|UK Release Date||19 November 1976|
|UK Catalogue Number||Dark Horse K 56319|
|Weeks On UK Chart (to date)||4|
|Peak UK Chart Position||35|
|Lowest Matrix Numbers||K 56319 A4 / K 56319 B5 (lowest I’ve seen)|
Released on 19 November 1976 in the UK and 24 November 1976 in the US, Thirty Three & 1/3 was George’s first album to appear on his own Dark Horse record label. It peaked at number 35 in the UK charts during it’s short four week stay whilst in the US it managed to climb to number 11.
The distribution of Dark Horse records at this time was handled by A&M and George had promised them that this record would be ready by 26 June 1976 (hence the album’s title – not only does it play at 33 1/3 rpm but this would have been George’s 33 1/3 birthday). Unfortunately, due to a bout of hepatitis which delayed the recording, he could not deliver on this promise so A&M, looking to offload the poor selling roster of Dark Horse artists, sued him for $10 million. George settled the dispute by returning the $1 million advance he’d received for the album and signed a new distribution deal with Warner Bros.
Recording of the album took place at George’s Friar Park home studio commencing in May 1976 and finishing in September 1976 with his bout of hepatitis coming between these dates. All the musicians who worked on the album were American and, apart from Billy Preston and Gary Wright, are not really known to me.
The front and back cover of the album are just a close up of George whilst all the photos inside the gatefold were taken at Friar Park. It comes with an inner sleeve containing the lyrics to all the songs. Something that doesn’t strike you immediately about the cover and the inner is that the small 3 at the end of 33 1/3 appears as the Om symbol and not a 3. The only time it doesn’t is on the top left on both sides of the gatefold and on the cover’s spine.
My copy is shown below
UK First Press
The pictures below are of my first press copy which has the matrix numbers K 56319 A8 and K 56319 B12. I don’t know why the matrix numbers should be so high for an album that didn’t sell in vast quantities (the lowest I’ve seen for sale are A4/B5) as the UK albums were actually pressed by CBS and you don’t see many matrix numbers from them much above A3 and B3, even for their big selling albums. It also has GEORGE IS THE DARK HORSE DEIT LA hand etched on side two. Visually the record looks excellent, just some odd light sleeve removal marks, and plays through beautifully, just some occasional very light crackle. The unlaminated sleeve is in very good to excellent condition, some very light ringwear and some shelfwear, most noticable on the corners. The inner sleeve has the odd light mark and small crease but, apart from that, is in excellent condition – no tears or seam splits.
Estimated Value : £10 – £20