Fontana Records

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Fontana Records is an originally Dutch music label that operated worldwide.

Company history

The Dutch record company Philips founded the sub-label Fontana in 1954 . From 1958 onwards, it sold records in the field of light music worldwide . Fontana had its own production facilities in several countries, for example in Great Britain, the USA and Germany. It was generally known for its blue and white plate label (black in Germany). From 1971 the label belonged to the media group Polygram and came to the French company Vivendi in 2000 . In 2004, the US distribution company Fontana Distribution was founded in San Francisco under the umbrella of the INgrooves music company.

Great Britain

Made in England

1957 was the starting year of "Fontana England", according to the production location indicated on the records. First records with classical music and jazz appeared. Fontana initially licensed music from major American labels.

The first pop music single appeared in January 1958 with the British singer Jimmy Jaques. By May 1959, the records were marked “A product of Philips Electrical ltd.” By the year 2000, Fontana had produced around 1700 singles in Great Britain with more than 500 performers. The busiest British singers were Wayne Fontana (~ 22), Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich (~ 15), the band James and Cleo Laine (both ~ 13) and Eileen Donaghy with around 12 singles. Aretha Franklin , Johnny Mathis , Nana Mouskouri , Marty Robbins , Frank Sinatra and Bobby Vinton were published under license . Numerous single titles produced by Fontana England reached the top 30 of the New Musical Express , including these number one hits:

Winchester Cathedral of New Vaudeville Band received a 1967 Grammy for best contemporary rock and roll recording . In addition, Fontana also produced British jazz recordings in the 1960s, for example by Cleo Laine or Tubby Hayes .

For a long time Fontana England used a two-pronged system for catalog numbers with its pop singles. As a rule, on the right of the plate label was a three- to four-digit number, starting with 100 in January 1958 to 1081 in March 1970. With a brief interruption during this period there was another six-digit number on the left, the first three digits of which were either stood for the country of production (e.g. 263 for England, 271 for USA). Certain performers had their own prefix, such as 261 for Nana Mouskouri . From May onwards, only the seven-digit 6 series was used. From 1980 the catalog system was changed again. Each performer received a multi-digit abbreviation made up of capital letters, followed by a one to two-digit number indicating the number of singles he had produced at Fontana England ( The House of Love , Shine On : HOL 3).


Made in Germany

In Germany Fontana was active on the record market from 1958. Both German in-house productions and licensed recordings of successful titles, mainly from the USA and Great Britain, were distributed. The best-known performers produced by Fontana in Germany include Peter Beil , the Blue Diamonds , Anita Lindblom , Nana Mouskouri and The Rattles . The Regento Stars were the first to make it into the top 50 of the music magazine Musikmarkt in March 1960 with their single Leila / Lugano . Three titles reached number one in Germany: Ramona (Blue Diamonds), White Roses from Athens and I look after the white clouds (both Nana Mouskouri). These titles from German production reached the top 50 by 1970:

  • Laila (Regento Stars, 7., 3/1960)
  • Ramona (Blue Diamonds, 1., 10/1960)
  • Corinna, Corinna (Peter Beil, 6., 4/1961)
  • As in Paris back then (Blue Diamonds, 3., 4/1961)
  • White roses from Athens (Nana Mouskouri, 1., 7/1961)
  • I look after the white clouds (Nana Mouskouri, 1., 3/1962)
  • Once the south wind blows again (Nana Mouskouri, 2., 3/1962)
  • Somewhere on the horizon (Nana Mouskouri, 4., 9/1962)
  • Sukiyaki (Blue Diamonds, 2., 7/1963)
  • Red corals (Nana Mouskouri, 6., 8/1963)
  • The Witch (The Rattles, 4th, 10/1970)

In addition to the German productions, the German Fortuna also published the number one titles from the English Fontana production as well as other titles under license, which landed at number one on the hit lists in their countries of origin:

To catalog the singles, Fontana Germany initially used a six-digit number combination that began with the prefix 263. This was changed to 269 in 1959. From July 1960 Fontana no longer numbered consecutively, but assigned the catalog numbers sorted by artist: Peter Beil 269 ..., Blue Diamonds 266 ..., Nana Mouscouri 261 ... etc. From 1964 onwards, there was another change, German productions began now with again with 269, takeovers from Great Britain usually received numbers from 267 ..., with other foreign productions the six-digit number was assigned according to an incomprehensible system. In 1970 a seven-digit number system was added, starting with a four-digit prefix. German productions had the prefix 6004. From 1983 the catalog system looked like the following example: 814 624-7. The meaning of the sequence of numbers cannot be understood.

United States

Made in USA

In 1961, Philips signed a contract with the American record company Mercury Records after Mercury Fontana productions were to be marketed as a sub-label in the USA. First, Mercury took the Fontana singles into the catalog number system of its already existing sublabel Smash , so that the first edition was listed between the Smash singles No. 1784 and 1765. The single no. 1785 with Nana Mouscouri ( What Now My Love / Wildwood Flower ), like all subsequent records, bore the Fontana logo and the signature “Fontana Records. Chicago 1, Illinois ". As of 1963, the comment "Chicago ..." was replaced by "Vendor (German: seller) Mercury Record Corporation". The last Fontana single in the Mercury catalog was published in 1965 with the number 1999. From February 1965 Fontana US published its own record catalog, in which the singles began with the number 1501. From July 1966 the company signature was no longer available.

Between 1962 and 1969 Fontana USA released about 230 singles with over 130 artists. The most published performers were Gloria Lynne with 15 singles, The Troggs (9) and The Pretty Things (8). Most of the singers came from Great Britain, only a few from the USA ( Oscar Brown, Jr. , Ral Donner , Gloria Lynne, Diane Renay , Steam ). The first single released by Fontana in the US was What Now My Love / Wildwood Flower with Nana Mouskouri in September 1962 . The following titles became number one successes:

  • Game of Love (Wayne Fontana, 4/1965)
  • Wild Thing (The Troggs, 7/1966)
  • Winchester Cathedral ( The New Vaudeville Band , 12/1966)
  • Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye (Steam, 10/1969)

The number of titles in the Hot 100 of Billboard was limited. Catalog number 1684 appeared at the end of 1969 with Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg (La décadanse / Les langues de chat).

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ A b Marc Myers: Tubby Hayes: Lost Fontana Tapes. Jazzwax, July 29, 2019, accessed on July 29, 2019 .