Decca Records was a record label from 1929 to 1980.

Former stockbroker Edward Lewis formed Decca Records Ltd in the United Kingdom in 1929. Within years, it was the second largest record label in the world.

Decca bought out the U.K. branch of Brunswick Records in 1932, which added such stars as Bing Crosby and Al Jolson to the roster. Decca also bought out the Melotone and Edison Bell record companies. By 1939, Decca was the only record company in UK aside from EMI.

In 1934 a USA branch of Decca was launched, which quickly became a major player in the depressed United States record market thanks to it's roster of popular artists, particularly Bing Crosby, and the shrewd management of former Brunswick General Manager Jack Kapp.

Artists signed to American Decca in the '30s and '40s included Louis Armstrong, the Andrews Sisters, Ted Lewis, The Mills Brothers, Billy Cotton, Guy Lombardo, Chick Webb, Bob Crosby, Jimmy Dorsey, Connee Boswell and Jack Hylton.

In 1942, Decca released "White Christmas" by Bing Crosby, which became the best-selling single of all time.  The United States branch of Decca functioned separately for many years, and eventually became part of MCA. Because it held the rights to the name Decca in the US, British Decca sold its records in the United States under the label London Records.  American Decca recordings, including those by Ted Weems, could be found in England on the Brunswick, Vocalion, or Ace of Hearts  labels, distributed by English Decca.

When EMI in England purchased Capitol Records in 1953, RCA Victor ended its arrangement to distribute its recordings in England on "His Master's Voice" and licensed English Decca to distribute the recordings there as "RCA."  So in England, Perry Como seemed to switch from HMV to RCA. 

Polygram acquired the remains of English Decca within days of Lewis's death in January 1980.   Universal acquired the rights to MCA and Decca in the 1990s, and more recently took over Polygram.  So now that American Decca and English Decca are together under the Universal umbrella, recordings of both Deccas can be released as Decca worldwide -- if they want to.  The label name had been used occasionally on a series of country and then jazz CDs, and now is in use on Original Cast CDs. 
Revised and contributed by:
Michael Biel, Ph.D. 
Morehead, Kentucky, USA 

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Friday, April 07, 2023