Vertigo Records

Vertigo Records is a British record label Mercury Records.

  • 2.1 Musical orientation
  • 2.2 cover design



The label was founded in 1969 by the Philips Phonographic Industry and PolyGram and should specialize in progressive rock. By 1973, several singles and LPs appeared with young and modern artists, including but not limited Black Sabbath, Gentle Giant, Ramases, Status Quo, Rod Stewart and Uriah Heep. In later years, the program became more commercial, including with Thin Lizzy, Dire Straits and Metallica.

In the 1990s, the label increasingly lost its independence and eventually went on to Mercury Records. The Polygram group in turn was sold by Philips to the Universal Music Group, which in turn merged into Vivendi Universal.

The Vertigo publications of the era from 1969 to 1973 ( " Swirl phase") are seen as crucial to the development of progressive rock music. Most of the classic recordings have since appeared repeatedly on CD.

At the beginning of the new millennium Vivendi Universal started with a reactivation of old labels, the musical direction is different from the early days.

Swirl Vertigo / Vertigo Spaceship

The historical publications are sometimes referred to as " Vertigo Swirl " or " spiral Vertigo". These LPs of the paper insert in the middle is meant (the label in the proper sense ). On the A - side of these plates, the Vertigo logo is displayed on the label size, on the B - side of the logo in small with the information on the artist and title.

In 1973, the transition to the so-called UFO designed by Roger Dean label ( " Spaceship Vertigo" ). The end of the Swirl - phase initiated the commercialization of the labels described above.


Musical direction

At the beginning of the label was the progressive rock, which went through a boom phase at this time, the focus of the publications. Were typical durchkonstrierte, long songs, which extended not infrequently a complete record side. Accordingly, the label concentrated on albums, of which up to 1973 ( Swirl - phase ) published a total of 89. Single releases were in the minority. During the same period, there were only 44 Vertigo singles in the UK, which are often missed beyond the charts.

In addition to the progressive rock Publications Vertigo also offered jazz -inspired bands like Colosseum and Nucleus a home. Graham Bond linked to Vertigo jazz and progressive rock. With Tudor Lodge and Mike Absalom there were also even music from the folk scene.

Through the publication of the recordings of Black Sabbath, Uriah Heep Vertigo War Horse and was also instrumental in the development of Hard Rock and Heavy Metal.

Predominantly, British artist at Vertigo under contract, but also photographs of Kraftwerk from Germany and Flame Dream from Switzerland have been published, for example.

Cover design

Besides music, the often elaborately designed record covers created a stir: An example of such a cover offers the LP " Space Hymns " by the band Ramases, a precursor band 10cc. The cover shows a rocket flying through space. The cover can, however, six times open ( " 6x FOC "). Here, the rocket turned out to be a giant wooden church spire, which stands in a huge fireball into space. As with various other Vertigo Publications of the time the cover was designed by Roger Dean.

Often the photographer Marcus Keef took over the graphic design. His covers usually show "normal" images ( often landscapes), which is added to something obscure. Examples here include the first two Black Sabbath albums mentioned.

While some of the bands from the Swirl - phase were quickly forgotten, the cover and their designers are still known today.


Many of the Swirl - LPs count due to low production and sales figures of the major rarities. Three parts to my soul ( Occult ) and Ben (Jazz) - - Same as rarest specimens the plates of Dr. Z apply. The LPs of Tudor Lodge ( Folk ), Mike Absalom ( singer-songwriter ), both Cressida ( Progressive Rock ) albums and both Catapilla ( progressive jazz rock ) LPs are among the most rare and popular plates.