Quite fittingly, the first CD made in the United States for commercial release was Bruce Springsteen's 1984 album, "Born in the U.S.A." But it wasn't the first commercially available CD ever. That title belongs to Billy Joel's "52nd Street," which was released on CD in Japan in 1982.
Although CDs only became widely popular in the 1990s, they had been in stores since the early '80s. The concept dates even further back, to 1960, when Dutch physicist Klass Compaan put forth the idea for storing optically-read data on discs. To bring his vision into being, he teamed up with Koninklijke Philips Electronics N.V., a multinational Dutch electronics company also known as Philips.
After Compaan and Philips developed a glass CD prototype in 1970, Philips collaborated with the Sony Corporation to create a standard CD in 1981. Based on this standard, hardware manufacturers were then able to produce CD players in 1982.
Sony and Philips selected the German Polydor Pressing Operations plant in Langenhagen, Germany, to produce the world's first music CD for commercial sale . In 1981, prior to producing a commercial CD, the new factory pressed a trial CD containing a recording of Richard Strauss's "Eine Alpensinfonie," or "An Alpine Symphony," played by the Berlin Philharmonic and conducted by Herbert von Karajan.
After that successful trial, the factory manufactured ABBA's "The Visitors" on Aug. 17, 1982. But for unknown reasons, the CD didn't become commercially available until Dec. 1982. Billy Joel's sixth studio album, "52nd Street," beat ABBA by only a few months when it was released on CD on Oct. 1st, 1982, to the consumer market in Japan, where people already owned players.The album, which had originally been released on cassette in 1978, was pressed on CD by a Japanese factory owned by Sony shortly after ABBA's "The Visitors" CDs were made in Germany.
The U.S. relied solely on Japan and Germany for its music CDs until September of 1984, when the new Sony-owned Digital Audio Disc Corporation plant in Terre Haute, Ind. Manufactured its first commercial CD. Rather poetically, that CD was Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the U.S.A."
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