Decca Records Celebrate Their 90th Birthday At The V&A Museum

Decca Records continued their 90th birthday celebrations with an exhibition at the V&A Museum featuring artists performances and historic displays.

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Decca Records V&A photo
Rebecca Allen, Decca's President, and Tom Lewis, Decca's Vice President, celebrate Decca 90 at the V&A. Photo courtesy of Decca Records

On Sunday 5th May Decca Records continued their 90th birthday celebrations with a party for all the family at London’s V&A Museum. The one-day exhibition, Decca 90: A Celebration, at the V&A Performance Festival featured artists performances and historic displays.

Two of the label’s finest artists – cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason, who performed at the Royal Wedding, and rising singer-songwriter Rhys Lewis – performed in the sold out auditorium.

The Decca Records exhibition at the V&A featured an array of music history and artefacts, rare memorabilia and a pop-up display telling the story of Decca’s history. A room dedicated to Decca’s greatest tenor Luciano Pavarotti (in the run up to Ron Howard’s feature-length documentary) included the iconic tuxedo worn throughout his illustrious career.

Rare and newly restored David Bowie films from the 60s were screened in the theatre, with the afternoon culminating in a magical hour on the history of Decca Records by Decca 90 curator Daryl Easlea.

A Dansette Disco of 45RPM greeted passers-by in the main foyer of the V&A with 6Music’s Tom Ravenscroft spinning tunes in the village fete grand entrance. Children and parents alike enjoyed face painting, musical workshops, and various activities throughout the day at the Decca Records exhibition at the V&A.

Decca’s Vice President Tom Lewis said, “It was an absolutely perfect family day and really reflected so many of the values that makes Decca such a special label. For many of us, one of the biggest thrills was speaking with members of the public and hearing their own stories about the label – the soundtrack to their first dance, their first kiss or the moment they discovered Pavarotti, The Stones, or all of the other artists whether global or obscure who might have touched their lives.. and, to have Sheku and Rhys representing the young, diverse and energetic future of the label.”

Decca Records, one of the most iconic record labels in the world and the UK’s longest living record label, celebrates its 90th anniversary this year. Since its formation, on 28 February 1929, Decca has burgeoned from a prosperous British company to a fully-fledged international powerhouse – earning the title as ‘The Supreme Record Company’ – a statement that resonates stronger than ever today.

Decca has been the home to countless legendary musicians from Luciano Pavarotti to David Bowie, Dame Vera Lynn to Bing Crosby, Tom Jones to Billie Holiday, The Rolling Stones to Mantovani and is now providing the platform for a new generation of ambitious artists at the forefront of their genres including Andrea Bocelli, Sheku Kanneh-Mason and Gregory Porter, who continue to represent the label’s cultural legacy. Decca’s history touches on every aspect of modern music, both classical and pop, from the beginnings of sound recording to today’s chart-topping superstars.

Throughout 2019 Decca will be celebrating its nine decades of excellence, marking the occasion with: The Supreme Record Company: The Story Of Decca Records 1929-2019 book, the highly-anticipated Ron Howard-directed Pavarotti feature film, activities at Decca’s infamous lost recording studio in West Hampstead, a unique series of concerts in London, Berlin and Paris, 90 reissues and releases, podcasts, radio shows and much more.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Martin Mitchell

    January 27, 2024 at 10:14 am

    I have been trying to find technical information about, and photographs of the first Decca Studio at Chenil Galleries. The only photographs I have found so far are of Ambrose and his orchestra on Dec 30th 1929. These clearly show 2 Marconi-Reisz carbon microphones (as used by the BBC). The room is lined with heavy black drapes. Beyond this I have found nothing. If you have any further information that would be great. Many thanks.

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