Many years ago, in 1997 to be precise, Frits Jonker
asked me to make an illustration for the cover of a little booklet he had made. It was a booklet about labels of 7" records. Frits had made a request to several befriended collectors of these records to send him pictures of labels that in one way or another would fire one's imagination. With these images he compiled this booklet and named it Labelshots
Before this booklet, I had never heard of the phrase 'labelshots' before. To this day, I even don't know if it's a real word in the English language. Maybe it's not, but it covers the topic of this xeroxed booklet very well! Searching for a suitable image for the cover of Labelshots
, I came up with this idea of a hunter who had just shot some records. Not for their fur coat or their antlers, as it's often the case with game, but for their labels.
On the back cover I made a drawing of a hunting trophy, very much like the ones with the stuffed head of some unfortunate animal attached to a wooden shield-shaped board. But instead of an animal's head I used a label of a 7" record, which I had photocopied. I used this same idea for the page on the Myspace account I once had, to show some of my favourite 45s. The benefit of such a page is that I could use colour this time, instead of only black and white as on the cover of the Labelshots
booklet. Here's such a 'label hunt trophy' that once illuminated my Myspace page:
Although I also made a contribition to Labelshots
at that time, I didn't have as much 45s as I do now. Therefore my choice in remarkable labels on 7" records from my collection was rather limited. However, Frits' booklet stimulated me to pay more attention to the labels of 45s and as I gathered more and more vinyl singles over the years I became even more aware of the very decorative and beautiful graphic design of these labels, especially the ones that were pressed in the USA.
In this entry I would like to show some of those labels with the topic 'animals'. They're all from my own collection and I don't own every record that has been released which features an animal on its label, as you will understand. Subsequently, this selection is far from complete. It's only meant to give you an impression. Besides that, please keep in mind that this entry is not about the music on these records. It's strictly about the graphic design of the labels.
is a label founded in 1964 by songwriters Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller and is probably one of the better known record labels which has an animal as a trademark character.
Another label that was founded in 1964 was Arctic
, based in Philidelphia. The label features - not unsurprisingly - two penguins.
In days now gone the United States knew many small record labels which focused on a local market. Many of these record labels have now gone into oblivion, so it's not that easy to find any information about these small labels. One of such labels was Stork
. It was probably founded in Neptune, New Jersey - again in 1964.
It was not uncommon to release a promotional or an advance copy with a custom label, quite often a black and white version of the official coloured label (see image below). The copies of Stork 45s released for the consumers market came with a pink label with blue print. The trademark character in cartoon style looks rather sophisticated with his top hat and bow tie, wouldn't you agree?
was a division of the American record label London
(not to be confused with the British record company of the same name). Parrot usually licensed recordings made by Decca
, England (not to be confused with the American record company of the same name), but additionally also released recordings made by American bands.
The theme of the dressed up bird as a trademark character pops up again on this label. The parrot even outbids the stork by adding a walking cane and spats to his outfit!
was a New York-based label subsidiary of Bang Records
that existed from 1966 to 1974. This label also features a parrot. Or it might be a toucan, I'm not quite sure about that. It doesn't matter really, it's still a beautiful stylised and very decorative graphic design.
The fish symbols on the label of the Seattle-based Dolton Records
may not seem to have any connection with the company name. However, knowing that the record label was originally called Dolphin Records
makes the connection way more obvious. Nevertheless - as graceful as the design of fish logo is - it's a bit unsatisfactory that the fish symbols don't resemble in any way the silhouette of a dolphin (the sea mammal) or even the dolphin fish (aka Mahi-Mahi or Dorado fish). You might call me a nitpicker and you're probably right too.
There's no such indistinctness concerning White Whale Records
- founded in Los Angeles in 1965 - and its logo. The logo looks a bit naïve, but I find it quite charming.
Phil-L.A. of Soul Records
, which started in 1967, was a subsidiary label of Jamie Records
. The logo of Phil-L.A. of Soul Records is a bit puzzling. I would love to learn the story how this label came up with the idea to choose a fish bone as their trademark. Maybe some reader of this blog knows this story and hopefully would like to share it.
The last label of this entry is by Crab Records
. Crab Records was a reggae label that issued releases from 1968 to 1971. It was a subsidiary of Pama
, one of the mayor labels for reggae music in the United Kingdom.
Next time I'll show you more animal related labels. Until then!
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