Victor Red Seal 78 RPM Records
1903-1958

Before Victor introduced its Red Seal (Label) line in 1903 the phonograph was considered simply a novelty, not a serious medium by which to enjoy music. Technological progression was making records longer with better sound but one crucial factor was still missing, high talent. Well-established artists, especially the Classical and Opera ones, felt the phonograph couldn't reproduce their performances with justice. The earliest field was thus left to a generation of unknown performers who became famous through the phonograph. As the new century dawned, the record companies sent representatives out to change that.

Victor's affiliate in Europe, the Gramophone and Typewriter Company, was the first to record known celebrities on a major basis. They also came up with the Red Label idea in order to highlight this distinguished series, with a steeper retail price of course. Victor adopted this idea, patented it in the States and even kept other companies from using a red label for some time. The earliest Red Seals were imported from G&T but a studio was soon set up in Carnegie Hall to produce some domestics before production commenced at Victor's regular studio. Francesco Tamango, Nellie Melba and Antonio Scotti were among these earliest artists with Tamango commanding a whopping $5 for his records. Other impressive prices were had, topping out at $7 for a celebrity gathering in the "Lucia-Sextet". Yet, new talent was still welcome and promoted. Enrico Caruso, a heretofore-unknown Opera singer from Italy, first recorded in 1902 and quickly became the most celebrated artist of the Red Seal line, the Acoustic Recording Era and of the whole Opera world in the Twentieth Century. He and other Red Seal artists were largely responsible for finally making the phonograph a respectable medium.

Victor's Red Seal line was well served by the twelve-inch disc and was produced in abundance as such until nearly the end of the 78 RPM Era. However, ten-inchers are common too. Eldridge R. Johnson and Victor resisted making double-sided Red Seals until 1923, when all were doubled-up, because they felt the music was so exclusive. They were made in the 33-1/3 RPM format starting in 1950 and eventually found their way to Compact Discs and the modern formats of today. For the purpose of this section and website though, 1933 is the cutoff date. That's not a special year for this kind of music but it syncs with the end of the Jazz Age and changing landscape of the Great Depression.

This page covers the 64000 series from 64001 to 64999 and 66007 to 66178 with release dates ranging from 1906 to 1923, though a few sides were recorded before then. These discs are ten-inches in diameter and single-sided. After reaching 64999, the 65000s had to be skipped since it was already in use for ethnic recordings. They retailed for $1.00 for most of their history, except briefly for $1.25 during the early 1920s due to a shellac shortage and at their end for 65¢ during the 1925-26 clearance of acoustic recordings.

Encoded Speed: 192 Kbps

The Clang of the Forge (Blank)
Emilio de Gogorza
Victor 64037
Matrix# B-1763, Take 2
October 12, 1904
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (?)

Mother 'o Mine (Blank)
Herbert Witherspoon
Victor 64071
Matrix# B-4586, Take 2
June 13, 1907
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (?)

A Dream
Evan Williams
Victor 64078
Matrix# B-4864, Take 4
March 22, 1910
Camden, New Jersey (?)
Note: Scratch at end.

Mazurka
Maud Powell
Victor 64104
Matrix# B-7097, Take 2
May 20, 1909
Camden, New Jersey

Faust - Invocation Mephistopheles (Oh Night, Draw Thy Curtain!)
Marcel Journet
Victor 64119
Matrix# B-8551, Take 1
January 14, 1910
Camden, New Jersey
Sleeve Front
Sleeve Back

Minuet in G, No. 2
Mischa Elman
Victor 64121
Matrix# B-8802, Take 1
April 6, 1910
New York, New York

Swanee River (Old Folks at Home)
Fritz Kreisler
Victor 64130
Matrix# B-8939, Take 2
May 13, 1910
New York, New York

Hungarian Dance in G minor
Fritz Kreisler
Victor 64131
Matrix# B-8969, Take 1
May 18, 1910
New York, New York

Variations
Fritz Kreisler
Victor 64156
Matrix# B-8977, Take 1
May 18, 1910
New York, New York
Note: large scratch at beginning and end.

Sigurd - Marche Tuomphale d'Hagan
Marcel Journet
Victor 64157
Matrix# B-8561, Take 1
January 15, 1910
Camden, New Jersey

The Moon Drops Low (from "American Indian Songs")
Janet Spencer
Victor 64200
Matrix# B-10229, Take 2
April 26, 1911
Camden, New Jersey
Note: Scuffs on last half of recording.

Rigaudon
Mischa Elman
Victor 64201
Matrix# B-10406, Take 1
May 17, 1911
Camden, New Jersey

Halbein Chatoeinu
Cantor Gershon Sirota (of the Warsaw Synagogue)
Victor 64230
Matrix# 1221ab, Take 1
June 22, 1909
Warsaw, Poland
Note: Stressed loud passages.

Chanson Louis XIII and Pavane
Fritz Kreisler
Victor 64292
Matrix# B-8981, Take 2
December 18, 1912
New York, New York

The Sunshine of Your Smile
John McCormack
Victor 64622
Matrix# B-18383, Take 1
September 20, 1916
Camden, New Jersey

Chant Nègre, Op. 32, No. 1
Efrem Zimbalist
Victor 64736
Matrix# B-20096, Take 2
June 26, 1917
Camden, New Jersey

Valse Bluette
Jascha Heifetz
Victor 64758
Matrix# B-21068, Take 2
November 9, 1917
Camden, New Jersey

Turkish March
Jascha Heifetz
Victor 64770
Matrix# B-21074, Take 4
December 19, 1917
Camden, New Jersey

Calling Me Home to You
John McCormack
Victor 64803
Matrix# B-21808, Take 2
April 30, 1918
New York, New York

The First Rose of Summer
John McCormack
Victor 64818
Matrix# B-22692, Take 2
April 16, 1919
Camden, New Jersey
Note: Worn.

The Deluge - Prelude
Efrem Zimbalist
Victor 64827
Matrix# B-22236, Take 4
December 12, 1918
Camden, New Jersey
Note: Worn.

Pagliacci - Vesti la giubba
Edward Johnson
Victor 64840
Matrix# B-23457, Take 3
November 7, 1919
Camden, New Jersey

If You Could Care
Frances Alda
Victor 64859
Matrix# B-23506, Take 2
December 1, 1919
Camden, New Jersey

Spinning Song
(Songs Without Words, No. 34)
(Mendelssohn, Op. 67, No. 4)
Sergei Rachmaninoff
Victor 64921
Matrix# B-24646, Take 2
November 3, 1920
Camden, New Jersey

'Tis an Irish Girl I Love and She's Just Like You
John McCormack
Victor 64925
Matrix# B-23755, Take 2
March 4, 1920
Camden, New Jersey
Note: Crack halfway in, barely audible at first. Worn.

Beneath the Moon of Lombardy
John McCormack
Victor 64962
Matrix# B-23758, Take 2
March 4, 1920
Camden, New Jersey
Note: Worn.

Minuet
(from "L'Ariesienne" No. 1)
Sergei Rachmaninoff
Victor 66085
Matrix# B-26134, Take 3
February 24, 1922
Camden, New Jersey

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