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Fly Records was a record label established in 1970 by independent music publisher David Platz, and initially managed by Malcolm Jones from the offices of Essex Music in London.

History

Platz had been producing records independently, in conjunction with record producers funded by Essex, and leasing them to major record labels. These creative collaborations quickly made their mark with hits such as A Whiter Shade Of Pale (Procol Harum), Flowers In The Rain, I Can Hear The Grass Grow and Blackberry Way (The Move), together with cult gems from the likes of Beverley Kutner, Tucker Zimmerman & Michael Chapman.

The producer roster involved with Platz included Denny Cordell, Gus Dudgeon, Rodger Bain, Don Paul, Johnny Worth & Tony Visconti, whom Platz had brought over to the UK at Cordell’s initiation.

After a formidable string of hits in the late 1960s licensed via labels Deram, and later, Regal Zonophone, Platz launched his own label Fly Records in 1970.

Malcolm Jones had left university to work for EMI Records, becoming a label manager and creating his own imprint at EMI, Harvest Records, but moved to work for Platz as manager of Fly.

Fly's first release was Ride A White Swan by Marc Bolan’s T.Rex, produced by Tony Visconti. This repositioned Bolan into the pop rather than rock marketplace, and gave him his first major hit. The following year the album Electric Warrior was both Fly's and Bolan's their first number one LP.

In keeping with Platz’s publishing style, the label chose not to concentrate on a particular sector of the market but preferred to offer an eclectic mix of artists and releases, some aimed directly at the chart and some intended simply to enhance the profiles of new artists or artists who were linked to the Platz's publishing enterprise. Vivian Stanshall, proto-punk band Third World War, John Kongos (He's Gonna Step On You Again), theatrical star Georgia Brown, TV composer John Keating, African-Caribbean singer/songwriter Richard Henry and classical guitarist John Williams were thus all featured on the label’s early releases.

In 1972, amidst the meteoric rise of T.Rex, Fly consolidated their chart success with older material. Special 3 track MAGNI-FLY singles re-introduced classics from the company's back catalogue, such as A Whiter Shade Of Pale, into the Singles Chart. An album campaign entitled 'TOOFA’s', (2 LPs sold as a double set but priced as a single album), found favour, and albums such as Procol Harum's debut set suddenly made the Album Charts years after their initial release. Unsurprisingly the label reached the top spot with this series of releases with T.Rex/Tyrannosaurus Rex re-issues.

Once T.Rex's Bolan Boogie hit the UK album chart number 1 spot, departures at Fly HQ forced a change of plan. Label manager Malcolm Jones left the label, Cordell set sail for the United States forming Shelter Records and Bolan set up his own imprint, taking Visconti with him. The new Fly team chose to re-launch the label as Cube Records, with a new logo caging the 'Fly' in a cubic goal. A raft of new artists were signed, and Fly Records was shelved as a label in its own right.

By 1990, Essex Music’s original partners had split, and David Platz incorporated the Fly label into his company Onward Music Ltd, whilst Platz’s publishing company Bucks Music Ltd remained his core business. From time to time Fly Records was resuscitated as an independent outlet for various publishing related projects, whilst Onward’s back catalogue was licensed to catalogue companies under the Cube Records name.

Since the new millennium Onward’s ongoing archive exploration has revealed a host of original tapes thought lost, as well as unreleased and forgotten recordings from unfinished or unreleased projects from the production company’s long heritage, which is being channelled through Fly Records.

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