American; a branch of CBS.  As far as the USA is concerned, the Epic label was launched by CBS in 1953 as a vehicle for Jazz and Classical music.  It broadened its scope in the '60s, and by the '70s its products had become more or less indistinguishable from those of its parent company.  Among a host of lesser stars it boasted two of the world's best-selling acts: Abba and Michael Jackson.  In Britain, Epic first appeared in 1971; it seems to have replaced the 'Direction' label (q.v.).   The Epic label saw several design changes during the '70s.  For the first two years a yellow label with lines radiating from the name was used (1); in February 1973 the 'e in a box' logo appeared (2); the 'e' featured on a new orange label in September 1976 (3).   In mid 1977 CBS began to experiment with injection moulded labels, and popular Epic singles can occasionally be found in that form.  Initially the logo of these IM records was at 4 o'clock (4) but it soon migrated back to the top (5).  The blue label (6) replaced the orange one in or around November 1979.  Epic records were distributed by CBS and were usually pressed by that company, but at peak periods some contract pressings were done by other companies.  EMI did some; their products can be recognised by the relatively narrow 'dinking' perforations (11; compare it with 1 and 2) and the EMI-style run-off legend - see the page on run-off markings.  Epic's singles shared a numerical series with the other CBS Group labels; the numbers had an 'EPC' prefix, usually with an 'S' after it (from 1971-72) or before it (from 1972-c.80).  I have put together an Epic discography for the years 1971-77; as is the case with these discographies it is more holey than righteous but for what it's worth it can be found here.  Thanks to Robert Bowes for the first promo scan (7).

Copyright 2006 Robert Lyons.