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Borrowing a page from their competitor's play book, the Philips/ Phonogram Record Company established the Vertigo subsidiary label in autumn of 1969 as a vessel for album-oriented rock. Just as EMI had revamped their Regal Zonophone imprint, Philips used the established infrastructure of their Fontana label to meet the demands of the emerging progressive market. Incorporating the Vertigo moniker had the added benefit of implying newness, in much the same way the aforementioned EMI had done with Harvest, Decca's establishment of Deram, Pye's formation of Dawn and RCA's short lived experiment with Neon.
Though officially an English label, Vertigo releases could be found on all corners of the globe. Across continental Europe, South America, East Asia and Oceania, most UK releases were manufactured and distributed in the county they were issued from; using the same catalog number and artwork of the primary recording from Britain. The Japanese and German divisions of Vertigo had the liberty to sign local bands; and often issued those exclusive recordings under the label. In the United States, Mercury Records culled the British and German recordings of artists under worldwide contract from Vertigo and occasionally released those albums stateside. To this day, record collectors venerate Vertigo's premium-quality, gatefold LP covers, their patented plastic lined album sleeves and, most notably, Vertigo's unique "swirl" logo.
Several years after Philips' acquisition by PolyGram in 1972, the frequency of Vertigo releases began to slow. A decade later, by the mid-1980s, the label nearly went into hiatus, sustaining itself more from reissues than from new artist's recordings. In 1998, PolyGram was sold to Seagram; and Vertigo, along with Mercury/Polygram's other subsidiary labels, were rolled into the Universal Music Group. In the aughts, Vertigo entered its renaissance phase; releasing recording by new artists such as The Killers, The Rapture and Boy Kill Boy.
Founded by Gerry Bron, Tony Reeves and Olav Wyper.