Spotlight Records

Spotlight

Spotlight, as far a we are aware didn’t release any compilations. However, we are interested in researching the label. What we have so far is that the owner Cyril Stevens ran a photographic studio from at least the very early 1900s, there are portraits of First World One soldiers in existence with his studio stamp. During the 1930s Cyril was doing work for the Northcote Leader newspaper. About 1951 an audio recording studio was established on the 758 High Street Thornbury premises. The Thornbury Theatre is located at 859 High Street there and it is possible that he began by recording the theatre shows. They were probably first released as custom recordings, then as custom commercial recordings. Most of the records we have come across are recordings of brass bands, orchestra’s, choirs, etc.. plus some of the popular Melbourne singers of the day. Later recordings included “party music”.

Spotlight’s most famous recording is of a young Barry Crocker who was famously almost knocked back by the older Cyril Stevens, popular music was obviously not his thing. His son convinced him otherwise, and the Barry Crocker single was Spotlight’s biggest seller. Crocker’s recordings were released as two 7 inch ep’s.

The earliest records date from about 1952-3 and are 78’s, however Spotlight was one of the first studios to embrace the new 33 rpm 10 inch LP’s, and later the 12 inch LP’s and 7 inch 45’s. Hence the infered connection with W & G who were one of the first to press vinyl in Australia. It’s not clear when the recordings stopped, but it seems to be around 1964. There are at least 250 albums judging by the serial numbers. All the recordings I have come across have been very well recorded. A comparison of the vinyl with contemporary W & G releases suggests that W & G were probably the custom pressers.