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London Records

London Records
Parent company Universal Music Group
Founded 1947
Founder Edward Lewis
Status Active
Distributor(s) Self-distributed
Genre Various
Country of origin UK

London Records, styled London Recordings in logo, is a record label headquartered in the United Kingdom, originally marketing records in the United States, Canada and Latin America from 1947 to 1979, then becoming a semi-independent label.


  • History 1
  • Subsidiary or associated labels 2
  • Previous London Records artists 3
  • London 90 artists 4
    • The Platinum Collection 4.1
  • London 2011 artists 5
  • London 2012 artists 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • External links 9


London arose from the split in ownership between the British branch of Joan Sutherland and Luciano Pavarotti made many, if not all, of their recordings for the company.

The London name was also used by British Decca in the UK market to release American labels which British Decca licensed, such as Imperial, Chess, Dot, Atlantic, Specialty and Sun, as well as the first two UK releases from Motown. In the sixties more licensing deals were made with Big Top, Monument, Parrot, Philles and Hi, and London Atlantic, London Monument and London Dot became subsidiaries. (An unusual feature was the letter code in the numbering system: see Catalog numbering systems for single records.) The label bore the logo "London American Recordings", and on Radio Luxembourg it was known as "London American".

1965 London Records trade ad for the Rolling Stones

In America, the label was best known as the American imprint of the pre-1971 recordings of the Rolling Stones (now owned by ABKCO). The label also originally issued some early LPs and singles by Texas-based band ZZ Top (whose catalog went to Warner Brothers when the band moved there).

In the late seventies London signed deals with Bomp! Records and with Big Sound in Connecticut. This changed the label in the eyes of many from a backwater into something a little more "edgy" compared to the pedestrian contemporary releases from parent company Decca.

The president of London Records in the 1970s was D. H. Tollerbond.[1]

After British Decca was acquired by PolyGram in 1979, London followed a more independent course with subsidiary labels such as Slash, Pete Tong's Essential Records and FFRR.

Universal Music Group (the owner of American Decca) acquired PolyGram in 1998;[3] however, by this time, London Records had become a semi-independent label within the PolyGram group operated by Roger Ames. When Ames moved to the Warner Music Group, he took the label with him, and so almost all of London's recent back catalogue was acquired by Warner, which also acquired the London name and trademark from Decca [4] (which still owns pre-PolyGram back catalogue). The name is still used, mainly for UK-based artists, and for ex-Factory Records artists. Notable artists released by that incarnation of London, called London Records 90, include New Order, Happy Mondays, A, and Shakespears Sister.

After PolyGram took over British Decca, classical-music albums recorded by British Decca continued to be released on the London label in the U.S., with a logo similar to the Decca classical label logo, until American Decca owner MCA Records bought British Decca owner PolyGram in 1998, which formed Universal Music, after which they were all reissued on the original British Decca label in the U.S.

The London pop music catalogue owned by Universal Music is now managed by Polydor Records, with US distribution handled by Mercury Records. Decca Records had a recording studio in Blomfield Road, West London; there may have been another in London's West End. In 2010, Universal Music reclaimed ownership of the London Records trade mark. On 1 July 2011 Universal Music reclaimed the London Records name and relaunched it under the executive team of Nick Raphael (President) and later Jo Charrington (Senior Vice President of A&R) who together previously ran Epic Records for Sony Music Entertainment since 2001. Both had started their careers at London Records in the Ames era in the 1990s.[2]

When Nick Raphael became president of Capitol Records' UK division in 2013, London Records moved there as well,[3] where it currently operates as a subsidiary.

Gramophone record era London logo

Subsidiary or associated labels

Previous London Records artists

London 90 artists

The Platinum Collection

The Platinum Collection is Warner Music Group's budget hits collection brand. Currently the range features recordings from the following London artists:

London 2011 artists

London 2012 artists

See also


  1. ^ Cat People, Bill Hayward, introduction by Rogers E. M. Whitaker. New York: Dolphin/Doubleday, 1978 (p. 132)
  2. ^ "Raphael to relaunch London Records for Universal | UNLIMITED | CMU". 2011-05-31. Retrieved 2012-08-13. 
  3. ^ "Universal Music Group". Retrieved 2015-11-01. 

External links

  • Official website
  • The London Records Story from BSN Pubs
  • Discographies
  • London Records A&R team contact list
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