Parlophone Records Limited (also known as Parlophone Records and Parlophone) is a German-British major record label founded in Germany in 1896 by the Carl Lindström Company as Parlophon. The British branch of the company was founded in 8 August 1923 as The Parlophone Co. Ltd., which developed a reputation in the 1920s as a leading jazz record label. On 5 October 1926, the Columbia Graphophone Company acquired Parlophone’s business, name and release library, and later merged with the Gramophone Company on 31 March 1931 to become Electric & Musical Industries Limited (EMI). George Martin joined EMI in 1950 as assistant label manager, taking over as manager in 1955. Martin produced and released a mix of product including comedy recordings of the Goons, the pianist Mrs Mills, and teen idol Adam Faith.
In 1962, Martin signed the Beatles, at the time an unknown struggling rock band from Liverpool. During the 1960s, with artists such as Cilla Black, Billy J. Kramer, the Fourmost, and contemporary Manchester band the Hollies also signed to the label, Parlophone became one of the world’s most famous and prestigious record labels. For several years, Parlophone claimed the best-selling UK single ‘She Loves You’, and the best-selling UK album ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’, both by the Beatles. The label also achieved placement of seven singles at No. 1 during 1964, when it also claimed top spot on the UK Albums Chart for 40 weeks. Parlophone continued as a division of EMI, until it was merged into the Gramophone Co. Ltd. on 1 July 1965. On 1 July 1973, the Gramophone Co. Ltd. was renamed as EMI Records Limited.
On 28 September 2012, regulators officially approved Universal Music Group (UMG)’s planned acquisition of EMI, on condition that its EMI Records Ltd. group would be divested from the combined group. EMI Records Ltd. included Parlophone and other labels to be divested and were for a short time operated in a single entity known as the Parlophone Label Group (PLG), while UMG pended their sale. Warner Music Group (WMG) later acquired Parlophone and PLG in 7 February 2013, making Parlophone their new third flagship label, alongside Warner Bros. Records and Atlantic Records. PLG was renamed Parlophone Records Limited in May 2013. Parlophone is now the oldest of WMG’s three flagship record labels.
Since then, reissues of Kate Bush albums have been released on the Parlophone label instead of EMI Records.
- Parlophone. Wikipedia, retrieved 10 November 2018.