With more than a century of experience in discovering and nurturing iconic recording artists, Parlophone is among the best known and most loved record labels in the world. The company joined the Warner Music Group family on July 1st, 2013.
Originally founded in Germany in 1896 by the Carl Lindström Company as Parlophon, the British arm of the label was formed in 1923 under the name Parlophone Records, which quickly developed an identity as a leading jazz label. In 1926, Parlophone was acquired by the Columbia Phonograph Company which, a few years later, merged with The Gramophone Company and became Electric and Musical Industries (EMI).
George Martin joined Parlophone in 1950 as Assistant Label Manager, taking over as Manager in 1955. Martin produced and released a wide range of recordings including albums by comedy group The Goons, the pianist Mrs Mills and teen idol Adam Faith. In 1962, Martin signed rising Liverpool band The Beatles. With Cilla Black, Billy J. Kramer, The Fourmost and The Hollies also signed to the label, Parlophone consolidated its reputation as one of the world’s most famous and prestigious record labels.
In recent decades, Parlophone artists have continued to make their mark on modern music. The 1990’s saw the careers of Blur and Radiohead take off to huge critical acclaim. In 2000, Coldplay released their number one debut album in the UK, Parachutes, which went on to win a Grammy for Best Alternative Music Album. With artists as diverse as Kylie Minogue, Lily Allen and Pet Shop Boys, Parlophone flourished throughout the decade as a stalwart of the British music scene.
Over the last ten years, Parlophone has broken influential and popular artists including Gorillaz, Tinie Tempah, Eliza Doolittle, Bat For Lashes, Richard Hawley, Conor Maynard and Gabrielle Aplin. The Parlophone catalog also includes legendary recordings from artists such as Radiohead, Pink Floyd, Edith Piaf, Iron Maiden, David Bowie, Tina Turner and Kate Bush.
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Rock - Released August 16, 2019 | Parlophone UK
Pop - Released July 5, 2019 | Parlophone UK
The Mercury Demos collects the ten songs David Bowie recorded with John "Hutch" Hutchinson in the spring of 1969 with the intent of snagging a contract with the record label. At the time of recording, Bowie was a bit adrift, left without a recording deal after he failed to hit the big time at Deram. His folk trio with Hutchinson and Hermione Farthingale had become a duo once he split with Farthingale, and he didn't have many other label options since he struck out at most imprints in the U.K. Fortunately, he was on a creative upswing, armed with the lovely "Letter to Hermione," the delicate "Conversation Piece," the softly majestic "Janine," and "Space Oddity," the song that would become his calling card. Some of these songs had been in the works for a while -- they can be heard on Spying Through a Keyhole and The Clareville Grove Demos, cumbersome sets of 7" singles that also chronicle other bedroom demos from 1968 and 1969 -- but "Space Oddity" has gained greater shape here and it's paired with sharper originals, along with a cover of Lesley Duncan's "Love Song" which Elton John would later popularize on Tumbleweed Connection. All of the performances are ingratiatingly unaffected: Bowie and Hutchinson laugh, make nervous jokes, and sing earnestly, a combination that's quite endearing. Because the duo sound so amateurish, listening to The Mercury Demos feels like eavesdropping -- and while that's appealing, it's also hard to deny that the album isn't quite revelatory. It's a demo tape, deliberately rough and functional, the kind of thing designed to spark interest from professionals but not meant for public listening. That The Mercury Demos was released officially -- in an absurdly lavish box set filled with tchotchkes, no less -- is a testament to Bowie's enduring legacy, a legacy that effectively started once Mercury heard this tape and signed him to a record contract. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine