WING and FONTANA SPECIAL - Budget labels introduced


In response to the marketing of lower priced albums by The World Record Club and subsequently Music For Pleasure (both owned by EMI), Decca's Ace Of Hearts and Ace Of Clubs labels, in 1965 Philips issued their own budget label, Wing. These releases covered both popular and classical recordings most of which had been previously deleted at top price but were able to reach a wider audience at the lower price. Initially these LPs were retailing at ten shillings (50 new pence) and were only recorded in mono. In 1968 stereo recordings at 14/6d (73 new pence) were issued on the new Fontana Special label and were marketed as 'Stereo Playable Mono' to accommodate those record collectors who still had only monophonic playback equipment. Mono recordings were mostly discontinued after 1968.

Top British and American artists were featured and all enjoyed big sales success at such an economical retail price. Within a few years re-released albums by Dusty Springfield, Shirley Bassey, Frankie Vaughan, Wayne Fontana, The Pretty Things and the Spencer Davis Group all went out at 50 new pence. Orchestra leader John Gregory recorded the entire Gilbert & Sullivan operettas with the Mike Sammes Singers and there was even a recording of James Joyce's 'Ulysses' read by Siobhan McKenna. Disc Jockey Tony Blackburn made an album for Fontana Special entitled: Tony Blackburn Meets Matt Monro.  
In 1973 a new company and record label was formed especially to handle the group's budget repertoire. Contour Records took over the entire running of low-price albums from both Phonogram and Polydor Records - as well as producing new product themselves - operating from 15 St. George Street, London W1, around the corner from Phonogram's offices.  
contour label