Word association games. Try them out with record labels. RCA … Elvis. Columbia … Cliff. Parlophone … The Beatles. Decca … The Rolling Stones. Brunswick? It can only be Brenda Lee, with twenty hits for the label she joined as Little Brenda Lee, aged nine.
Switch it to songs, and Brunswick’s two biggest are White Christmas by Bing Crosby (in the 78 rpm, pre-Top 20 era mainly) and Rock Around The Clock by Bill Haley & His Comets. White Christmas is one of those where you translate its sales to modern values and it comes out as … well, the biggest record in the Earth, the Galaxy or the Universe or whatever and popular in Bournemouth too.
Brunswick was an American label started by cabinet makers Brunswick-Balke-Collander in 1916, to complement their new phonographs. The company boasts its origin in 1845. When they started making records they used Edisons vertical cut system, which was a loser, and in 1920 they switched to the same lateral system as the rest.
By the mid 20s, they were part of the Big Three with Victor and Columbia. In 1924 they bought the Vocalion Records label.
They were acclaimed for quality pressings, and moved into classical recordings in 1924.
Their main base was Chicago, and they recorded early jazz in their Race Records Series.
The company was sold to Warner Bros in 1930, and shifted to New York. The film connection led to signings of Bing Crosby, always their biggest star, then The Mills Brothers and Cab Calloway. The complexities of ownership abound, as when record sales slumped in 1930-32 (a combination of the Depression and the rise of radio), tey were farmed out on lease to ARC (American Record Company). Brunswick became their premium price label at 75 cents compared to 35 cents for ARC’s other labels.
They were already operating in the UK, from 1923 as well importing discs, first via Cliftophone then Duophone. In 1932 the British division was sold to Decca. The UK branch issued some great designs, becoming the first (I think) to use photographic centre labels, different on each side.
Sweet Leilani / In A Little Hula Heaven: Bing Crosby #02443, 1937 78 rpm shellac
Whispering Grass: The Ink Spots #03075 78 rpm shellac 1940
Dream Dancing: Fred Astaire #03288 78 rpm shellac 1941
I Said No: Jimmy Dorsey & His Orchestra # 03317 78 rpm shellac 1941
There was already confusion. These discs are Brunswick Ltd, UK. Releases elsewhere in Europe are (UK) Decca.
Carmen Miranda had her own photographic centre design which ran through several releases in 1940 and 1941- always the same one.
So, it’s not over CBS (Columbia) bought ARC in 1939. By 1941 decided to scrap Brunswick and Vocalion, and switch the artists to Columbia and Okeh. This screwed up the original deal with the Warner to ARC sale, and CBS had to sell the brand names and original pre-1931 masters. American Decca stepped in and bought both Brunswick and Vocalion. US Decca relaunched both labels in 1943.
Until 1946 it had its own UK distribution, based at 1-3 Brixton Road, London SW9 … long before such an address would have had ska and reggae connotations. Brunswick artists in the 1940s were led by Bing Crosby and Judy Garland, and included Carmen Miranda, The Mills Brothers, The Andrews Sisters, Woody Herman, Ella Fitzgerald, Fred Astaire, The Ink Spots. So major American artists.
Now let’s confuse matters. Brunswick had survived in Europe as a label, and imports appeared. British Decca had sold American Decca during the Second World War, but retained enough association to contract for British distribution of US Decca releases. Ah, but they couldn’t confuse the two separate Decca companies, so decided that American Decca records would be released as ‘Brunswick‘ in the UK.
U.S. Decca let the U.S. Brunswick label lie dormant until 1957 when it was revived. These records were then issued in the UK as Coral, not Brunswick.
Therefore, the records issued in Britain as Brunswick, originated from U.S. Decca. The way it worked out in Britain was that both Coral (aka Brunswick USA) and Brunswick (aka Decca USA) were distributed by British Decca. Phew! By 1956, the circle around the top of the logo reads “American Recordings”.
US Brunswick = UK Coral
US Decca = UK Brunswick
The UK labels say Brunswick Ltd so it was registered as a distinct UK company, but as a branch of the Decca Record Company Limited.
Decca marketed the same records in France, Germany and Scandinavia under the Brunswick logo. They did not issue 45s until 1954, and from October 1954 to January 1960 they issued 45s and 78s.
Buddy Holly was on Coral in the UK, but two singles were issued on Brunswick here. His first, Blue Days Black Nights, 1956, is rated at £800 mint in Rare Record Guide, then you get eight singles on Coral, followed by Rock Around With Ollie Vee, back on Brunswick in 1959 in Britain, which is rated at a mere £40 mint. Then it switches back to Coral.
Paul Pelletiere’s Record Information Issue Three guide has Brunswick. He did an analysis of number of releases per year, with percentage and number of chart entries. This gives the best guide to the trajectory of the label.
|Year||Number of releases||UK chart entries||hit percentage|
The table shows that early on there were a very large number of re-issues, and they were issuing nearly everything American Decca had. The number of releases declines steadily per year, and suggests that Decca UK were cherry-picking what to release, resulting in a higher percentage of hits. You can see the Haley effect, the Brenda Lee effect, and The Who effect.
Into the 1950s
There was a great deal of reissuing and consolidating older material from American Decca on LP and EP. The early material utilised the same template sleeves with overprinting as Decca.
LP base designs:
Jazz Band Ball No.1 (10″ LP): Eddie Condon & His Orchestra, Brunswick LA. 8549 1951
Louis Armstrong Classics (10″ LP): Brunswick LA 8528, 1951
So really we’re looking at stuff that originated from US Decca, and the golden days were the mid Fifties … Bing Crosby, Sammy Davis Junior, The Four Aces, The Ink Spots, The Andrews Sisters, The Mills Brothers, Louis Armstrong… all the “quality” (i.e. showbiz establishment) end of traditional fifties popular music. Plus extremely classy female vocal from Billie Holiday (back catalogue) and the then new Peggy Lee. My mother would accept no argument. In our house Bing Crosby was rated vastly superior to Frank Sinatra.
Bing Sings The Hits: Bing Crosby 1954 OE 9003
Al Jolson – Songs He Made Famous Vol 1 (EP) OE9011 1954. See reissue OE9336
Leroy Anderson conducts his own compositions (EP) October 1954 OE 9021
Ella Fitzgerald Sings (EP): Ella Fitzgerald OE 9062 May 1955
Starring Sammy Davis Volume 1 (EP): Sammy Davis OE 9146 1955
Louis Armstrong & Gordon Jenkins (EP) OE 9045
Louis Armstrong & Gordon Jenkins (EP) OE 9045, December 1955 pressing, same EP
Ella Sings Gershwin Volume 1 (EP): Ella Fitzgerald OE 9047 Jan 1955
South of The Mason-Dixon Line (EP): The Lawson-Haggart Jazz Band OE 9083, March 1955
Collectors’ Items (EP): Glen Miller Orchestra, OE 9169
The Four Aces (EP): The Four Aces 1955 OE 9090 soft paper
Mood For Love Volume 2 (EP): The Four Aces November 1955 OE 9192, soft paper
They didn’t move from template paper sleeves straight to glossy card sleeves. The above are all matt soft paper.
The love of mining the back catalogue indicated a lack of something at Decca.
A is for Al
Songs He Made Famous Pt 1: Al Jolson, OE9336, 1960 pressing of a 1958 release, same as OE9011, 1954
Among My Souvenirs Pt 3: Al Jolson, October 1957 pressing, glossy sleeve OE9365
They specialized in flogging the same stuff through the years.
B is for Bing
Merry Christmas Vol. Two (EP): Bing Crosby OE 9070 1956 in December 1957 sleeve
Bing Sings No 1 (EP): Bing Crosby 1959 OE 9466
Me & The Moon No 1 (EP): Bing Crosby 1960 OE 9472
C is for corny
Louis & The Angels (EP): Louis Armstrong December 1957 OE 9348
Club Durant (EP): Jimmy Durante & His Guests 1957 OE 9360
Boy Meets Girl (EP): Sammy Davis & Carmen McRae 1958 OE 9445
Ladies of Brunswick
Pete Kelly’s Blues Vol 3 (EP): Ella Fitzgerald OE9155 1955
Sweet & Hot Part 2 (EP): Ella Fitzgerald OE 9211 1956
Lady Day Vol.2 EP: Billie Holliday OE9199 1956
Presenting Peggy Lee EP: Peggy Lee OE 9282 1957
Shows and films
Look at the country section and the rock ‘n’roll section, I reckon Brunswick had two design departments, one favouring iconic 50s illustrators and the othe
r ultra-bland photography. I have the 10″ LP of The Desert Song framed.
The Sweet Smell of Success 1957 OE 9355
The Eddy Duchin Story Pt 3: 1956 OE 9384
Oklahoma! Original Broadway Cast of 1943. 1958 release OE 9385
Annie Get Your Gun: Ethel; Merman 1958, )E 9388
Country & Folk
There was a country / folk strand, based around Saturday / Sunday morning radio show artists from the South. The Cowboy Church Sunday School had four Brunswick singles in 1956 alone. This was evident in archive reissues like Cousin Emmy & Her Kinfolk, that leads through to Burl Ives and eventually the later work of Brenda Lee (when she moves from pop to country).
Bill Monroe’s The Country Waltz EP has sleeve notes suggesting that hillbillies are both gay and simple, not a statement I’d care to make in the Appalachians in 2023.
Cousin Emmy was a “hill-billy” singer from the 1940s who played fifteen instruments plus “a tune I makes by just slopping against my cheeks with my hands.” Her biography inspired every later female C&W singer, as she said she grew up in a shack with “had cracks between the walls so big that you could a-throwed a cat betwix them without tetching a hair.”
Mountain Music Vol. 3: Grandpa Jones OE9455, with red EP tri-centre
Ballads & Folk Songs: Burl Ives 10″ LPs, 1953 LA 8583 / LA 8552
Ignore the catalogue numbers. Gold centre is an earlier pressing than silver.
These are 1945 shellac recordings, reissued in the UK as 10″ LPs in 1953.
Burl Ives had a series of EPs called MEN: Songs for and about Men in 1956, predating the Iron John book by decades. They were extracted from an American Decca LP, which was not issued in the UK- EPs were the choice for the impoverished UK market. Some Burl Ives is on LP though.
Down to The Sea in Ships: Burl Ives 12″ LP LAT 8142 1956
Australian Folk Songs: Burl Ives 10″ LP LA 87390 1956
The Versatile Burl Ives: Burl Ives LAT 8381
Judy Collins has rightly pointed out how under-rated Burl Ives was. She says that in 1960 and 1961 authenticity ruled in folk circles so that Burl Ives daren’t admit that he was writing his own material, announcing songs as something he’d ‘learned from a woman on a mountain with a basket on her head.’
Big Daddy’s Hits EP: Burl Ives OE 9489 1962
Sweet Dreams EP: Patsy Cline OE 9490 1962
The Brunswick logo is now a simpler rectangle.
Rock ‘n’ Roll
Bill Haley was from a country background too, but was out of place among the ones above and Rock Around The Clock wasn’t his first rock number. Haley had been around ten years in Western Swing bands, but had shown a penchant for recording covers of things like Rocket 88, Rock-A-Beatin’ Boogie. He recorded Crazy Man Crazy in 1953. Then Big Joe Turner had a #1 R&B hit in the USA with Shake, Rattle & Roll. Haley covered it.
His recording of Rock Around The Clock took place in 1954 and it was a very minor hit initially. The song itself dates back to 1952,
The song charted in the UK again in both the 1960s and 1970s.
Dim Dim The Lights (EP): Bill Haley & The Comets 1955. OE9129.
(September 1956 pressing , is light blue)
Dim Dim The Lights EP, which had Shake Rattle & Roll demonstrates the Decca group penchant for overprinting coloured base sleeves with title specific information, and changing the base sleeve on each pressing run.
Rock Around The Clock (EP): Bill Haley & His Comets 1956, OE9250 November 1956 pressing
Rock Around The Clock (EP): Bill Haley & His Comets 1956, OE9250 April 1961 pressing
The sleeves are confusing for Rock Around The Clock, where the original 1956 LP and EP shared the same red design. Later pressings around 1960-1961 had a much duller and older-looking brown and white sleeve.
Shake Rattle and Roll was much more successful until the film Blackboard Jungle came out in 1955, propelling Rock Around The Clock to become the first record ever to sell a million in both Britain and Germany. The film involves threats with flick-knives. he legend is that the film moved Teddy Boys to dance in cinema aisles, then stab and rip the cinema seats with their dreaded flick-knives. Was the Bill Haley stage show likely to cause such havoc?
Rock ‘n’ Roll Stage Show Parts 2 & 3 (EPs): Bill Haley & His Comets OE 9279 & 9280, 1956
Blackboard Jungles was followed by Rock Around TheClock, a straight rock exploitation film.
The formula was never-ending. I can remember Bill Haley parading his greasy kiss curl and jumping up and down on early 1960s TV with the athletic double bass player trying to climb his instrument.
|Shake Rattle & Roll||December 1954||4|
|Rock Around The Clock||January 1955||17|
|Mambo Rock||April 1955||14|
|Rock Around The Clock||October 1955||1|
|Rock-A-Beatin’ Boogie||December 1955||4|
|See You Later Alligator||March 1956||7|
|The Saints Rock ‘n’ Roll||May 1956||5|
|Rockin’ Through The Rye||August 1956||3|
|Razzle Dazzle||September 1956||13|
|Rock Around The Clock||September 1956||5|
|See You Later Alligator||September 1956||12|
|Rip It Up||November 1965||4|
|Rudy’s Rock||November 1956||26|
|Rock Around The Clock||December 1956||22|
|Rock The Joint||January 1957 (LONDON)||20|
|Don’t Knock The Rock||February 1957||7|
Rockin’ The Oldies Pt 3 (EP): Bill Haley & His Comets OE 93561, 1957
Rockin’; Around The World (EP): Bill Haley & His Comets OE 9446 1958
See the page on CORAL . Buddy Holly was originally a Decca artist, but shifted to Brunswick in the USA, so on Coral in the UK. Coral, Brunswick, Decca were three US labels belonging to the same group, but run independently. His first Decca release, Blue Days Black Nights / Love Me was released on Brunswick in Britain. It’s now worth a great deal … £300 to £800.
When Buddy Holly left Decca and started getting hits, Decca put eight songs from the earlier sessions onto two opportunistic cash-in EPs.
Buddy Holly No 1 / No 2. Brunswick EPs 1959, OE9456, OE 9457
Then they released Rock Around With Ollie Vee / Midnight Shift as a Brunswick 45. In America they paired it with Buddy Holly’s earlier Decca version of That’ll Be The Day. They didn’t try that in Britain.
|I’m Gonna Lasso Santa Clause (as Little Brenda Lee)||December 1956||–|
|Sweet Nothin’s||April 1960||4|
|I’m Sorry||June 1960||12|
|I Want To Be Wanted||October 1960||31|
|Let’s Jump The Broomstick||January 1961||12|
|Dum Dum||July 1961||22|
|Fool Number One||November 1961||38|
|Break It To Me Gently||February 1962||46|
|Speak To Me Pretty||April 1962||3|
|Here Comes That Feeling||June 1962||5|
|It Started All Over Again||September 1962||15|
|Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree||November 1962||6|
|All Alone Am I||January 1963||7|
|Losing You||March 1963||10|
|I Wonder||July 1963||14|
|Sweet Impossible You||October 1963||28|
|As Usual||January 1964||5|
|Is It True||September 1964||17|
|Christmas Will Be Just Another Lonely Day||December 1964||25|
|Thanks a A Lot||February 1965||41|
|Too Many Rivers||July 1965||22|
Brenda Lee (EP): Brenda Lee 1959 OE 9462
Speak To Me Pretty (EP): Brenda Lee OE 9486 1962
All Alone Am I EP: Brenda Lee OE 9492 1963
Brenda Lee’s Tribute to Al Jolson (EP): Brenda Lee 1963 release of 1959 tracks OE9499
Four from ’64: Brenda Lee OE 9510 1964
Little Miss Dynamite (Brenda Lee) started her Brunswick career with I’m Gonna Lasso Santa Clause in 1956, and charted with regularity after that. The Brenda Lee EP (also known as Rock The Bop) wasn’t released until 1959 in Britain, but strangely uses the sort of generic sleeve design with fill-in photo that the Decca group were using between 1954 and 1957. Brenda Lee was blessed with a big voice from a small female and had the sort of vocal range that was admired by the older showbiz types.
The result was a release schedule that rigorously alternated beat and ballad. Her rock singing on the beatier stuff Sweet Nuthin’s, Dum Dum, Speak To Me Pretty, Here Comes That Feeling contrasts with the big ballad singer of Emotions, Fool No 1, All Alone Am I, Losing You and As Usual. Brenda Lee is a reason to seek out the singles because the B-sides reversed the A-side style. Slow songs were on the B-side of the rock stuff, while rock resides on the reverse of the ballads, and there’s excellent material on her B-sides. She had more than twenty hit singles between 1960 and 1965 when the British public stopped buying her singles. Lulu took over the role of little woman belting out big songs.
Every record collector has albums they look for, and feel compelled to buy again if they find a copy in better condition. One of mine is All The Way by Brenda Lee. I borrowed the LP from a friend back in the day, and loved it. Her version of Tragedy has never been bettered. I’ve got up to Very Good but if I see a Near Mint, I’ll buy it.
Rick Nelson Sings For You (LP) Brunswick STA.8562 1963, stereo centre a different colour
The ever-popular Ricky Nelson, moved from US Imperial to US Decca, dropped the ‘y’ and became Rick Nelson, generating two hit singles from his Brunswick LP … Fools Rush In and For You.
The selectivity of releases is shown by his career. Like Brenda Lee (and Bobby Vee and all the others) he was badly hit by the British Invasion. Some of them tried to emulate … Brenda Lee’s cover of (He) Loves You is one of the misguided examples. Rick Nelson soldiered on, moving ever more from teenage idol to folk and country, releasing six US Decca albums up to 1967, all taken up by Brunswick UK. At that point, 1967, Brunswick passed on the option to release the subsequent ones. There are pointers to his later country-rock work with the Stone Canyon Band.
The Surfaris, regarded as a one-hit wonder with Wipe Out, also moved to US Decca for Point Panic and Scatter Shield, followed by two LPs of cover versions. Both were picked up by Brunswick.
In the Sixties, Len Barry (ex-Dovells singer on Bristol Stomp and Bristol Twistin’ Annie) had soul-lite hits with 1-2-3 and Like A Baby.
1-2-3 was written by Madera & White, who as part of The Spokesmen were responsible for the vituperative answer disc (to Eve of Destruction), The Dawn of Correction … a US #36 hit too.
Was this a genuine right wing loathing of protest, or simply a chance to make a quick buck? The hoarse vocal bit is popular for the genre. This had been written by P.F. Sloan. The Spokesmen were John Madara (aka Medera), Dave White and Ray Gilmore. They had a good track record as composers, including At The Hop and Rock ‘n’ Roll Is Here To Stay for Danny & The Juniors, and Dave White was a member of that band, as Dave White Tricker. Madara and White had hits for Lesley Gore with You Don’t Own Me, Chubby Checker with The Fly and Len Barry with 1-2-3. Dawn of Correction was a #36 hit in the USA, for which poor P.F. Sloan failed to get a cent. Madara was one of the founders of Philly Soul, credited with discovering Gamble & Huff, Hall & Oates/
singles on Brunswick
|I Can’t Explain||February 1965||8|
|Anywhere, Anyhow Anywhere||May 1965||10|
|My Generation||November 1965||2|
|A Legal Matter||March 1966||32|
|The Kids Are Alright||September 1966||41|
The Who ended up on Brunswick, as a British band signed to American Decca. At this point, Brunswick were exploring British talent and The Who had several hits before falling into legal battles and departing. What was a British mod group doing on a label that reissued American records in the UK?
Their producer Shel Talmy had had dealings with English Decca and had his doubts about them. Instead he took it to American Decca … not an actual subsidiary of UK Decca (as Dave Marsh incorrectly states in Before I Get Old: The Story of The Who.) It was also a label whose only rock experience was Bill Haley.
Shel Talmy: I went out to sell the first single because nobody else was doing it, soI figured to do it myself. I took them to Decca-America. The youngest guy there was sixty-three years old. ‘I don’t understand this,’ they said. I said ‘I don’t care if you don’t understand it or not. do you think you can sell it? So they took a gamble. But of course we had a deal with Decca over here, who didn’t like it. They had to put the record out here on Brunswick under the American deal.’
Tony Hall: (Decca Promotion Manager, UK) There was very little enthusiasm for ‘I Can’t Explain’ within the English Decca Group. It was just one of twenty releases that particular week.
Both quoted in Dave Marsh, Before I Get Old: The Story Of The Who.
Tony Hall spoke to Kit Lambert, the Who’s mnager, and decided to promote it. The rest is history, and I saw The Who live right after I Can’t Explain was released. I saw them again three years later. They were way better the first time.
You can see why the French 4-track EPs, which they issued in place of singles, are increasingly collected. This is I Can’t Explain:
The Brunswick story was to end in tears, recriminations and litigation. Kit Lambert felt American Decca were inept at promoting The Who in the USA, with I Can’t Explain‘s #93 chart position a sign of poor work.
See also the article on the REACTION label on this site.
Repeated from the Reaction page:
The label name was literally a “reaction” in a legal contest between Shel Talmy, then The Who’s producer, and the Who’s managers, Kit Lambert and Chris Stamp. Stigwood had bought the rights to become The Who’s booking agent from them for £500. The three … Lambert, Stamp and Stigwood wanted to lure the band away from producer Talmy and the Brunswick label, with whom they had a five year contract. The band were fed up with Talmy too, and at the end of 1965 were £60,000 in debt … everyone involved was broke then. In Talmy’s defence he was the only producer in London then who valued the retention of rawness on record … as he showed with The Kinks and with The Who’s first three singles.
The Who had recorded Circles with Talmy as the follow-up to My Generation. Brunswick had scheduled it for February release. Then on 12 February, a front page story in Melody Maker announced that Circles had been abandoned, and the next Who record would be Substitute, backed with Circles on Reaction in the UK, and ATCO in the USA. Talmy couldn’t stop them releasing Substitute but he took out an injunction to stop them releasing the B-side. So the title was then swiftly changed to Instant Party. Now Instant Party was simply a re-recording of Circles with a different title (Some Who fans maintain the earlier Talmy version is better).
Following Talmy’s injunction, the third B-side to the record, Waltz for A Pig, was directed at Talmy, and was hastily performed by The Graham Bond Organization, masquerading as The Who Orchestra.
Brunswick then also put out Circles as the B-side of A Legal Matter (their version got to #32). Out of spite, Talmy changed the B-side title to Instant Party too, and so it was the media lawyer’s annual picnic with lobster and champagne on ice all round.
My Generation (LP): The Who, Brunswick 1965
SEE: The article on the MY GENERATION album,here.
In 2015, all the Brunswick singles were issued as a box set. It sold out.
Brunswick ceased to have any reason to exist when its parent company, MCA, started its own British outlet in 1967 (the first records were 1968). After that US Decca artists were released on MCA in Britain.
Toby: The Chi-Lites 1975 BR15 revived soul series in plain black sleeve with sticker
Bohannon’s Beat (edited version): Hamilton Bohannon demo, 1976 BR33
There was a spasmodic jerk of soul activity in the mid-70s.
Brunswick had been a major US soul label, but acts like Jackie Wilson had been released through Coral in Britain, and Erma Franklin had been on London. In 1967, they hired Carl Davis as producer / arranger and revived the careers of Major Lance, Gene Chandler and Billy Butler with soul hits. Jackie Wilson’s Higher and Higher was the biggest. In 1967. Davis was encouraged to start his own Dakar label late that year. (Dakar = ‘darker”)
The original US Brunswick label (the one released as Coral in the UK) eventually moved its soul catalogue to its new subsidiary, Dakar Records. Their A-list included Jackie Wilson, The Chi-Lites, Barbara Acklin, Hamilton Bohannon and Tyrone Davis.
In 1973, MCA (who had been the Brunswick licensees until that point) switched from Decca to EMI distribution, Dakar then arranged for Decca to release their soul catalogue on a revived Brunswick label in the UK. I liked their numbering system. It started at BR1 for the Chi-Lites Living In The Footsteps of Another and ended at BR43 for Jackie Wilson’s It Only Happens When I Look At You. A decent copy of BR43 will set you back three figures.
This ended in 1977 when financial irregularities (getting caught out on payola for starters) landed the US Brunswick / Dakar company in court on charges of fraud and conspiracy. It struggled on as a rump until 1982.
Dakar release / Brunswick release / Brunswick demo in sleeve
Some of the survivors from the mid-70s, such as Eddie McLoyd’s Once You Fall In Love are moderately collectable … a mere £10 in Rare Record Guide, but £28 in Manship’s Northern Soul and Motown 45s guide. These come in standard 60s red Brunswick striped sleeves. The logo is much smaller.
Sleeves and centres
Please Tell Me Now: Billie Holiday 04464, 1950 shellac 78 rpm
Don’t Knock The Rock: Bill Haley & His Comets 05640 1957 shellac 78 rpm
The earlier 45 design in quarters looks good sitting next to Decca’s other US label of the period, RCA Victor. Like Decca and London, there is a smaller hole version, followed by a larger hole version.
Like Decca, London and Corakl, earlier labels had a triangle centre and gold lettering.
Three Coins In The Fountain: The Four Aces. 1954, quartered sleeve, small hole sleeve
Gold lettering, triangle centre 45-05308
Blues In The Night: Nellie Lutcher 1954, gold, triangular, large hole later pressing 45-05352
See You Later Alligator: Bill Haley & His Comets, gold, tri-centre, small hole, numbered sleeve, February 1956
The gold tri-centre more than doubles its value
I Could Have Danced All Night: Sylvia Sims 45-05744, tri, silver, small hole
I’ll love You: Carmen McCrae 45-05761, tax stamp, tri, silver, small hole
Rock Around The Clock: Bill Haley & His Comets 1954, silver label, so 1955 pressing, worth less than gold, small
When: The Kalin Twins 1958 45-05751 Normal hole, silver lettering, tri-centre
Round, 4-prong centres follow the rest of the Decca group in being the default version from July 1959, though unlike Decca and London, they don’t turn up so much on earlier discs – which were pressed outside the company.
Sweet Nuthin’s: Brenda Lee 1960 Silver lettering, round centre 05819
I Want To Be Wanted: Brenda Lee 1960 05839, mint copy in numbered sleeve
The striped sleeve comes when Decca and London moved to brighter stripes. It was designed to match the corporate style. They didn’t do this with RCA or Warner Bros, which stresses the closer tie to Brunswick within Decca.
Funny Way of Laughin’: Burl Ives 1962 Change of sleeve design 05868
I Found My Best Friend In The Dog Pound: Burl Ives 1963 … so still a country label! 05897
My Generation: The Who, 1965. Much more lettering. 1962-67 striped sleeve
Disco Stomp: Hamilton Bohannon 1975 revived soul series. Smaller logo BR19
The mid-70s centre design has the Brunswick name at half the previous size.
Have You Seen Her: The Chi-Lites 1975 reissue, rare sleeve, most red & white BR20
Foot Stompin’ Music: Hamilton Bohannon 1975 BR21
The plain one matches a Decca reissue plain sleeve from the mid-70s.
Selected chart singles – excluding Bill Haley, Brenda Lee, The Who
|Bing Crosby||The Isle of Inisfree||1952||3|
|Bing Crosby||Silent Night||1952||8|
|Bing Crosby||Changing Partners||1954||9|
|Bing Crosby||Count Your Blessings||1954||11|
|The Four Aces||Three Coins In The Fountain||1954||5|
|The Four Aces||Mr Sandman||1954||9|
|Kitty Kallen||Little Things Mean A Lot||1954||1|
|Sammy Davis Jnr||Something’s Gotta Give||1955||11|
|The Four Aces||Stranger in Paradise||1955||6|
|Sammy Davis Jnr||Love Me Or Leave Me||1955||8|
|Sammy Davis Jnr||That Old Black Magic||1955||16|
|The Four Aces||Love Is A Many Splendored Thing||1955||2|
|The Dreamweavers||It’s Almost Tomorrow||1956||1|
|Mitchell Torok||When Mexico Gave Up The Rhumba||1956||6|
|Jerry Lewis||Rock-a-Bye Your Baby||1957||12|
|Peggy Lee||Mr Wonderful||1957||5|
|Bobby Helms||My Special Angel||1957||22|
|Bing Crosby||Around The World||1957||5|
|Bobby Helms||No Other Baby||1958||30|
|Earl Grant||The End (US #7)||1958||–|
|Tommy Dorsey Orchestra||Tea For Two Cha Cha||1958||3|
|The Kalin Twins||When||1958||1|
|Buddy Holly||Midnight Shift||1959||26|
|Burl Ives||A Little Bitty Tear||1962||9|
|Burl Ives||A Funny Way of Laughing||1962||29|
|Rick Nelson||Fools Rush In||1963||12|
|Rick Nelson||For You||1964||14|
|The Spokesmen||The Dawn of Correction||1965||–|
|Len Barry||Like A Baby||1966||10|
|Julie Andrews||Thoroughly Modern Millie||1967||–|
|Brunswick soul issues, mid 1970s:|
|The Chi-Lites||A Letter To Myself||1972||–|
|The Chi-Lites||Homely Girl||1974||5|
|The Chi-Lites||I Found Sunshine||1974||35|
|The Chi-Lites||Too Good To Be Forgotten||1974||10|
|Hamilton Bohannon||Disco Stomp||1975||6|
|Jackie Wilson||I Get The Sweetest Feeling (reissue)||1975||25|
|The Chi-Lites||Have You Seen Her? (reissue)||1975||5|
|The Chi-Lites||It’s Time For Love||1975||5|
|Eddie McLoyd||Once You Fall in Love||1975||–|
|The Chi-Lites||You Don’t Have To Go||1976||3|
The One Day label also released I Fall To Pieces: Brunswick 1959 to 1962, and the sleeve gives a view of the strongest releases:
The earlier release, Oh! Boy is US Brunswick … so of course UK Coral.