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I've just obtained a copy of "The Great British Recording Studios" by Howard Massey. It makes fascinating reading and includes a section on the Decca Studios at West Hampstead where I worked mainly as a tape operator for Arthur Lilley and Arthur Bannister on Mantovani and Ronnie Aldrich sessions. On page 67 the book refers to the rivalry between EMI and Decca and there is a reference to the packing crate that arrived in the main entrance of Broadhurst Gardens on Christmas Eve 1967. Inside the case was a cast-iron cistern with a 45 rpm disc of the Rolling Stones stuck down the pan. Also on the wall is a note “When only the Best will do”. Another bit of graffiti on the wall of the packing case reads “Spare ball cock!” I happened to be there at the time it arrived and took a photo with my Instamatic camera, a shame that it never appeared in the book – it makes a good read. Peter Watts peterw80 08/08/20

L'Oiseau-Lyre office collage. The collage created by David Cade (Assistant Record Producer) in 1979 for one of L'Oiseau-Lyre's offices, featuring many of Decca's great classical recording stars, including Early Music performers and some artists (like Glenda Jackson) who made recordings with Argo, Decca's Spoken Word division. David Cade 09/07/20

1980 L'Oiseau Lyre staff. The four staff of the L'Oiseau-Lyre (Early Music) label, part of Decca's Classical Division. The photograph was taken in January 1980. From left to right are: David Cade (Assistant Record Producer), Peter Wadland (Record Producer), Janet Tomczynska (Secretary), Raymond Ware (Executive Producer). David Cade 09/07/20

White Christmas (Berlin) by Bing Crosby, with the Ken Darby Singers, orchestra conducted by John Scott Trotter The big one! But not, as most articles tend to generalize, the top-selling “record” of all time, as this original hit version had only a short five-year retail shelf life. Issued in 1942 by Decca along with all of the other Irving Berlin “Holiday Inn” tunes, this specific track remained the country’s #1 best-seller from late October into early January, returned strongly for the next four Christmas holiday seasons, but was then pulled from the marketplace and replaced by a slightly different, newly-recorded version (see the 1947 HITS ARCHIVE). So it was that 1947 Bing remake that piled up the majority of the title’s sales from its subsequent reissue throughout the decades on nearly all 78s, 45s, LPs, cassettes, and CDs. This original 1942 version did not begin to reappear on ‘official’ compilations until late in the 20th century. CMS user 18/12/19