November 14, 2014 6:03 am
Neal Augenstein, wtop.com
WASHINGTON – Most of us know the Beatles’ first-ever U.S.concert was at the Washington Coliseum, but fewer know “Abbey Road” and some of the band’s other records were pressed in Winchester, Va.
“Capitol Records opened the Winchester plant in late 1969,” says Beatles author and historian Bruce Spizer. “They had plants in Scranton, in Los Angeles, and Jacksonville, Illinois.”
Most of the Beatles’ earliest American records were pressed in the Scranton, Pa. plant, which was phased out in the early ’70s, Spizer says.
“Since it didn’t come onboard until late 1969, the original Capitol albums with the rainbow labels and orange and yellow swirls, none of them were pressed (in Winchester),” he says.
“You had ‘Abbey Road’ being the first Beatles album pressed in Winchester. After that the ‘Hey Jude’ and ‘Let It Be’ albums,” Spizer says.
“Most interesting for collectors, the Beatles’ ‘Christmas Album’ was pressed exclusively at the Winchester factory,” he says.
Located on Shawnee Drive, with nearby Capitol Lane, the Winchester plant “was more automated” than the Scranton facility, Spizer says.
“The other advantage that Winchester had was the employees in Scranton were union members,” he says.
Virginia was and is a right-to-work state.
“One of the other motivations was the cost-savings they had by getting this Winchester plant online and phasing out Scranton,” said Spizer.
Spizer says the records pressed in Winchester were clearly differentiated from albums made in other plants.
“Capitol’s different factories had different markings,” Spizer says.
Markings can be found in the trail-off area after the records playable grooves, he says.
Scranton had a triangle with “IAM” on it, which was a union mark. Los Angeles had a star. Jacksonville had a zero or “0.”
“Winchester had something that collectors had always described as something that looked like a thin-stemmed wine glass, but in reality was a crude drawing of a Winchester rifle,” Spizer says.
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