An Introduction

I first became interested in 4AD, a UK independent record label founded in 1980, towards the end of the '80's. I was falling in love with the music of Dead Can Dance, Clan of Xymox, Pixies, Bauhaus and The Birthday Party and was surprised when the 4AD label sampler "Lonely Is An Eyesore" came out in 1987 that all these bands were from the same label.

After visiting a Pre-Raphaelite exhibition of some American's collection of art, I came to thinking of all this musical art that 4AD have released that may one day drift into obscurity unless someone shows it as art. So now I'm on a crusade, to collect the first ten years of 4AD's releases and exhibit the collection on 4AD's 50th anniversary in 2030. This is a big task which will have some interesting twists and turns along the way.

Friday, 29 June 2012

Bauhaus Dark Entries - 7 Heavenly Versions

First I thought there were four, then I found out there were five, yet so far I have found seven. Seven different variations of the AXIS / 4AD release of Bauhaus’ Dark Entries. Years ago I used to think the song was called “Dog Entries”, doh.. then years later I swore that a single by Florence and The Machine I heard was called “Dark Days Are Over” only to find that it’s actually “Dog Days Are Over”. Damn it! I now call it “Dark days for Rover” (Rover being a popular dogs name the UK)

Ah, slightly off subject there. The Bauhaus single “Dark Entries”. I get the feeling that 4AD were shocked and unprepared for the popularity of Bauhaus and the demand for this single as it has been re-printed so many times.

Version 1

The first release was under the AXIS logo and, of course, the label had to change it’s name to 4AD. Then later Bauhaus moved to Beggars Banquet.The single was also released in the Netherlands. So I can see immediately why there would be at least four versions.But so far I have found seven versions, all slightly different

At last I can share with you what I have discovered and acquired so far (I am so geeky aren’t I?)

The first is the obvious release on AXIS. As shown previously, the 4AD label was going to be originally called AXIS until they discovered another label with the same name. The first four releases where actually done under the name of AXIS, which included the Bauhaus Dark Entries single.

So the first release of Dark Entries was AXIS 3

Axis 3 on Rear sleeve
Red Axis labels

This release is quite distinct as the disc label is obvious. The sleeve is different from the other releases as it only has an AXIS logo on the back, as below

Version 2

The next obvious version is the single released in the netherlands under the Beggars Banquet label

This has the text “venus asleep by paul delvaux” in the bottom left under the picture and also has a Beggars Banquet logo on the bottom right. This is the only sleeve with the beggars banquet logo on the front

The disc label is also very distinctive, with blue Beggars Banquet labels

Beggars Banquet
Beggars Banquet 144 760 Netherlands
Beggars Banquet logo on front
Blue Beggars Banquet labels
144 760

Version 3

The next version has the 4AD traditional blue square labels

Axis 3 and 4AD square on Rear sleeve
Blue square 4AD labels with AD3 Axis Records

The rear sleeve has both the AXIS logo and the Square 4AD logo

There is also a piece of text below these logo’s reading 1980 4AD records Distributed by WEA.....etc. You can see this on the picture above

Version 4

Another 4AD labelled version has the Wrestlers picture on the label, used later than 1980 by 4AD so this must be a re-release, I think it’s safe to assume.

Again the labels are quite distinctive, so to make it easy to define which version is which

4ad Eye logo with AD 3 on Rear sleeve
“Wrestlers” picture label on one side and 4AD eye logo with AD3

....and as before there is another slight sleeve change on the rear of the sleeve

Version 5

The next three versions shown here are all marked as BEG 37 which is a BEGGARS BANQUET catalogue number. The first follows the pattern of progression of some of the earlier versions above

Axis 3, 4AD square and BEG 37 on Rear sleeve
Blue Square 4AD labels with BEG 37

This is the same blue 4AD pattern shown before, but this time with BEG 37 instead of AD3. The rear sleeve also shows a progression, with Axis, 4AD square logo AND BEG 37 showing. The text above the picture now reads (Copyright) 1980 4AD Records

Version 6

The next version is again quite different. The sleeve, however, is the same as the one above, with all three logos. Axis, 4AD square and BEG37. But the disc label is very distinct, with a red Beggars Banquet label

Beggars Banquet
Axis 3, 4AD square and BEG 37 on rear sleeve
Red Beggars Banquet labels BEG 37 K18179
Side 1 - W-2 AD-3 BEG 37A AXIS 3 A-1 MADE IN FRANCE
Side 2 - W-2 AXIS 3 B-1 MADE IN FRANCE AD 3B BEG 37 B

Version 7

Finally, the last version I have found has no picture sleeve. I don’t know if it was issued without one or not. I do know that some versions of records get released, the sleeves are produced separately and records and sleeves can be mixed and matched, overlapping releases at times. So there isn’t a hard and fast rule of sleeve with vinyl. I can only show what I have discovered..

No sleeve
Blue Square 4AD labels with BEG 37
side 1 - W-3 AD-3 BEG 37A AXIS 3 A-1 MADE IN FRANCE
side 2 - AD 3B BEG 37B W-4 AXIS 3 B-1 MADE IN FRANCE

The main difference are the matrices, which are similar to the red labelled Beggars Banquet release but with higher numbers, which may suggest they were around the same time. It would be great to know what order they were produced. The square 4AD labels were typical from 4AD of 1980, while the picture label of 1981-1983. The red Beggars Banquet labels typical of 1979-1980 (especially with the K number as well).

According to this Bauhaus fan site
the single was released by Axis, then while waiting for the name change to 4AD, was issued by Beggars Banquet. Then the rest would be reprints and re-issues

As a bonus, take a look at this. A Dark Entries postcard. As is usual it’s hard to know if it is genuinely of the period, but if it is, this is another lovely extra to the Bauhaus Dark Entries releases

17th March 2013 - A new amendment. Much to my annoyance I have found another version and hope that this is the last. 

Version 8

Same sleeve as version 3
Blue Square 4AD labels with BEG 37
side 1 - W-2 AD-3 BEG 37A AXIS 3 A-1 MADE IN FRANCE
side 2 - AD 3B W-1KD BEG 37B AXIS 3 B-1 MADE IN FRANCE

There are also two very small stamps on the run out, one with the letters LX and another with letters so small that its nearly impossible to make them out, but they look like RLACE.

Is this the last version? Who knows and watch this space...

Sunday, 10 June 2012

The Full AXIS Collection

After acquiring the first AXIS record a few months ago I realised that I had all 4 first releases. This realisation didn’t last very long and somehow I got side tracked. I’ve just figured it out again and got very excited (I’m easy to please!).

The first releases of 4AD weren’t actually under the name of 4AD. Ivo Watts-Russell and Peter Kent were given a budget from the independent label Beggars Banquet and told to start a new label. Ivo and Peter started calling this new label AXIS. The first four releases were made under this label name until they realised there was another record label already called AXIS. The record label they may have been in trouble with could be the Axis label from Australia, a budget label that seemed to mostly deal with EMI re-issues.

Realising that they couldn’t keep the label name AXIS, Ivo Watts-Russell and Peter Kent changed the label name to 4AD.

But four releases had already been produced with the label name as AXIS.

AXIS 1 – The Fast Set – Junction One
AXIS 2 – Bearz – She’s My Girl
AXIS 3 – Bauhaus – Dark Entries
AXIS 4 – Shox – No Turning Back

The first release with the catalogue number AXIS 1 was by a band called The Fast Set and their 7” single Junction One. This was written by David Knight and could be the same person who was involved with Shock Headed Peters and also Danielle Dax later in the decade.

This single seems to sell around the £35 mark, but can sell for over £50. It’s difficult to find this in good condition as the sleeve was made from very thin paper.

The second release was by a band called Bearz with a 7” single called She’s My Girl.

This single on average fetches around £17, but rarely goes for above £19, although that doesn’t stop traders trying. It looks as though it was also released in Italy on the WEA label, with a promo version released as well. Both of these I am yet to confirm

The third release was a lot more successful. The band was Bauhaus and the single called Dark Entries. This wasn’t Bauhaus’ first single as they had released a single before with the label Small Wonder. The success of this single was so great a further 5 versions of this single were subsequently released. I will have a look at all 6 versions soon.

This is a great release to try and get hold of, as traders don’t always know which version is worth more than another, and versions of Dark Entries turn up all the time and are quite common. This version, however, can easily be worth £18 and can fetch up to £35. But some traders will also try their luck, this trader is asking £80!

The fourth and final release from AXIS was from a band called Shox, with their 7” single No Turning Back. This release is also difficult to get in good condition as the sleeve is white, which always dates very easily with printed media. For some reason this seems to fetch a good price, around £22, and can fetch over £48. I’m not sure why this is. This single may have got re-released by Beggars Banquet, again I’m yet to confirm this

The AXIS releases have “A”XIS on side A and “B”XIS on side B

So there you go. The complete AXIS releases. Out of these the Bauhaus Dark Entries single is the most interesting as it got re-released a further 5 times. I was struggling to get all six versions, but if the last one I purchased this last week arrives, I should have all six to show you. Watch this space….