I quickly adopted all kinds of optical disc technology by the mid 80s. My first CD player was purchased in 1985, and two years later, I finally made the plunge into the specialist laserdisc format of home video, which I’d been considering for long years by that point. I already had βeta format VCRs with hi-fi stereo so I was a videophile at this point in time. looking for the best home video experience. By 1987, I figured the laserdisc format wasn’t going anywhere any time soon, so I dove in and began collecting laserdiscs at a furious clip. I bought around a disc a week for several years. The format lasted another decade before the DVD eliminated it in about 18 months.
Laserdiscs were the first laser read optical media, so the format laid the groundwork for the technologies that followed in its wake, like CD-ROM, compact disc, and DVD. Laserdiscs sold primarily in the US and Japanese markets, which was handy, since both markets used the NTSC broadcast system, making the discs trans-Pacific compatible. If you know my tastes, you can imagine that obtaining music programs was my primary focus. While the US music laserdisc market was dominated by hideously mainstream music title, the Japanese market was wide open with amazing things that never even got releases on video tape in NTSC.
So all of those UK and German home videos by favorite bands got a NTSC release only in the highest quality video format of the time courtesy of our friends in Japan. This made me very happy and I would buy each copy of the Japanese catalog Laserdisc quarterly [at great cost] and wade through the thumbnail images of disc covers looking for things to buy. The catalog numbers were there for every disc in print in Japan each quarter with the cover being about three quarters of an inch square; usually in a green ink. Highlighter in hand, I would write down the catalog numbers and titles I was interested in and send them off in a letter to the dealer on the West Coast that I bought from. Several hundred dollars later, amazing video programs on laserdisc would be delivered to my door. That’s the way it worked for about a decade.
1986 brought with it a new format tailor made for my interests, the CDV, or CD-Video. The 5″ discs were fully compatible with CD players and featured up to 20 minutes of digital video, along with high-quality laserdisc video. By that year, laserdisc players gained digital stereo playback, with the 12″ discs gaining CD quality and all players released after that were fully compatible with CDs as well, so the hybrid format made a kind of sense. The uncompressed analog video [CDVs are incompatible with computer playback] was relegated to about half of the disc area, so only five minutes of video would fit on the golden colored discs. Just perfect for a music video and nothing else.
I bought many of these, but for some reason, there were many titles released in the UK and Europe, so the discs had PAL video on them which were incompatible with US/Japanese laserdisc players. In those cases, it was the audio tracks, rather than the video, that drove my purchase. One of these that remains a feather in my Record Cell’s cap is the New Order “True Faith” DVD that Factory released when that single was new.
New Order: True Faith UK CDV 
- True Faith [Remix 12 Inch]
- Evil Dust
- True Faith [7 Inch]
- True Faith [Video]
What made this a no-brainer was that it was the only place to commercially obtain the Shep Pettibone “Morning Sun Remix” of the triumphant New Order single of the gods. Shep Pettibone and co-writer/producer Stephen Hague were definitely products of their mid-80s time. I have many of their productions in the Record Cell because they worked extensively with my favorite artists of the time, but I can’t get too enthusiastic about much of their oeuvre. I do have to say that everyone involved gave their all for this song, which make no bones about it, was a deliberate attempt to crack the American market. Never has the sound of selling out sounded so magnificent! And it even became a US hit single, so high fives all around. Sure, sure. Point a gun at me and when asked “quick…what’s New Order’s best single,” and I’ll blurt out ‘Temptation!’ But this song is always my number two choice. It’s absolutely, unapologetically glorious.
Not only was the amazing remix of the A-side on this disc, but there was a remix of “Angel Dust” from “Brotherhood,” called “Evil Dust” here, that was only on this CDV. The audio program was rounded out by the 7″ edit of “True Faith” for a neat and tidy package. Who cares if the video wouldn’t play in the laserdisc player? I only had “True Faith” with the 6:00 12″ mix as on the “Substance” 2xCD set that was so valuable at the time. I snatched this puppy up without a second thought, though I can’t remember where exactly I bought it. Possibly from a catalog or at a record show. or was it Park Avenue Discs? Yeah, that seems familiar.
It remained until the DLX RMs of “Brotherhood” in the new millennium for “Evil Dust” to become more broadly available, but Quest Records, the band’s US label, did release a US promo of “True Faith” on CD5 that had the Pettibone remix, but I didn’t run across that until a year after I had already bought this disc, and even so, the cost of that item in the gray market was considerable. Since I had this, I passed.
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