05 September 2007

His Master's Voice

I'm plum excited I haven't told you the His Master's Voice story yet!

You know when you go shopping at HMV to buy all those shitty CD's you buy? Well, HMV stands for His Master's Voice.

The famous trademark image comes from an 1899 painting of a dog listening to a phonograph by the English artist Francis Barraud.

Barraud had titled the painting "His Master's Voice" and heres why...

According to contemporary vintage Gramophone Company publicity material, the dog in the painting was a fox terrier named Nipper.

Nipper originally belonged to Barraud's brother Mark.

When Mark died, Francis inherited Nipper, along with a phonograph and a number of recordings of Mark's voice.

Francis said Nipper seemed sad, confused, even inconsolable after Mark had died and he noted the peculiar and inquisitive interest Nipper took in hearing the recorded voice of his late master.
Eventually it seemed the only time the dog was happy was when Francis would play the recordings of his late brother's voice.

It was then that Francis decided he had to commit the scene to canvas and a legend was born.

This beautiful iconic image is that of a dog lonely for his deceased master, puzzled, calmed and at the same time hypnotised by the voice of his dearly departed master.

In early 1899 , Francis Barraud applied for copyright of the original painting using the descriptive working title Dog looking at and listening to a Phonograph. He was unable to sell the work to any cylinder phonograph company, but The Gramophone Company purchased it later that year, under the condition that Barraud modify it to show one of their phonograph machines.

The image was first used on the company's publicity material in 1900, and additional copies and versions were subsequently commissioned from the artist for various corporate purposes.

Later, at the request of the gramophone's inventor Emile Berliner, the American rights to the picture became owned by the Victor Talking Machine Company. Victor used the image more aggressively than its UK partner, and from 1902 on all Victor records had a simplified drawing of the dog and gramophone from Barraud's painting on their label. Magazine advertisements urged record buyers to "Look for the dog". A brand was born.

an original HMV horn phonogram

Now I've got arms and you've got arms
let's get together and use those arms
Let's go Times a wastin

I've got lips and you've got lips
let's get together and use those lips.
Let's go Times a wastin

The cakes no good if you don't mix the batter and bake it
And loves just a bubble if you don't take the trouble to make it
So if your free to go with me, I'll take you quicker than 1, 2, 3
Let's go Times a wastin

Now I've got blues and you've got blues
Let's get acquainted and lose those blues
Let's go Times a wastin

Now I've got feet and you've got feet
Let's start to walk where the lovers meet
Let's go Times a wastin

You've got me feeling love like I've never have felt it
Your full of sugar and I think I'm the butter to melt it

Now I've got schemes and you've got schemes
Let's get together and dream some dreams
Let's go Times a wastin

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