These are the pictures that show the birth of the UK recording industry.

In 1898, the recording industry was a handful of years old and based almost entirely in America when one of the big Stateside players, The United States Gramophone Company, owned by Emile Berliner, decided to move into Europe to challenge the thee year old French Pathe Company who was the biggest European recording company atContinue reading “These are the pictures that show the birth of the UK recording industry.”

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.”

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”

Gaisberg pursues an opportunity to record the Czar. More extracts from his field recordings of 1900.

(Fred is in St Petersburg recording local artists……) On April 9th 1900, Fred Gaisberg returned to his hotel after watching the performance of Demon and flirting with Rodina to find a message asking him to “prepare to give a recording exhibition before the Czar’s secretary that evening”. This was news he had been hoping for. AfterContinue reading “Gaisberg pursues an opportunity to record the Czar. More extracts from his field recordings of 1900.”

April 8th 1900: What Fred did next

If you can remember from our last visit to his diaries of exactly 110 years ago, roving proto-field recordist Fred Gaisberg and sidekick William Sinkler Darby were in pre-revolutionary Russia in 1900 buying bear skin coats to ward off the harsh St Petersburg weather. (If you can’t remember you can read about it here.) On April 3rd 1900 FredContinue reading “April 8th 1900: What Fred did next”

Gaisberg in Russia: April 1st 1900

One hundred and eleven years ago today Fred Gaisberg was in the middle of his third big recording expedition. He’d travelled to continental Europe over the summer of 1899 and the British Isles over the autumn of that year and had already made hundreds of the world’s first recordings. In spring 1900 he and hisContinue reading “Gaisberg in Russia: April 1st 1900”