Parlophone Records Ltd. is a record label that was founded in Germany in 1896 by the Carl Lindström Company as Parlophon. The British branch was formed in 1923 as "Parlophone Records", which developed a reputation in the 1920s as a leading jazz label. In 1926, Columbia Graphophone Company acquired the Parlophone business, label name and its titles. Columbia Graphophone merged with the Gramophone Company in 1931 to become Electric and Musical Industries (EMI).
On 21 September 2012, regulators officially approved Universal Music Group's planned acquisition of EMI, on condition that Parlophone was divested from the combined group. Parlophone and the other labels to be divested were operated in an entity known as Parlophone Label Group, pending their sale. Warner Music Group (WMG) acquired the group in May 2013, making it their third main-line label group alongside Warner Bros. Records and Atlantic Records (although the distribution company is still called WEA, in reference to Elektra Records, which was absorbed by Atlantic in 2004). Parlophone is now the oldest of WMG's three groups.
George Martin joined EMI in 1950 as assistant label manager, taking over as manager in 1955. Martin produced and released a mix of product including comedy recordings of the Goons, the pianist Mrs Mills, and teen idol Adam Faith. In 1962 Martin signed rising new Liverpool band the Beatles. With Cilla Black, Billy J. Kramer, the Fourmost and contemporary Mancunian band the Hollies also signed to the label, Parlophone in the 1960s became one of the world's most famous and prestigious record labels.
For a long time Parlophone claimed the best-selling UK single, "She Loves You", and the best-selling UK album, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. The label also achieved placement of seven singles at number 1 during 1964, when it also claimed top spot in the album charts for 40 of the 52 weeks during that year.
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