Parlophone is a record label, founded in Germany 1896 by the Carl Lindstrom Company. The £ trademark is not the British pound sign, but a German L, for Lindstrom. During the war, the Transoceanic Trading Company was set up in the Netherlands to look after its overseas assets. In 1923, the British branch of Parlophone was established, led by Oscar Preuss as A&R manager. Parlophone established a master leasing arrangement with co-owned United States based Okeh Records, making Parlophone a leading jazz label in the UK. In 1927, Columbia Graphophone Company of the United Kingdom acquired a controlling interest in the Carl Lindstrom Company and thereby in Parlophone. In 1931, Columbia merged with the Gramophone Company to form EMI.
Under EMI, Parlophone initially maintained its status as a jazz label. As time went on, the label also released speciality music, spoken-word and novelty/comedy material, such as the comedy recordings of The Goons. In 1950, Preuss hired 24-year-old George Martin as his assistant. In 1955, Preuss retired and Martin succeeded him. Leading Parlophone artistes at the time included Germany's Obernkirchen Children's Choir, Scottish musician Jimmy Shand and the pianist Mrs Mills. Parlophone's fortunes began to rise in 1962, when Martin signed a rising new Liverpool pop band, The Beatles, who soon turned Parlophone into one of the world's most famous and sought-after record labels. Since The Beatles, many other pop/rock artists have signed to the label, including Queen, Radiohead and Blur.