We’ve dedicated a large space on our label to artwork – we feel like it’s a great opportunity to put artwork in people’s hands that they can actually touch and it’s our intention that this artwork will constantly change and evolve. We plan to run various series and artist collaborations over time.
The current series of labels are a tribute to striking graphic designs of Decca Records’ vinyl sleeves of the 60s and 70s, which we love. The idea came about because one of our directors’ favourite songs is Satisfaction by The Rolling Stones, which was released on Decca in 1965.
Up until 1939 record sleeves were largely drab plain paper sleeves or elaborate adverts for the label. Albums themselves were packaged in lifeless booklets based on photo albums! Then, along came Alex Steinwess, who convinced Columbia to add more colour and more life to the covers and the results were astounding with enormous leaps in sales.
You can see the first run of labels below, alongside the record sleeves that inspired them.
UB3 + 8
This is the mystery of the bunch. Decca is joined on the sleeve by Philips, London & Mercury. Philips was a subsidiary of Mercury, London a subsidiary of Decca, Decca and Philips had been in cahoots since 1947. This would definitely have been a sleeve for foreign territories which the distributor would have used for records from all of the labels. Which records, when and where remain a mystery.
UB4 + 9
A US Decca sleeve, this time from ‘70-’73. A slightly ‘Art-deco’ take on a 7”. Decca was falling on harder times at this point with The Stones leaving to form their own label, The Who’s light fading and other 60’s bands splitting up. The Who still commanded a big following in The States and will have featured in this sleeve regularly.
UB5 + 10
This is the quintessential UK Decca sleeve, from their heyday of the 60’s. You’ll recognise it from acts like The Animals, Them, The Small Faces and of course The Rolling Stones. It was in circulation from ‘54-’66 though the shade of orange changed slightly from year to year.
UB6 + 11
Something of a rarity in the UK, this was the French sleeve from the mid-late 60’s. Almost hypnotic in design and with a distinctive, cubist ‘D’ for Decca in the centre. The Stones, The Who & Tom Jones are just a few acts who you’d find in the middle of this sleeve.
UB7 + 12
This sleeve was used in the US from ‘66-’70, so more of a rarity in the UK. Though you won’t find much Stones wrapped in this (they were licensed through Decca subsidiary, London Records over the pond), You’ll find plenty of big tunes by The Who.