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Genesis: A Trick of the Tail (1976) - the UK PDO CD releases


Territory: | Original LP/MC release: 1976 | First UK domestic CD release: 1984

PDO stands for Philips DuPont Optical, which was a joint venture between Philips, a Dutch owned technology company, and DuPoint, an American conglomerate specializing also in chemical industry.

In October, 1985 both companies joint their forces to create a manufacturing giant specializing in CD manufacturing. The CD plant in West Germany (which belongs to PolyGram Records, started by Philips and Siemens) was renamed to PDO.

The West German CD plant was up and running since August, 1982 and by 1986, when the CD demand has increased significantly, PDO decided to expand their capacity. At that time Philips owned a few sites across Europe specialized in tape and records manufacturing.

A decision made by the management, in late 1986, add a new CD factory to the UK market. Existing Philips facility in Blackburn, Lancashire has been expanded into CD pressing. The whole story about PDO plant in Blackburn will be presented in different entry.

This short entry will focus on A Trick of the Tail CD releases that has been manufactured by PDO plant, in the UK, between 1986 and 1987.

When first pressers was installed at the Blackburn's plant and tests were completed, the plant started production with a very small orders. It is rather unknown whether a mother plant in Germany worked together, with the UK branch, to support the whole process to get the UK branch into the digital market.

What we know for sure, is that the UK plant have used an old West German tray cards in their A Trick of the Tail Virgin/Charisma CDs. It's unknown why would they do this, but I presume the UK facility was unable to print own inserts or have used stock cards delivered from the mother plant. Please note that at the time when the UK branch began to manufacture CD, these West German tray cards were long deleted. They were only used in West German Virgin/Charisma CDs that were on the market in 1984.

variant A

Genesis - A Trick of the Tail, Virgin/Charisma CDSCD 4010 - variant A

The UK PDO discs of A Trick of the Tail have pale blue label colour, the same like West German copies. What is also interesting, the early UK PDO discs were made of the same glass master used to manufacture PolyGram discs. The influence of the West German factory here is very visible. Some copies have no country of manufacture printed on disc and some does. Also later, PDO replaced West German tray cards.

variant B

Genesis - A Trick of the Tail, Virgin/Charisma CDSCD 4010 - variant B

I would speculate that these CDs are from late 1986 or perhaps very early 1987. They still have printed notes dated back to 1984, when the first West German Virgin/Charisma CDs were manufactured. It's hard to determine the exact release date though. I am fairly sure that these CDs were released for a very short period of time. Later in 1987 PDO did re-pressed A Trick of the Tail CDs. This CDs, however, were made entirely from the UK PDO glass master created at the Blackburn's plant.

later PDO variant A

Genesis - A Trick of the Tail, Virgin/Charisma CDSCD 4010 - variant A

later PDO variant B

Genesis - A Trick of the Tail, Virgin/Charisma CDSCD 4010 - variant B

I am aware of two variants, possibly from the same period of time. Both variants still have pale blue colour and both have "MADE IN U.K." printed on the label. The only difference is in the matrix numbers. These CDs were manufactured between middle and late 1987, just before the bronzing period.

Please note: early UK PDO CDs of A Trick of the Tail have sort of gold-tinted label. This is not a real 24KT gold, which is  used in the CD manufacturing industry, but a lacquer formula used at some point by the UK PDO plant. As far as I can tell, A Trick of the Tail CDs that I own are not affected by the bronzing issue!

The UK PDO CDs are very easy to determine by looking at the center hub of the disc. As shown on scans, the UK PDO plant did not entirely cover their hubs with aluminum coating, whereas the West German CDs have silver center ring all the way down.