Photographs from long ago: #1 Paderewski.

We have been given access to a number of vintage photo’s from the EMI Archive Trust which we’ll run as a series. This is Ignacy Jan Paderewski. Quite a picture, quite a man…. Paderewski had a run of the mill career…..Born into a poor Polish family, he became a world famous pianist, married a Baroness,Continue reading “Photographs from long ago: #1 Paderewski.”

Rules Britannia’s first recording studio green room in 1899

Rules Restaurant, Maiden Lane, London The first London recording studios were established next door to this place.  Fred Gaisberg’s early recordings in the capital were made in the Gramophone Company’s premises at 31 Maiden Lane in the Covent Garden area, Rules restaurant was then (and remains to this day) at 35 Maiden Lane. It became a central point toContinue reading “Rules Britannia’s first recording studio green room in 1899”

Maybe its Maybellene! May 1st 1955: Chuck Berry signs to Chess Records.

They didn’t hang around in the 1950’s record business. 18 year old Chuck Berry was introduced to Leonard Chess (of Chess Records fame) by Muddy Waters 61 years ago today. Chess listened to Berry’s blues/r’n’b act but was not overly impressed as r’n’b sales were dropping and Chess had his eyes and ears out forContinue reading “Maybe its Maybellene! May 1st 1955: Chuck Berry signs to Chess Records.”

George Martin documentary review

Thanks to the wonders of the BBC Iplayer I finally watched the Arena documentary Produced By George Martin last night. It was even better than I’d hoped for. If you are in the UK you can still just about catch it here and I’d advise you to ignore the Bank Holiday sunshine for an hour andContinue reading “George Martin documentary review”

Warsaw, Berlin, London: Acid, Ladies and a stiff wrist (Fred Gaisberg’s diaries of 110 years ago. Continued)

After failing in his attempt to record the voice of Czar Nicholas in Russia, Fred Gaisberg and side kick William Sinkler Darby began the long journey back to London.   They stopped off in Warsaw where they found a “finer set of artists than we had met in St Petersburg” to record but found themContinue reading “Warsaw, Berlin, London: Acid, Ladies and a stiff wrist (Fred Gaisberg’s diaries of 110 years ago. Continued)”

Obituary for Roger Beardsley

We have learnt of the sad passing of Roger Beardsley who was a great friend of the EMI Archives and of many of us who have worked there over the years. Roger was a passionate restorer of early recordings and also one of life’s fun people. Lunch with Roger always seemed to end around tea timeContinue reading “Obituary for Roger Beardsley”

Produced By George Martin

There was a recent article by David Hepworth in The Word magazine where he concluded, after listening to the recently remastered Beatles albums, that the group’s recordings – as distinct from their myth – were even more extraordinarily good than is generally recognised. The quality exceeded the (ongoing) hype. Whilst undoubtedly genius was in Abbey Road’s Studio 2 duringContinue reading “Produced By George Martin”

If you are ever irritated by those teenagers sharing an ipod’s headphones and ignoring everything around them LOOK AWAY NOW!

They were far more “sharey” in the 90’s. That’s the 1890’s, of course. We stumbled across this photo the other day  but we don’t know much about it. It’s apparently a group of listeners trying out the new fangled phonograph on headphones, treating it like a sort of communal ipod. We think this was probably a wayContinue reading “If you are ever irritated by those teenagers sharing an ipod’s headphones and ignoring everything around them LOOK AWAY NOW!”

Glamorous gramophones and other early playback devices #4

  This is the Excelda portable gramophone which is a fabulous piece. It’s one of the first playback machines designed to be portable; a proto-ipod. It was Swiss made by a company called Thorens in 1930. Thorens was formed in 1883 and originally made music boxes and, like many early, clocks. They continue to make high end audio equipmentContinue reading “Glamorous gramophones and other early playback devices #4”