How it all began – Cliff Cooper has an idea
In the summer of 1968, our founder and CEO Cliff Cooper – a young musician armed with £50 and a huge amount of determination, opened up a small recording studio in the basement of a near derelict shop on New Compton Street, right in the heart of Swinging London.
We opened the ground floor premises as a music shop on September 2nd 1968. The basement studio wasn’t covering its overheads so I was forced to sell my band’s equipment in order to pay wages. It sold the same day – We were now in the music retail business.
The main distributors at the time wouldn’t supply us so I was forced to sell second hand guitars and amplifiers.
We began manufacturing our own amps at the start of 1969 and I wanted a bright energetic colour as the brand name. Orange was always my favourite…..
The Orange Crest
We spent a lot of time designing and creating the symbols used in our crest. To promote our new company, in 1970 we created a different style of advertising for our music equipment retailing – the cartoon comic strip.
The comic strip (shown below) explains what the Orange Crest symbolises but in other cartoons we took a good natured swipe at our rivals. The artist who sketched these cartoons was Brian Engel who was in a band called Mandrake Paddle Steamer and it was he who also painted the psychedelic fascia on the front of the Orange Shop.
Orange Hire was created to provide the PA and backline for larger venues and the big outdoor summer festivals such as Reading and the Isle of Wight. The fleet of Mercedes 405D vans were converted into state-of-the-art hire vehicles. They were radio equipped and had full amp repair facilities fitted.
A good manager is someone who knows when to say “no” and really cares about the artists’ personal well-being.
Some of the artists signed to Orange Management include: John Miles, (pictured) Eddie Kidd, English Assassin, Smokie, Cock Sparrer, The Realistics amongst many others.
Orange Records was launched when I realised that a lot of talented musicians were coming to the Orange Studios to record demos but were finding it difficult to secure a record deal, More and more of them asked me if I could help them get a foot in the door, so I decided to start Orange Records. I negotiated a pressing and distribution deal with Pye Records for the UK. Soon afterwards, we signed licencing deals for territories around the world.
The label became well respected in the music industry. Even now I get asked to re-release those early record. Probably one day I will.
Interested in learning more? The Orange story is told in the words of the people who were there in The Book of Orange. A must for anyone interested in the history of the company, or the music industry in general.