A survivor from the
78rpm era. Red Seal first saw the light of day in 1902, as the
flagship label of Victor records; its task was to provide lovers of Classical
music with the best performances by the best artists of the time, and it
succeeded handsomely. As part of Victor, Red Seal moved whenever that
company did, being sold by its founder, Eldridge R. Johnson, to bankers Seligman
& Speyer in 1926, and then being sold on again three years later to the
Radio Corporation of America. In more modern times, Red Seal
continued as RCA's Classical label. As far as the UK is concerned it concentrated almost
entirely on albums, but from early 1970 into the mid '80s the occasional single appeared,
presumably when a piece of music was reckoned to have enough commercial
potential; James Galway's version of 'Annie's Song' b/w 'Serenade' justified the policy by getting to No.3 in
the British Charts, in 1978. The first few Red Seal singles were given catalogue numbers from the
main RCA-2000 series, but in 1978 they were awarded their own their
own 'RB' prefix; the number parts were taken from RCA's PB-5000
and PB-9000 Pop series. The black company sleeves were shared with Pop singles from
late '79 onwards, though they appear to have been introduced before that for Red
Seal singles. The label design remained the same throughout, but CBS pressings can
be distinguished by virtue of their wide dinking perforations (1) - RCA's own
pressings have narrower ones (2). Promo copies were marked in the usual RCA manner (3).
The discography below only covers the 1970s.
Copyright 2006 Robert Lyons.