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Parlophone is a record label, founded in Germany in 1896 by the Carl Lindström Company. The trademark is a German L, for Lindström. (Coincidentally it also resembles the British pound sign, £, which itself is derived from the letter L for Libra, meaning pound in Latin.) Parlophone is best known for its association with The Beatles.


Early history

Lindstrom initially used the "Parlophon" brand on gramophones before it started making records. During the First World War, the Transoceanic Trading Company was set up in the Netherlands to look after its overseas assets. On August 8, 1923, the British branch of "Parlophone" (with the "e" added) was established, led by A&R manager Oscar Preuss. Parlophone established a master leasing arrangement with co-owned United States based Okeh Records, making Parlophone a leading jazz label in the UK. In 1927 the Columbia Graphophone Company acquired a controlling interest in the Carl Lindström Company and thereby in Parlophone. In 1931 Columbia merged with the Gramophone Company to form Electric & Musical Industries Ltd (EMI).

Rhythm-Style Series

Beginning in about 1929 or 1930, Parlophone started a series of American jazz records on their "Rhythm Style Series". Edgar Jackson was the director of this series, which was issued within the existing R- series (the first issue was R-448). Culled from the American OKeh label, artists like Louis Armstrong, Bix Beiderbecke, Frank Trumbauer, Duke Ellington, Miff Mole, and other major artists who recorded for OKeh. These records were usually "split-coupled" (the top and bottom side of each record was usually by different artists and did not correspond with the original American coupling). The "Second New Rhythm-Style" series replaced the first series in about 1931, and there was a separate series for each year from 1934 through 1941, as well as some miscellany series. These 78's were popular and remained in print for years.

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