Former Pye Records executive Colin Brown, whose time in the music industry began before the advent of rock ‘n’ roll, has died aged 78 after a fall at home.
Although he went on to work at various record companies in a career spanning a number of decades, Brown initially began as a performer on stage with the likes of celebrated wartime entertainer Bud Flanagan and in the long-running touring revue Life With Father.
It was probably little surprise he pursued a career in music: he was the son of a dance band agent and he also grew up next door-but-one in Edgware, London to renowned English jazz trumpeter, bandleader and vocalist Nat Gonella whom he later went on to manage.
In the early Fifties he joined Nixa Records, where he signed big band leaders Eric Winstone and Harry Roy and made some records with Jimmy Leach and Jay Wildeman. He oversaw the sale in 1953 of Nixa to Pye and joined Pye full time. He later went on to produce recordings for Pye, President and Phillips, while also producing independently.
He joined Decca in 1979 and a year later launched the Decca Recollections series and remained there until he retired. Further, in an independent capacity, he compiled a number of album releases for the likes of EMI, Universal, Readers Digest and the Empress and Rex labels.
Although this November will be celebrated as the 60th anniversary of the UK singles chart following the publication of a first chart in the pages of the NME, Brown himself started collecting sales data of releases from all the relevant companies four years before. This information has been collected together in a new book, due out this autumn called The British Hit Singles – January 1940 to October 1952 – The Missing Charts.