One of the most iconic record labels in the world, Decca Records, turned 90 years old earlier this year.
Since its formation, on 28th February 1929, Decca Records has burgeoned from a prosperous British company to a fully-fledged international recording powerhouse, in the process being christened ‘The Supreme Record Company’.
Decca Records has been the home to a cornucopia of musical legends from Luciano Pavarotti to David Bowie, Dame Vera Lynn to Bing Crosby, Tom Jones to Billie Holiday, The Rolling Stones to Mantovani and is now providing the platform for a new generation of ambitious artists at the forefront of their scenes – names such as Andrea Bocelli, Sheku Kanneh-Mason and one of my favourite contemporary artists, Gregory Porter, who continue to represent the label’s cultural legacy.
Decca President Rebecca Allen recently explained: “Decca Records has been the soundtrack to many historical and cultural moments…Even as we celebrate our 90th anniversary, we continue to push the boundaries; to seek out artists who stand out from the crowd.”
The author’s introduction to Decca Records arrived around the age of six, when I discovered my parents’ 7” vinyl single record collection. In amongst all those black plastic 1960s records with their flamboyant, brightly coloured labels was a royal blue one, showcasing the dulcet tones of a Welsh chap by the name of Tom, who for some inexplicable reason my Mum swooned over every time his voice pealed out from the Dansette record player!!
The record label was Decca Records and the artist was of course Tom Jones. Within the record collection, there were Decca / Tom Jones triplets – “Delilah”, “Green Green Grass Of Home” and the less memorable and not-so-catchy “Not Responsible”. The quality of the music made the Decca Records label stand out for a young me. Several years later I discovered that The Rolling Stones were Decca stablemates of Tom Jones and I was somewhat baffled and mystified as to why Mum and Dad weren’t Rolling Stones fans as well. There’s no accounting for lack of taste!!
When I became a confirmed music fan in 1974, Decca also facilitated my recording of the Radio 1 Solid Gold Sixty / Top 20 rundown on a Sunday evening with Tom Browne. For my 12th birthday, Dad bought me a Decca Radio Cassette Recorder from Comet…….And the Decca circle of music was completed.
So to celebrate the 90th anniversary of Decca Records, here is a Top 20 Best Songs recorded on Decca Records and subsidiary label Deram Records–
Top 20 Best Songs recorded on Decca Records and subsidiary label Deram Records
- Rolling Stones – Paint It Black ( 1966 )
- Tom Jones – Delilah ( 1968 )
- Rolling Stones – Satisfaction ( 1965 )
- Casuals – Jesamine ( 1968 )
- Procol Harum – Whiter Shade Of Pale ( 1967 )
- Alan Price – Put A Spell On You ( 1966 )
- Rolling Stones – Gimme Shelter
- Tom Jones – It’s Not Unusual ( 1965 )
- Moody Blues – Nights In White Satin ( 1968 )
- Frijid Pink – House Of The Rising Sun ( 1970 )
- Lulu – Shout ( 1965 )
- Rolling Stones – She’s A Rainbow ( 1967 )
- Neil Reid – Mother Of Mine ( 1972 )
- Rolling Stones – Sympathy For The Devil ( 69 )
- Marianne Faithfull – As Tears Go By ( 1965 )
- Cat Stevens – Matthew and Son ( 1967 )
- Zombies – She’s Not There ( 1964 )
- Tom Jones – What’s New Pussycat? ( 1966 )
- Honeybus – I Can’t Let Maggie Go ( 1968 )
- Junior Campbell – Hallelujah Freedom ( 1972 )
Throughout 2019, Decca Records have been celebrating its nine decades of excellence with a number of special releases, events, concerts and more taking place across Europe. Events in Paris and Berlin have already taken place, as well as an official launch in London, which included performances from Decca signees Fieh, Jess Gillam, J.S. Ondara and Imelda May.
During 2019, Decca Records has been marking its 90th anniversary occasion with a series of events –
- The Supreme Record Company: The Story Of Decca Records 1929-2019 Book: A lavishly illustrated, first comprehensive history of the label.
- Pavarotti Feature Film: A milestone full-length documentary directed by Ron Howard telling the true story of Decca’s global superstar.
- V&A Event: London’s prestigious V&A opened its doors to Decca on Sunday 5 May (as part of the V&A Performance Festival 2019) for a day of family fun and music.
- A Return to Decca’s Lost Recording Studio: Decca’s West Hampstead studios, a hidden historical gem, opened its doors again in July for just a few nights, offering an array of different activities, from one-off performances to unseen artworks and exhibitions.
- Reissues and Rarities: 90 physical and digital releases that embrace the spirit of the label. The first Friday of every month for the whole of 2019 has been nominated as ‘Decca Day’ with a new release.
- Performances: A unique series of concerts in London, Berlin and Paris continued throughout 2019. Decca 90 also celebrated at key UK arts and music festivals such as Love Supreme, all four Cheltenham events and Village Green.
- Record Store Day 2019 (13 April): A series of exclusive vinyl releases were on offer for this global celebration of independent record shops.
- Rare David Bowie Videos: Six Deram-era clips restored to 1080 HD by the UMC team were released monthly from 8 March.
- Radio: Two programmes on BBC Radio 2 (available globally on the BBC Sounds app) that chart 20 of the most iconic Decca recordings of all time.
- Podcasts: 45 unique 90-second podcasts – 45 RPM (Recorded Podcast Moments) that outline key aspects of the label’s history, to appear on www.decca90.com.