Once upon a time, prior to January 1, 1965, when Canada was both a Dominion and a «cultural colony» of the British Empire, the Canadian flag resembled all other colonial flags within the Empire in that it was configured with a prominent Union Jack.
Now, cast your mind back to this time in Canada in the very early 1960s when the population of Canada had yet to reach twenty million and a few Canadian record companies operated independently of their larger counterparts south of the 49th. parallel. Names like Allied, Compo, Dominion, Quality, and Sparton operated the prominent labels in Canada during the late 1950s and early 1960s as Rock And Roll discs began to dominate the popular record charts. By far, the most important Canadian record label to emerge in the Canadian «pop» music industry in the 1960s was Capitol and this narrative attempts to document the output of the unique «6000» LP series as well as the unique «72000» 45 RPM «junior» series and other series issued by Capitol in Canada.
What prompted Capitol Records Of Canada to launch their own series of vinyl releases separately from their larger US counterpart using a label that was both established and mainstream in the USA ? The business strategy employed by Capitol was to produce records that were tailored to the «average Canadian» musical interest of the time; this being based on the unique demographics of a British colony set in the northern region of North America, above its rebellious neighbour to the south. Capitol had also produced a completely separate series of vinyl discs targeted for the French-speaking market in Quebec, starting in 1958.
The popular American Capitol releases of the day had been distributed in Canada through the early and middle 1950s by a subsidiary of Sparton Records of London, Ontario called Capitol Records Distributors Limited. By the late 1950s, British-based EMI had taken over control of the Canadian Capitol product distribution from Sparton and this ownership change had tied in nicely with the changing demographics of the record buying public (baby boomers entering their teenage years) and with the introduction of new technologies to listen to these records, including Stereophonic records and players.
Little did EMI know at this time what was to come their way. The young executives working at EMI’s newly acquired Canadian operation began to build their business in Canada between 1958 and 1962 by promoting the stable of established and somewhat dated artists such as already deceased Freddy Gardner and the various artists who sang the traditional folk songs of the British Isles; names unknown to the record buying public in Canada.
The very earliest Capitol album releases on the 6000 series of LPs served to enhance the willingness of a young «A & R» man Paul White to promote the new English sound exemplified by Matt Monro, Helen Shapiro, Charlie Drake, John Barry, and Frank Ifield on both the LP and 45 RPM formats.
In early 1963 came the Beatles, followed by the ensuing British Invasion at the end of 1963. Our story ends with the Rainbow and Swirl labels used for the LPs and 45s respectively once again in the 1980s. This, however, is the first chapter ! The associated «discographies» attempt to list all of the known releases of Capitol Records Of Canada 6000 Series «Rainbow» LP releases (1960-1987) and Capitol Records Of Canada 72000 Series «Swirl» 45 releases (1960-1987) and also touches on the other labels that were pressed and distributed by Capitol (Pathe, Musee, Roman, Hawk, Yorktown, etc.).
Notwithstanding five unique Beatles LP releases, most 6000 LP releases of UK EMI releases featured unique artwork and track listings between 1960 and 1987. Similarly, many of the 45 RPM releases on the 72000 label mirrored their EMI counterparts. There were also a number of Canadian groups that had releases on these labels which appeared nowhere else in the world. Following the end of the British Invasion and the introduction of «album rock» which heralded the demise of the 7 inch 45 RPM record, the Canadian Television And Telecommunications Commission of the Government Of Canada introduced mandatory Canadian content rulings for airplay. This marked the closure of a unique chapter in 60s musical history and the start of the growth stage of Canadian content.
The first few Jimmy Shand/Scottish 6000 releases feature some UK Parlophone LPs on the rear sleeves which Capitol must have been importing into Canada. Also, Canadian Capitol sleeves for Mrs. Mills and Russ Conway advertised some UK Columbia releases by Russ Conway which would have been exported to Canada. The same also applies to Victor Silvester records. A separate section lists these records that were specially imported to Canada from EMI in England. Generally, these imported albums were «stickered» over to avoid any conflicts with RCA/HMV «shared Nipper» and Columbia/CBS.