Bell Record

Bell Record (Canada) / 1958

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Design: A plain, businesslike label with an old-fashioned design approach, the label name following the outer curve and overarching a logo of a miniature bell.

History: Entrepreneur Arthur Shimkin (1922-2006) launched Golden Records in 1948 as an adjunct to the Golden Books line of children's books from New York-based book publishers Simon and Schuster. The records sold so well that in 1952 Shimkin introduced the Bell Record, aimed the 'teenybopper' age bracket. Top pop songs of the day (guitarist Duane Eddy's version of Rebel Rouser reached #6 on the U.S. pop charts in 1958) were re-recorded using substitute artists. Marketing the records through Simon & Schuster's existing retail outlets kept costs low, the price of 35 cents each making them the lowest-priced label on the market (and within the affordability range of most kids with even a small allowance of 'pocket money').

In the late 1950s the record industry was transitioning from 78 rpm to 45 rpm singles and 33 1/3 rpm LPs, so this 78 rpm record was among the last of its kind. In Canada, the Bell Record line was evidently manufactured and distributed by Quality Records of Ontario, which also handled other import labels (see sleeve below, including Barry, Dot, Kama Sutra, A&M, Buddah, Verve, Laurie etc.). The Bell Record label, among others, was acquired by Madison Records in the mid-1960s. To listen to this record see my collector blog here.

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