I remember a lot of stereo releases were recorded at Quadraphonic Sound Studios, James Gang "Straight Shooter" and "Passin' Through" are two that immediately come to mind. Despite being on ABC who were releasing Quad (Command label) at the time none of these were encoded! So many missed opportunities in the quad era!
I'm going a little off topic, but I get the impression that a lot more was mixed than we are aware of. I know people like Steve Hoffman has said in the past (when asked) he's seen Quadraphonic mixes in some vaults that NOBODY knows about and he would know as he's pretty much THE guy to get access like that. Why would he lie? Too bad he is contractually obligated to keep his lips sealed.
But there have been some recent discoveries that not only confirmed the existence of KNOWN
unreleased Quad albums; but also confirmed the existence of albums that we had NO idea were even considered! I mean, you'd think that in the 50 years since the Quad era, that even Elvis folks would've somehow gotten wind there was at least one Elvis Quad mix left on the shelf.
I'm starting to think more and more that it came down to production capacity and/or production scheduling. I'm kinda drawing on this idea from the car world, specifically American Motors (a marque I'm more than familiar with). AMC, like many smaller companies had products in high demand. Problem being they were just that: small companies with limited production capacity. AMC could have sold more cars if they could've only built
more cars. Not to get too detailed but they had three production lines at the Lakefront Kenosha plant and only two lines in Brampton, Ontario for the small cars. 1973 was their peak year for sales and they STILL couldn`t get 400,000 cars to market. By the time they upgraded the Brampton plant in 1979, it was a case of "too much, too late". Sure, they now had capacity to produce in excess of 500,000 cars annually.... but they didn't have a product that anybody wanted!
I've heard stories that some reproduction places were running 24/7 and could not keep up with demand. But not only that, there was only so much polyester-backed magnetic tape in the world.... there was just only so much production capacity. I would also wager that production scheduling went towards the more necessary stuff ie: stereo. So, the hot ticket stereo tape would get the lions share of production, then and only then would the niche-market Quad stuff get a limited run because the NEXT hot stereo title was due to be done....
Heck, even in the 80's.... maybe it was different depending on where you lived, but on average it took 2 to 3 YEARS before a film that was at the theatre made it to home video. In my mind, Star Trek II was a 1985 movie because that's when we got the VHS tape. Imagine my surprise years later when I learned that movie was actually released in '82.
So, I guess my point is y'know.... don't lose hope. If it was recorded at a Surround-Sound friendly studio, and they recorded on a Quad-friendly label.... there might be a pretty good chance that a 4-channel mix was at least attempted.
Whether or not that tape still exists and/or can be found is a completely different topic altogether. But.... I can safely say I do believe we've turned a corner and while the big record companies are playing cautious.... I think they have finally come to the realization that there could be money in some of those "old, worthless Quad recordings".