a discography and price guide to the kinks' arthur album and related singles

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by — Posted in Record Collecting, The Sixties

THE KINKS' ARTHUR al­bum of 1969 was a smash­ing suc­cess with the crit­ics and the few fans that the once pop­u­lar group still had at the time. It sold bet­ter than any Kinks al­bum had in re­cent mem­ory, but barely graced the best-selling charts. ARTHUR has grown in pres­tige through the years and now both orig­i­nal press­ings and even reis­sues are sought af­ter by col­lec­tors.

There were three sin­gles pulled from the al­bum ses­sions; none were ma­jor hits in the UK or the US. All are rather dif­fi­cult to find—especially in top con­di­tion. This ar­ti­cle is a discog­ra­phy of those sin­gles that fo­cuses on the var­i­ous pic­ture sleeves is­sued with the sin­gle in coun­tries around the world.

I have as­signed sug­gested val­ues for each item in near mint (NM) con­di­tion. Each sells for con­sid­er­ably less in less that tip-top con­di­tion. Note that there are reis­sues of the al­bum on Pye that are con­sid­ered su­pe­rior son­i­cally and can com­mand higher prices than the orig­i­nal press­ing. 

This discog­ra­phy is in­tended as a com­pan­ion piece to the ar­ti­cle "The Kinks On Arthur And Find­ing Shangri-La."


Take a drive with me

Arthur album: photo of the Kinks 1969 tinted rusty red.

The first sin­gle was re­leased in June 1969. Dri­vin' (Pye 7N 17776) was an un­be­liev­ably stu­pid choice for a sin­gle in that heady year. Was it Ray Davies's ob­sti­nate per­son­al­ity telling the times in which he lived to bug­ger off? Or was it re­flec­tive of some func­tionary at Pye who thought a piece about the joys of au­to­mo­bil­ing was ex­actly what young British record-buyers were in the mood for? 

It sold few copies and failed to make any ma­jor chart in any ma­jor mar­ket where it was re­leased. Reprise didn't even re­lease Dri­vin' in the US.

Note that Shangri-La is prop­erly two words with a hy­phen, al­though none of the Eu­ro­pean graphic artists, type­set­ters, or ed­i­tors seem to have known that. Oddly, the same peo­ple got the ti­tle of the pre­vi­ous sin­gle cor­rect (Dri­vin'), even though drop­ping a "g" from the end of a word is a dis­tinctly Amer­i­can habit.

Arthur album: yellow label promo copy of DRIVIN' single on Pye UK.

Arthur album: blue label stock copy of DRIVIN' single on Pye UK.

Eng­land

Pro­mo­tional copies of Pye 7N-17776Dri­vin’ / Mind­less Child Of Moth­er­hood, with yel­low la­bels have a sug­gested NM value of $100–150. Stock copies with blue la­bels can be found with a big hole and the tra­di­tional knock­out cen­ter or with a small, LP-sized hole (called 'solid cen­ter' and pic­tured above). Both press­ings have a sug­gested NM value of $30–50.

Note that the promo has the tra­di­tional 'knock-out cen­ter" as­so­ci­ated with UK press­ings of 45s, while the stock copy has the 'solid cen­ter' that were in vogue at the time. The lat­ter can also be found with the knock-out cen­ter.


Arthur album: picture sleeve to DRIVIN' single on Pye from Denmark.

Den­mark

This pic­ture sleeve is so un­ex­cep­tional with let­ter­ing so dread­ful that it could be ar­gued ugly. Hard to be­lieve pro­fes­sional graph­ics peo­ple were in­volved. Sug­gested NM value of $30–40.


Arthur album: picture sleeve to DRIVIN' single on Pye from France.

France

Fairly drab pic­ture sleeve with a photo of the group sev­eral years old. Sug­gested NM value of $30–40.


Arthur album: picture sleeve to DRIVIN' single on Pye from Germany.

Ger­many

Nicely de­signed pic­ture sleeve: the red bor­der sets off the black and white photo, and the en­larged im­age of Ray gaz­ing upon his band is a very neat touch. My fave of the Dri­vin' sleeves. Sug­gested NM value of $40–60.


Arthur album: picture sleeve to DRIVIN' single on Pye from Holland.

Hol­land (Nether­lands)

Not bad de­sign: the black and white photo tinted blue looks good, but the slanted, red print both­ers me. And Ray's hair looks like it in curlers and what's-his-name looks a bit too much like Tiny Tim. Sug­gested NM value of $50–75.


Arthur album: picture sleeve to DRIVIN' single on Pye from Japan.

Japan

japan­ese pic­ture sleeves tend to be taste­ful, well-designed, and bloody well made. This ap­pears no ex­cep­tion. Sug­gested NM value of $150–200.


Arthur album: picture sleeve to DRIVIN' single on Pye from Norway.

Nor­way

Very taste­ful. Idyl­lic. Al­though it does ap­pear the vil­lage green is need of a mow­ing. Sug­gested NM value of $30–50.

 

Arthur album: picture sleeve to DRIVIN' single on Pye from Portugal.

Por­tu­gal

This pic­ture sleeve's black and white photo makes the Kinks look like the Vil­lage Gray So­ci­ety! In­cred­i­bly rare sleeve in any con­di­tion with a sug­gested NM value of $200–300.

 
 

You can't go anywhere

Arthur album: black & white photo of the Kinks 1969 tinted blue.

The sec­ond sin­gle was Shangri-La, an­other baf­fling se­lec­tion: while Shangri-La is a great track—it can be ar­gued to be the high­light of the album—it is not struc­tured for AM ra­dio play. This should have been shipped as a promo-only to the still-new 'un­der­ground' FM ra­dio sta­tions pop­ping up around the US.

It sold few copies and failed to make any ma­jor chart in any ma­jor mar­ket where it was re­leased. Reprise didn't even re­lease Shangri-La in the US.

Arthur album: yellow label promo copy of SHANGRI-LA single on Pye UK.

Arthur album: blue label stock copy of SHANGRI-LA single on Pye UK.

 

Eng­land

Pro­mo­tional copies of Pye 7N-17812Shangri-La / This Man He Weeps Tonight, with yel­low la­bels have a sug­gested NM value of $100–150. Stock copies with blue la­bels have a sug­gested NM value of $50–60.


Arthur album: picture sleeve to SHANGRI-LA single on Pye from France.

France

Un­ex­cep­tional. Sug­gested NM value of $30–50.


Arthur album: one side of picture sleeve to SHANGRI-LA single on Pye from Germany.

Arthur album: another side of picture sleeve to SHANGRI-LA single on Pye from Germany.

Ger­many

Most sleeves have the same im­age on both sides; here Pye of Ger­many went out of their way with two very dif­fer­ent im­ages. The front is taken from the VIL­LAGE GREEN PRESER­VA­TION SO­CI­ETY al­bum photo ses­sions while the back from a re­cent tele­vi­sion ap­pear­ance. My fave of the Shangri-La sleeves. Sug­gested NM value of $40–60.


Arthur album: picture sleeve to SHANGRI-LA single on Pye from Holland.

Hol­land (Nether­lands)

In­ter­est­ing de­sign: is this record a piece in a big­ger puz­zle, or are the Kinks them­selves the puz­zle piece? Sug­gested NM value of $30–50.


Arthur album: picture sleeve to SHANGRI-LA single on Pye from Japan.

Japan

Typ­i­cal Japan­ese de­sign: taste­ful if less than ex­cit­ing. Sug­gested NM value of $75–150.


Arthur album: picture sleeve to SHANGRI-LA single on Pye from Norway.

Nor­way

Un­ex­cep­tional de­sign and the green is icky, but I kind of like it any­way. Sug­gested NM value of $30–50.


Arthur album: picture sleeve to SHANGRI-LA single on Pye from Portugal.

Por­tu­gal

I don't like the brown tint but I do like the over­all design—even the stamped-on type. Sug­gested NM value of $30–50.

 
 

The rich were so mean

Arthur album: black & white photo of the Kinks 1969 tinted green.

The third and fi­nal sin­gle was Vic­to­ria, which should have been the first sin­gle. Vic­to­ria opened the al­bum and would have been a bril­liant se­lec­tion as the first sin­gle. Alas, by the time Pye got around to it, any im­pe­tus it may have had from be­ing the ini­tial glimpse of the Kinks' new al­bum was lost.

Arthur album: yellow label promo copy of VICTORIA single on Pye UK.

Arthur album: blue label stock copy of VICTORIA single on Pye UK.

Eng­land

Pro­mo­tional copies of Pye 7N-17865Vic­to­ria / Mr. Churchill Said with yel­low la­bels have a sug­gested NM value of $50–100. Stock copies with blue la­bels have a sug­gested NM value of $25–35.


Arthur album: blue label stock copy of VICTORIA single on Pye Canada.

Canada

Like its fel­low for­mer colonists, Cana­dian record buy­ers pre­ferred their 45s with­out the knock­out cen­ters, so Pye pressed them with a clean hole, like Amer­i­can sin­gles. Cana­dian stock copies with blue la­bels have a sug­gested NM value of $15–20.

 

Arthur album: picture sleeve to VICTORIA single on Pye from France.

France

Never cared for the dated pe­riod look. This may have turned Ray Davies on, but I won­der how the other three Kinks saw it. Sug­gested NM value of $30–40.


Arthur album: front of picture sleeve to VICTORIA single on Pye from German.

Arthur album: back of picture sleeve to VICTORIA single on Pye from Germany.

Ger­many

Too goofy for my taste but both col­or­ful and eye-catching. Sug­gested NM value of $30–40.


Arthur album: picture sleeve to VICTORIA single on Pye from Holland.

Hol­land (Nether­lands)

This is some­what bet­ter than the French sleeve be­cause it has the Kinks on it. Sug­gested NM value of $30–40.


Arthur album: picture sleeve to VICTORIA single on Pye from Japan.

Japan

Even more col­or­ful and eye-catching than the Ger­man sleeve but still too goofy for my taste. Sug­gested NM value of $30–40.


Arthur album: pink picture sleeve to VICTORIA single on Pye from Norway.

Arthur album: red picture sleeve to VICTORIA single on Pye from Norway.

Nor­way

Un­ex­cep­tional ex­cept for the or­nate let­ters. The sleeve was is­sued as both pink and red, ap­par­ently both be­ing about equal, with a sug­gested NM value of $30–40. I don't re­ally care for any of the Vic­to­ria sleeves, but if I had to pick one then it would be this for not be­ing a pe­riod piece or be­ing goofy. 


The Arthur album as EP and LP

Arthur album: black & white photo of the Kinks 1969 tinted dark blue.

Arthur as EP album

By the end of the '60s, the extended-play al­bum (EP) was a dead medium in most of the world. Still, I found two EPs for this al­bum:

Arthur album: ARTHUR EP album on Pye from Japan.

Japan

This is an EP (Columbia/Pye YSS-147-Y) with Vic­to­riaDri­vin'Shangri-La, and Vil­lage Green. At­trac­tive sleeve with nice if un­re­mark­able cover de­sign. Sug­gested NM value of $40–60.


Arthur album: ARTHUR EP album on Pye from Mexico.

Mex­ico

This is an EP with Dri­vin' (Mane­jando)Vic­to­ria, Shangri-La, and Mr Churchill Says (Churchill Dice). At­trac­tive sleeve with nice if un­re­mark­able cover de­sign. Sug­gested NM value of $40–60.

Arthur as LP album

I have in­cluded en­tries for en­tries of the orig­i­nal edi­tions of the LP for the coun­try of origin (UK) and the US. As the pack­ag­ing of the al­bum seems to have been the same every­where, I have only in­cluded one true rar­ity . . .


Arthur album: cover of ARTHUR LP album on Pye from England.

Arthur album: original mono label for ARTHUR LP album on Pye from England.

Arthur album: original stereo label for ARTHUR LP album on Pye from England.

Arthur album: Queen Victoria lyric sheet for ARTHUR LP album on Pye from England.

Arthur album: interior artwork for gatefold jacket for ARTHUR LP album on Pye from England.

Orig­i­nal 1969 edi­tions of ARTHUR (NPL-18317, mono, and NSPL-18317, stereo) fea­tured a gate­fold jacket with a record with blue la­bels and in­cluded a lyric sheet in the shape of Queen Vic­to­ria. Com­plete mono copies have a sug­gested NM value of $75–150; com­plete stereo copies have a sug­gested NM value of $150–200. 

A sec­ond edi­tion of NSPL-18317 from 1971 had the same blue-label record but was is­sued in a reg­u­lar (non-gatefold) jacket with­out the lyric sheet. This has a sug­gested NM value of $30–50.

This was the last Kinks al­bum is­sued in both mono and stereo in the UKFor a few words on that, I rec­om­mend this re­view by Monolover.

 

Arthur album: later pressing stereo label for ARTHUR LP album on Pye from England.

Sub­se­quent UK press­ings of NSPL-18317 with gray la­bels are gath­er­ing worth as col­lec­tables, es­pe­cially as cer­tain press­ings are con­sid­ered au­di­bly su­pe­rior to the orig­i­nal. 


Arthur album: cover of ARTHUR LP album on SR International from Holland.

SR In­ter­na­tional, a mail-order mu­sic club in Hol­land, is­sued ARTHUR with this unique cover. It was avail­able only to club mem­bers and has a sug­gested NM value of $300–400.


Arthur in America

Arthur album: black & white photo of the Kinks 1969 tinted brown.

Reprise fi­nally (fi­nally!) re­leased a sin­gle from the Kinks' new al­bum, and guess what? They had there first hit with a Kinks sin­gle in two years! Al­though it wasn't much of a hit: it peaked at #54 on Cash Box but only reach­ing #62 on Bill­board.

Arthur album: white label promo for VICTORIA single on Reprise from America.

Arthur album: brown label stock copy for VICTORIA single on Reprise from America.

Pro­mo­tional copies of Reprise 0863, Vic­to­ria / Brain­washed, with white la­bels have a sug­gested NM value of $25–35; stock copies with brown la­bels have a sug­gested NM value of $40–60


Arthur album: front cover for ARTHUR LP album on Reprise from America with promotional title & timing strip.

Arthur album: white promo label for ARTHUR LP album on Reprise from America.

Reprise RS-6366 as a white la­bel promo record in a stock jacket with a DJ ti­tle and tim­ing strip (above) has a sug­gested NM value of $150–200. A white la­bel promo record in a stock jacket with­out the a DJ strip has a sug­gested NM value of $50–75. 


Arthur album: front cover for ARTHUR LP album on Reprise from America.

Arthur album: original label for ARTHUR LP album on Reprise from America.

Arthur album: Queen Victoria lyric sheet for ARTHUR LP album on Reprise from America.

Arthur album: interior artwork for gatefold jacket for ARTHUR LP album on Reprise from America.

Stock copies of Reprise RS-6366 with red-and-orange 'steam­boat' la­bels. These were is­sued in a gate­fold jacket with the Vic­to­ria lyric sheet. Sug­gested NM value of $30–40 for the com­plete al­bum.


Arthur album: record label for Capitol Record Club pressing of ARTHUR LP album on Reprise from America.

Copies of ARTHUR were man­u­fac­tured by Capi­tol for sale to their record club mem­bers and is­sued as ST-93034. These have a sug­gested NM value of $30–50.


Arthur album: record label for later pressing of ARTHUR LP album on Reprise from America.

Sub­se­quent press­ings of RS-6366 with brown la­bels and the red logo box have lit­tle col­lec­tors value at this time with a sug­gested NM value of $10–15. 


Arthur album: front cover for special folder for promotional press kit for ARTHUR LP album on Reprise from America.

Fi­nally, in 1969 Reprise sent out a spe­cial press kit to se­lect ra­dio sta­tions. It con­sisted of a sleeve (front cover pic­tured above) with a copy of the pro­mo­tional al­bum (above) and the fol­low­ing in­serts:

• a 1-page let­ter from Warner/Reprise;
• a 5-page bio
• a 1-page re­view from Rolling Stone
• a 1-page ex­cerpt from Nik Cohn's book Rock From The Be­gin­ning
• a 1-page re­view by Robert Christ­gau from The Vil­lage Voice
• two 8 x 10" black and white pho­tos

This com­plete pack­age is rather rare with a sug­gested NM value of $250–350.


Arthur album: black & white photo of the Kinks 1969.

FEA­TURED IM­AGE: The photo at the top of this page is of the Kinks in 1969. As you must have guessed by now, I like this photo. As for the Kinks: they came roar­ing back into promi­nence with Lola, one of the most mem­o­rable hits of 1970 ("Well I'm not the world's most mas­cu­line man, but I know what I am and I'm glad I'm a man and so is Lola!")

Ray­mond Dou­glas Davies then de­cided the Kinks were not only an album-oriented group, but a con­cept album-oriented group with a thing for rock-soap-operas. He wrote and they recorded a se­ries of in­creas­ingly flimsy al­bums and lost their mass au­di­ence. Again. But that's an­other story . . .

 


 

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