Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Man With The Child In His Eyes - UK 7" White Label Test Pressing

This is a 7” white label test pressing for The Man With The Child In His Eyes. Test pressings are evaluation copies that were created so that a record company could test the quality of a record or single before the master was pressed into the vinyl for mass production. Test pressings helped to determine if everything was properly and correctly made before going into final production, such as making sure the grooves were correct, clean and pressed deeply enough into the vinyl for proper playing etc, etc. Test pressings saved record companies a lot of money, especially if the master was incorrectly made to begin with.

Several different types of test pressings of the same single or album were usually made, but for various reasons. Sometimes they were one-sided or double-sided. Sometimes they featured the finished labels, whereas others had plain white labels (sometimes marked with a letter, and sometimes not). Some had no labels at all. Some were matrix stamped and others only had the matrix numbers handwritten onto the label or sleeve. Some test pressings also came in a finished sleeve, a mock up sleeve of how the finished sleeve should look... while others came in nothing more than a generic paper sleeve.

In this case, this particular one does come in an original first issue picture sleeve. The vinyl inscription that's found on the first issue release of this single is also etched into the run off vinyl of this test pressing. It's not uncommon to find vinyl inscriptions on test pressings, but it's not always the case.

Test pressings survive for a multitude of different reasons. Usually they were destroyed afterward, but if some were sent out to be used by reviewers or other people for promotional reasons, they usually weren't returned afterward and it's really the only reason why things like this survive today.

Test pressings can be difficult to come by these days, and in a lot of cases they're quite rare. A 12" test pressing for The Dreaming, which was supposed to be Kate's first 12" single release (but never happened), will cost you a fortune these days. But it's also highly unlikely you will even find it.

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