This week marks the 30th Anniversary of the introduction of the compact disc. On October 1, 1982, Billy Joel's 52nd Street was released in Japan on CD. To play it, you had to buy a machine that cost $1000. But before long, CDs were the glorious new technology that changed the music industry forever, whether it was ever-increasing album running times (from somewhere in the 30-45 minute range to 70 minutes plus) or old records getting a new lease on life as they were reissued in the new format.
So what were the first Roadrunner titles to appear on CD, you ask? Well, there were a few. According to former Executive VP Doug Keogh, "We pressed [King Diamond's] Abigail in the US, it was released June of '87, and it was the first album released during my time at RR. However, we already had a few titles in the catalog - I believe it was Mercyful Fate's Melissa, Carnivore's Carnivore and Whiplash's Power and Pain. Those were the first titles released in the US by Roadrunner (actually Roadracer, but that's another story), but of course Roadrunner in the Netherlands released albums prior to that."
Indeed, as former Roadrunner A&R guru Monte Conner points out, "RR Europe released [Mercyful Fate's] Don't Break the Oath on CD - I have it. As well as Anvil and others. Just search 'Roadrunner 1984' or 'Roadrunner 1985' on eBay and you'll see some of those original Euro CDs - which come in these weird jewel boxes."
Check out photos of some of those weird slimline jewel cases, for the original pressings of Mercyful Fate's Melissa and Don't Break the Oath.