in the third position
of master tape serial numbers signified RCA; for labels
RCA distributed, the code was B
(For example, "Sugar Sugar" by The Archies, recorded in
early 1969 at RCA's New York studios and released on the
Calendar label which later in '69 changed its name to
Kirshner, bore a master serial number of XYB1-3908
In the case of Elvis, he never recorded at any of RCA's
Chicago studios (either 445 Lake Shore Drive pre-1969
or 1 North Wacker Drive from 1969-73), so this is why
we see no Elvis sides with A2 in the
third and fourth positions of master serial numbers.
RCA's Hollywood studios - located at 6363 Sunset Boulevard
after 1963, and 1510 North Vine Street from 1959 until
then - assigned master serial numbers to the bulk of
his film sides up to 1967.
(For example, while Elvis recorded "Relax"
at Radio Recorders on September 22 1962, master serial
number PPA3-2726 was assigned by RCA Hollywood some
time in early 1963).
Whenever tracks with such codes were released on 45,
the third and fourth characters were supplanted by KM
for mono 45's and KS for stereo 45's.
Sometimes custon matrix numbers were assigned by RCA
when a session was paid for by a film company, like
with the January 15-17 1968 double MGM/RCA recording
When the songs were purchesed by RCA from the film company
a regular matrix number was assigned for the songs.
With the song Goin' Home - matrix number W3KM-6599
was originally assigned by RCA Hollywood (3) for the
song but when the tapes were purchased by RCA from MGM
a regular matrix number was then assigned to the song
A1 was seen on many Elvis sides recorded between
mid-to-late 1967 and late 1968, indicating that the
master serial numbers with this code were assigned by,
as well as mixed and edited at, the New York studio
which, before 1969, was located at 155 East 24th Street
in Manhattan (and where Elvis hadn't set foot since
1956). Webster Hall, which RCA also used for sessions
in New York, was and is on East 11th Street.
In addition, such numbers were usually assigned a few
months after Elvis committed them to tape, whether at
a film studio or, say, Western Recorders in Hollywood.
The system of matrix numbers has changed several times
and when you're looking and comparing matrix numbers
that RCA doesn't always apply its own rules.
This leads to the next point, based on what has been
seen of sessions by other artists (ranging from Perry
Como to The Archies), meaning exactly when these master
serial numbers were assigned. I have a guesstimate based
on such other sessions, thus:
- WPA1-1001 & 1002 / 1022 - 1030, and 1038
& 1039 (Speedway tracks) were apparently assigned
in New York in the early months of 1968;
- WPA1-5766 - 5769 (from Live a Little, Love
a Little) were assigned around August of 1968;
- WPA1-8023 - 8050 (Elvis comeback special) were
assigned around mid-to-late October 1968;
- WPA1-8091 ("Charro") was assigned
in November 1968;
- WPA1-8111 - 8125 and 8135 were assigned either
November or December 1968; and
- XPA1-3976 - 3978 (around the time of The Trouble
With Girls) were assigned within the first few months
Some label discographies (i.e. Michel Ruppli's for
U.S. Decca Records) have made such indicators in sessions
for British artists, mentioning a U.K. session date
and then below in parentheses "(master numbers
assigned in NYC, [date here])." I presume if a
date on any documents pertaining to these sides existed,
that'd be the date they were assigned? If any answer
on this discrepancy can be answered, it would be most