Label Code: LC 0765 / LC 00765
The Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft had registered the Name Heliodor as early as 29 July 1914, but it was not until the beginning of the production of vinyl records in 1953/1954 that the label was actually established. In the beginning, the label was mainly used to sell records of lesser-known upcoming artists at a cheaper price than at the sister label Polydor. The releases were technically identical with the ones from Polydor, and numerous artists later enjoyed careers at Polydor (and other labels). Artist like Erni Bieler (Kitty Sisters), Udo Jürgens, Lolita (3) (Ditta Zusa), Jimmy Makulis, Danny Marino and the Hazy Osterwald Sextett had contracts with Heliodor. The accompanying orchestras were led by well known artists like Johannes Fehring, Bert Kaempfert (as Bob Parker) or Hugo Strasser, who worked for Polydor at the same time. On EPs from Heliodor, cabaret-style songs from Wolfgang Neuss and Wolfgang Müller from the movies "Das Wirtshaus im Spessart" and "Wir Wunderkinder" (both 1958) were released.
In the same year, Deutsche Grammophon bought the distribution rights of some US labels. Among the artists from that labels were several Rock 'n' Roll and Pop musicians, whose records had been released on the London Records and TELDEC labels. From the end of 1953, Deutsche Grammophon owned licenses of the US labels Brunswick and Coral. As releases of new material from those labels were not possible for legal reasons, those recordings were issued from June on with their own Heliodor catalogue numbers.
With well-known Rock 'n' Roll and Pop musicians like Frankie Avalon, The Chordettes, The Everly Brothers, Fabian, Johnny & The Hurricanes, Ray Peterson, Del Shannon or Johnny Tillotson, Heliodor became a popular label with teenagers and beatniks. Deutsche Grammophon also owned additional licenses for releases abroad, which they issued on the Heliodor label. Among these were recordings from Fats Domino, Ricky Nelson and April Stevens. At the same time, DG stopped releasing German titles. Those artists were mainly taken over by Polydor.
As the market for music in English was quite small in West Germany in the 1950s, fewer singles were produced by Heliodor than on its sister label Polydor. Many US titles released on Heliodor in Germany only became successful after German cover versions by Polydor stars like Ted Herold, the Honey Twins or Peter Kraus appeared on the market. Furthermore, the few English titles that promised to be successful were released on Polydor. Therefore, not many records from Heliodor made it into the charts.
The first hit on the label was the instrumental title "Chi Chi" from the studio band John Buck And The Blazers. The recording made it into the top-ten on 30 January 1960, and stayed there for nine weeks, reaching Number 7. The German version "Tränen in deinen Augen" from Ralf Paulsen was also very successful, and was released on Polydor. Johnny & The Hurricanes reached rank 32 with "Down Under". In February 1961, Ray Peterson made it to the sixth place with his title "Corinna", the the highest chart position ever for a Heliodor single. A little later Johnny Tillotson reached Number 38 in Germany with "Poetry in Motion".
While the singles on Heliodor were exclusively pop music, their albums (recorded by Deutsche Grammophon) only featured classical music. These releases had a different logo. Until the second half of the 1970s, Heliodor mostly released older recordings from Deutsche Grammophon. Initially, they also published productions from Eastern European labels. Later, Heliodor reissued recordings from the US label Westminster with their own catalogue numbers.
When the Beat music from the UK entered the German charts, Deutsche Grammophon stopped releasing singles on Heliodor (1963/64). English pop music was mostly released on Polydor from 1965 on.
MGM, the US distributor of Deutsche Grammophon, also used the Heliodor label to release a budget series of Deutsche Grammophon recordings in the US that were pressed by MGM, whereas the full-price items were imported from Germany with the original catalogue numbers and label. This budget line was introduced in February 1966, with 15 albums.