One of the first major companies to prepare release-specific labels was CBS (one of the least-inclined later on). They were so delighted at signing Georgie Fame in 1967, that his first two singles were put in picture sleeves and the centres had FAME in 67 logos overprinted with his silhouette below.
Next the literal-minded CBS overprinted a flower on Scott McKenzie’s San Francisco (Be Sure To Wear Some Flowers In Your Hair). The exercise was extended to include other summer of love records, such as The Peanut Butter Conspiracy’s It’s A Happening Thing also in 1967, and Turn On A Friend in 1968.The flower logo looks much better on closed centre discs, but they’re in a tiny minority of circulating copies.
When Fleetwood Mac released I Believe My Time Ain’t Long on CBS, producer Mike Vernon had his Blue Horizon logo put on the centre in the same position.
Elektra were into putting logos on singles rather than mere type rather later. The Elektra designer, Bill Harvey, created logos for the major bands on the label, many of which were used for years afterwards. Red label Elektra singles had plain type, but by the time the 70s reissues were coming out, followed by the 80s reissues, and 90s reissues, the logos for The Doors and Love were standard imprints on singles.
Elektra Doors band logos … click to enlarge
Hello I Love You … the open “white’ logo is earlier than the filled in black logo
Later CBS artist logos …
Pye were a label happy to bang the same generic sleeves and designs on three different labels (Pye, Piccadilly, Pye International) which is why a one-off centre design was a surprise in 1970 for The England World Cup Squad “70” on Back Home.
The lads were off to Mexico to sweep all before them and repeat the success of 1966. Montezuma’s Revenge, and corrupt Columbian police conspired to defeat them in the quarter finals against West Germany (only after extra-time). The England captain, St. Bobby Moore had been arrested in Columbia on trumped up charges of nicking an emerald bracelet, right after beating the home side 4-0 in a “friendly”. The memorable (unfortunately) ditty by Bill Martin and Phil Coulter was of National Importance (caps) and was number one.
The record exists in four versions with two centre labels and three sleeves. The BOAC promo sleeve rates at £200 mint. An ordinary picture sleeve as £25, a football centre at £15 and the common or garden Pye centre is listed at £7. But you’ll find one for 50p in reasonable nick. It must have done better than expectations (in contrast to the team) because the vast majority of copies are blue Pye centres in blue Pye sleeves.
Reprise … Family
Reprise saw Family as their best bet for major rock success and gave Family its own company sleeve design for Burlesque, and unusually for the era, its own ‘Family’ logo overprinted on the records from the Bandstand album. It looked better on a solid centre than a four prong centre. Compare the two, and you can see why American large hole centres were not suited to this kind of personalisation.
EMI gave lots of bands logos replacing their printed names in the mid 70s: The New Seekers, Queen, Cockney Rebel. It was hard not to get one.
James Brown …
Using band logos was a frequent device for American labels, and this is a halfway-house to the one off design.
Warner were sparing in their application of logos. Most bands didn’t get them. Even Fleetwood Mac got them only for the Rumors singles. It can’t have cost much if the logo was font based.