Dance Band Encyclopaedia
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These pages are just
notes about the labels which may be found on 78s. Click on the label to see a larger image.
Many labels have more pictures, information and sometimes listings which may be
found by clicking on the link. I have included labels from all
periods, not just the 1920s and 1930s, just because I find them all interesting!
All label scans are from my own collection unless otherwise noted. Information about the labels is from various sources, including my own researching, but Brian Rust's "The American Record Label Book" was very useful as was Don Taylor's "The English 78 Picture Book" and various articles by Frank Andrews and Arthur Badrock in "Hillandale News" and "The Talking Machine Review".
In order to make the pages more managable (and quicker to load), I have split this section into alphabetical parts. Click on the appropriate letter below to see the section you want.
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z Non-UK Labels
One of the smallest records ever produced, Babygram records were just 4" in diameter and single-sided. It has been reported that they were produced by British Homophone in around 1929. However, they are made of a vinyl-like material and have the appearance of a much later product. They were still available in the 1960s, so it seems more likely that they date from the 1950s or 1960s. They were made by British Homophone for Raphael Lipkin, director of Pippin Toys of London SW8.
Thanks to Lester Smith for the label scan and details of three of the records. Thanks to Pat Malham for the extra information and details.
Sold by Walter Barber & Co , of 115, Uxbridge Road, Shepherd's Bush, London, there were two types of Barberphone record, both dating from pre-1920. The first used J. Blum & Co's matrices and the catalogue was in a 1000 and 2000 series. The other Barberphone records are paste-over labels on Grammavox and Popular records.
Please e-mail me with details of ANY of these records. Thanks to Bill Dean-Myatt for the scan of the red label, and Rainer Lotz for the white-labelled one.
Click here for the few issue I known of.
This is a regional record company, but is difficult to date despite having an example here to hand. I'd guess it dates from post WWII. The company is/was based in Solihull, Warwickshire, but I don't know what "BBS" actually stands for.
A sister label to Mimosa, though very much rarer, Beacon was a 5½" disc produced by Crystalate in the early 1920s. The catalogue numbers are in a B-500 or C-100 series, but the extent of the series, and exact period the label was available (and for whom it was produced) is not currently known. Click here for a partial listing.
Beatall records made a brief appearance in 1910 with a very optimistic name that didn't really live up to expectations. As with many records of this period, they were pressed in Germany, possibly from Operaphone masters. Please e-mail me with details required of ANY of these records. Click here for a note of the few I know of.
Beka (or more correctly Beka-Grand) records were established in Germany at the start of the 20th century. They started exporting to Britain in 1905 and in 1913 British pressings first appeared. As with many labels, Beka disappeared during the first world war, but re-appeared in 1920 for about 5 years as a German-only product, though some were exported to Britain.
A very attractive pre-WWI label, the company was established in Germany in 1909, but in 1911 J.G. Murdoch started importing the records into England. The masters came mainly from Dacapo, plus some of Murdoch's own recordings.
Please e-mail me with details of ANY of these records. Click here for a list of some of these.
Bell was the name given to Edison (UK)'s first disc records in 1908. They were originally 10½" in size but later settled down to the more usual 10". They cost 2/6 and the catalogue number started at 1, reaching about 500 by 1912 when the label was discontinued and replaced by Winner.
In the 1920s, Edison
UK revived the Bell name for their 5½" (later 6") children's
label. Catalogue numbers started at 250 in 1921 and the label survived
until 1926 by which time the numbers had reached into the 400s. Dance
band items specially recorded for the format may be found.
All issues are British recordings. 6" recordings continued to be issued
after this time by Edison Bell, but were issued on the Crown label.
It is not certain that these record ever made it onto the market. They were advertised in 1920 by the Bellaphone Company of 10, Brook Green, Hammersmith, London, but none have ever been reported.
Please e-mail me with details of ANY of these records. Also a label scan.
A German-produced record, marketed in Britain prior to WWI, using Kalliope masters.
Please e-mail me with details of ANY of these records. Also a label scan.
Beltona records were produced for the Murdoch Trading company of 59-61 Clerkenwell Road, London, EC1.
The first Beltona records appeared just after the first world war and were made by Crystalate. This style was short-lived (probably only a few months) and copies are rare. The catalogue numbers were in a 100 series and current thinking is that they were made for export to Australia, but only 3 examples are known of at the moment. See first label scan - if you have any examples, please e-mail me)
It was 1922 before the label was revived and the pressings were taken on by Vocalion and they used their usual masters from their own recordings and from American Gennett and Vocalion. The familiar design (see third picture) was used, though initially the colours were red and buff (see second picture) rather than turquoise and light turquoise. There was also a 6" disc called Beltona Bairns produced by Vocalion at this time; the photo reproduced here shows one in its original packet.
In 1927, the label design changed to the black and white design shown here and soon after this, Edison Bell started providing the masters as Vocalion ceased any 10" recordings. By the following year, Beltona seemed to stop issuing dance music, though in the early 1930s, a few sessions of local dance bands were recorded (see scan). The label concentrated on Scottish and Irish music for the rest of its life and carried on into the 1970s, though obviously was by then in the 7" vinyl 45rpm format.
The catalogue numbers started at 101 (for popular records) and reached about 1250 before the design change and Edison took over from about 1300. The label generally shows the correct matrix number, even though the original matrix has been expunged from the disc on many of the American matrices. The Bairns records used a 3-digit series of numbering.
NOTE: There were many other issues and series and a full listing of all Beltona issues was produced in 2007 by Bill Dean Myatt and is available from the CLPGS.
Besttone records were available in 1915 and could be bought from the Regent Wave Company of 120 Old Street, London, owned by Leon Liebowich.
On this label may be seen the name "Rifanco Eagle". It is not known what Rifanco means or refers to, but the needles and gramophones available from Regent use the name too. Other label designs show the Rifanco Canary, Rifanco Marble and Rifanco Lion, as well as just Rifanco Brand.
The Besttone name was also used by the company as paste-over stickers on other record labels, presumably old stock sold by Regent, or more likely due to German pressings becoming unavailable during WWI. (See the latter 2 pictures which were Diploma and Pelican records respectively).
This was a paste-over label available in Australia during 1918-21. The original records are believed to all be Edison Bell Winners. The catalogue numbers matched the Winners to start with and then the first digit was dropped off the original Winner number.
Thanks to Derek Kell and Rainer Lotz for the label scans.
Birmingham Sound Reproducers
This looks like a privately produced record. The company was based in Birmingham, England and better remembered nowadays as BSR for their record decks.The record is single-sided, pressed in standard shellac and a master from the original US Bluebird issue.
A paste-over half-label, presumably sold in a specific shop and clearing off old stock.
Thanks to Rainer Lotz for the label scan.
A Scottish record company, based in Glasgow, Bob records feature the reverse side of a shilling piece (known as a "bob") in the label design. The masters of those seen came from Invicta.
Marche (sold in Australia)
These records date from the mid-to-late-1920s were manufactured by Crystalate in England using their own Imperial masters, for export to Australia for sale in the Bon Marche department stores. There were about 200 different records issued, in a 100-series catalogue.
Bon Ton Record
This consists of a sticker in orange with gold printing, pasted over Regal records dating from around WWI, probably as a means of selling off old stock.
Boosey and Hawkes were a leading music publishers at 295 Regent Street, London.
From 1937 until about 1967, B&H produced many records (pressed by EMI and Levy's) of 'music publisher' recordings in many different series. The one shown here dates from the late 1940s or 1950s. I'd be interested to see a scan of a pre-WWII label.
The well-known chemist chain (originally based in Nottingham) is not known for selling records these days. However, in the early 1920s, some shops at least (maybe only the bigger ones?) were selling their own-labelled record. This was a 6½" disc (The only record I have encountered of this size) and was recorded and manufactured by Vocalion in around April 1923. They had a catalogue series in the B-1000 range and I suspect they were pretty short-lived. No artist credit is shown on the label.
Another odd thing about this label...
I have only seen three of them and all 6 sides had the label name / logo
scratched out (see first picture). I can't think of any reason for this.
The second picture shows what the label is believed to look like and my
thanks are due to Steve Walker and Norman Field for helping to recreate
the label. A scan of an undefaced label, or information about other
issues would be gratefully received. Here is a list of those I know:
Bosworths were a music publisher and the most familiar record of this name sates from the 1940s and 50s, issuing library music. However, there was an early incarnation of the label, from WWI. These were pressed by Crystalate using Guardsman masters. They are exceedingly rare and only a couple of examples have so far been found: the one shown here and also No. 4 "Tender Appeal" by F. G. Byford.
If you should know of any details of these, do email me, Thanks to Bill Dean-Myatt for the label scan.
This was a Scala product, made in Britain for export to the continent.
Britannic records date from about 1910 and there appear to be two distinct styles, as shown. Neither show any maker's name but the first one does say "British Made"; the other proudly proclaims "British Made Throughout". The first example above is a 11½" disc and used "Bell" masters and pressed by Edison Bell, the other is a standard 10" disc and the masters were from various sources, such as Edison Bell, Nicole, Beka and American record Co; the records were pressed by the Disc Record Co. of Harrow.
The records cost about 2/6 and were sold by the "tally man" system where the customer was contacted to buy so many discs over a year (about 50) for a fixed price, for which they received a new gramophone.
These records date from the late 1920s and were produced for use as a soundtrack which would synchronise with a film.
Click here to see a listing of those I have seen.
Dating from the WWI period, these records were made for the British Polyphon Company of 1-3, Newman Street, London and 27, Jamaica Street, Glasgow. The records used Edison Bell "Winner" masters and numbers were in a P- series catalogue.
Information about any of these, or a decent scan would be appreciated. Do email me if you can help.
Vocalion introduced their popular 8" Broadcast record in 1927 and they sold in their thousands over the next 6 years, increasing in size to 9" in 1931. There were "spin-offs" in the shape of the 6" Broadcast Junior and the various 10" Broadcast 12 series, Broadcast 4-tune and Broadcast International. The name was finally dropped in 1934, by which time Crystalate owned the company.
More details, pictures and some label listings
Brunswick records were introduced into Britain in 1923; the name was used by the Chappell Piano Company who were music publishers and sellers of the Cliftophone gramophone. The masters were all from American Brunswick initially, and confusingly used a similar catalogue series which sometimes coincided with the American issues, and sometimes didn't. The label was bought by Decca in the 1930s and they continued to use the name until the 1960s.
More details and pictures
BSS (Berners Music Company)
This record was pressed by Parlophone in the 1920s.
A very rare British label available from during WWI until sometime during the early 1920s. The joke amongst collectors is that the label is a different design on each one found. While this is an exaggeration, there do seem to be quite a few different designs. The early ones (see first label) had a (by then) old-fashioned etched label. The later records were pressed by Crystalate and had a standard paper label. The scan for the very latest style is taken from Steven Walker's new discographical book "English Ragtime". (This book may be obtained from me; email me for details).
Please e-mail me with details of ANY of these records. Click here for an initial listing .
One of the many obscure labels from the first world war period, Burlington drew on various sources for their masters, including Nicole records and J. Blum & Co.
Click here for a partial (rather sparse) listing of this label. Please e-mail me with details of ANY of these records.
There are two different forms of Butterfly record. One was an oversized 10" disc using pre-WWI Grammavox masters. The label was dark red with a gold butterfly and used a B-1 catalogue series, running possibly as far as B-300. This is the first example shown here. Thanks to Mike Jones for the label scan.
version of Butterfly was a total or partial paste-over label used on old stocks
of "Popular", "Imperial" or "Mimosa" records, presumably as a way of disposing of them
cheaply (see second & third scans).