The label set out to systematically assemble comprehensive collections of jazz recording by hundreds of artists previously issued on 78 rpm records as the European mechanic copyright laws allowed (issued recordings are protected for 50 years) and issue them on compact disc. The series was issued with informative liner notes in colour-coordinated packaging.
The original series was published by subscription with five issues being released each month. The series started with number 500 in December 1989. The initial release was Ella Fitzgerald 1935-1937.
The Classics label regularly issued new collections until 2004, when its original distributor went bankrupt. The back catalog was then acquired by Abeille Musique which operated the label until July 2008. Five titles announced for an August 2008 release were never issued.
An interesting historical note is that for years these CDs were issued with a huge typographical error. Instead of "Chronological", the typo at the top said "Chronogical".