ABC RECORDS

The Command label started in the early days of stereo by releasing "audiophile" recordings of what today would be called "Middle of the Road" music. Founded by Enoch Light, these early recordings were done on 35mm film instead of tape, which allegedly gave the audio an improved fidelity. Some of you may be old enough to remember these albums touting that they were recorded on 35mm film.

Enoch Light sold this label to ABC and started Project 3 in the mid '60s, and the Command label floundered. In 1971, at the dawn of the Quadraphonic era, ABC revived the dormant "Command" lineage to affix to their new line of Quadraphonic record albums. Sporting a spiffy logo of two circles intersecting at a box, these first 6 albums were comprised of tracks from the Enoch Light era of the Command label and some specially commissioned to show off the quadraphonic system capabilities. These first 6 albums have the identical layout and graphics inside of the gatefold, with the customary "What is quardraphonic sound?" kind of verbiage common with many quad releases. The covers are all very similar, with the logo at the top and a white cover with a center graphic below the title. There is no mention of "ABC" on the front, only in the fine print on the back. On the inside graphics of each of these 6 albums is a picture of a Sansui QS encoder.

 
     
 

 


A look at the first 6 "Command Quadraphonic" releases from 1971

 
     
 

Once these six demonstration albums were released, it took over 2 years for ABC to release more quadraphonic product. By 1974, Quad had gained momentum, and ABC decided to release some of it's high profile titles in the quadraphonic format. Their decision to use the Sansui QS matrix system probably came down to money. If they chose CD-4 or SQ, they would be paying a royalty for using those respective systems. Sansui, on the other hand, did not charge a royalty for the QS system, only for using the QS logo. Consequently, not only do the ABC Command Quadraphonic albums listed below NOT have a QS logos on them, they do not even specify anywhere on the label or jacket what type of encoding was used!

The post "first-six" album jackets all bear the ABC Command Quadraphonic logo, and were released with two label types. The original albums have the gold label "Command Quadraphonic" label with the CQ logo circling the perimeter of the label (see photo 1). Later releases have the multicolored "ABC Command Quadraphonic" label shown in photo 2. The only confirmed release that came in both label variations is the Steely Dan/Can't Buy a Thrill album. If anyone knows of any others, please let me know.

 
     
 

 

PHOTO 1: Command Quadraphonic Label        PHOTO 2: ABC Command Quadraphonic Label

 

Another odd thing is that there are 5 known releases with two variations of jacket design. The original QS popular releases retained the jacket graphics of their stereo counterparts, with only the ABC COMMAND QUADRAPHONIC badge on the front. It was then decided to create a "frame" around the jacket graphics to further distinguish their quad LPs from the stereo product, similar to the gold border used by Columbia. ABC actually went back and started reprinting the graphics on the earlier non-framed LPs to create a uniformed look for their product. CQD-40006 through CQD-40010 are the ones that I know of that were available in both versions!
(See the scans below)

 

 


CQD-40006 through CQD-40010 were released with two jacket variations as shown above
NOTE: The original issues are the ones WITHOUT the frame on the left

 

 

There were two unreleased LPs, the Joe Walsh "So What" CQD-40017, which shows up in price guides but does not exist, and the Original Cast Recording of  "Mack and Mabel" CQD-40021. For some reason, these never made it to the shelves.

However, one track from the Joe Walsh album, "Falling Down", did appear on a special album made by ABC for the Koss company and their Phase 4+4 Headphones. Purchasers of the headphones received a mail in certificate for a special ABC album (KQD-75) which demonstrated the capabilities of their headphones. This album, Perspectives, also included a portion of the Jimmy Buffett song, "They Don't Dance Like Carmen No More". Buffett was another ABC recording artist who may have been slated for Quadraphonic release.

KOSS KQD-75

 
 

 

COMMAND QUADRAPHONIC LP CHECKLIST

NUMBER TITLE NOTES RELEASED DELETED
CQD-40000
Persuasive Percussion (Quad Demo Album)
GF-G
1971
1978
CQD-40001 Tony Motolla/Guitar..Paris GF-G 1971 1978
CQD-40002 Enoch Light/A New Concept of Great Cole Porter Songs GF-G 1971 1977
CQD-40003 Doc Severenson/Fever GF-G 1971 1977
CQD-40004 Count Basie/Broadway Basie's Way GF-G 1971 1978
CQD-40005 Ray Charles Singers/Love Me With All Your Heart GF-G 1971 1978
CQD-40006 Jim Croce/You Don't Mess Around With Jim GF*-G 1974 1977
CQD-40007 Jim Croce/Life and Times GF*-G 1974 1977
CQD-40008 Jim Croce/I Got a Name GF*-G 1974 1977
CQD-40009 Steely Dan/Can't Buy a Thrill GF*-G/M 1974 1978
CQD-40010 Steely Dan/Countdown to Ecstasy G* 1974 1978
CQD-40011 Four Tops/Keeper of the Castle Insert-G 1974 1977
CQD-40012 Four Tops/Main Street People GF-G 1974 1977
CQD-40013 Grassroots/Their 16 Greatest Hits G 1974 1976
CQD-40014 Three Dog Night/Hard Labor GF-G 1974 1977
CQD-40015 Steely Dan/Pretzel Logic GF-G 1974 1978
CQD-40016 Joe Walsh/The Smoker You Get GF-M 1974 1978
CQD-40017 Joe Walsh/So What   ------ ------
CQD-40018 Three Dog Night/Coming Down Your Way GF-M 1975 1978
CQDY-40019/2 B. B. King and Bobby Bland/Together GF-M 1974 1978
CQD-40020 Jim Croce/Photographs and Memories GF-M 1074 1977
CQD-40021 Original Cast Recording/Mack and Mabel   ------ ------
CQD-40022 B. B. King/Friends M 1974 1978
CQD-40023 Rufus/Rufusized GF-M 1975 1978
CQD-40024
Rufus/Rags to Rufus
M
1974
1976

NOTES: GF=Gatefold Jacket;  G=Gold Label;  M=Multi-Colored Label;  Insert=Graphic Insert came with album; *=Two cover variations
CQD-40017 and CQD-40021 were announced but never released

 

Below are the remaining Command Quadraphonic album jackets

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Modified  October 22, 2006

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