logo and the embedded cat# POLS 282. I believe the Polar data is only there because of the copied artwork, of the original Swedish LP. The RTB data 'moving around' on the sleeve between pressings suggests it was added on top of the original design. All labels state "Polar" on the labels, but no Polar cat#.
All issues apparently come with the standard 'printed' inner sleeve, group photo on one side and lyrics on the other side. I couldn't detect a difference in any of the releases with images. Not all releases mention or picture the inner sleeve, but no release has a mention that they didn't come with it (or that they came in a generic inner).
Only one set of matrices has been submitted, with the code "201277" included in all. This code apparently indicates the date of mastering, 20 Dec 1977. This fits with the general notion that in most territories the album wasn't available before early 1978. The same matrices appear on all versions, except for possibly an added dash (-); and an additional "2" on both sides of the very last pressing. This means all versions except the first are Repressed issues.
The above 'date' code in the matrices is always followed by "I/30000". It is possible that it indicates the number of copies for the very first pressing (which doesn't have a pressing code on labels), but as it stays the same on all further pressings, it apparently has nothing to do with them. The first three versions have no matrices submitted. Considering the previous album ("Arrival") was a huge success and at least 17 pressings had to be taken (the first came with "I/5000" in the matrices), it was apparently decided to start with a much larger pressing for "The Album". This seemed to have worked, since all later pressing codes indicate only much smaller pressings, from only 1.000 to 5.000, with 11 pressings in total. Some of the latest pressings with "platinasta" sales emblem (see blow) come with "(P) 1978" or "(P) 1979" on labels, suggesting the last pressings were taken roughly then.
It is known that "The Album" was released in (December of) 1977 only in Scandinavia (C.M. Palm 2017), so it is incorrect to take "(P) 1977" appearing on the sleeve and/or labels to indicate a 1977 release date. "(P) 1978" appears on the VII pressing and the IX pressing comes with "(P) 1979", followed by two versions of XI with "(P) 1977" - all that can be concluded is that pressings up to VII with all likelihood are from 1978 and that IX is from 1979.
Although it's not possible to date the releases exactly based on the identifiers, it is possible to place them in roughly chronological order, used below.