Pye Zodiac

Leo

Pye Zodiac were a series on coloured vinyl, and the colour of the centre label varied.  They were released in 1960, making double use of Pye’s Spin With The Stars slogan. Leo had an appropriate yellow centre label on blue vinyl. The A-side was spoken. The B-side had musical selections. The musical selections were intended to be suited to the sign. Pisces was expected to enjoy Greensleeves and Habanera. Cancer got Brahms Lullaby and Slavonic Dances. Libra got Celeste, Aida and Perpetual Motion. Aries got Evening Star and Waltz of The Flowers. Scorpio got Morning Mood from Peer Gynt. gemini got Two Guitars (twinned?) and Strauss’s Vienna Blood. All well and good, but poor Aquarius got Pizzicato Polka AND the only black label in the series.

Aries: again on blue vintl

The music is credited to Neal Arden. They stayed in print for a few years and were franchised to other markets. The New Zealand issue has a plain plum Pye centre and a price hike from 5/- (25p) to 8/- (40p):

New Zealand copy

From The Gramophone, 1960:

The first three of a series of twelve speech records of a very different kind have just appeared. These are Pye Zodiac records, and I suppose they should be regarded as EPs, since one side of each lasts for eight minutes or so, and the other has two musical items—light popular classics—on it. The speech side is by disc-jockey journalist Neal Arden, giving astrological character-readings written by the famous astrologer Maurice Woodruff. So far, we have had Aquarius, Pisces and Aries, so if you were born between January 20th and April 20th, you can now find out what jewellery you should wear, what job you will be most suited for, the dates between which your better half should be born to get the best results from marriage, and what you are like inside, as it were. The rest of the Zodiac signs will be issued in due course. The sleeves claim this has not been done before on records; actually, R. H. Naylor gave similar readings around 1933 on both H.M.V. and those eight-inch records from Woolworths, Eclipse. I know; I had some as a child! (Pye Zodiac Series ZODI, 2 and 3 respectively)

Taurus

Astrology sun sign columns (splitting forecasts into 12 zodiac signs) began comparatively recently with R.H.Naylor in the Sunday Express in 1930. Commissioned to write a horoscope report on the newly born Princess Margaret he included a few general remarks on those also born under Leo, mentioning that her life would be “eventful” and she might grow up to be sociable, and love to be surrounded by groups of friends While it would be galling for any Leo to be born a second child, not being the centre of attention etc., it must have been doubly galling to be born the second child in a royal family knowing that you could never be the actual Queen. Naylor also added that events of tremendous importance to the Royal Family and the nation will come about near her seventh year. In 1936 her uncle, Edward VIII, abdicated and her father unexpectedly became king.

Such was the public interest that the editor quickly expanded it to a regular forecast for all the twelve signs. The interest led to those HMV records.

Maurice Woodruff, who narrated the Pye Zodiac pieces, later did EPs in 1969 with Tetley tea, Tetley Takes You Star Gazing. These don’t have music.

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