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!
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.
COMMAND QUADRAPHONIC LP CHECKLIST
Persuasive Percussion (Quad Demo Album)
|CQD-40002||Enoch Light/A New Concept of Great Cole Porter Songs||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|
Rufus/Rags to Rufus
NOTES: GF=Gatefold Jacket; G=Gold Label;
M=Multi-Colored Label; Insert=Graphic Insert came with album; *=Two cover
CQD-40017 and CQD-40021 were announced but never released
Below are the remaining Command Quadraphonic album jackets
Modified October 22, 2006
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