A label born out of unusual circumstances when the Decca label, which had originated in Great Britain in 1929, split into two separate companies a decade later, one still based in England, the other – now unaffiliated – version based in America where it quickly became one of the three major labels at the time. After World War Two when the British Decca sought to release some of their records in the United States they couldn’t use the Decca name since it was its own entity in America and thus London Records was created, though it merely issued records that had appeared on British Decca.

Soon though they did sign up American artists as a way to spread the company’s presence in the States, including rock acts Paul Bascomb and Stick McGhee, though without much success.

At the same time the British Decca used the London imprint in Great Britain as a way to release records leased from American companies starting with Fats Domino’s sides from Imperial Records, before gradually adding all of the Atlantic stars like Ruth Brown, The Clovers and Clyde McPhatter, Chuck Berry from Chess, Little Richard from Specialty, the post-Presley Sun Records roster, The Everly Brothers from Cadence, pretty much all of the major American rock acts which exposed rock ‘n’ roll to British audiences on a consistent and widespread basis.

Meanwhile these were being issued alongside a wide array of pop, country and traditional artists as diverse as Slim Whitman, Billy Vaughn’s Orchestra and Pat Boone, making it a hodgepodge of American music that saw release in England for over a decade before overseas distribution arrangements were phased out for direct sales from the original imprints.

But on American shores it was the British artists on the UK’s Decca label that had much the same effect when the British Invasion struck in 1964 as The Rolling Stones were the cornerstones of the London American imports alongside The Moody Blues and The Nashville Teens which made the label a familiar sight in record shops.

London did manage to sign one last notable American act in the 1970’s with ZZ Top but the changing times made the shadow record company somewhat obsolete, though they had occasional revivals later on such as with homegrown Bananarama in 1980’s. A few sporadic artists of interest followed but the label today is recognizable almost exclusively for their 1950’s and 60’s American imports to British fans and from the American perspective for the 1960’s output of The Rolling Stones.

Due to the unique dual purpose of the London Records label – and since this is an American based website – we’ll keep the discography focused solely on what came out on London Records in America while keeping the American imports to Great Britain on their own original U.S. labels.

LONDON RECORDS DISCOGRAPHY (Records Reviewed To Date On Spontaneous Lunacy):

PAUL BASCOMB: Ain’t Nothin’ Shakin’ (5) (London 17002; December, 1949)
PAUL BASCOMB: What Did Sam Say? (4) (London 17002; December, 1949)
THE TRENIERS: Everybody Get Together (6) (London 17007; March, 1950)
JOE LUTCHER: Cool Down (6) (London 17013; May, 1950)
JOE LUTCHER: Jumpin’ At The Mardi Gras (7) (London 17013; May, 1950)
STICKS McGHEE: You Gotta Have Something On The Ball (6) (London 978; March, 1951)
STICKS McGHEE: Oh What A Face (2) (London 978; March, 1951)