Story of the labels : O-S

The record labels, commerical and private, who issued church music recordings
and in so doing, preserved this precious heritage
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This page will be regularly updated.  Click on the record labels to enlarge

Parlophone
78rpm & LP records, CDs


The label derived from Germany, one of the Carl Lindstrom group of companies, after World War 1, but established its name as a major recording company in England in 1923.

In 1925, UK Columbia acquired control of Carl Lindstrom’s record companies and thus had control of the Parlophone trademark and label.

Columbia, along with its Parlophone label, was one of the companies merged to form the conglomerate Electrical and Musical Industries (EMI) in April 1931. 

The Archive has an extensive collection of all Parlophone 78s, LPs and CD, including Test Pressings 

Click record to play

Polyphon
78rpm records
London

The Polyphon Instrument Works of Leipzig, Germany had introduced their Polyphon Records in 1905.  In 1908, they had been made available to British dealers and J.W. Wiliams of 92 Hatton Gardens, London was selling the German made Polyphon Records. 

By the Summer of 1910, Williams was no longer selling these records and the Klingsor Works in London announced the that they would be selling Polyphon Records.   However when they came on sale, they had decided to label them KLINGSOR RECORDS instead, to match the gramophones they were manufacturing. 




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In late 1911, a new company, The Polyphon Instrument Works, at 25, City Road, London announced the arrival of Polyphon Records, taking over the existing stocks of Klingsor records and machines and issuing new British records. ​​

In the spring of 1913, all existing stocks of Polyphon records had a small sticker attached, announcing they would soon be called 'Pilot' record, and sure enough, a month later, 'Pilot' records were introduced and the Polyphon label phased out.

The change of name to 'Pilot' is thought to have been due in part to  "Polyphon" being associated with the rather (by then) old-fashioned metal disc musical-box.

Polyphon records were sold for 2/6. the standard price for popular records at the time.  The label was phased out in 1913.

St Paul's Cathedral Choir  :  1911-1913
directed by George Martin

Two popular songs of the day
  • Side 1: When Ev'ning's Twilight
  • Side 2: Breeze of the Night

This gramophone record is of major importance and discovered in 2019 and so far, is the only English choir to have recorded on the Polyphon label.  

Until the discovery of this record, the first recording from St Paul's, under Stanley Marchant, was from 1929 on the HMV label.

RCA Victor
This entry is under construction


RCA Victor
1946  (sound)
This documentary filmed at RCA Victor shows the manufacturing process

Recorded Productions (London) Ltd.
78rpm & LP records
 92 Regent Street, London

A record company based in London's West End, they started making recordings in 1948 and produced solid-stock 78rpm records and LPs into the mid 1960s.

The Archive has one 78rpm and one LP from this company

Recorded Sound Ltd.
78rpm & LP records
6a Whitehorse Street, London

Based in London's West End and founded in 1946 making private recordings for limited distribution. 

The 78s were direct-cut acetates and Acetate Transcription discs in 12" and 13"

The Archive has numerous 78s and an LP from this company all from the 1940s and 1950s.

Regal
78rpm records
  
Regal started as a budget product made by Columbia Records and introduced in early 1914 costing 1/6.  The label colour was initially red, changing to magenta fairly early on.

In March 1931 when The Gramophone Company & the Columbia Graphophone Company merged to form  EMI (Electric and Musical Industries Ltd) the Regal label came as part of the deal from Columbia.  In 1932 EMI merged the two cheaper labels of Regal and Zonophone (another Columbia label)  to become 'Regal Zonophone'

The Archive has one Regal 10" record of Master Harold Briggs, chorister at Blackburn Cathedral, singing two hymns.  We have extensive information on Master Briggs which may be read here.
  

Rex
78rpm records


"The King of Records" first appeared in September 1933 and was a quality record at the bargain price of 1/-.   Rex records were produced by Crystalate and sold in Marks and Spencer's stores.

The Archive has gramophone records from St Mary-le-Bow, St James Muswell Hill and Manchester Cathedral on the Rex label.

The Crystalate Gramophone Company, who produced Rex records, also issued on the Popular, Crown, Eclipse and Imperial labels.

In March 1937 Decca took over Crystalate and the Rex label was discontinued in February 1948.

Click gramophone record to play the rare un-issued Rex test pressing of 'O for the wings of Dove' from 1934, with soloist Gordon Carter.

The records advertised from St Mary-le-Bow were in fact recorded by Vocalion and issued on their Broadcast Twelve label a few years earlier.

Mendelssohn's 'Hear My Prayer/O for the wings of a Dove' from Manchester Cathedral, with Gordon Carter as soloist was issued in 1934 as a 10" record and the Archive also has copies of the Rex test pressings for this gramophone record.

Sounds News Productions
78rpm & LP records
Chiswick

For such a prolific recording company with particular interest to the Archive, little can be discovered of their origins and history.

 We have a few 78rpm Sound News records dating from 1949-1959 but they reached their zenith in the LP era with almost a hundred records in the Archive dating from 1955-1985.

Cathedrals, churches, school chapels and RSCM courses, their LPs represent a wide range of choirs from this period and are of significant historical importance.

It appears they did not record 'live' but specialised in producing LPs from a choirs own reel-to-reel tape and also recording Transcription LPs direct from live radio broadcasts at the request of a choir.   


From the choirs own tape, Sound News would pressed a limited run LP for commercial sale, usually in the local area, or for internal use by the choir as 'souvenir' records.

The LP sleeves ranged from plain white to full colour picture covers and the sound quality of the finished LP depended very much on the quality of the choirs original tape,

Sound News Productions have left us an undisputed legacy of recorded church music which includes their Transcription LPs of radio broadcasts, saved for posterity.