UK 7" [Rough Trade RT181]
Rigid sleeve. View front and back artwork from the image gallery to the left of this page. The record has yellow labels with blue text in the classic Rough Trade layout. Different editions of the record have been reported. Here are the two known versions of this format (or even more if you are a hardcore completist):
- push-out centre
Initial pressing of the 7" has a push-out centre, as requested by Morrissey.
RT 181 A-1U-1-1-7 / RT 181 B-1U-1-2-2/4
- solid centre
Later pressings, or perhaps pressings for a foreign market such as Ireland, have a solid centre.
RT 181 A-1U-1-1-1 / RT 181 B-1U-1-1-X1
RT 181 A-1U-1-1-1 / RT 181 B-1U-1-1-1
RT 181 A-1U-1-1-2 / RT 181 B-1U-1-1-4
RT-181-A LYN-15655-1C Z / RT-181-B LYN-15656-1C Z
RT 181 A-1U-1-1-1 LYN-15655-1C Z / RT 181 B-1U-1-1-X1 LYN-15656-1C Z
A number of copies of the LYN-15656-1C Z variation of the 7" with solid centre have been found to have a second label beneath the one on side A. It appears that original copies were pressed with a label featuring incorrect credits at the bottom ("Produced by John Porter" and "Engineered by Mark Wallis") but were salvaged by having a corrected variation glued over the misprinted one. The existence of copies without the corrected label has also been reported. The incorrect credits do match those of the "William, It Was Really Nothing" single which came out just a few months before this one, hinting that the earlier design may have served as a working template in the design of the "Shakespeare's Sister" label. Completist collectors may have already noticed that these incorrect credits are also found on the labels of UK jukebox 7" and the Dutch and Spanish 12"s (see description below).
UK 7" [Rhino UK RHN181; 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 RHN181, the Rough Trade/Cartel credits were dropped and a barcode was added. The record has a solid centre. The catalogue number was also changed to RHN181 on the labels, and the Rough Trade logo was removed. Publishers on the right side are now Universal Music, etc.
UK 12" [Rough Trade RTT181]
The 12" features very slightly alternate front artwork to the 7" format (view left). The back of the sleeve is yellow with blue text like the back of the 7" sleeve, but unlike the latter item, the b-sides here are mentioned beneath the title track. The labels are yellow with blue text in the classic Rough Trade layout. The inner sleeve is thick and glossy and quite special (view left). One side has a blue-ish faded version of the front artwork, and the other side has an illustrated discography showing the covers of the three albums and six singles the Smiths had released up to that point. A very small number of inner sleeves were mispressed with colours coming out all wrong: the discography side has a pink background instead of yellow, the "How Soon Is Now" single came out green instead of purple, while the Pat Phoenix image on the reverse came out green instead of blue.
RTT-181-A LYN-15657-1C Z / RTT-181-B LYN-15658-1C Z ("Home is where..." over 6 lines)
RTT-181-A LYN-15657-2C Z / RTT-181-B LYN-15658-2C Z ("Home is where..." on 1 line)
RTT-181-A / RTT-181-B ("Home is where..." over 6 lines)
UK sheet music [Warner Bros Music Ltd and IMP 20412]
The sheet music for this single includes tabs to the three songs featured on it. The cover is a close-up of Pat Phoenix's head, it is not tinted yellow and the titles are in red. View here.
UK 7" jukebox [Rough Trade RT181]
Jukebox 7"s are usually identical to their stock counterpart but they have a large hole at the center instead of the usual push-out or solid centre. This is the case for "Shakespeare's Sister", but there is an extra twist as the title track is credited on the label as having been produced by John Porter instead of the Smiths. As usual the record doesn't come with a picture sleeve unless someone found an orphan one for it.
RT-181-A / RT-181-B
RT-181-A LYN-15655-1C Z / RT-181-B LYN-15656-1C Z
UK 7" promo + press sheet [Rough Trade RT181]
Although with this single the Smiths switched to white label 12"s as the main promotional tool for singles, a limited number of white labels 7"s were also sent out with the same purpose. These 7"s have a solid center and all white labels on which are affixed stickers with typewritten credits (band name, title, songwriters, record label for a-side, "Meat Is Murder" album source for b-side). Each side is also stamped in ink with the side letter and '45' in circles. The record is slipped inside a plain white die-cut record bag with a gold Scott Piering contact info sticker on it. This was distributed with an 'Appearing' press sheet giving release information and band information.
UK 12" promo [Rough Trade RTT181]
This is the first single for which white label 12"s served as promos instead of white label 7"s. This would remain so until the final Rough Trade single in 1987. The record is slipped inside a white inner sleeve which is in turn usually slipped inside a plain black die-cut sleeve. In some cases it is slipped inside a picture sleeve with perhaps a hole punched out of it. It is unclear whether or not this was paired with a press release.
RTT-181-A / RTT-181-B
UK 30cm x 60cm promo poster (12" x 24")
UK 7" test pressing [Rough Trade RT181]
UK 7" 'white label' test pressings of singles released by the Smiths from this point on are quite rare. They are from the initial pressing of the 7" format, and their labels are simply white paper ones (bar a few occasional variations), with perhaps title(s) and band name handwritten on them. In this particular case there appears to be three variations, all from different pressing plants (see matrix numbers below). In all cases the centre is a solid one. Two variations bear white labels with only the catalogue number RT181 handwritten on the a-side label. The third variation bears pale beige labels with nothing written or printed on them and comes in a die-cut black paper record bag. A certain number of copies of one of the two white label variations were made into promos (see 'UK 7" promo' above). About a handful or two of true non-promo test pressings have made it into the hands of the band members, label employees and entourage, and from there into the collections of a few lucky fans.
RT 181 A-1U-1- / RT 181 B-1U-1- (white labels)
RT-181-A LYN-15655-1C Z/ RT-181-B LYN-15656-1C Z (white labels)
RTT-181-A1 / RTT-181-B1 (pale beige labels)
UK 12" one-sided acetates [Rough Trade RTT181]
A set of two one-sided acetates, one for each side of the 12" format, have been reported.
RTT-181-A / RTT-181-B ("Home is where..." over 6 lines)
UK 7" - 2008 reissue 7" test pressing [Rhino UK RHN181]
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 RHN181]
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
A stamper for side B of the 12" format has made it into the collecting world. The stamper comes with a loose copy of the label.
UK 12" master pressing plates aka stampers
A set of two metal stampers can also be found, one for side A and one for side B of the 12". These come in the original red and white cardboard stamper box.
UK 7" proof
A rejected proof of the 7" artwork has made it into the collecting world. It shows the unfolded front and back artwork, with registration and proofing bars. The back is in a brighter yellow and b-side "What She Said" is listed in a smaller font under "Shakespeare's Sister". This was corrected for the definitive edition.
UK 12" sleeve proof
Uncut card printer proof for the 12" vinyl front and reverse, complete with proofing and registration bars. The front looks the same as the definitive version, but the titles on the back are preceded by the record side letter ('A-' and 'B-').
UK 12" inner sleeve proof
Uncut card printer proof for the 12" format inner sleeve, complete with proofing and registration bars. The two sides appear bottom to bottom. The picture side has yellow flaps meant to be folded over the discography side.
UK 12" transparency
Artwork negative transparency used by Rough Trade to print and produce the 12" vinyl sleeve has made it into the hands of a collector. It features the familiar Pat Phoenix headshot, but in black and white, with the band name in white. It measures 40cm x 64cm, complete with printed technical printing notation indicating points where images needed to bleed etc. There may very well be only one copy of this item.
Greece 12" [Virgin VG2035Z]
This may be the rarest Greek 12" by the Smiths. The outer sleeve is very similar to the UK one, it differs only by a few alterations on the back: the catalogue number and label code were erased from above the title track and replaced with the Greek catalogue number in the top left corner; the words "Made in the UK" and the UK distribution credit were deleted; a 'circle' Rough Trade logo, Greek credits and the number "MT12159" were added in the bottom right corner. The inner sleeve is not the picture one from the UK, but it is still unusual, as Virgin used the space to advertise its recent releases. It shows in black and white on each side twenty covers of Virgin albums, including the Smiths' "Hatful Of Hollow" and "Meat Is Murder" (view here). Some copies only come with a plain anti-static sleeve. The vinyl was pressed in the UK and has RTT-181-A/B as matrix numbers. The labels are the usual Virgin ones, green on one side and red on the other, with track listing and credits in the top half, catalogue numbers on the left and Rough Trade and Virgin logos in the bottom half.
Holland 7" [Megadisc MD5297]
This is the very first Smiths single on Megadisc bearing a Megadisc catalog number. The sleeve is very similar to the UK 7" sleeve, but it is made of thin paper and the credits on the back were slightly changed. The yellow wash on the front is not as saturated as in the UK so the Pat Phoenix image looks darker (hair and curtain almost black). The labels are the classic Megadisc grey and black circular saw ones.
Holland 12" [Megadisc MD125297/MD125298]
The Dutch 12" is also very similar to its British counterpart. The front artwork is the usual 12" variation, although the name of the band may vary slightly in its shade of blue. The back of the sleeve shows a Megadisc logo and catalog number top-left in place of the Rough Trade catalogue number and label code, and the Rough Trade credits are the bottom were replaced with Megadisc ones. The record bears classic Megadisc labels with circular saw design. The title track is incorrectly credited on them as having been produced by John Porter instead of the Smiths. The inner sleeve is a plain paper one instead of the UK's picture inner sleeve. For some reason, the catalogue number is given on the back as MD125297 while on the labels it is MD125298.
Portugal 12" [Transmedia RTT181.30]
There is no surprise with the Portuguese 12". The sleeve is just like the British one with the exception of a few corrections in the credits on the back. The labels are white with black text in the classic Rough Trade layout. The record is slipped inside an anti-static inner sleeve like most other Portuguese 12"s.
Spain 12" [Nuevos Medios 41-136M]
A look at the matrix numbers on the Spanish 12" tells us that this edition was made in the UK. The sleeve is just like the British one but it features Nuevos Medios credits and catalog number on the back. The record is slipped inside a plain white paper inner sleeve. Its labels are similar to the British ones, they are also yellow, the text on them follows the same layout, but it is black instead of the blue. The label code and Rough Trade catalogue number on the left were replaced with a Nuevos Medios logo, the Spanish catalogue number was added in a different font in the middle of the block of text on the right (side A only), the line "Made in the UK" at the bottom was omitted (on side B the line was actually replaced with a bunch of numbers) and the credits/legal note around the edge were changed for more expansive Spanish ones. The title track is incorrectly credited on the labels as having been produced by John Porter instead of the Smiths.
Sweden 7" [MNW RT181]
The Swedish 7" was made in the UK so it's no surprise that once again it looks like a British edition to the untrained eye. The sleeve is not glossy although still quite thick. The most noticeable difference is the front artwork. The yellow wash is not as saturated so the Pat Phoenix image looks darker (hair and curtain almost black). The back is perfectly identical in typeset. The labels are yellow just like in the UK, and the centre is a solid one. The only difference between them and the UK solid centre labels is the addition of the publishing rights logo "nęb" in the credits on the right.
RT 181 A-1U-1- / RT 181 B-1U-1-
Sweden 12" [NMW RTT181]
This is also almost identical to its British counterpart. The only difference is the publishing rights logo "nęb" in the credits on the right of the label. The rest is perfectly the same, down to the inner sleeve.
RTT-181-A1 / RTT-181-B1