PINNACLE / FIREBIRD

   

The label of an electronics firm of that name, from Orpington, Kent.  Pinnacle began issuing records in 1974, under chairman Ted Scully.  The rarity of its early products suggests that it didn't have a particularly auspicious start, though it did manage to get a single by teenage heart-throbs Flintlock into the Charts in 1976 ('Dawn'; P-8419).  Other successes followed in 1978, with disco versions of 'California Dreamin'' by Colorado (PIN-67) and the 'Dr. Who' theme, by Mankind (PIN-71).  Pinnacle broadened the scope of its interest by entering the Record Distribution business; it proved its capability by ushering a single from its small client label Arrival (Keith Marshall's, 'Only Crying'; PIK-2) into the Charts in 1981, and then improved on that by getting Renee & Renato's 'Save your Love' (Hollywood, HWD-003) to the Number One spot in 1982.  In the wake of these successes the company went on to become one of Britain's busiest and biggest independent distributors, a position which it still holds today.  '70s Pinnacle singles came in four different designs: an initial fairly restrained purple label (1, 9) was soon replaced by more exuberant orange-and-brown one (2), which didn't last for too long either - it was in use by the time P-8406 came out, and was used up to and including P-8414.  The third, silver, design (3) came into use with P-8415 and lasted from February 1976 up to September 1978 and P-8449, at which point an injection moulded label began to be used (5) - 8449 can be found in both forms.  The large 'A' on the Abercrombie Fraser single (4) seems to be a one-off and merely indicates the 'A' side - Pinnacle does not appear to have used dedicated promo / demo labels.  The injection moulded label eventually gave way to an eye-catching multi-coloured one (6), which saw out the decade.   Some singles from the 'multi-coloured' era can be found on a plain silver-and-black version of the label (8); these were pressed in Chicago in order to meet the demand caused by the record entering the Chart.  Many 'multi-coloured' singles have a 'Firebird' logo above the name (7); according to Billboard magazine of the 15th of July 1978 Firebird was intended to be a new label, under Paul Lynton, recently appointed managing director of the Pinnacle record division, but it seems not to have been given a separate identity as such.  The red-and-white sleeve (10) is correctly scanned, despite the fact that the writing on it is upside-down: the opening is at the top.  Catalogue numbers started off in a P-8400 series, which reached at least 8456; they changed to PIN-60 in the Spring of 1978, when the multi-coloured labels were introduced, but the matrix numbers continued to have the '84' if front of the number, as in 'P-8465'.  Another change followed in April 1979, when the PIN-60s were superseded by PIN-0s.  The 1980s saw further changes of label design and of numbering, but they are beyond the scope of this site.  Pressing was done by a number of different firms, including Orlake, Pye, Phonodisc (who were responsible for the injection moulded labels) RCA and Lyntone. 






Copyright 2006 Robert Lyons.