Odeon Records

Odeon Records

Odeon Records was a record label founded by Max Strauss and Heinrich Zunz in Berlin, Germany. It was named after a famous theatre in Paris, whose classical dome appears on the Odeon record label.

In 1904 Odeon launched the first double-sided gramophone records. It became a subsidiary of the Carl Lindstrom Company which also owned Beka Records, Parlophone and Fonotipia. Lindstrom was acquired by the English Columbia Graphophone Company in 1926. In 1931 Columbia merged with Electrola, HMV and other labels to form EMI. In 1936 the director of the Odeon branch was forced to retire and replaced by Dr Kepler, a Nazi party member. In 1939 Odeon and Electrola were placed under a Nazi-appointed administrator. When the Soviet Red army occupied Berlin in 1945 it destroyed most of the Odeon factory. After 1945 Odeon continued to be used as a label for pressings made for West Africa. In Spain, Argentina and Brazil the label survived as an EMI subsidiary until the end of the LP era, mid 1980s, when it finally disappeared altogether.

Most official Beatles releases, including solo, appeared on Odeon in many non-Anglophone markets like West Germany, Japan, Spain, South America, and France, some of which were slow to recognise Apple Records until up to 1971, then switched back to Odeon by 1976.

Direct EMI—HMV exports to the USA, where the His Master's Voice label was owned by RCA Victor Records, bore pasted-over Odeon stickers.

EMI's Argentinian branch still trades as EMI Odeon SAIC.

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