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Tales Behind the Label: The Most Interesting Company Sleeves We've Seen

Examples of two interesting company sleeve

Holly Conquer |

We see thousands of records every week. 


99% of them are run of the mill, ones we've seen a hundred times.


But sometimes, one of them will catch our eye.


There's such a rich history of niche labels and beautiful company sleeves, and we'd like to share some of our favourites with you...

Volt Records

A sister company of Stax Records, its most notable artist was Otis Redding.

The label was started in 1961 by Stax because many radio stations were hesitant to play more than a couple of new songs from one label at a time. Hence, they created a subsidary label called Volt.



As you can see on the company sleeve, Volt releases were distributed by Atlantic through their subsidary Atco Records.

As we're sure you can tell, this is a US single - recognisable by the large (or 'jukebox') centre.

Other artists on Volt included The Mad Lads, The Bar-Kays and Ruby Johnson. 

Volt Records company sleeve

Sue Records

While we don't have an interesting company sleeve to show you, we couldn't resist featuring this interesting label. 


Sue Records was a US R&B and jazz label founded by Henry Murray and Bobby Robinson.



The label was founded in 1957 and known as 'The Sound of Soul.' 


They released songs for artists including Ike & Tina Turner and Inez & Charlie Foxx. 


Sue was also where Jimi Hendrix signed his first ever recording contract in 1965, though no recordings were ever put out.

Sue records british release

Rhino Records

Rhino Records - music was released on this label for a very brief period in the early 70s (1972-74 to be precise). 


It was a joint venture between EMI and Creole Records, with funding provided by EMI and the artists by Creole. 



Not to be confused with the American label of the same name which started in 1978, Rhino Records released reggae tracks in the UK (hence the association with Creole)


The demo company sleeve single shown in this picture 'Mad About You' is Bruce Ruffin's biggest selling hit, reaching 9 in the UK singles chart. 

Rhino records company sleeve

BBC Records

We've always been fans of the colours and design of the BBC records company sleeve.

BBC records was, of course, a division of BBC. It was founded in 1967 and was made defunct in 1995. 'BBC Records & Tapes' (as seen on this sleeve) specifically ran from 1972-89. 



Their output was extremely broad, ranging from more predictable TV show themes to instructional records teaching you how to flyfish or spot trains.

The single featured in this post features the theme music from 80s drama 'Howards' Way'.

You can learn more about BBC Records at bbcrecordsvinyl on twitter. 

BBC records company sleeve

Lamborghini Records & Mushroom Records

Lamborghini records and Mushroom records company sleeves

Lamborghini Records was founded in 1982. It was named Lamborghini because, yep - at the time, the founder (Patrick Mimran) was CEO of the car manufacturer! 


Distributed by PRT Records, they released records including a 1983 Jona Lewie promo called 'Heart Of Steel' and a number of Steve Hackett singles and albums. 

Mushroom Records was founded ten years earlier, in 1972 by Michael Gudinski. In 1998 it merged with major Australian label, Festival Records. 


One of their early signings was New Zealand band, Split Enz. Gudinski was a leading figure in the music industry, and Mushroom Group is the largest independent music company in Australia.

Specialty Records

Launched in 1945 in Los Angeles by Art Rupe, Specialty Records was initially called Juke Box Records.


The label was known for artists including Little Richard, Percy Mayfield and Sam Cooke.


The label was initially known for gospel music, and then played an important role in developing rock 'n' roll music after signing Little Richard in 1955.


Rupe's daughter restarted the label in the 1980s, and it is still running today as part of Concord Music Group.


We love the design of this company sleeve, and the splash of yellow on the label.

Specialty records company sleeve

4 comments

keep up the good work,i am loveing it.allthe best WDJ

william david johnson,

Excellent Subject, very interesting reading, keep them coming. Brighton Bill in Bradford West Yorkshire. (Owner 20,000 Singles).

Bill Arnold,

I do like a nice 7" “Company Sleeve”, my favourite would be Jet Records, with the blue sky, clouds and tall tower block with pink & yellow light beams shining out. Plus it was the home of ELO, so what isn’t there to like :-)

Mattster-Vinyl,

I like the info in the links its nice to know about different records and record companies
thank you for the info keep up the good work

derek boyd,

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