Embassy Records. The label that reigned supreme, on Woolworth’s counters, from 1955 to 1965.
The story starts in 1954, Sales of 78 rpm records are beginning to overtake those of sheet music. Skiffle & Rock'n'Roll are about to break loose!!!
Executives of Woolworths had decided, it was time to introduce an exclusive budget record record label to their shelves
However, potential suppliers, in this field were extremely limited in number. The two eventual finalists, traded as Planet and Oriole
It was generally surmised, within the trade, that Woolworths would choose Planet as the preferred supplier. Furthermore, it was rumoured that Planet had heavily invested, (possibly a little too heavily), in equipment, hoping to win the contract. However, Woolworths chose the rival, Levy Brothers, who also owned a central London recording studio, as well as manufacturing facilities for their Oriole label.
It is said that the two bids were evenly matched. Levy’s was chosen principally because their studios were at 73 New Bond Street, just yards from the Woolworth's Mayfair HQ. The Managing Partner, Morris Levy, had offered to meet the Buyer each Thursday to pick the next week's songs and to get them on sale by Monday.
Morris proposed the name Embassy Records. It would be a Woolworth exclusive in the United Kingdom and Ireland, but Oriole would be free to market the label's output in Continental Europe, either through independents or by signing up another big retailer. By splitting his overhead he promised to increase the margin paid to Woolworths.
Planet Records folded shortly after hearing that their tender had not been selected