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How Can I Identify A First Press Queen Vinyl Record?

Queen's self titled debut album from 1973

Tom |

It very much depends on which album you are wanting to know about. Things like how the record's inner sleeve corners are cut and specific matrix details can help to identify a first press Queen record.

In today's blog, we'll take a chronological look at all of Queen's studio album releases, and tell you how you can identify a first press release of each!

1 - ‘Queen', 1973

Queen's first studio album released in 1973

A first press release of Queen's self-titled 1973 debut album can be identified by the inclusion of 3U/2U matrix numbers. First press releases of this album will often have square corners on their inner sleeve.

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2 - ‘Queen II', 1974

The first press of Queen's second studio album has some rather interesting features

Released a year after their debut album in 1974, first press releases of 'Queen II' can be identified by the "℗ 1974 Trident Audio Productions Ltd." At the top of the label, just above the album title name.

As well as this, first presses of Queen II will include an inner sleeve that has three out of its four corners cut diagonally.

Browse our Queen II LPs

Second Hand Queen Records

3 - ‘Sheer Heart Attack', 1974

Sheer Heart Attack by Queen
Sheer Heart Attack was released in the same year as Queen II

Sheer Heart Attack's first presses have a few distinguishing factors that set them apart from other issues. Firstly, the sleeve's rear will not show a 'Trident' logo as other releases will. Secondly, an inner sleeve with two cut corners will be included - these cut corners are located on both top sides of the inner sleeve.

A smaller, but still incredibly relevant detail also lies in what is printed onto the inner sleeve. A small 'G&L' can be found directly under the Queen crest on the inner sleeve of first presses. This text was replaced with 'QUEEN PRODUCTIONS LTD 1975' on later issues.

Shop For Queen - Sheer Heart Attack Records

4 - 'A Night At The Opera', 1975

'A Night At The Opera' featured an embossed sleeve design

First press releases of 'A Night At The Opera' can be identified through the use of an embossed sleeve design. It will also include an inner sleeve that has three cut corners.

There is speculation as to whether first presses of this album can feature an inner sleeve with all four corners cut, but many think that this was a mistake made at manufacturing, and not a specific first press feature.

Shop For Queen - A Night At The Opera Records

5 - ‘A Day At The Races', 1976

A Day At The Races can be a little trickier to identify...

One of the more difficult Queen records to identify first presses of. As there weren't many UK releases of this particular album, the best way to see if you have an early press is to look out for the text '7612 G&L' on the rear side of the sleeve, as well as 'Recorded in England July to November 1976' on the inside of the gatefold. Early press releases of this record will also have four cut corners on its beige-coloured inner sleeve.

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6 - ‘News Of The World', 1977

News of the world by Queen
The 'G&L' mark is again evident on initial releases of News Of The World

The 'G&L' mark makes another appearance on the inner sleeves of early press releases of News Of The World. As well as this, the red-coloured die-cut inner will have four rounded corners, as opposed to a varying number of cut corners seen on previous releases.

Another thing to look out for here would be the '© 1977 Queen Productions Ltd' and

'Made in Great Britain.' text lines that are visible on both sides of the record's label.

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7 - ‘Jazz', 1978

Jazz by Queen
The '1U 1U' matrix information is a key detail for Jazz's first press releases

First press releases of 'Jazz' from 1978 included an embossed sleeve design, with the pink 'Jazz' text being raised. As well as this, original releases of this gatefold album also came with an uncensored 'Bicycle Race' poster. These details, coupled with '1U 1U' matrix information can make for a pretty desirable release!

Other details to look out for with 'Jazz' include the text 'EMA 788 (I)' as well as the 'G&L' mark found on the rounded-corner die-cut inner sleeve.

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Can't find the Queen album you're wanting to know about? Check back soon for the full list!

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