"Girlfriend In A Coma"|
UK 7" [Rough Trade RT197]
There are four different versions of the UK 7" single out there. They differ mainly by the colour of the front artwork, one has a different back and one does not have the standard push-out centre. Like all Smiths singles before it, the sleeve is rigid and glossy. The labels are black with grey text in the classic Rough Trade layout.
- grey artwork, push-out centre
The most common version has a grey tinted version of cover star Shelagh Delaney on the front (view front and back artwork in left menu) and a push-out centre.
RT 197 A-1U-1-1-1 / RT 197 B-1U-1-1-1
RT 197 A-1U-1-1-10 / RT 197 B-1U-1-1-1-2-1
- grey artwork, solid centre.
This is like the above, but the record has a solid centre
- green artwork, push-out centre
Some copies of the 7" were released in a sleeve showing the green variation of the artwork generally seen on the 12" format (view left). These are usually referred to as mispressings, although there is no evidence that they are the result of a mix-up. It is actually more likely that this variation was planned. Though it is much less common than the grey sleeve 7", it is still not extremely rare. The record inside looks just like the regular one although it seems to differ in the matrix numbers (to be validated with other peoples' copies).
RT 197 A1 / RT 197 B1
- green artwork+ mispressed back, push-out centre
Unlike the previous version, this one is without doubt a mispressing.It also features on the front the green variation of the artwork generally associated with the 12" format, but the back mentions two b-sides just like the 12" back while still retaining the 7" format "RT197" catalogue number and barcode at the top. Again, the record inside looks just like the regular one although it may differ in the matrix numbers (to be verified).
7" records featuring white labels with black text are actually Holland pressings despite having the line "Made In England" printed at the bottom of the labels. See Holland section below.
UK 12" [Rough Trade RTT197]
There are also more than just one version of the 12" artwork, but in this case the difference is only found on the front of the sleeve. The record in all cases is slipped inside a black glossy die-cut inner sleeve with the catalogue number printed in white in the top right corner on one side. The labels are dark charcoal with grey text in the classic Rough Trade layout.
- green artwork
The most common 12" sleeve shows the green variation of the artwork on the front (view front and back from left menu)
RTT 197 A-1U-1-1-0 / RTT 197 B-1U-1-1-2
RTT 197 A-1U-1-1-8 / RTT 197 B-1U-1-1-4
RTT 197 A-2C-1-1- (without the usual matrix message) / RTT 197 B-1U-1-1- 12
- grey artwork
Some copies of the 12" were released in a sleeve showing the grey variation of the artwork generally seen on the 7" format (view left). The shade actually varies from grey to purple/maroon at times. These are usually referred to as mispressings, although there is no evidence that they are the result of a mix-up. It is actually more likely that this variation was planned. Though it is much less common than the green sleeve variation, it is still not extremely rare.
RTT-197 A1 / RTT-197 B1
RTT 197 A-1U-1-1- / RTT 197 B-1U-1-1-
UK 7" grey+green artwork [Rough Trade RT197]
UK 12" grey+green artwork [Rough Trade RTT197]
Some copies of both formats are sometimes seen in a picture sleeve with front artwork that is mostly grey, but with a bit of green at the edges. There is no consensus amongst collectors as to why those sleeves ended up being that way. Some believe that they are the result of a misprint having occurred at the pressing plant while others think that it may only be discoloration. The latter theory is backed by the fact that the green usually appears at the edges which would often stick out slightly from a stack of 7"s or 12"s on a shelf; so the edges exposed to light would have discolored over the years. On the other hand a discoloration from green to grey would make sense, but one from grey to green not so much. Any factual information or theory on the matter is welcome.
RT 197 A1 / RT 197 B1 (7")
UK CMS [Rough Trade RTT197C]
Not to be left out, the cassette-single artwork is also available in two variations. Both show an uncropped version of the Shelagh Delaney image on the front. The difference between the two versions is found on the spine. In one case the text there is very light grey like the front image while in the other case it is pink like the rest of the text. The back in both cases only shows a barcode. The first insert panel features general recording credits and the second panel a track listing with production and mixing credits. The cassette in both cases is made of black plastic. The labels on it are black with silver text.
UK sheet music [Warner Bros Music Ltd and IMP 21014]
The sheet music for this single includes tabs to the three songs featured on it. View here.
UK 12" promo [Rough Trade RTT197]
The main promotional tool for "Girlfriend In A Coma" was the white label 12" record. Most copies seem to have been distributed in glossy black custom die-cut sleeves, but some may have been slipped inside stock ones.
RTT 197 A-1U-1-1-/RTT 197 B-1U-1-1-
UK 7" promo [Rough Trade RT197]
Stock copies of the 7" format were also used for promotion, albeit of a more limited nature. These have a white and blue Ferret'n'Spanner plugger sticker on the front of the sleeve.
UK video promo [Vanderquest]
This single is also one of the very few by the Smiths for which a promo video was put together. The one-track promo videocassette was distributed inside a plain slipcase. It has a generic white Vanderquest sticker on its edge with printed red Vanderquest logo and phone numbers, and typewritten "The Smiths" and "Girlfriend In A Coma".
UK press sheet
A 1-sided press sheet on white A4 paper and dated "22nd July 1987" was sent to media or retail, presumably with one of the promotional items described above. The press release is very basic as it does not show any logo or identification from Rough Trade nor any contact information for a record plugger. It is dated "22nd July 1987" at the top and served to promote this single as well as the "Strangeways Here We Come" album. The text consists mainly of information about the musical content of the two releases, thanks to the two cover stars and announcements for an upcoming South Bank Show special and for "live dates ... being discussed at present" (though we know that the band had split up by the time these releases reached the shelves of record shops).
UK 30cm x 60cm promo poster (12" x 24")
View here. This uses the green variation of the artwork. Posters have been seen with the grey variation, but these appeared quite late on the collectors market and are presumed to be counterfeit.
UK 100cm x 150cm promo poster (40" x 60")
Subway size poster. View here (better flat photo needed).
UK 7" test pressing [Rough Trade RT197]
A 7" white label test pressing of "Girlfriend In A Coma" has made it into the hands of music collectors. It has a push-out centre, which is a bit unusual as most Smiths test pressings have a solid centre. Most, if not all copies have the band name, title and "2.02" handwritten on the a-side label. It comes in a stock picture sleeve.
UK proof of 12" artwork - green
A printers proof of the green variation of the 12" artwork has made it into the hands of collectors. It shows the front and back of the sleeve, side by side, with colour and proofing bar. The back is the same as the definitive version. A variation has been seen with a simple green bar over the image side instead of the colour proofing bar.
UK proof of 12" artwork - grey
This is just like the above, but it shows the grey variation of the artwork on the front.
UK proof of 12" artwork - purple/maroon
A printers proof of a purple/maroon variation of the 12" artwork has also made it into the hands of collectors. However, unlike the definitive artwork, the portions of white between the strands of hair on Shelagh's right side were not filled with black. Just like other proofs of 12" sleeves, this one shows the front and back side by side, with colour bar, registration and proofing bars. The back is the same as the definitive version.
UK proof of 12" artwork - very pale grey
An earlier printers proof shows Shelagh Delaney in very light grey, much lighter than on the grey variation that saw a limited release. Just like other proofs, the front and back are shown side by side, with proofing bars. There are no differences on the back.
UK proof of 12" artwork - very pale grey, pink titles
This proof is from an even earlier stage of the sleeve design. Shelagh appears in very pale grey just like on the previous item, but the loose strands of hair on her right side were painted over with the background black (which means they were removed from the picture). More interestingly, "The Smiths" on the front appears in baby pink. The back is as we know it.
Australia 7" [CBS 651099-7]
The Australian 7" always features the green variation of the artwork on the front. The sleeve is just as thick and glossy as in the UK. The back is the expected variation on the UK back: the catalogue number and barcode at the top were replaced with the Australian catalogue number, a line under the title track mentions that it is from "Strangeways Here We Come", and additional CBS credits were added above the Rough Trade logo. The record features the usual Australian green labels with a red silhouette of a man. Collectors who play their records will also have noticed that the b-side "Work Is A Four-Letter Word" is slightly shorter on the Australian 7" than it is in other countries, as the song fades out during the vocals.
Australia 12" [CBS 651099-6]
The Australian 12" has a thin sleeve and always features the green variation of the artwork on the front. The back is like the UK back, but the catalogue number and barcode were replaced with the Australian catalogue number and the "Made in England" line at the bottom was replaced with Australian credits. The record is slipped inside a round-bottom anti-static inner sleeve. It features the usual green labels with a red silhouette of a man.
Australia 7" promo [CBS 651099-7]
Stock copies were made into promos by having the words "Promotion Only Not For Sale" stamped in gold on the back of the sleeve.
Australia 12" promo [CBS 651099-6]
Stock copies were made into promos by having the words "Promotion Only Not For Sale" stamped in gold on the back of the sleeve.
France 7" [Virgin 90349]
The French 7" usually shows the grey variation of the artwork on the front although copies with green artwork are sometimes seen for sale here and there. The sleeve is glossy and just slightly less thick than in the UK. The back is based on the UK back, but the "Made in England" line was dropped and the barcode was moved to the top right corner with Virgin's logo and catalogue number. There's a Glory printers credits in very small print along the right edge. The record has a large hole at its centre. Its labels are silver injection moulded ones with black text.
France 7" promo [Virgin 90349]
Stock copies were made into promos by being stamped with a promo warning in the top left corner of the sleeve. The stamp states "Disque gratuit interdit a la vente", the words forming an embossed circle.
The sleeve of some copies of this promo have a bit of green around the edges, some more, some less. This has also been observed for UK and Holland sleeves. See UK "grey+green" entries above for more on the subject.
Germany 12" [Line 609438]
Although the title track on this item is "Girlfriend In A Coma", it is actually a double a-side with "Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before" and is described in the latter single's collectors appendix.
Greece 12" [Virgin VG-2090Z]
The green variation of the artwork was used on the front of the Greece 12". The back is similar to the back of the British 12", with a few alterations made to credit the involvement of Virgin Greece. The anti-static inner sleeve is thick and waxy. The labels are the classic Virgin ones, green on one side and red on the other. "I Keep Mine Hidden" is credited on them as being 1:75 minutes long.
Greece 12" promo [Virgin VG-2090Z]
Promo copies were stamped on the b-side label with the promo warning "AEH MA AΓPEAN" and distributed with a promo A4 press sheet.
Holland 7" [Rough Trade RT197]
This item is labeled as a Holland pressing although there is absolutely nothing on it marking it as such. It actually has the line "Made In England" printed on the labels and is therefore often advertised as a British pressing. However it was pressed in the Netherlands and is most commonly found around there and neighbour countries such as Belgium. The biggest difference between it and the British edition is the labels, which are white with black text in the classic Rough Trade layout. The sleeve is also thinner than the UK sleeve and there are three different versions of it. The most common is the grey variation. Copies featuring green or purple/maroon variations have also been reported but these are much rarer. There are actually variations in colour even within the green tinted sleeves, as some are significantly paler than others.
Italy 7" jukebox [YD729]
"Girlfriend In A Coma" was not released as a single in Italy. This jukebox 7" is described in the collectors appendix of "Strangeways Here We Come".
Portugal 7" [Transmedia RT197]
The Portuguese 7" is quite rare. Its front artwork isn't green or grey like most other places, but brown. The text on the back is also brown instead of the usual pink. Its layout is basically the same as in the UK, but the barcode was dropped, the catalogue number was moved to the top right corner and Transmedia credits were added at the bottom. The record has a big hole at its center. Its labels are off-white with black text in the classic Rough Trade layout. Most copies have "Made in England" at the bottom of them, but it appears that some copies may not.
Spain 12" [Nuevos Medios 41-271M]
The sleeve of the Spanish 12" is particularly sturdy and shiny, unlike some other earlier Smiths 12"s from that country. It features the green version of the artwork on its front. The back is the expection variation on the UK back, with additional Nuevos Medios logo and credits. The inner sleeve is made of white paper. The labels are black with grey text in the usual UK text layout.
Sweden 7" [MNW RT197]
The Swedish 7" is very similar to the standard UK 7". It's sleeve is made of card as in the UK, but it is not glossy. It features the usual grey variation of the artwork on the front. The back of the sleeve is just like the British back except for the absence of a barcode. The record has a solid centre. The labels are black with grey text.
Sweden 7" test pressing [MNW RT197]
Test pressings of the above item have made it into the hands of collectors. They feature the same red and white Provskiva Från Grammoplast labels found on all Swedith test pressings. They are usually circulated inside the usual picture sleeve.
USA 12" promo [PRO-A-2843]
This was used to promote the "Strangeways Here We Come" album, it is therefore described in the latter album's collectors appendix.