New Order: Touched By The Hand Of God JPN CD-3 
- Touched By The Hand Of God 
- Touched By The Hand Of Dub 
I remember the late 80s introduction of 3″ CD singles vividly. The first one I saw in the stores was Frank Zappa’s “Peaches En Regalia” but not having the Frank Zappa gene meant that I had to wait some months before finally getting one of the things into my home. What’s not to love? A CD-3 looked as cute as a Chu-Bop® but it sounded a whole lot better! Probably tasted better, too. Before they were rolled out in retail, I actually remember having anticipatory dreams about finding some of my favorite artists singles back catalogue in record stores as CD-3s! Unfortunately, the day never came when one could actually buy Cab Volt’s “Just Fascination/The Crackdown” 12″ single on the tiny format.
In a perfect world, I would have a finite, but comfortable, amount of money and no job. One of my hobbies would be to burn CD-3s of every single by artists I collected with full, elaborate mini jewel cases sporting slick artwork. Then, all of the hundreds of singles I made would be compiled in thick, three-ring binders with plastic insert pages holding nine CD-3s per side. And the binders would have elaborate inserts touting the contents within. And I would spend hours poring over the beautiful objects in detail. Sigh.
So since most of the CD3s in my collection live off-rack in a mini milk crate of the sort that my 7″ singles live in, I have decided that I needed to pay more attention on them, since listening to music in a car [like 80% of my listening] precludes playing the physically incompatible discs. The first disc I’ll examine is a bit of a doozy.
By the time I purchased this single in Tampa’s Vinyl Fever, it was possible to drop $15 a pop on Japanese CD-3s which were among the most exclusive and desirable [not to mention expensive] music objects imaginable. One night I was shopping in Vinyl Fever before some concert that I can’t exactly remember. I didn’t see too many shows in Tampa, but my ticket cache is at home right now as I type these words at work on my lunch hour. So I have no way of checking.
I already had the UK CD-5 of “Touched By The Hand Of God” and it only had the 12″ version of the A-side on it, in addition to the then-m.i.a. original 12″ mix of “Temptation” and the 1987 dub mix of “Confusion.” When I found this puppy in the glass case at Vinyl Fever’s checkout I had to investigate further. To my delight, I saw that it replicated the UK 7″ of the title with the single mix of the A-side and a dub mix on the B-side that was not on the CD single that I already had. As far as I can see, “Touched By The Hand Of Dub” has only ever surfaced on CD in Japan; in its 7″ mix [4:12] on this disc and in its full 12″ monty [5:36] on the 5″ Japanese CD single of this title [Factory 15CY-5017].
The 3.375″ x 6.875″ disc came in what was called a snap-pack as shown at left. The waffle-shaped part of the plastic tray as seen at lower right would be flexed and broken off, allowing the paper cover to be folded up to be made into a neat 3.375″ square package with a plastic tray/spindle holding the disc safely inside. The inside of the cover usually had the lyrics printed on it.
Japanese CD-3s were all of this format and I bought them when I was lucky enough to come across examples of them by groups that I collected. Not may filtered down to the humid climes of Florida where I lived, and those that did, were pricey. I may have a dozen or so Japanese snap-packs. In 1988, buying any and all New Order singles was still very much a going concern. But by the 1990s, the band’s inertia, coupled with their tepid “Republic” album served to taper off my New Order music purchases.
– 30 –
My favorite of the few CD3 titles I own is Sylvian/Sakamoto “Forbidden Colours” b/w “Bamboo Houses” and “Bamboo Music”. For some reason the 3″ format seems so perfect for this one.
I have nothing to say about New Order or CD3s…just want to comment on Vinyl Fever. You know it closed last year, right? I bought a cool commemorative T-shirt celebrating its 30-year existence. I didn’t get down there too often after I moved to the ‘burbs in Pasco county, but it was definitely a great store.
zoo – That’s devastating news! Every trip to Tampa, from the very first [1985 Tears For Fears at the USF Scumdome] to the last, was incomplete without a stop in at Vinyl Fever! Of course, the Fletcher location was world class. Oh for the records I didn’t buy there and never saw again! The Sundays when my friends and I would trek over for a record show at Curtis Hixon Hall, followed by a visit to VF afterward were legendary. I just did a bit of looking and I never visited their last location since I had already escaped Florida’s gravitational pull in 2001.
Catching up on your posts after a week incommunicado on Fire Island in NY. This was certainly a good way to start! I have about 30 or so cd-3’s and I have to agree with Mr. Ware, the Sakamoto/Sylvian Forbidden Colours cd-3 is among my prize possessions, in fact Virgin was quite fond of the format for a few years…I have Sylvian’s Pop Song on cd-3 and there was a whole series of VA releases with acts like PiL, Japan, Heaven17 and others…But other labels, like Warner Bros. didn’t want to deal with the packaging issue and would release cd-3’s in full size jewel cases with an outside ring on them. This was a flimsy and really odd thing to deal with. All my Sisters of Mercy cd-3’s came this way. If you had a Sony multi-disc changer you already had the cd-3 tray built into the 5″ tray so this ring was not a big deal.
I was so into the format that I went out and bought a CROWN (SONY cheap line) cd-3 player which was 4 inches square and had a 12-v rechargeable battery which slid on one side. IT WAS HEAVY, but made for conversation on airplanes in the late 80’s and early 90’s.
As for Vinyl Fever, I did a good bit of buying there when I first moved down. I made it to the closing last few days and it was a bit dispiriting.
And as for New Order and Touched By The Hand Of God — I think it’s the last release of theirs that didn’t smell of chart chasing. It is part of a series of releases which stared with Perfect Kiss and ended with TBTHOG that was really untouchable. The fact that the really horrd Blue Monday 88 was the next release speaks fathoms.
Echorich – Wow! A dedicated CD-3 player? Never saw that one! I have about 50-60 CD-3s. One day I’ll have to put a gallery in my blog on them. Yeah, the adapter was almost worthless, except for if I wanted to play them in my CD boombox, which was the only way to listen in the car until my current vehicle.
“Blue Monday 1988” was horrid, wasn’t it? When are those po-mo mixes ever good. Wait… some of the Simple Minds ones have been [while others haven’t]. But back to New Order, yeah, I have the “Technique” singles and it ends there for me. The next thing was the wretched “World In Motion” single, which stuck the knife in New Order, personally. What I heard from “Republic” was not inspiring. I’ve heard nothing further, thought I have seen it in stores.
Interesting thing about the England World Cup songs…they alway seem to tank and some other track becomes the unofficial song. The one that gets me if from the late 90’s and featured Ian McCulloch and Will Sargent along with The Spice Girls, Space and Ocean Colour Scene. Possibly the most embarrassing moment ever for The Bunnymen and then to be totally devastated in the charts by a re-release of the Lightning Seeds Three Lions.
Echorich – I always thought that PWEI’s “Touched By The Hand Of Ciccolina” was a devastating parody of New Order’s attempt! The only effort that didn’t stink was “The Official Colourbox World Cup Theme,” which apparently came close to being used by the BBC for their coverage. And yet they ultimately didn’t? What were they thinking? It was a track of sheer perfection in form and content!!?