"How Soon Is Now?" [original edition]|
UK 7" [Rough Trade RT176]
Rigid sleeve. Purple labels with white text in the classic Rough Trade layout. Different editions of the record have been reported. Here are the two known versions of this format:
- push-out centre
Initial pressing of the 7" has a push-out centre, as requested by Morrissey.
RT 176 A-1U-1-1-X 1 / RT 176 3-2U-1-1 1
- solid centre
Later pressings, or perhaps pressings for a foreign market such as Ireland, have a solid centre.
UK 7" [Rhino UK RHN176; 2008 reissue]
This is almost identical to the original Rough Trade release. The sleeve is still rigid. The catalogue number on the back of it was changed to RHN176 and the Rough Trade/Cartel credits were replaced with a barcode. The record has a solid centre. The catalogue number was also changed to RHN176 on the label, and the logo was removed. Publishers on the right of it are now Universal Music, etc.
UK 12" [Rough Trade RTT176]
The 12" features very slightly alternate artwork to the 7" format (view left). The labels are purple with white text. This is the final 12" single to be slipped inside a plain white inner sleeve. Starting with next single "Shakespeare's Sister", all 12" singles will have a glossy inner sleeve the colour of the front artwork. This is the first 12" single for which no variation has ever been reported.
RTT 176 A1 / RTT 176 B1
UK sheet music [Warner Bros Music Ltd and IMP 20406]
The sheet music for this single includes tabs to the three songs featured, and the cover shows a variation on the single's artwork. View here.
UK sheet music - various artists
"Hot Off The Press 3: 10 Chart Hits" includes the tablature for "How Soon Is Now?" as well as for 9 other songs by other artists from early 1985 (Madonna, ZZ Top, Howard Jones, Glen Frey, etc), for piano and guitar.
UK 7" jukebox [Rough Trade RT176]
The text layout on the label of the "How Soon Is Now?" jukebox 7" is the same as the original version described above, but the record has a large opening in the centre. It doesn't come with a picture sleeve unless someone found an orphan one to slip it in.
RT 176 A-1U-1-1-17 / RT 176 3-2U-1-3-12
UK 7" black label promo [Rough Trade RT176]
The single was promoted in the UK via black 'white-label' copies of the 7" format. This is the only promo to have black labels, but also the only one to have a large hole instead of the more common push-out or solid centres. The record sometimes has a titles sticker on the label on one side. It comes in a plain custom die-cut sleeve with a 2-sided press release showing a black and white reproduction of the single's artwork on one side, and on the other, release information and upcoming tour dates.
UK 7" 'jukebox' promo [Rough Trade RT176]
Copies of the jukebox 7'' mentioned above (so as stock copies with large centre hole) were also used for promotion. These were slipped inside a black die-cut sleeve with a Scott Piering 'Appearing' contact info sticker on it and were also paired with the press release described for the previous promo.
UK 7" 'stock' promo [Rough Trade RT176]
Copies of the stock 7" were also used for promotion. These have a white Scott Piering 'Appearing' contact info sticker on the back of the usual picture sleeve. They were distributed with the same press sheet as the previous two promos.
UK 12" 'stock' promo [Rough Trade RTT176]
Stock copies of the 12" format were also sent out as promos paired with a press release, but a different one than the press release described above. It is 1-sided, but shows, sideways and side-by-side, the photocopied contents of two pages reduced in size in order to fit one side of a page. The left 'side' gives the single's track listings, catalogue numbers, release date and release information. The right 'side' has a Rough Trade 'logo' in the top right corner, above announcements about the band's upcoming album and tour dates (both unnamed on the press sheet).
UK 7" promo from 'faulty' test pressing [Rough Trade RT176]
Copies of the 7" test pressing with 'Oscillate Wildly' on the b-side (described below) were recycled as promos. They have white labels instead of the test pressing's beige labels. On side A is handwritten "The Smiths / How Soon Is Now? / (Morrissey /Marr) / Warner Bros Music / RT 176 / Rough Trade Records". That side is also stamped with an 'A' inside a circle. Side B has 'Faulty' written on its label, in bold black marker. These promos were either distributed inside white die-cut sleeves or picture ones.
RT-176-A / RT-176-B
UK 30cm x 60cm promo poster (12" x 24")
View here. Some copies, possibly meant for non-UK territories, have the bottom section with the line "Distributed By The Cartel" cut out.
UK 45cm x 60cm promo poster (18" x 24")
View here (better photo needed).
UK 7" test pressing b/w "Oscillate Wildly" [Rough Trade RT176]
The most sought-after collectible for "How Soon Is Now?" is the early 7" test pressing featuring "Oscillate Wildly" on the b-side. The latter instrumental and "Well I Wonder" are both b-sides on the 12" format. "Well I Wonder" ended up being the b-side on the 7" format, but it looks like the former was also at some point considered for that role. So this test pressing with this different b-side to its stock counterpart has become collectible because it is assumed to be a mispressing. However this is open to debate as this variation was, according to Record Collector magazine, pressed at two different plants at the same time (see 'faulty' promo above), and perhaps also because the other variation (next item) was pressed on the same day. This test pressing has light yellow/beige labels that were stamped with the date '18 JAN 1985' and marked with the matrix number in handwriting. The record is usually found in a plain white die-cut sleeve. The number of copies has been estimated to be in the 25-50 range.
RT 176 A-1U-1-1-1 / RT 176 B-1U-1-1-1
UK 7" test pressing b/w "Well I Wonder" [Rough Trade RT176]
This other test pressing features the intended "Well I Wonder" on its b-side. It looks just like the previous one, so it has light yellow/beige labels that were stamped with the date '18 JAN 1985' and marked with the matrix number in handwriting. Despite having not turned out to be as collectible as the previous item because it is not assumed to be a mispressing, it still is quite rare. It has actually been seen for sale less often than the 'mispressed' test pressing. Some copies are circulated in the usual picture sleeve with a set of unused labels (not stuck to the record).
UK 12" test pressing [Rough Trade RTT176]
UK 12" white label test pressings of singles released by the Smiths up to and including "How Soon Is Now?" are quite rare as they were never used for promotion. They are from the initial pressing of the 12" format, and their labels are simply white paper ones, with perhaps title and band name handwritten on them. They are circulated in a generic die cut paper sleeve and/or card sleeve. About a handful or two are expected to have made it into the hands of the band members, label employees and entourage, and from there perhaps into the collections of a few lucky fans.
RTT-176-A LYN-15494-1C / RTT-176-B LYN-15495-1C
UK 7" acetate
Acetate of "Oscillate Wildly" for 7" test pressing described above. Numbered RT 176 B1.
UK 7" - 2008 reissue 7" test pressing [Rhino UK RHN176]
The white label test pressing of this item has so far only been sold as a set with the test pressings of the other 7"s included in the "Singles Box". It is therefore described in the latter item's collectors appendix.
UK 7" - 2008 reissue 10" acetate [Rhino UK RHN176]
The 10" metal-based lacquer reference acetate for the 2008 7" reissue listed above comes housed in a 12" grey Heathmans Mastering sleeve with printed custom studio labels on the front (white with Heathmans Mastering logo on top, band name, title, catalogue numbers and '21/9/2008'). The matrix number is handwritten in the centre of the disc.
UK 12" master pressing plate aka stamper
Metal master plates for side A of the 12" format have made it into the hands of at least two collectors. In at least one case the plate is slipped inside a green Pinnacle Distributed sleeve. One of these has a loose copy of the label with it.
After skipping a few singles, CBS in Australia got back with the programme and released "How Soon Is Now?" shortly after it came out in the UK.
Australia 7" [CBS RTANZ008]
The 7" sleeve is the same purple one as in the UK, with additional CBS Productions credits and catalogue number at the back. The labels are based on the British ones, in the same colours and text layout, plus additional credits. The record has a solid centre.
Australia 12" [CBS RTANZ12006]
The Australian 12" is also very similar to its British counterpart. The sleeve is the purple British one with additional credits on the back. The labels are purple with white text organised along the classic Rough Trade layout. The New Zealand 12" is often mistaken for this Australian edition, but its labels are different as they are the classic green and red silhouette ones.
Australia 7" promo [CBS RTANZ008]
The promo 7" features black and white man-silhouette labels with promo warning like all Australian Smiths promo 7"s of that era. Some copies are slipped inside a stock sleeve, others were distributed inside a generic CBS pink striped die-cut sleeve.
Australia 12" promo [CBS RTANZ12006]
The promo 12" has the expected black and white bowler hat man label with promo warning. It is slipped inside a stock picture sleeve that has been stamped with a promo warning in gold on the back.
Canada 7" [Sire 92 90077]
The Canadian 7" was modelled on the American one. Its artwork is the same yellow one as in the USA (view left), but the opening at the top of the sleeve is not rounded and the credits at the back were changed to Canadian ones. The record has a large hole at its centre. The labels are the classic Sire type and the credits on them were also adapted from the American labels. An additional interesting observation: the sides are labelled as 'A Side' and 'B Side' unlike in the USA where the single was released as a double a-side with "Shakespeare's Sister" so the sides were not labelled.
Canada 7" promo [Sire 92 90077]
The promo counterpart to the above is very similar, but the record has a solid centre on which is printed the usual 'not for sale' warning, and it is distributed in a generic white WEA sleeve. This promo is backed with the usual 2 b-sides instead of featuring a repeat of the title track on the flip as in the USA. This is just a case of killing two birds with one stone as the Canadian stock copies were pressed just like the promo ones, including the 'not for sale' line in the middle. The stock copies simply had their centre cut out, taking away the promo warning while the copies destined to be dispatched to radio and retailers remained the way they were pressed.
EEC 7" [Rough Trade RT166]
This is one of two commercial releases to feature "How Soon Is Now?" as a title track alternative to "William It Was Really Nothing", the other being the Holland 7" described below. In both cases the artwork is a mauve tinted variation on the usual "William It Was Really Nothing" man-on-bed art. The sleeve is actually identical for both releases, front and back. However the records differ. The labels in this case are very light mauve with darker mauve text in the typical Rough Trade layout.
EEC 7" promo [Rough Trade RT166]
Stock copies of the Holland pressing (described below) made into promos with the addition of a Scott Piering 'Appearing' contact info sticker on the back have been reported. These may have actually been EEC copies mistaken for Dutch ones because of the fact that the sleeves are identical in both cases. Confirmation one way or another would be appreciated.
Germany is the only country apart from the UK where both singles "William It Was Really Nothing" and "How Soon Is Now?" were released. Some licensees released the former and passed on the latter because its title track had already been released, while others released "How Soon Is Now?" as an a-side instead of "William It Was Really Nothing" but still used the latter single's artwork.
Germany 7" [RT Deutschland RTD020]
The German 7" was released in the same purple artwork used for the British single. The sleeve is made of thinner paper and features on the back an additional West Germany credit and, if it wasn't removed, a sticker with the number '810 100-100'. The labels are blue with silver text in the classic Rough Trade layout. The hole at the centre of the record is a large one.
Germany 12" [RT Deutschland RTD020T]
The 12" format was also released in the purple and white Sean Barrett artwork. The catalogue number on the back of the sleeve is incorrectly printed as RTD020. Many copies also have there a sticker with a 9-digit number. The labels are blue with silver text in the classic Rough Trade layout.
Germany 7" promo [RT Deutschland RTD020]
The existence of 7"s paired with a promo sheet has been reported. This press sheet is likely the same one that came with the German promo 12" described below (confirmation needed).
Germany 12" promo [RT Deutschland RTD020T]
Stock copies of the 12" have been seen with a pink 'Ariola Import Service' press sheet. The sheet has an Ariola Import Service logo in the top left corner and "Telex AIS-INFO" repeated along the right edge. The bulk of the text appears to be biographical information. The press sheet is dated "8.2.85" in the top right corner and the catalogue number for the two formats is given at the bottom.
Greece 12" [Virgin VG2041Z]
"How Soon Is Now?" was released in Greece with a unique track listing featuring the three "How Soon Is Now" UK 12" tracks and that single's artwork, but it has the bonus "Barbarism Begins At Home" as title track. It is therefore described in the collectors appendix of "Barbarism Begins At Home".
Holland 7" [Megadisc RT166]
This is one of two commercial releases to feature "How Soon Is Now?" as a title track alternative to "William It Was Really Nothing", the other being the EEC 7" described above. In both cases the artwork is a mauve tinted variation on the usual "William It Was Really Nothing" man-on-bed art. The sleeve is actually identical for both releases, front and back. However the records differ. The labels in this case are the classic Megadisc circular saw ones.
Holland 7" promo [Megadisc RT166]
Stock copies made into promos with the addition of a Scott Piering 'Appearing' contact info sticker on the back have been reported. However these may be EEC copies mistaken for Dutch ones because of the fact that the sleeves are identical in both cases. Confirmation one way or another would be appreciated. Whether from Holland or the EEC, the presence of a Scott Piering sticker may hint that this item was used as a promo in the UK and not in Holland or elsewhere in Continental Europe.
New Zealand 7" [CBS RTANZ008]
New Zealand 12" [CBS RTANZ12006]
The New Zealand 7" and 12", just like their Australian cousins, were released with the British artwork. So the sleeves of both formats are the same purple and white as in the UK, with additional credits at the back, and the 7" sleeve is made of rigid card. However, unlike in Australia, the labels are the generic green and red CBS ones. Neither of these items have any credit on them stating that they are New Zealand pressings, but singles with RTANZ numbers but no "Made In Australia" credits on the labels were made for the New Zealand market. Also, 7" singles in New Zealand have anti-slip serrations while their Australian counterparts don't.
New Zealand 7" promo [CBS RTANZ008]
New Zealand promo 7"s are stock copies with a white rectangle 'Demonstration record, etc.' sticker over the label on side B.
Portugal 7" [Transmedia TMRT176]
The Portuguese 7" sleeve is very similar to the purple one featuring Sean Barrett which was produced for the British reissue. The back features additional Transmedia credits and catalogue number. The labels are black with white text in the classic Rough Trade layout. The hole at the centre of the record is a large one.
Portugal 7" promo [Transmedia TMRT176]
The promo 7" is a stock copy stamped with a Portuguese promo warning. More information would be appreciated.
Spain 7" promo [Nuevos Medios 40121S]
This item was manufactured as a promo for the release of the "Hatful Of Hollow" album in Spain and doesn't seem to have a commercial counterpart. It is therefore described in the collectors appendix of "Hatful Of Hollow".
USA 12" [Sire 0-20284]
The American 12" was released a few months before the 7". The sleeve shows the Smiths backstage at Glastonbury (view left), a photo lifted from inside the gatefold "Hatful Of Hollow" LP (which the American label had passed on releasing at the time). The labels are the classic yellow Sire ones. There are actually two different variations of the labels. In one case the Sire logo at the top has 'SIRE' at two o'clock around it, in the other case 'SIRE' appears under it. In the latter case but not the former there are credits printed around the edge of the labels.
USA 7" [Sire 29007-7]
The American 7" was released as a single from "Meat Is Murder", as opposed to the 12" single which was released in late 1984 and aimed at the alternative club market. Although they could have adapted the already existing artwork from recent UK singles "William It Was Really Nothing", "How Soon Is Now?" or "Shakespeare's Sister", as none of these had been used in the USA, or used the 12" artwork, Sire opted for a pseudo-alternative creation (view front, back on the left) done without Morrissey's involvement. The single is a double a-side with "Shakespeare's Sister", so both titles are mentioned on the front, and neither side is labelled as being the a-side. The labels are the classic yellow Sire ones.
USA 12" promo [Sire 0-20284]
Promotional copies were stock ones stamped in gold ink on the front of the sleeve with a 'promo-only' warning.
USA 7" promo [Sire 29007-7]
The only differences between the stock 7"s and the promo ones are the words "promotion not for sale" and "Stereo" added to the yellow Sire label at the one o'clock position, and the fact that the title track appears on both sides. This promo seems to have been distributed in a plain white die-cut sleeve instead of the usual picture one.
USA cassette various artists promo [PRO-C-2228]
A various artists promo cassette titled "What's Up" features the edit of "How Soon Is Now?" alongside tracks by artists such as XTC, Tom Verlaine, Aztec Camera, Tom Robinson, etc. Information on the artwork/packaging is needed.
USA cassette various artists promo [PRO-C-2284]
A various artists promo cassette titled "Album Network Tune Up March 1985" features "How Soon Is Now?" alongside tracks by artists such as Eric Clapton, John Fogerty, Chris Isaak, the Blasters, Rough Cutt, etc. Information on the artwork/packaging is needed.
USA cassette various artists promo/sampler [??]
A various artists promo or sampler cassette from the Spring of 1985 titled "Action" features "How Soon Is Now?" alongside tracks by artists such as Madonna, Vitamin Z, Nile Rodgers, Devo, Don Henley, Book Of Love, New Order, etc. The white card insert has "ACTION" at the top with the track listing printed beneath that, over a pale grey image.
USA video promo [Rockamerica Jan' 1985]
The January 1985 issue of the Rockamerica promo video series aimed at club airplay features the video to "How Soon Is Now?" alongside 13 others by artists such as Bronski Beat, Cabaret Voltaire, Scritti Politti, The Cult, OMD, Propaganda, etc. The videocassette comes in a hardshell case with pale blue insert with printed track listing. Information on the videocassette itself is needed.
USA 10" cut acetate for 7"
K Disc Mastering 10" acetate for the 7" single. Includes photocopy of label.