Decca Records

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Decca Records (also written DECCA ) is a British record label whose branch, founded in the USA in August 1934, was one of the major labels there .


Creation of the record company

In 1928, British Equity Investment Co. Ltd. acquired the company Barnet Samuel & Sons Ltd. , which specialized in the production and marketing of musical instruments and portable gramophones . In 1914, under the leadership of Frank Samuel, this company patented the first portable gramophone under the trademark DECCA Dulcephone , which enjoyed great popularity. Since the sale of the company did not include the rights to the company's title, it was renamed DECCA Gramophone Company Limited (the deal did not include the musical instrument division). Shortly thereafter, the company was sold to a consortium led by former stockbroker Edward Lewis and then renamed DECCA Record Company Limited . The first electromagnetic recordings were released in mid-1929 under the DECCA brand .

There are different theories about the meaning of the name DECCA. One of them says that Wilfred S. Samuel was looking for an easy-to-remember word for patenting, which is pronounced the same in all languages, in order to increase sales. He then decided to merge the word MECCA with the D from the Dulcet logo or the Dulcephone trademark.

The 1930s and 1940s

In 1931 HW van Zoelen founded the Hollandsche Decca Distributie (HDD) as the exclusive distributor for the Netherlands and its colonies.

The Decca Record Company Limited acquired in 1932 by the Brunswick Records Corp. the insolvent British subsidiary Brunswick Limited . This earned the label stars like Bing Crosby and Al Jolson . In the following years Melotone Records and Edison Bell Records were also taken over. In 1939 the company was the only remaining independent record company in Great Britain alongside Electric & Musical Industries Limited (EMI).

Label of a US Decca record, 1934

In order to gain a foothold in the US market, the Decca Records Inc. branch was founded in New York City in 1934 . Thanks to well-known artists in the Decca catalog, the brand quickly became a fixture in the USA. Published in 1942 Decca the song White Christmas by Bing Crosby , of the best-selling single was ever made. Artists who were under contract to Decca in the 1930s and 1940s include Louis Armstrong , The Andrews Sisters , Ted Lewis , The Mills Brothers , Billy Cotton , Guy Lombardo , Chick Webb , Charlie Barnet , Bob Crosby , Jimmy Dorsey , Connee Boswell and Jack Hylton .

In 1941, American Decca Records Inc. acquired Brunswick Radio Corp, the Brunswick brand, Vocalion, and all Masters from Warner Brothers Pictures made before November 17, 1931. During the Second World War, the American subsidiary was sold and worked separately for many years. Since this also owned the naming rights for the Decca brand in the USA , the British Decca had to sell their records in North America under the London label . The other way around, the records of the American Decca were sold in Europe under the Brunswick label (and later Coral and MCA ).

The Hollandsche Decca Distributie (HDD) was taken over by Philips in 1942 .

In 1945 the British Decca used the full frequency range recording (ffrr) method for the first time . Forty years later, the name, as well as the associated logo, were to become a sub-record label ( FFRR Records ) of the Decca subsidiary London Records .

The 1950s and 1960s

A great success was Vico Torriani in 1953 with Bella, bella Donna

Together with the German company Telefunken , Decca Record Co. Ltd. 1950 TELDEC Telefunken-Decca Schallplatten GmbH in Hamburg. When the American label RCA ended its collaboration with EMI in 1958, Decca Record Co. Ltd. the opportunity to become a new distribution partner and sell Elvis Presley's songs in the UK under the RCA Victor label.

Pop music area

In the late 1950s, Decca signed Patsy Cline . In 1962, managers of the British Decca label missed the chance to sign a young band from Liverpool and instead opted for the beat combo Brian Poole & The Tremeloes . The other group were the Beatles , which historically turned out to be a mistake. The reason for the rejection of the Beatles after the so-called Decca Audition was with the assessment: "Guitar bands are going out of fashion."

From 1962 the American Decca Records Inc. became a division of MCA Inc.

Between 1964 and 1965, the Atlantic Label was also acquired directly by Decca Record Company Ltd. distributed, which like many other smaller American labels were previously licensed through the London and London American Recordings label. Altogether it was about 80 7inches (7 ") (AT.4xxx series), several EPs (AT.6xxx series) and LPs . From 1966 Polydor Records Limited took over the distribution.

Other artists who appeared on Decca or one of its partner and subsidiary labels were Hans Albers , Bill Haley , Vico Torriani , Pat Boone , Little Richard , Engelbert Humperdinck , Buddy Holly , the Everly Brothers , Bobby Darin , Ricky Nelson , Duane Eddy , The Drifters , Eddie Cochran , Del Shannon , Roy Orbison , The Crystals , The Ronettes , Ike and Tina Turner , The Bachelors , Anthony Newley , The Rolling Stones , The Zombies , Billy Fury , Bobby Vee , Brenda Lee , Tom Jones , Lulu , Billie Davis and Glass Harp .

Classical music

In the field of classical music , Decca became one of the leading labels in Great Britain and the world between 1950 and 1980. Decca was a pioneer, especially in the field of stereo recording technology. Groundbreaking stereo recordings have been made since 1954 . In terms of sound, these recordings were far superior to the competition (especially those of the EMI group) for years. From 1958 the Decca stereo recordings appeared under the name "ffss" (full frequency stereophonic sound). Outstanding recordings with the world's most important orchestras ( Concertgebouw Orchestra , London Symphony Orchestra , Vienna Philharmonic and many others) were made up into the late 1970s . The conductors included u. a. Ernest Ansermet , Georg Solti , Erich Kleiber , Zubin Mehta , Lorin Maazel , Herbert von Karajan and many others. In addition, Decca made countless complete operatic recordings with such important artists as Renata Tebaldi , Mario del Monaco , Leontyne Price , Luciano Pavarotti and others. a.

The 1970s

The 1970s were unfortunate for Britain's Decca. The Rolling Stones left Decca 1970 and other artists followed. Contracts with other record labels were not renewed, RCA left Decca in 1971 to establish its own subsidiary (RCA Limited England) in Great Britain . The Moody Blues were the only internationally known rock group that stayed with Decca. Although Decca founded the UK's first so-called “progressive” label in 1966 under the name Deram , when the punk era began in 1977, Decca was primarily a classic label with only temporary success with acts like John Miles and productions by Jonathan King . Decca became a label that mainly relied on re-releases from their existing catalog. In current contracts, the Decca slipped into the second row compared to labels such as Polygram, CBS, EMI and newcomer Virgin.

The American Decca brand also suffered a severe blow. After Decca releases had been sold as Coral MCA and MCA in Europe since 1967, the MCA brand should also be preferred in the USA from 1973. Decca disappeared completely from the American market.

The 1980s and 1990s

Only a few days after the death of the company's founder Edward Lewis, PolyGram acquired the remains of the British Decca in January 1980. This made Decca PolyGram's third classic label alongside Deutsche Grammophon and Philips Classics .

In 1998 PolyGram was taken over by Seagram and integrated into the Universal Music Group (UMG). Since the latter emerged from the MCA, the rights of the Decca brand have been reunited after 50 years .

Philips Classics and Decca merged in 1999 and Decca Record Company Ltd. became the Decca Music Group .

Jazz collections

The following collections from the Decca catalog have been published by Mosaic Records since 1983:

Web links

Commons : Decca Records  - collection of images, videos and audio files