As with most European
countries, Vertigo France did not have the opportunity to sign their
own bands. Quite a lot of the British albums were released in France,
though. The strategy as to which bands were chosen is unclear.
Well-selling titles, naturally, are among them, but also bands like
Patto, Gracious and Fairfield Parlour did see a French release and even
. The first
few French releases that correspond with the ''VO'' prefixed British
ones, do have an ''old'' Phonogram catalogue number, the same that were
printed underneath the ''VO'' number at the backcover of the British
versions. So Black Sabbath's debut holds the number 847 903 VTY and so
Status Quo, Piledriver
given the catalogue number 6321
Jim Croce, Life and times
given the number 6360 751
France made its own covers rather than import them from Britain. If the
British release boasted an elaborate packaging, you can be almost sure
it was severely restricted in France. Only the gatefold covers
survived. Structured covers were ditched, too: all France covers have a
smooth and laminated surface, rendering them better protected against
the teeth of time. There are no special inner sleeves issued
French backcovers have a ''U'' in a circle on the backcover before the
catalogue number. This is the equivalent of the British ''price code''.
At the bottom there is a credit of the French
printing firm, rotated 90 degrees counterclockwise (scan has this
Early releases sported a sticker referring to parent company Philips:
French clearly saw no advantage in the British system of labelling
all information on the B-side, the A-side being reserved for the logo.
Instead, the information is divided among both sides, just as on any
The font used on the perimeter strongly ressembles the British one.
There is no date of issue on the label and the fonts on the inner part
of the label are quite characteristic for the French releases. Not to
miss are the abbreviation B.I.E.M, which denotes the international
organisation and the wording ''Made in France'', that indeed leaves
nothing undecided. Later releases feature the French copyright society
SACEM/SDRM, as seen on the single label at the very bottom of this page.
The matrix numbers are machine-stamped
and follow a simple routine: the
catalogue number, the side (1 or 2) a ''+'' and the country code for
France which is 380. So the matrix number of above record side would be
6360002 2 + 380.
As you would expect, France issued cassettes too.
Here's two of them:
Contrary to British issues, all French single releases had a picture
sleeve, rendering these versions much more interesting than the British
ones. Some of these are displayed at the bottom of this page. Instead
of the circled ''U'' from the albums, there is a circled ''L'' (price
code) on the
backcover instead. Early releases also have a smaller circled ''M''
just behind this. The printer also got a mention. This was ''JAT'' on
the first releases and ''Dillard & Cie.'' on later ones.
As with almost any single from this era, the French sleeves have a
printed spine with artist, songtitle and catalogue number, The opening
of the sleeve is lightly die-cut to make it easier to get the disc out
of the cover. Most of the sleeves we have seen have the ''serie
logo at the bottom. Early singles sleeves are made of sturdier paper
than in any other country.
Most of the British singles were released in France too. The catalogue
numbers are the same as the British ones, except for V1 and V2. These
were assigned the logical numbers 6059 001 and 6059 002 respectively.
in France the singles labels are quite similar to those of the albums.
The album the single was culled from is mentioned at 3 o'clock on early
releases. Both the B.I.E.M. and the Made in France wordings are present.
Long before the British department changed the singles label design,
French branch did. Instead of the black and white design, there was now
an altered design in dark and lighter blue (see scan below).
The last single with the ''normal'' black and white design was 6059 014.
SINGLES MATRIX NUMBERS
These are similar to those on albums:
catalogue number, side, ''+'' and the 380 country code for France.
Some singles that were not released in Britain, did get a release in
France, like 6059 005 below.
Some singles have been spotted in a generic sleeve that reproduces the vinyl in red.
As promised we now display some French
picture sleeves, but there are many more. If you have presentable scans of these, please let us know!
picture sleeve for 6059 009, Fairfield Parlour Bordeaux rosé/ Chalk on the wall.
picture sleeve for 6059 015, Juicy Lucy Pretty woman/ I'm a thief.
picture sleeve for 6059 018, Linda Hoyle with Affinity Eli's comin'/ United states of mind.
picture sleeve for 6059 034, Assagai Telephone
girl/ I'll wait for you.
picture sleeve for 6059 047, Gravy Train The new one/ Think of life.
picture sleeve for 6059 061, Black Sabbath Tomorrow's dream/ Laguna sunrise.
picture sleeve for 6059 126, Status Quo Roll over lay down/ Where I am.
picture sleeve for 6131 001 (unique cat. nr.) Beggars Opera Sarabande / Think.
picture sleeve for 6173 585 Dire Straits Sultans of swing/ Eastbound train.
A French copy has been sighted of a Cressida single: 6059 004 Cressida/ Down down
This is quite remarkable since this catalogue number normally signifies
Rod Stewart's Gasoline Alley/ Only a
Still: here is proof:
French label for 6059 004, Cressida Cressida/ Down down.
And now also the following:
French label for 6832 955, Cressida Asylum/Summer Weekend of a Lifetime.
We sincerely hope that you will
be of assistance in making this information as reliable as possible.
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virtual address: e-mail.