Limited Edition RSD Booklet - Two Versions!
Original Story by Aaron J. Sams (2017-04-23)
Yesterday was Record Store Day. As expected, U2 released 7000 copies of a 12-Inch picture vinyl of “Red Hill Mining Town”. The release was done in conjunction with Record Store Day, an annual event celebrating the independent Record Store. The vinyl was only released in countries that participate in Record Store Day. The release was not numbered.
However, there was a limited edition booklet given out as well. And those were numbered.
The booklet is approximately 8.5-inches by 12-inches, and has an orange coloured cover, which reads “From Desert Springs Everything” or perhaps “Everything From Desert Springs,” which is seen inside. The Joshua tree silhouette is in the centre of the text. Below it the booklet says “The Joshua Tree 1987 – 2017”. The contents of the book are varied, they contain interviews, photos, and text. Our friends at u2tour.de have done an excellent summary look at the contents if you would like to see more images.
We have done some digging for information on this released item and we’ve uncovered a few things that you may have missed.
- The booklet was done up for official promotion of the thirtieth anniversary of The Joshua Tree by U2. These are official, and were distributed through official channels.
- The books are all hand-numbered between 1 and 1500.
- On the back of each book is an address for Island Records in the UK, and we were initially told that these were produced by Island in the UK.
There are actually two different booklets it appears. In Europe and the UK, the booklet is not numbered on the back of the book. It is numbered inside the back cover. Where it is numbered there is a small printed area which says “/1500” and above that area is where the booklets are hand numbered.
In North America, the booklet is slightly different. There, the book is numbered on the back cover below the Island Records address. Under the hashtag #U2TheJoshuaTree2017 is an additional line and a printed number symbol. It is on this line that the booklet is numbered, and both the individual number and the bottom ‘1500’ were numbered by hand.
We’ve gathered enough information to say with some confidence that there were 500 of these booklets distributed through Europe. 50 copies were sent to Hamburg Germany for promotion (we believe #250 – 300), and all were distributed at one shop there called “Michelle Records” (Thanks to U2tour.de for this information). Copies were also made available in The Netherlands, and we were told that less than 50 copies were sent to that country. A small number of copies were made available in Ireland, with 10 copies being made available to Tower Records on Dawson Street in Dublin, and another 10 copies being made available at Music Zone in Cork City. The remainder of the 500 copies were distributed to the UK, with copies being found throughout that country, including Scotland, and in Northern Ireland. The highest numbered copy we have been able to identify in the UK is number 486, distributed in Brighton, UK.
The North American version of the booklet, with the numbering on the back of the book exists in 1000 copies. These were distributed only in the USA and Canada to our knowledge, with the bulk of these going to shops in the USA. Five stores in Canada received copies, in small quantities, in Halifax, Hamilton, Kitchener and Toronto and one as yet unknown city. Most shops in the USA reported getting between 3 – 5 copies of the booklet, if they got any at all. In most cases they were given out with the vinyl itself. The lowest numbered copy we have been able to identify in the North American market is #509, distributed in Seattle, Washington. The numbers appear to have been randomly sent out in most cases, resulting in numbers being different across the country, but each shop would get a close ‘cluster’ of numbers, such as a store in Salt Lake City, Utah which received #1497-1500.
There are some slight differences in the print between the North American version and the European version of the booklet.
The cover stock is darker on the European version, a darker orange colour, and is also more textured than the flat cover on the North American version. Placed side by side they are the same size, but there is a small difference in the covers. Below we have covers side by side – in both case the European version is on the left, and the North American version is on the right. (As you can see the extra line of text on the back of the North American version has the circle moved slightly upwards on the back cover as well.)
The paper used in the European book is also a bit thinner and a little more yellow than that of the paper used in the North American book. Below is a picture of the European book in behind, and the North American version on top, allowing for a comparison of the two colours of paper. This difference in colour can also be seen in the final photo, which is the inside back cover, again with the European version at the back. When photographed you can see some of the image from the back of the page in the European version, this is not the case with the North American version.
Another difference between the two booklets comes on one of the early pages in the booklet itself. In the booklet there is an error and Songs of Innocence is written as Sons of Innocence? Regardless if it was an error or planned, in the booklet distributed in the USA, the “Sons” is crossed out and replaced in each booklet with a printed “Songs” in someones handwriting. Each book we have seen shows the same exact strike through the word, and the exact same replicated “Songs”. This is not corrected by hand, but was rather corrected prior to the booklet being printed. All 1000 copies are expected to be the same, and we’ve had the opportunity to compare a number now.
The version of the booklet in the EU was not corrected prior to printing. It appears this was corrected after the booklet was printed. You can see in two photos from EU booklets, that the “Sons” is crossed out differently (one has two lines coming together, the other has two lines moving apart) and the “songs” is written in by hand, in what appears to be pencil in one case. It appears that all 500 copies may have been ‘fixed’ by hand.
If it was an error, it is an interesting one, as when “Songs of Innocence” was released, it was typeset so that it read “Son gs of Innocence” in most cases, highlighting the “Son” on a cover in which the centre of attention was Larry Mullen’s son. Examples of these can be seen below, three copies of the North American booklet are seen on the left, and two copies of the European booklet are seen on the right. The differences in colour is not evidence that these are of different qualities, as these were photographed by different cameras under different lighting conditions.