Dedicated Japanese collector and documentor of the Mercury label Matsubayashi ‘Shaolin’ Kohji has done a better job than I could ever, so just follow the link
However, I have some of my own. Work in progress only
Mercury Corporate History (abbreviated from Wiki)
Mercury Record Corporation was formed in the American city of Chicago in 1945 by Irving Green, Berle Adams and Arthur Talmadge. They were a major force in popular and classical music. Early in the label’s history, Mercury opened two pressing plants, one in Chicago and the other in St. Louis, Missouri, to compete with the majors.
Mercury’s jazz division had two distinct and important fathers. John Henry Hammond, Jr. brought his expertise and connections when Mercury bought Keynote Records in the late 1940s. And Mercury was the issuing company and distributor for Norman Granz’s pre-Norgran/Verve recordings. Although both Hammond and Granz had departed Mercury by the mid-’50s, Norman Granz starting his own record company, Norgran, which later became Verve. However they established Mercury in the jazz world.
Mercury, under its EmArcy label, released LPs by many important post-swing and bebop artists, and by the early 1960s, Mercury was releasing jazz under the flagship label, Emarcy and later, Limelight, and was an early leader in the new stereo sound releases (“Living Presence”). Both Mercury and Verve are now owned by Universal Music Group and Mercury’s jazz library falls under the Verve division
Of interest to UK collectors, in 1963, Mercury switched British manufacture and distribution from EMI to Philips, hence the change found in UK label design and matrix codes. The pressings by Philips are just a little dull and lacking presence compared with Philips usual standard, suggesting an issue not so much with Philips engineering but possibly the copy tapes sent by Mercury from the US may not have been “first generation” standard. As is the case with Columbia, US editions have the edge and are to be preferred.
1. US MERCURY MONO LONG PLAYING MICROGROOVE
2. US MERCURY STEREO LONG PLAYING HI FIDELITY
3. US MERCURY EMARCY
4. US MERCURY LIMELIGHT
5. MERCURY EMARCY JAZZ UK EMI PRESSING
7. MERCURY RECORDS (R) “LIMELIGHT SERIES” UK MONO PHILIPS UK PRESSING 1965
8. MERCURY RECORDS (R) (UK PHILIPS PRESSING) STEREO 1966
Work in progress continues