These advertisements already show the
somewhat clumsy strategy to (often) release three albums at once, a
that was adopted probably to reduce advertising costs, but that
ultimately only served to let many releases sink without leaving a
trace on the market.
THE LOGO (see ads above)
As you can deduce
from the first ad, the logo was meant to have an effect on the
beholder. The ad invites you to cut the logo out, place it on your
turntable and look at it turning. Doing this indeed may produce a mild
effect of vertigo, at least if you are inclined so. The logo is very
cunningly designed: nine alternately black and white circles that
decrease in size and whose midpoints follow a straight line are
superimposed on each other. This again is repeated three times in ever
smaller size. The three circle groups are alternately placed upward (1
and 3) and downward (2). The relation of the three circle groups is
chosen so that the perimeter of the third lies on the midpoint of the
first - the second lies halfway. Sounds complicated, but is in fact
simplicity itself. This logo is one of record history's most
astonishing. A special font is used for the word ''vertigo'', located either below or above the spindle hole. This is in an
font, quite neutral in itself, that is just too fanciful to be
business-like and too straight to be fantastic and thereby suited to
almost any style of cover design.
The latest article on the label in Record Collector 314 from
september 2006 states Roger Dean as the designer. This seems quite
improbable to us (though not impossible, of course), as it is very far
removed from anything that ressembles his style of designing.
We have now certainty that it was not Roger Dean who
designed the label logo (as we already expected). LINDA NICOL,
née GLOVER, sent us a mail confirming her design. (She
also designed the mosaic cover of the first Colosseum album on Fontana,
the Magna Carta ''Seasons'' album, the Dulcimer album on Nepentha, and
updated the information on some of
the designers of the Vertigo covers and we have taken in that
information where applicable). Hats off to Linda!
It should be clear from looking at the logo, that neither ''swirl'',
nor ''spiral'', as the label is often called, are adequate. ''Spiral''
being a lot worse (there is no hint of a spiral anywhere), we choose
''swirl'', because the concept of a swirl may take any form (so why not
that of the logo involved), while ''spiral'' evidently involves a line
which, starting at the outside, gradually decreases the perimeter while
describing a circle. Or the other way around, of course.
Diligent and knowledgable readers have pointed out a possible historic
connection with some designs by Marcel Duchamps! A fine example of a
''forerunner'' of the logo can be seen here
And another over here
Pretty incredible, actually!
LP INNER SLEEVES
A lot of
deliberation must have gone into the packaging. By now famous sleeve
designers such as Marcus Keef and Roger Dean were invited to enhance
the product with their designs. A fold-out cover was standard, many
releases had more than that. From additional posters, through die-cut
from lyrics inserts to gimmix covers, nothing was left untried. One
could with some justification take the point of view that the packaging
stood the test of time often better than the music did.
The covers used for the British releases are made of good sturdy board.
The surface is not glossy, nor is it laminated, thus allowing time to
cause quite some wear (especially edge-wear) throughout the years. The
cover-designs are of clearly above average quality. The swirl logo
the special word logo is featured on the front of every but two UK
issues. The spine is printed with the familiar in-house style that sets
label name, band name and album name between tiny solid squares. These
are on the upper part of the spine. The catalogue number is on the
lower part. ALL BRITISH RELEASES HAVE A GATEFOLD COVER, UNLESS
the back sleeve's top right corner the catalogue number is repeated.
The first few releases also show the ''old'' Phonogram number beneath
this. This changed in the course of time and we will come back to
this when applicable.
Even the inner sleeve
was part of the design and showed once again the
logo minus the innermost swirl, this time in huge format, thereby
refraining from any
advertising with words. The middle of the logo was left open to let the
the record peep through. The inner sleeves were lined with thin plastic
that was glued to the inner sleeve from the inside. The glue was
obviously of inferior quality: many inner sleeves have lost the plastic
are inner sleeves where the surrounding border is white,
as well as where it is black. This second variation is in fact a
negative of the first one. We could not establish any
understandable pattern as to where the white variation occurs and where
the black one. The black variation seems to have been adopted after the
white one, though.
''white'' inner sleeves carry a printing code and some do not. The
captions have been spotted at both the right- and the left-hand bottom
corner. Examples are on the left. They are explained below.
|All variations carry a
reference to British patents and a warning against the misuse of the
plastic inner bag. Left the white border variation, below the black
border, which additionally carries a printing code that signified the
printing date. In the example below it is 0372 10 (March 1972, 10th
|A during this period quite popular concept
was used for the label itself: one side
showed the logo in large format, the other carried the information. The
information side had the logo repeated at the top, but upside-down.
The font used on the perimeter text on the label B-side is very
characteristic for the British releases from this particular time. As
you would expect, font and general styling of
the label were modernised as time went by. Where this is of any
consequence it will be noted. There were also quite some small
variations in the placement of the elements on the label, often even
within the same release. We will only mention this when it seems
consequential enough to do so. Almost every country where Vertigo swirl
were issued had its own font and design, although these sometimes only
differ slightly from the British stylings. In Britain the year of
release is shown at the right of the top logo. Below that we find the
revolution speed 33 1
rpm (revolutions per
minute). The perimeter text
in capitals is as follows: All
rights of the record producer and of the owner of the work reproduced
reserved. Copying, public performance and broadcasting this record
. And above this in the middle: A Philips record product
reference to Philips is absent on later releases. The
A-side label has ''side A'' in capitals within the third white circle
No one bothered
to inform the Dutch branch about the B-side logo being meant to print
upside-down, so they put the A-side logo on
both sides, at least on early releases. Have a look at The Netherlands
if you have difficulty
The matrix numbers in the run-out groove
carried in the beginning "old" Phonogram numbers. At the rear of the
sleeve this number is repeated onder the
catalogue number (as shown above). It figures also twice on the label
of side B, both times under the regular catalogue number. British
Vertigo has the matrix stamped
by a machine and NOT hand-etched. The Vertigo matrix numbers are -
generally at least - set up as follows: catalogue number, side number
(1 or 2, normally), a letter to designate albums, which should
be ''Y'' in all cases, a dividing asterix or two slashes, the laquer
disc sequence number, a dividing triangle, the country pressing code
UK, being 420, and three numbers stating respectively the sequence
numbers for the father disc (1 digit), the mother disc (1 digit) and
the child disc (1 or 2 digits).
As an example may serve the matrix number as found on our copy of the
Gracious album (featured on the first UK album page). This reads as
follows in the run-out grooves of the A-side :
6360002 1Y// 1▼420 1 1 4. The order of these elements is
sometimes different. Ideally spoken all
matrix numbers should follow above rules, but many do not. The amount
of anomalies and errors in this field is
surprisingly large. We will follow this trail along with the releases
PROMOS and TESTPRESSINGS
We are quite sure that promo issues
exist, but we do not know in what aspects they differ from the 'normal'
releases. If you have one of these, please contact us! White label test
pressings and white label in-house releases are known to exist,
sometimes even with very strange
contents. Please refer to the last British album page (navigated to at
bottom of this page) to learn of a few of
Although Vertigo mainly was a label for albums, they actually released
a lot of singles too. In Britain there was no big tradition of picture
sleeves, so most of the British singles came in a company sleeve, a
small version of, you guessed it, the album inner sleeve, this time
with ''Vertigo'' at 11 o'clock and the swirl placed sideways. The logo
was tilted awkwardly towards
the centre. The top
of the sleeve had a wave
line-cut. Where we found picture sleeves, we will show them alongside
the single in question. Some great picture sleeves are to be found on
every page that concerns a continental European country.
you will probably already suspect, the labels of the singles are
strongly similar to those of the albums. The information for both sides
are concentrated on the B-side. As with the albums, the single labels
had some design changes in the course of time. We will show these when
There is, of course, a bewildering array
of variations in font style, placement and content of the information
on the label. Pressing year, composer credit and so on can wander all
over the label. We will only refer to this if it seems of substantial
importance. The first singles were issued with a plastic ''tri''
midpiece (not pictured here, but further below).
SINGLES MATRIX NUMBERS
The matrix numbers from the singles are
by and large similarly structured to those of the albums. Instead of
''Y'' (albums), you will find ''F'' (singles).
SINGLES DEMOS AND TEST PRESSINGS
Like every other company from this era,
Vertigo issued demos of most of their singles. These have different
labels to regular releases. The A side was (similar to other companies)
adorned with a large ''A'' in red print over a B-side design, which
listed the A-side track only.. The B-side had, of course, a B-side
design with B-side information. White label test pressings were made.
the wording ''A Philips record product'' was deleted on later
singles. The wording ''Vertigo'' was on later issues placed right under
the top logo and the ''A'' was in an outline font rather than solid.
The wording ''not for sale'' appeared on the left.
There are cassettes known of many
Vertigo albums, as well as a special sampler. Where a cassette release
has been confirmed, it will be listed among the albums. The covers of
the cassettes often do not show the whole album cover, but (restricted
by the small space available) only a small segment.
and now on to the actual records!
[Please note that if a
record released in Britain was also released on
Vertigo swirl in another country, we do NOT mention this
fact along with the British
record. You will have to look at the page for the country in question
find information about such a release.]
We sincerely hope that you will
be of assistance in making this information as reliable as possible.
In case of any contributions or questions or even complaints, please
use this here
virtual address: e-mail.