Ok, that’s a bit weird I know. But as the last Hitchhiker radio series comes to vinyl, it seems now that the vinyls recorded in 1980-81 for Original Records because the BBC didn’t want to publish the radio series on tape or vinyl are now being released on CD and digital downloads by the BBC!
Right now (8 feb 2020), there has been no official announcement but the listing in Amazon seems legit (you can pre-order it and the release date would be 21 May 2020) and there is even an artwork based on the first record (UK edition). Well Amazon could be mistaken (and don’t bother to read the reviews they are about the book not the vinyl version of course !) but Penguin also lists this release is also listed on Penguin.
I must say that everyone in the Hitchhiker fandom is very surprised. The vinyls have never been re-issued and for legal reasons we all thought they would never be released again.
And if you want more details about the background of the Original Records vinyls, here are some explanations from the famous Hitchhiker expert, David haddock :
“A bit of background for context as the radio series was first broadcast in 1978, and things were different back then.
The BBC were not in the habit of releasing record programmes as recordings, although they were in the business of repeating successful ones like Hitchhiker’s. Triple LP / cassette packs were not a thing back then either and would have been expensive, and the BBC did not think it would be viable. The BBC also passed on the book of the series. The BBC eventually released the first two series on cassette in 1988, and also CD. Hitchhiker’s was the first BBC radio programme on CD. So Douglas and Geoffrey Perkins took up the offer from a company called Original Records to make a double LP from the first series. This meant that some editing was needed and Douglas being Douglas took the opportunity to change parts of the storyline, which included replacing some of the John Lloyd material. One of Douglas’s aims had been to have production values like Sergeant Pepper so they also took the opportunity to change some of the music and effects. Susan Sheridan was not available (doing voice recording for The Black Cauldron) and so we have Cindy Oswin as Trillian.
Original Records did well out of the Hitchhiker’s LP (ORA42) and cassette (TORA42) and expanded their operations. They also did an LP of the second radio series, but Douglas and Geoffrey did not get the time they wanted to mix this one. The business acumen of Original Records caused some issues and they went bust owing Douglas money, and according to the biographies Ed Victor got the master tapes for Douglas. Various people have suggested releasing them over the years and now here they are with the BBC releasing the “Original Records” production of Hitchhiker’s (which is NOT the original radio series).”
Note also that the vinyls (and cassettes) have been released in UK and Australia by Original Records and in North America (the first one with a different cover) by Hannibal Records
Here are the vinyl versions on Discogs
The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, Original Records, 1979
The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy (Part One) Hannibal Records, 1982
The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy Part Two: The Restaurant At The End Of The Universe, Original Records, 1980
The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy Part Two: The Restaurant At The End Of The Universe, Hannibal Records, 1981 (?)