The run-out groove of an LP is also sometimes called the ‘deadwax’; it’s that space between the last song and the sticker label, and it’s usually stamped with very boring catalogue-type numbers – called ‘matrix numbers’ – which code who engineered the record and where it was pressed.

It was English lacquer-cutter and mastering engineer George “Porky” Peckham who first decided to make his master discs’ deadwax a little more intriguing, beginning in the late ’60s. The inscription “A PORKY PRIME CUT” indicated that your record had been pressed by Peckham – and considering his illustrious career (which continued right up to the 2010s), that record could be anything from The Beatles to AC/DC, Gorillaz to Led Zep, or all manner of obscure little bands of all genres in between.

Peckham soon stepped his game up from the regular sign-off to amusing directives: on Elvis Costello’s This Year’s Model (1978), he etched: “RING 434 3232 ASK FOR MOIRA FOR YOUR PRIZE”. The name and number were real (and oblivious!) contacts for Costello’s press office. Poor ol’ Moira.

So began a trend which continues to the present day, in which you can variously spot cryptic phrases, musings on the disc’s music, political statements, oddball in-jokes or cuss-filled rantings (check out Aussie punks The Hard-Ons, whose run-out etchings are hilariously unfit for our publication) popping up on a vinyl’s deadwax.

Paul Rigby, director of Melbourne vinyl pressing plant Zenith Records, tells us that run-out groove messages can be template etched but are “most commonly hand-etched by the cutting engineer, after the side has been cut.”

Here are a selection of our favourite run-out groove messages through the decades, but there are so many more out there – probably a few yet to be discovered and documented. Check your own collection for hidden missives!

All images courtesy of excellent Instagrammer @deadwaxscrolls (except for A PORKY PRIME CUT from @memorialdevice) – we highly recommend you put aside a few hours to wander through the account.

CLose-up image of vinyl record

George Peckham’s ‘MOIRA’ etching on Elvis Costello’s This Year’s Model

“Weird Al” Yankovic, “Weird Al” Yankovic (1983)

Weird Al’s debut record (which contains stone cold classics Another One Rides the Bus and My Bologna) pokes at the maxim “A mind is a terrible thing to waste” with the A-side inscription “AN ACCORDION IS A TERRIBLE THING TO WASTE”, while Side B gets real with “EAT YOUR BROCCOLI!

Dead Kennnedys, Give Me Convenience or Give Me Death (1987)

The two sides of this cracking punk album read: “THE SKULL IS THE SMILING FACE OF THE 80s” and “DOLPHINS MAKE BETTER ANARCHISTS THAN PEOPLE DO”.

Nirvana, Love Buzz [single] (1988)

The very first single from Nirvana pressed to vinyl bears the words “WHY DON’T YOU TRADE THOSE GUITARS FOR SHOVELS?” It’s reportedly something Kurt Cobain’s father used to yell at the youngsters as they practised in the garage of the Cobain family’s home in Washington.

Helloween, Pink Bubbles Go Ape (1991)

The German power-metallers tell it like it is on the A-Side: “THIS RECORDING BUSINESS SURE IS HUNGRY WORK AMIGO!

Radiohead, OK Computer (1997)

These inventive Englishmen weren’t going to pass up an opportunity for weirdness, with the original four sides of this double LP reading: “I LIKE YOU, YOU ARE A WONDERFUL PERSON”, “I’M FULL OF ENTHUSIASM I’M GOING PLACES”, “I’LL BE HAPPY TO HELP YOU”, “I’M AN IMPORTANT PERSON, WOULD YOU LIKE TO COME HOME WITH ME?

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Clockwise from top left: “A PORKY PRIME CUT”, indicating pressing by George “Porky” Peckham; “So mote it be”, the B-side of Zeppelin’s III; “THIS RECORDING BUSINESS SURE IS HUNGRY WORK, AMIGO! on Helloween’s Pink Bubbles Go Ape

Kruton, Granular Plateaux (2001)

This excellent arty-experimental release from English electronic producer Kruton (AKA Milo Smee) doesn’t muck about on its A-side, which bears the message, “ROBBIE WILLIAMS IS SH-T”.

Florence + the Machine, Lungs (2009)

In a rare instance of a lowercase run-out message (the most famous example of which is Led Zeppelin’s III, which quotes British occultist Aleister Crowley’s Book of Law: “Do what thou wilt” on the A-side, and “So mote it be” on the B) Florence quotes the motto of ‘dirty minimalism’ novelist Raymond Carver, who promised himself he’d write a little every day, “without hope and without despair”. Florence’s version signs the phrase off with “x x”.

CHVRCHES, Screen Violence (2021)

On their excellent album of last year, the Scottish trio give a nod to one of the most famous fictional perpetrators of screen violence ever created, with a line from Freddy Kruger’s nursery rhyme: “NINE, TEN” on the A-Side, and “NEVER SLEEP AGAIN” on the B.

Check out our feature on recycled vinyl, What’s the Deal With Eco-Vinyl? here.

Take a gander at JB’s latest vinyl chart here.