VERTIGO label launched

Towards the end of 1969 saw the launch of a new and iconic record label, Vertigo - the progressive rock arm of the company. The idea for the label came from Olav Wyper the then Marketing Manager at Philips/Phonogram in the late 60s/early 70s, before he moved to RCA. In collaboration with record producer Gerry Bron, the first batch of albums was released in prestigious gate-fold sleeves by the following artists and bands:- Colosseum (Valentyne Suite); Juicy Lucy; Manfred Mann Chapter Three; Rod Stewart (An Old Raincoat Won't Ever Let You Down); Black Sabbath and Cressida. The Black Sabbath album was recorded in just two days by producer and future Phonogram A&R chief, Rodger Bain. It stayed in the album charts for eight months but the record sleeve managed to mis-spell Ozzy Osbourne's name.

N.B. An Old Raincoat Won't Ever Let You Down and Gasoline Alley were the only two albums released on Vertigo by Rod Stewart. His follow up discs were all on the Mercury label, recorded with The Faces as backing group. He recorded for both the Warner label and Mercury with alternating releases until the end of 1974.

All Vertigo albums and singles were issued with a memorable centre label (also known as 'the Swirl'), with track listing and information for both sides printed only on side two. Future releases in the following years would include albums by Status Quo, The Sensational Alex Harvey Band, Thin Lizzy, Def Leppard, Affinity, Jade Warrior, Uriah Heep, Magna Carta, Beggars Opera, Gentle Giant, Graham Parker, Jackson Heights, Jim Croce, Nazareth - and later in 1978... Dire Straits. Then in the late '80s, Bon Jovi - and Jon Bon Jovi - from New Jersey had huge success with their album and single sales, switching to Mercury in the 1990s. From 1983, Kiss recorded on the Vertigo label and by the end of the decade, Metallica further enhanced the label's Heavy Metal roster. In 1993, despite the label's progressive rock image, none other than Rolf Harris had a top ten hit with 'Stairway To Heaven', which he famously performed at the Glastonbury Festival in 2010.

Of course the Vertigo label was essentially a progressive album platform and the only single to reach the number 1 position in the UK charts was by Status Quo in January 1975, with 'Down, Down'. In fact Status Quo have had more British hit singles than any other band.

These were among some of the first albums to be released on the Vertigo label, all with gatefold sleeves:

cressidaChapter ThreeFairfieldMagna CartaUriah Heep
AffinityMay BlitzBeggars OperaGentle Giant2Nucleus4