Rock-O-Rama Records began as a mail-order service in the 1970s, run by Herbert Egoldt. It was the first significant source for English and American punk records in Germany. The Rock-O-Rama label was officially launched in 1980 with the release of a 4 song EP by the German punk band Vomit Visions. The label continued releasing mostly German punk until about 1982 when it added licensed pressings of Finnish hardcore bands to its catalog. In 1984, Rock-O-Rama forever changed its direction with the release of Skrewdriver's second LP. Over the next couple years it completely phased out all of the punk music and by the end of 1986, all future releases were Oi and RAC music.
From the first release up until the early 1990s, all releases gave a Brühl, West Germany address for the label. For most of the 1990s up until Egoldt's death in 2005, a Köln address was given. However, on many of the later releases, many different label names were used for various reasons, and in these cases, no origin address was given.
After Egoldt's death, the label was taken over by Grenzenlose Ltd., which also owns RockNord, and operates out of Rees. Rock-O-Rama has started officially releasing vinyl records again. The previous official vinyl releases ended in 1993, though some unofficial vinyls were released under different label names during the years in-between. The original line of Rock-O-Rama CDs went from 1989-1993. There were a couple odd RCD releases in the mid-1990s but the RCD numbering was mostly dormant until the early 2000's.
One of the biggest sources of confusion from the Rock-O-Rama CD line is which CDs are official pressings and which are counterfeit. Some pressings are easy to identify. The early pressings were all pressed at the Pilz CD factory in Kranzberg; the matrix codes all began with PILZ CD (or PILZ DIGIP if the glass master was made at Digipress). These Pilz presses are definitely genuine and the most sought after.
The next official presses were from Independent Schallplaten-Vertrieb (ISV). There are at least two variants of these pressings, possibly more. The original ISV disc matrix codes begin with some asterisks and ISV in large, thin letters. These were followed by the matrix codes with just ISV followed by the RCD number in smaller but thicker font letters. The next variant was the same style of lettering but without the ISV, only the RCD number. While ISV does not appear on the disc, it is most certainly an official variant since the matrix font is the same, and these discs can be obtained directly from Rock-O-Rama.
Some later pressings of the RCD series discs have the RCD number in the matrix ring with a thin-lined, smooth, round font. These match up with the matrix codes on other Rock-O-Rama CD lines, such as the early BSCD series, and are most certainly official pressings.
Harry's Belgium was a manufacturer used briefly around 1992 and 1993. Only a handful of discs were pressed at Harry's, but this is quite certainly a sanctioned manufacturer. One of the biggest mis-presses came from Harry's, this was RCD 187, the Bound For Glory CD with the Werwolf album on it.
Now here is where things get a little murky… Around 1997, Rock-O-Rama started issuing CDs with matrix codes beginning with GEMA O.D., these were mainly the discs with the blue printing on them. There are some examples of original RCD series discs with this type of matrix code, one of these is a pressing of Der Clou by Endstufe. The numbering on this disc suggests it was pressed in late 1997 or early 1998. The problem with that is the Der Clou album was banned in Germany sometime around 1994, so this suggests that the production of some of these discs were licensed to other sources. It is interesting to note that Pure Impact in Belgium still sold some of these CDs years after they were banned in Germany. A connection is not unthinkable.
Then there are the MR pressings. These have a matrix code of MR followed by the RCD number. The origin of these is uncertain, but these appear to be either official Rock-O-Rama pressings or at least official licensed pressings. Until it can be proven otherwise, these pressings will be included here with the rest.
To add to the confusion, there are also different color schemes for many of the discs. Some are simply black lettering on the silver disc. Some are a reverse of that where the lettering is uncolored, showing the silver disc color, while the surrounding space is black. Some have the black background with the lettering done in a silver ink. Sometimes the same matrix code appears on more than one of these configurations. Rock-O-Rama completists have their work cut out for them.
There are enough fake Rock-O-Rama CDs out there to put the Chinese to shame. Undoubtedly Europe had its share of bootleggers, but Herbert once stated in an email correspondence that the two largest producers of counterfeit Rock-O-Rama CDs are American distributors MSR Productions and Micetrap Distribution. This appears to be a fair accusation as these two places seem to have a never ending supply of these discs, with matrix codes that can be traced to U.S. pressing factories. These counterfeits are generally easy to spot as the copyright dates are often wrong, and the printing on the disc doesn't match the layout of genuine Rock-O-Rama discs.
In the mid-1990s, many of the Rock-O-Rama discs from bands associated with the Blood & Honour organization were reissued by Wolfpack Services in Minnesota. The owner of Wolfpack claimed authorization from Blood & Honour to repress these discs, but since Rock-O-Rama owns the copyright to all these albums, these were unauthorized pressings at best and bootlegs at worst. Several of these releases had different layouts, and completely different printing on the discs, but some were also made to look like the Rock-O-Rama pressing. These counterfeits are easy to identify as most, if not all, were pressed at Rainbo Records in California and contain RAINBO in the matrix codes. Wolfpack also stamped the inlays of real Rock-O-Rama discs with their own address, so Wolfpack does not always mean counterfeit.
There are three CDs using the RCD numbering that are not official Rock-O-Rama productions but made to look like they are. Two Onkelz CDs using the numbers RCD 100 and RCD 666 are bootlegs made to look like an official ROR release, although the latter does a poor job of it, and RCD 500 is a collection of Störkraft EPs, which was later repressed by Rock-O-Rama under the ALCD series.
Sometime around the end of 1998, Rock-O-Rama stopped producing pressed CDs in favor of burned CDs. The majority of these were the standard green bottom CD-Rs with professional black printing on the top side. There are also some examples of standard CD-R discs with a white printable top; it is not clear if these are early examples of this era, or later, or just intermittent. After Herbert's death, the new owners of Rock-O-Rama continued on with the CD-R releases, however now they used a black CD-R with a white printable surface.
Soon after Rock-O-Rama came into the hands of its new owners, it was announced that new vinyl would be released. The first new releases were remastered editions of previously released material, in small quantities, on different colored vinyl.
The new Rock-O-Rama kicked off their CD line with CD versions of two of their first three vinyl releases with a CD version of the third one following shortly thereafter. With rare exception, the CD releases that followed have no new vinyl counterpart.