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British 78rpm record labels whose name begins with B. Using the letter links below you can see pages for other letters.
Unless otherwise noted, all research and images are my own, but as you will see, many other people have helped, especially with the label catalogue listings.

All images are thumbnails, so clicking on them will display a full-sized image. Where the label name is a link, clicking it will take you to a new page with more information and, in most cases, an attempt to list all issues on that label.

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Label Notes Image
Babygram One of the smallest records ever produced, Babygram records were just 4" in diameter and single-sided. They are made of a vinyl-like material by British Homophone for Raphael Lipkin, director of Pippin Toys of London SW8. They were certainly available in the mid-1960s, so it seems most likely that they date from the first half of the 1960s. There was a corresponding tiny gramophone to play them on, also called "The Babygram" which had a red lid with "Babygram" in white lettering on it.
Number Titles
BG 1 Old King Cole
BG 2 Jack And Jill
BG 3 Little Bo Peep
BG 4 Hickory Dickory Dock / Little Boy Blue
BG 5 Sing A Song Of Sixpence
BG 6 Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
BG 7  
BG 8 This Little Piggy Went To Market / Pop Goes The Weasel
BG 9  
BG 10  
BG 11 Polly Put The Kettle On / Three Blind Mice
BG 12  
BG 13 Humpty Dumpty / Ding Dong Bell
BG 14 Hey Diddle Diddle / Goosey Goosey Gander
BG 15 Baa Baa Black Sheep / Little Jack Horner
BG 16  
BG 17 Happy Birthday / For He's A Jolly Good Fellow

Thanks to Lester Smith for the label scan and details of three of the records.
Thanks to
Pat Malham
and Gene Robertson for the extra information and details.

If you have details of any more, do let me know via email.

Baby Odeon In early 1915, Odeon issued 6 double-sided 5" records labelled as "Baby Odeon" which contained music of a patriotic nature. These cost 6d each and were recorded by Beka/Lindstrom in London. The labels are either dark blue or a deep yellow (see image).
Here is a full list of these records; thanks to Mike Langridge for the information.
Cat No Matrix Title Artist
1914 35626
35627
Rule Britannia
God Save The King
Odeon Military Band
1915 35628
35629
Russian National Anthem
La Marseillaise
Odeon Military Band
1916 35921
35924
Regimental March of Irish Guards
Regimental March of Grenadier Guards
Odeon Military Band
1917 35922
35923
Regimental March of Scots Guards
Regimental March of Coldstream Guards
Odeon Military Band
1918 35927
35928
Rock Of Ages
Nearer My God To Thee
Odeon Military Band
1919 35925
35926
Killarney
Il Bacio
Odeon Military Band (with cornet solo by S. Jenner)
My thanks to Grahame Meachen for bringing these to my attention and for letting me have the record shown in the image.
Barberphone Sold by Walter Barber & Co , of 115, Uxbridge Road, Shepherd's Bush, London, there were two types of Barberphone record, both dating from pre-1920. The first used J. Blum & Co's matrices and the catalogue was in a 1000 and 2000 series. The other Barberphone records are paste-over labels on Grammavox and Popular records.

Thanks to Bill Dean-Myatt for the scan of the red label, and Rainer Lotz for the white-labelled one.

BBS This is a regional record company, but is difficult to date despite having this example here to hand. I'd guess it dates from post WWII. The company is/was based in Solihull, Warwickshire, but I don't know what "BBS" actually stands for.
 
Beacon A sister label to Mimosa, though very much rarer, Beacon was a 5" disc produced by Crystalate in the early 1920s. The catalogue numbers are in a B-500 or C-100 series, but the extent of the series, and exact period the label was available (and for whom it was produced) is not currently known.
 
Beatall Beatall records made a brief appearance in 1910 with a very optimistic name that didn't really live up to expectations. As with many records of this period, they were pressed in Germany, possibly from Operaphone (and other) masters. It is understood that the proprietor was a dealer by the name of Lloyd Thomas.

 

Beka Beka (or more correctly Beka-Grand) records were established in Germany at the start of the 20th century. They started exporting to Britain in 1905 and in 1913 British pressings first appeared. As with many German-based labels, Beka disappeared during the first world war, but re-appeared in 1920 for about 5 years as a German-only product, though some were exported to Britain.
Beka-Meister records, with an attractive white label and green printing were of supposedly more serious music (see image).

The CLPGS has produces a reference series booklet about Beka & Lindstrom, included a full listing of known issues on a data CD.



Bel Canto A very attractive pre-WWI label, the company was established in Germany in 1909, but in 1911 J.G. Murdoch started importing the records into England. Bel Canto recorded their own masters, but the label, which is fairly scarce, also used other company's masters, including, apparently Dacapo and some made specifically for Murdoch.
Bell Bell was the name given to Edison (UK)'s first disc records in 1908. They were originally 10" in size but later settled down to the more usual 10".  They cost 2/6 and the catalogue number started at 1, reaching about 500 by 1912 when the label was discontinued and replaced by Winner.

In the 1920s, Edison UK revived the Bell name for their 5" (later 6") children's label. Catalogue numbers started at 250 in 1921 and the label survived until 1926 by which time the numbers had reached into the 400s. Dance band items specially recorded for the format may be found. All issues are British recordings. 6" recordings continued to be issued after this time by Edison Bell, but were issued on the Crown label.



Bell Accordion Dating from the 1950s, Bell Accordion records were produced by Phillips Electrical and Levy's (Oriole) and, not surprisingly, concentrated on accordion recordings. The propriertor was Arthur Bell & his company Bell Accordions Ltd of Surbiton, Surrey.







Thanks to Bill Dean-Myatt for the images.


Bellaphone It is not certain that these records ever made it onto the market. They were advertised in 1920 by the Bellaphone Company of 10, Brook Green, Hammersmith, London, but none have ever been reported.
Please e-mail me with details of ANY of these records. Also a label scan.
 
Bellerophone A German-produced record, allegedly marketed in Britain prior to WWI, using Kalliope masters.
Please e-mail me with details of ANY of these records. Also a label scan.
 
Beltona

Beltona records were produced for the Murdoch Trading company of 59-61 Clerkenwell Road, London, EC1.

The first Beltona records appeared just after the first world war and were made by Crystalate. This style was short-lived (probably only a few months) and copies are rare. The catalogue numbers were in a 100 series and current thinking is that they were made for export to Australia, but only 3 examples are known of at the moment. See first label scan - if you have any examples, please e-mail me)

It was 1922 before the label was revived and the pressings were taken on by Vocalion and they used their usual masters from their own recordings and from American Gennett and Vocalion. The familiar design (see third picture) was used, though initially the colours were red and buff (see second picture) rather than turquoise and light turquoise. There was also a 6" disc called Beltona Bairns produced by Vocalion at this time; the photo reproduced here shows one in its original packet.

In 1927, the label design changed to the black and white design shown here and soon after this, Edison Bell started providing the masters as Vocalion ceased any 10" recordings. By the following year, Beltona seemed to stop issuing dance music, though in the early 1930s, a few sessions of local dance bands were recorded (see scan). The label concentrated on Scottish and Irish music for the rest of its life and carried on into the 1970s, though obviously was by then in the 45rpm format.

The catalogue numbers started at 101 (for popular records) and reached about 1250 before the design change and Edison took over from about 1300. The label generally shows the correct matrix number, even though the original matrix has been expunged from the disc on many of the American matrices. The Bairns records used a 3-digit series of numbering.

NOTE:  There were many other issues and series and a full listing of all Beltona issues was produced in 2007 by Bill Dean Myatt. A new edition of Bill's Beltona listing, with many amendments and including recording dates is now available in the Reference  series. The booklet, at a very reasonable price has the full history and a CD with the catalogue listing which is fully searchable. This is available from the CLPGS.






Berliner Emile Berliner was the inventor of the disc recording in the 1890s. His earliest records are now generally referred to as "Berliners", but more properly are Gramophones. They were 7" in diameter, single-faced and the information was inscribed into the centre of the disc.
At some point the term "Gramophone" became applied to the playing machines rather than the records. Berliner's company, based in England was known as The Gramophone Company and became well-known since for their "His Master's Voice" records.
Besttone Besttone records were available in 1915 and could be bought from the Regent Wave Company of 120 Old Street, London, owned by Leon Liebowich. 

On this label may be seen the name "Rifanco Eagle". It is not known what Rifanco means or refers to, but the needles and gramophones available from Regent use the name too.  Other label designs show the Rifanco Canary, Rifanco Marble and Rifanco Lion, as well as just Rifanco Brand.

The Besttone name was also used by the company as paste-over stickers on other record labels, presumably old stock sold by Regent, or more likely due to German pressings becoming unavailable during WWI. (See the latter 2 pictures which were Diploma and Pelican records respectively).

 

 







Beta
(sold in Australia)
 This was a paste-over label available in Australia during 1918-21. The original records are believed to all be Edison Bell Winners. The catalogue numbers matched the Winners to start with and then the first digit was dropped off the original Winner number.


Thanks to Derek Kell and Rainer Lotz for the label scans.


Billy Mayerl Billy Mayerl was a syncopated pianist and composer whose career dated back to the early 1920s (at least) when he playing in the Savoy Havana Band.
The records which bear his name are part of a piano tuition course. They were recorded & pressed by the Vocalion Gramophone Company and date to the late 1920s.

However, the examples shown here are post-WWII issues which state they are Gui de Buire recordings. Gui De Buire records are usually lacquer discs. I have not been able to examime these, but they appear to be using original Vocalion master numbers.

Thanks to Bill Dean-Myatt for the label images.

Birmingham Sound Reproducers This looks like a privately produced record. The company was based in Birmingham, England and better remembered nowadays as BSR for their record decks. The record is single-sided, pressed in standard shellac and a master from the original US Bluebird issue.
Black Diamond A British-made record for export to Australia, the Black Diamond record is extremely rare, and probably dates to WWI. It used Invicta masters, and therefore is presumably manufactured by Invicta as well. As far as I know, this is the only one seen, and it is catalogue number B1, so it may be the only issue!

 

Blue Rhapsody A post-war label concentrating on religious material, produced for Marshall, Morgan & Scott of Grays Inn Road, London. It would appear these were produced by both EMI and Oriole records Ltd.

Thanks to Bill Dean-Myatt for the label scan.

Blue Seal Blue Seal is a paste-over half-label which P.F. Wykes used as a way of selling old record stock in the period immediately after the outbreak of WWI. Wykes was a gramophone & record dealer whose shop was in The Arcade, Northampton. Examples of Blue Seal records seen have been Coliseum and Pioneer records and certain information at the foot of the label has been very carefully scrubbed out on the examples seen, in order to prevent indentification of the original label underneath.
Thanks to Graham Farnell for the label scan.
Bob A Scottish record company, based in Glasgow, Bob records feature the reverse side of a shilling piece (known as a "bob") in the label design. The masters of those seen came from Invicta.
Bon Marche(sold in Australia) These records date from the mid-to-late-1920s were manufactured by Crystalate in England using their own Imperial masters, for export to Australia for sale in the Bon Marche department stores. There were about 200 different records issued, in a 100-series catalogue.
Thanks to Mike Jones for the label image.
Bon Ton This consists of a sticker in orange with gold printing, pasted over Regal records dating from around WWI, probably as a means of selling off old stock.  
Boosey & Hawkes Boosey and Hawkes were a leading music publishers at 295 Regent Street, London.
From 1937 until about 1967, B&H produced many records of 'music publisher' recordings in many different series.
The first image here is a pre-war example; the master numbers imply a Decca product from the late 1930s. Subsequently, the more familiar green label-style (also seen with a red backgroumd) were produced by Levy's and then finally EMI. The later records, still 10" 78rpm, where pressed in vinyl and the label design was simplified, being green with black printing (no white). These, still as 78rpm discs, were produced up until 1968.
The last example shown is of a private pressing.

Thanks to Bill Dean-Myatt for the label images.


Boots The well-known chemist chain (originally based in Nottingham) is not known for selling records these days. However, in the early 1920s, some shops at least (maybe only the bigger ones?) were selling their own-labelled record. This was a 6" disc (The only record I have encountered of this size) and was recorded and manufactured by Vocalion in around April 1923. They had a catalogue series in the B-1000 range and I suspect they were pretty short-lived. No artist credit is shown on the label.

Another odd thing about this label... I have only seen three of them and all 6 sides had the label name / logo scratched out (see first picture). I can't think of any reason for this. The second picture shows what the label is believed to look like and my thanks are due to Steve Walker and Norman Field for helping to recreate the label. A scan of an undefaced label, or information about other issues would be gratefully received. Here is a list of those I know:
Extra information from the files of the late Arthur Badrock.

Catalogue No. Matrix No. Title type
B-1001 C-5593
C-5610
Singing
Punjaub March
vocal
band
B-1002 C-5595
C-5613
Kentucky Babe
Anvil Chorus "Trovatore"
vocal
band
B-1003      
B-1004      
B-1005 C-5587
C-5612
I Ain't Nobody's Darling
Grand March "Aida"
vocal
band
B-1006      
B-1007      
B-1008 C-5592
C-5615
Ma
Prelude from "Carmen"
vocal
band
B-1009 C-5590
C-5636
My Sweet Hortense
Old Folks At Home
vocal
banjo solo
B-1010      
B-1011      
B-1012 C-5598
C-5638
Nice Old Maid
Old Black Joe
vocal
banjo solo

Bosworth Bosworths were a music publisher and the most familiar record of this name sates from the 1940s and 50s, issuing library music. However, there was an early incarnation of the label, from WWI. These were pressed by Crystalate using Guardsman masters. They are exceedingly rare and only a couple of examples have so far been found: the one shown here and also  No. 4 "Tender Appeal" by F. G. Byford.

If you should know of any details of these early records, do email me.
Thanks to Bill Dean-Myatt for the label scan.

 The post-WWII label cost 5/9.

Bouwmeester This was a Scala product, made in Britain for export to the continent, produced for Louis Bouwmeester Jr, who owned a theatre chain in the Netherlands.
Boy Scouts
Association
A set of recordings produced by EMI, dating from 1926 and 1927.

My thanks to Bill Dean-Myatt for providing the label scan. I have had to adjust the brightness and I suspect the label colour would be the usual HMV plum.

BRC A rather mysterious record produced by Decca and using existing records already issued on their Rex label (in this example). The reason for these issues is currently unknown, as is the extent of the series, and what the name refers to, or stands for.

My thanks to Charles Hippisley-Cox for providing the label image.

Brechnerphone Nothing is known about who manufactured these records, or for whom they were made, but the example seen here uses Beka/Lindstrom masters and actually has the Scala catalogue number in the wax.

My thanks to Norman Field for providing the label scan.

Britannic Britannic records date from about 1910 and there appear to be two distinct styles, as shown. Neither show any maker's name but the first one does say "British Made"; the other proudly proclaims "British Made Throughout".   The first example above is a 11" disc and used "Bell" masters and pressed by Edison Bell, the other is a standard 10" disc and  the masters were from various sources, such as Edison Bell, Nicole, Beka and American record Co; the records were pressed by the Disc Record Co. of Harrow.

The records cost about 2/6 and were sold by the "tally man" system where the customer was contacted to buy so many discs over a year (about 50) for a fixed price, for which they received a new gramophone.


British Phototone These records date from the late 1920s and were produced for use as a soundtrack which would synchronise with a film.

 
British Polyphon Dating from the WWI period, these records were made for the British Polyphon Company of 1-3, Newman Street, London and 27, Jamaica Street, Glasgow. The records used Edison Bell "Winner" masters and numbers were in a P- series catalogue.

Information about any of these, or a decent scan would be appreciated.
British Talkiescope Obviously an early example of matching sound with film.
My thanks to Bill Dean-Myatt for providing the label image.
Broadcast Vocalion introduced their popular 8" Broadcast record in 1927 and they sold in their thousands over the next 6 years, increasing in size to 9" in 1931. There were "spin-offs" in the shape of the 6" Broadcast Junior and the various 10" Broadcast 12 series, Broadcast 4-tune and Broadcast International. The name was finally dropped in 1934, by which time Crystalate owned the company.
Brunswick Brunswick records were introduced into Britain in 1923; the name was used by the Chappell Piano Company who were music publishers and sellers of the Cliftophone gramophone. The masters were all from American Brunswick initially, and confusingly used a similar catalogue series which sometimes coincided with the American issues, and sometimes didn't. The label was bought by Decca in the 1930s and they continued to use the name until the 1960s.
 
BSS  (Berners Music Company)
This record was pressed by Parlophone in the 1920s.
Bulldog

A very rare British label available from 1915 until 1920, and manufactured by Crystalate. The records cost 1/6 initially, but increased to 2/6 towards the end of WWI. there are several different label designs including the rather (by then) old-fashioned etched-and-filled labelling.

Burlington One of the many obscure labels from the first world war period, Burlington drew on various sources for their masters, including Nicole records and J. Blum & Co.
Butterfly There are two different forms of Butterfly record. One was an oversized 10" disc using pre-WWI Grammavox masters. The label was dark red with a gold butterfly and used a B-1 catalogue series, running possibly as far as B-300. This is the first example shown here. Thanks to Mike Jones for the label scan.

The other version of Butterfly was a total or partial paste-over label used on old stocks of "Popular", "Imperial" or "Mimosa" records, presumably as a way of disposing of them cheaply (see second & third scans).      
 

 



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