Achtung Baby 30: Coloured Vinyl By The Numbers

Original Story by Aaron J. Sams (2021-11-23)

For the 30th anniversary of Achtung Baby U2 issued a limited edition numbered pressing of the album in red and blue vinyl. Before we get started on more details about that release, we are mapping where the numbers are if you have bought a copy and want to share. Please remember it’s early, and many countries did not sell these, so many are waiting for orders to arrive in the post.

The most common question we have been asked since the release of this limited vinyl is “how many copies are there?”

The short answer. We believe there are 20,000 copies.

Looking at 140 copies so far, no number has been above 5000. The number on the back is a four digit number, and when there’s less than four digits, like 75, they fill in the blanks with zeros, so it would say 0075 on the back. We do recognize that North America has not yet received shipments of these items and some stores are still expecting them, so this could change, but to date we haven’t seen any number over 5000. So we believe that these are numbered from 0001 to 5000.

Then why are we saying 20,000 in total?

There are four different versions that have been released. Inside there is a “mystery cover” featuring newly created alternative artwork from the original photography. The four covers include the following:

  • Carnalville (U2 photographed in black and white at Carnival on the front and back)
  • Achtung Baby (Blue Irish cows on the front, the band in blue and red on the back)
  • Achtung Baby (Bono in black and white with an actress on the front and back)
  • Adam (Adam Clayton in blue and red, naked on the front and back covers)

We have confirmed that there were four covers done for this release.

These covers are packaged inside an outer slip case, and the package also includes the original Achtung Baby covers. Both covers and the vinyl fit into an outer red sleeve which features Cosmo, the Achtung Baby on the front cover, and a trabant on the back cover. The trabant on the back has the limited numbering down by the wheels, and a UPC / barcode in the window area. It is a sticker on the back sleeve of the release.

Eagle eyed fans recognized early on that the UPC for each edition was different. There are four different UPC codes and each corresponds to one of the inner sleeves.

  • 6 02438 68634 6 (Nude Adam)
  • 6 02438 68635 3 (Carnalville)
  • 6 02438 68636 0 (Bono)
  • 6 02438 68638 4 (Irish cows)

Retailers are not listing these as separate items. It appears most are shipping out copies randomly. I ordered two copies from Universal in the UK (the limit they allowed) and received two copies that had the same interior cover.

But we can also share that each of those four covers have their own individual set of numbers. It appears that the Carnalville sleeve is numbered from 0001-5000, the Adam sleeve is numbered from 0001-5000, and so on. We have identified that there are duplicate numbers out there.

For those interested in a copy, or maybe trying to track down all four, you can buy them from most Universal online stores worldwide. They are also available online via U2.Com. Limited copies have been appearing in stores in Ireland, the UK, The Netherlands, and perhaps other European countries to date. In Canada stores have started to get copies of the black vinyl in, but Universal music sent out a message last night suggesting both the black vinyl and coloured vinyl would have a new release date, December 3 instead.

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