Nixa

Nixa 78 label
Nixa company sleeve: it continued in use for Pye-Nixa for a while. Pye always used up stock sleeves. I never found an original Nixa 45 in it.

Nixa was only a little younger than the Polygon label and was founded in 1950 by Hilton Nixon. The initial contracts were to sell French records in Britain and the Commonwealth. American classical labels, and Vanguard were added, with the new company specializing in the then new 33 rpm LPs.

Nixa classical LP, Chopin Piano Concerto No.1, 1952

They were the second company (after Decca) to issue LPs, and the records were pressed by Decca. They also made classical records with English orchestras. As you may note, the LPs had a dull base design in line with the earliest LPs from other labels.

There was a further classical series in 10″ some of which were called the Westminster Series, dating from around 1954 and at last design was introduced with a strong style.

They did a lot of cover versions of hits, which was exactly what the bandleaders did on the BBC Light Programme on radio, because of restrictions on needle time. There was an extensive EP series called The Nixa Library Of Popular Hits, all by Enoch Light & His Light Brigade Orchestra, providing a coincidental, but fortuitous, link to the BBC Light Programme. They had a vocal quartet called The Brigadiers Quartet. Enoch Light (1905-78) was an American bandleader and classical violinist, so unaware of the name link to the BBC, and later was the owner of the Command Records label. He also later became a stereo pioneer, of the ping-pong stereo variety. His 60s covers of hits are sought after for sampling because of the high quality of recording and large orchestra.

The Deep River Boys had several licensed releases. Note that Nixa were using GREEN LABEL for popular releases.

The classical EP series, or RED LABEL, had the slogan More music for less money so it was functioning at a budget level. The Italian recording of La Gioconda was licensed from Urania Records, not an original recording.

The Nixa “green label” (popular) / “red label” (classical)colour coding carried over to Pye, who became colour coding obsessed. Note that the Pochielli EP is noted as “Red Label”on the sleeve.

In 1953, Pye bought the Nixa company, continuing to use the name.

When Polygon was also bought in 1955, the combined label became Pye Nixa, with the size of the Nixa logo on the joint labels decreasing year on year until it was dropped altogether in 1959.

They put Nixa on the front of these compilation EPs, though Pye was noted on the centre label. On Nixa Hit Parade Volume 2, note Colin Hicks & The Cabin Boys … i.e. Tommy Steele. They ran from 1957 through 1958 as an ongoing ‘magazine’ compilation rounding up recent hits.

In 1987, PRT revived the Nixa name on classical releases.

The story continues in the PYE-NIXA article.