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The Rock 'n' Roll Era was the earliest big pop music subscription success for Time-Life. It started as a series of 2-LP box sets which were also issued on cassette and, a year later, on CD. The LP sets were discontinued about the end of 1990 in favor of CDs. We have seen LP sets as high as volume 40, and expect the LP volumes might exist as high as volume 42. As far as we have seen, almost all the cover art for the LP and CD series are identical. The vinyl box sets came with a 6X9 3/4-inch insert that folded out into a 12X18-inch sheet with liner notes and pictures. Essentially the same information was contained in the CD booklets, which also folded out into a not-as-large sheet. The LP labels were blue, with a special "The Rock N' Roll Era" logo at the top. The two vinyl discs were housed in Time-Life anti-static poly- lined inner sleeves.

Early issues in the series had many flaws, like wrong versions, mono instead of stereo, and many disc transfers. To their credit, Time-Life aggressively upgraded the sound when they found better sources, and eventually corrected many of the wrong versions, especially on CD. This resulted in re-mastered CD versions of the same volumes, usually indistinguishable from the earlier CD pressings unless one studied the matrix numbers (remasters were indicated by "RE-1," "RE-2," etc. indicating the first remaster, second remaster, etc.) Where we are aware of differences, we have tried to indicate these in the descriptions below.

Since the entire series was available on CD, we have primarily listed the track lineups and the stereo content of the CD versions in the discography below, unless we know of significant differences in the LP and CD versions. LPs used the prefix "SRNR-" while CD versions used the prefix "2RNR-". The Warner Special Products numbers for the LP sets had an OP- prefix, while the CD versions had an OPCD- prefix. The Time-Life and WSP catalog numbers on the corresponding LP and CD sets were the same, ., for Volume 1, the LP was SRNR-01/WSP OP-2533, while the CD version was 2RNR-01/WSP OPCD-2533.

As an indication of just how great this series has been in sales, the sales pitch at far left was a direct- mail solicitation to sign up for the series in 2002 (!), a full sixteen years after it was first offered as a series of vinyl box sets.

The series also had several spin-offs, like the Dick Clark offering shown at near left. The Dick Clark version of the set was only 7 CDs, and included the year volumes 1954-55, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, and 1961. The cost for the seven CDs was $ (cassettes $), a considerable savings from the regular subscription price.

We would appreciate any additions or corrections to this discography. Just send them to us via e-mail . Both Sides Now Publications is an information web page. We are not a catalog, nor can we provide the records listed below. We have no association with Time-Life or Warner Brothers Records. Should you be interested in acquiring albums listed in this discography (all of which are out of print), we suggest you see our Frequently Asked Questions page and follow the instructions found there. This story and discography are copyright 2004, 2008 by Mike Callahan.

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