company sleeves from the 50's to the 80's
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Page 1 (Asylum to Chess)
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The Asylum label was started by David Geffen in 1971, before being bought by Warner a year later and becoming part of the Elektra/Asylum empire. Artists ranged from The Eagles to UK singer-songwriter B.A. Robertson (who penned many of Mike & The Mechanics hits). The label gradually became more country focussed before being retired in the 90s, although it has recently relaunched as an urban music label.
| ||The first Asylum sleeve, showing the original 'door' logo on the centre label.|
One of the big three original US record companies, Brunswick started out making phonographs as well as cutting its own records. The label changed owners several times throughout its early history, before eventually coming into Decca's hands, on both sides of the Atlantic. UK Brunswick commonly saw releases of US Decca's big names : Bill Haley and Brenda Lee being two of the notable names. Further 60s releases from Len Barry, Patsy Cline and rock legends The Who (whose first three singles came out on Brunswick). In 1968, the UK imprint was briefly retired by Decca in favour of the MCA name, but then was reactivated in the 70s primarily for soul releases, such as those from the Chi-Lites.
| ||Brunswick in the 1950s: a bold, red design with their classic italic logo. Note the slightly-too-small centre die-cut hole; not uncommon on mid-50s sleeves (see Oriole for another example).|
| ||In the early 60s, Brunswick moved to a red-and-white striped design. The revived 1970s label releases retained the same design, as in this example from Hamilton Bohannon (an early disco pioneer).|
This US-based label was an early acquisition for EMI, who bought the company in 1955. The Capitol Records tower building which features on many of their sleeve designs was built a year later, supposedly resembling a stack of 7" singles. Here in the UK, the label released records from a quality roster of singers such as Bobby Darin, Dean Martin and Nat 'King' Cole. Through the 60s, its most notable group was The Beach Boys.
| ||The classic sleeve design dating from the late 1950s, clearly showing the newly-built Capitol Records tower.|
| ||A very plain corporate EMI look to this Beach Boys sleeve from the second half of the 60s; a small Capitol logo in the bottom right is the only decoration.|
| ||The tower reappeared (albeit slightly smaller than before) in the 70s, as can be seen on this Dr Hook sleeve.|
CBS in the UK corresponds to Columbia in the US - the world's oldest surviving record label, dating back to 1888. (Columbia Records in the UK were an EMI imprint; the confusion has caused legal wranglings over the years!) CBS released records from Simon & Garfunkel, The Byrds, Bob Dylan, and even Johnny Cash for a time. Sony bought CBS in 1988, and reacquired the Columbia name from EMI - so subsequent UK Columbia releases belong to them!
| ||This is the earliest CBS sleeve seen in the UK - a cream background with many orange CBS logos. Inside this one is a fine slice of jazz from Dave Brubeck.|
| ||Here's the same sleeve but with the colours reversed. This appears to be a slightly later design, although the two were seen together for a time. A particularly rare record, this one - The Konrads were David Bowie's first group, and this is their only single (although he doesn't actually appear on the record!).|
| ||This sleeve was the most common CBS design through the second half of the 60s, retaining the orange label and CBS logo top-left from earlier versions.|
| ||The standard CBS sleeve for most of the 70s, complete with revised central label design. A whole range of recordings came with this design: from Earth, Wind & Fire to the Kursaal Flyers!|
The Chess record label was based in Chicago, run by brothers Leonard and Phil Chess. Although best known for its excellent roster of blues, r&b and earthy rock 'n' roll, the Chess imprint in the UK (distributed in the mid 60s by Pye) released only a fraction of the original Chess US issues. Artists on Chess here include Ramsey Lewis Trio, Fontella Bass and Pigmeat Markum.
| ||The standard brown Chess sleeve with yellow writing.|
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