Coral was a subsidiary of Decca launched in 1949. It recorded bandleaders like Bob Crosby in the beginning but it was under the A&R direction of Bob Thiele that Coral hit the bigtime with Teresa Brewer, the McGuire Sisters, Debbie Reynolds, Lawrence Welk mainstays The Lennon Sisters and early rock and rollers Buddy Holly and the Johnny Burnette Trio on its roster.
The parent company (including Universal Studios, itself purchased by Decca four years earlier) was acquired in 1962 by MCA, Inc., whose talent agency had to be sold to complete the sale due to anti-trust concerns. Coral's artists during the Sixties included Bobbi Martin, Barbara McNair, a pre-stardom Patti Austin and Dixieland clarinetist Pete Fountain, who was the label's most consistent artist.
As the decade wore on, the hits and album sales, apart from Fountain, declined. In 1968, Lawrence Welk bought the masters to his own recordings and the contracts of his musical associates from both Coral and Dot and moved them all to his own Ranwood label. Parent company MCA moved Decca to California, bringing Coral with it in 1970. It was then decided to merge Decca, Coral, Vocalion (2) (by then, Decca's budget reissue label), Kapp Records and UNI Records into the new MCA Records in April 1971 while the five labels maintained their identities for two more years. The last known Coral LP release was in 1971.
After the Decca, Uni, Kapp and Vocalion labels were officially retired in 1973, Coral became MCA Coral, MCA's mid-line and budget reissue label until the late 1980s when those duties were reassigned to either MCA Special Products or the parent label. This version had a blue label similar to the 1973-78 MCA Records label (with MCA CORAL in the same lettering style as the 1972-91 MCA Records logo).
Known International Releases:
Coral-branded releases (under its own name and as Vogue Coral) were distributed by Vogue Records Limited (originally a UK subsidiary of the French company Disques Vogue, later acquired by The Decca Record Company Ltd.) from roughly 1956 until 1967 in the UK when the MCA label was established for UK releases of US Decca and Brunswick material, and distributed by either TELDEC »Telefunken-Decca« Schallplatten GmbH or Deutsche Grammophon in Germany.
In Britain and most of Europe after 1967, Coral became the reissue imprint of MCA Records and its labels until at least 1978.