V-Disc (U.S.A.) / 1946

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Design: Produced on behalf of the American armed forces overseas during WWII. The 'V' in 'V-Disc' symbolizes the word 'Victory,' the two-fingered V sign first being popularized by British war leader Winston Churchill. A dynamic design, the red, white and blue colouring being used very effectively. The format is revolutionary, with the label name appearing at the foot rather than at the top, and the label name lettering is in jaunty comic-book style, rather than regimented, as might have been expected. Curiously, the air force is not mentioned in the outer ring of lettering, and there is also an instruction for 'Outside Start,' which would seem to be gratuitous. Also curious is the Anglicized spelling of 'Disc' rather than the Americanized 'Disk.'

History: Although a recording ban was in effect in the USA from 1942 to 1944, a result of the efforts of American Federation of Musicians union leader James Petrillo to get better fees for studio musicians, V-Discs were exempted from strike action because they were not on sale to the general public, being strictly intended for the entertainment of American forces overseas. The recordings, made between 1943 and 1949, covered a wide range of music styles, including classical, folk, jazz and pop. Released in three lettered series (A-Z, AA-ZZ and AAA-ZZZ), all the 12" records, many carrying more than one title on each side, were at first made of shellac, but later releases were made in vinyl. Label scan courtesy of collector Georg Richter of Germany.

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