Rolling Stone Magazine’s Special Collectors Issue featuring a list of the “500 Greatest Albums of All Time” appeared in subscribers mail boxes and in book stores earlier this week on Thursday, one day ahead of schedule. I visited a Tower Records and Book store in Mountain View, California which had the Top 500 issue on sale this weekend to have a look and listen.
The magazine’s inside cover features an 8 page ad that promotes the Super Audio CD format. It also includes a Hybrid Layer Surround Sound SACD disc with selections from several of the Top 500 albums performed by Bob Dylan, Pink Floyd, The Who, Herbie Hancock, Norah Jones, Elton John, Billy Joel, Miles Davis and Aerosmith. The ad also provides details of a contest with over 45,000 prizes to be awarded.
An 8 Page Super Audio CD Ad
As noted above, the Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums of All Time (also known as “RS 500”) issue includes an 8 page ad for Super Audio CD. The first two pages cite two Music Industry Milestones: “1983 – A New Way to Hear Music (Compact Disc Digital Audio)” and “1993 – A New Way to Store Music (MP3)”.
When these two pages are opened, they reveal a 4 page ad for Super Audio CD. The first two pages highlight almost 120 Super Audio CD discs along with the tag line “SA-CD Makes The Greatest Music… Even Greater. These albums now available on SA-CD.” Looking closely at the list, all but a couple of the Super Audio CD discs listed (Blood, Sweat & Tears’ “Child Is Father To The Man”, Herbie Hancock’s “Future Shock”, King Crimson’s “In The Court Of”, Ozzy Osbourne’s “Live At Budokan”) are indeed currently available for purchase.
The next page features the heading “2003: A Better Way to Experience Music. Super Audio CD. Finally, A Disc That Delivers All of the Passion in Music”. Below this heading the reader will find a Hybrid Multichannel SACD disc in a white cardoard jacket entitled “RS 500” that has been glued to the page to hold it in place. The fourth page in the gatefold lists the 9 albums that are featured on the SACD. It also shows a photo of each album cover, the review date, reviewer name, a review quote and the issue number in Rolling Stone where the album was first reviewed.
Flipping this section over, the reader finds a one page ad for Sweepstakes partner Circuit City and finally a one page ad that describes the RS 500 Sweepstakes.
Details of the RS 500 Sweepstakes
The contest in this issue of Rolling Stone is called the “RS 500 Play, Listen, Win Sweepstakes”. Prizes in the sweepstakes will consist of 50 First Prizes (Sony DVD Dream System) and 45,000 Second Prizes (A set of “SA-CD” discs including Bob Dylan’s “Blood On The Tracks”, Pink Floyd’s “The Dark Side of the Moon” and Norah Jones’ “Come Away With Me”).
To win the sweepstakes, the reader needs to check to see if their copy of the RS 500 SACD has a 10th track. If it does, the track will announce which prize the reader has won.
According to the “fine print” of the sweepstakes, readers have a 1 in 31,200 chance of winning the first prize (Sony DVD Dream System) and a 1 in 35 chance of winning the 3 disc Super Audio CD set. This section also notes that the reader must be a legal resident of the 50 States in the U.S. and the District of Columbia to claim their prize. It also states that employees of Sony Electronics, Cicruit City, Rolling Stone Magazine, Clear Channel Broadcasting and Marden-Kane are not eligible to win.
The RS 500 SACD Sampler
Getting down to what most high resolution audio fans want to know, the RS 500 SACD is a Hybrid Layer Surround Sound SACD. The SACD in my copy of the magazine indicated on the label that it was made by Sony at their Hybrid SACD production line in Japan.
The 9 selections on the disc are available in three versions: SACD Surround Sound, SACD Stereo and CD Stereo. The disc is playable on SACD, CD and SACD compatible DVD Video players. The track line up on the SACD is as follows:
1. Bob Dylan – “Simple Twist of Fate” – from Blood on the Tracks (Columbia CH 90323)
2. Pink Floyd – “Money” – from The Dark Side of the Moon (Capitol Records CDP 7243-5-82136-2-1)
3. The Who – “Pinball Wizard” – from The Who’s Tommy (Geffen Records B0001386-36)
4. Herbie Hancock – “Watermelon Man” – from Headhunters (Columbia CS 65123)
5. Norah Jones – “Come Away With Me” – from Come Away With Me (Blue Note Records 7243-5-41747-2-8)
6. Elton John – “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” – from Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (Island Records B0001478-40)
7. Billy Joel – “Movin’ Out” – from The Stranger (Columbia CS 69384)
8. Miles Davis “Blue In Green” – from Kind of Blue (Columbia CS 64935)
9. Aerosmith “Sweet Emotion” – from Toys In The Attic (Columbia CS 57362)
SACD fans will note that with the exception of the Elton John cut, the other 8 songs are from Surround Sound SACDs that are already on the market. And the Elton John SACD is due in stores on Tuesday (and has already surfaced at the Elusive Disc web site) so that SACD will be in buyers hands soon. Even so, this SACD features some very good examples of SACD Surround Sound and will prove a good introduction to high resolution audio for those who have not heard it to date.