The Fontana label was created in the UK in 1958 by the Dutch electrical group Philips. It lasted until 1970, when it was replaced by the Vertigo label to compete in the prog-rock market against Decca’s Deram and EMI’s Harvest Records.
Fontana were pressed by Philips plants, as indicated by the distinctive Philips matrix number format seen above. Most UK releases on Fontana were pressed either by Philips UK ( code 420 in the matrix) or Philips Dutch pressing plant (code 670 in the matrix). The calibre of engineering and pressing was consistently reliable and of a very high standard, with vibrant dynamics, though not quite to that achieved by Decca. Most but not all are mono pressings
- Fontana black/silver label
2. Fontana Black/silver – Stereo
Stereo pressings, which were relatively rare on Fontana.
3. Fontana Steely Blue/ silver
Fontana “Popular Jazz Series” appearing in early/mid 60’s.” Includes a number are artist compilations though some are special single LP recording among them. Covers are thick card laminated covers, often with a “girlie” montage. The recordings themselves sometimes date back two to five years before these releases.
Mono: FLJ series
Stereo: SFL series
Quality of recordings can be variable but some are exceptionally good and the Ronnie Scott connection is most interesting. Not to be overlooked, but anyone with a large collection of jazz will find they have most of the tracks already on original albums.