Vertigo Records

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Vertigo Records is a British record label owned by Mercury Records .



The label was founded in 1969 by the Philips Phonographische Industrie or PolyGram and was supposed to specialize in progressive rock . Various singles and LPs with young and modern artists were released by 1973, including a. Black Sabbath , Gentle Giant , Ramases , Status Quo , Rod Stewart and Uriah Heep . In later years the program became more commercial, e.g. a. with Thin Lizzy , Dire Straits and Metallica .

In the 1990s , the label increasingly lost its independence and eventually merged with Mercury Records. The Polygram group in turn was sold by Philips to the Universal Music Group , which in turn was merged into Vivendi Universal .

The Vertigo releases of the era from 1969 to 1973 ("Swirl phase") are today considered to be groundbreaking for the development of progressive rock music. Most of the classic recordings have since appeared repeatedly on CD .

At the beginning of the new millennium, Vivendi Universal began to reactivate the old label, although the musical direction differs from the beginning.

Swirl Vertigo / Spaceship Vertigo

Vertigo swirl

The historical publications are sometimes referred to as "Vertigo-Swirl" or "Spiral Vertigo". The term refers to the paper insert in the middle, i.e. the label in the real sense: The Vertigo logo is shown in large on the label on the A side of the corresponding plates, and small on the B side with information on the artist and title .

In 1973 the changeover to the so-called UFO label ("Spaceship Vertigo") designed by Roger Dean took place . The end of the swirl phase initiated the commercialization of the label described above.


Musical direction

At the beginning of the label, progressive rock, which was going through a high phase at that time, was the focus of the publications. Well-constructed, long songs, which often extended over a complete record side, were typical. Accordingly, the label concentrated on albums , of which a total of 89 were released by 1973 (swirl phase). Single releases were in the minority. In the same period, there were only 44 Vertigo singles in Great Britain , which also frequently missed the charts .

In addition to progressive rock releases, Vertigo was also home to jazz- inspired bands such as Colosseum and Nucleus . Graham Bond combined jazz and progressive rock on Vertigo. With Tudor Lodge and Mike Absalom there was also music from the folk scene.

By releasing the recordings of Black Sabbath , Warhorse and Uriah Heep , Vertigo was also instrumental in the development of hard rock and heavy metal .

Mostly British artists were under contract with Vertigo, but recordings by Kraftwerk from Germany and Flame Dream from Switzerland were also published.

Cover design

In addition to the music, the often lavishly designed record covers caused a sensation: An example of such a cover is the LP "Space Hymns" by the band Ramases , a forerunner of 10cc . The cover shows a rocket flying through space. However, the cover can be opened six times ("6-way FOC"). The rocket turns out to be the steeple of a huge wooden church that lifts off into space in a huge fireball. As with various other Vertigo releases of the time, the cover was designed by Roger Dean .

The photographer Marcus Keef often took on the graphic design. His covers usually show "normal" pictures (often landscapes) to which something obscure is added. The first two Black Sabbath albums are exemplary here .

While some of the bands from the swirl phase were quickly forgotten, the covers and their creators are still known today.


Many of the Swirl LPs are among the great rarities due to the low production and sales figures. The plates by Dr. Z - Three parts to my soul ( occult ) and Ben ( Jazz ) - Same . The LPs by Tudor Lodge ( folk ), Mike Absalom ( singer-songwriter ), both Cressida ( progressive rock ) albums and both Catapilla (progressive jazz rock ) LPs are among the particularly rare and sought-after records.

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