When Harry Belock set up Everest Records in 1958,
his vision was that the label would release high class
recordings in the jazz, easy listening and classical
fields in a bid to showcase the quality of his Belock
Instrument Corporation's recording machines.
Although, at the time, Belock's company was heavily
involved with the American military's radar and ballistic
missile programmes, Belock himself was an authority on
sound and in the thirties had been a sound man in
By 1958, he was pioneering multi-channel
mixing consoles and was recording on half inch tape and
even 35mm film.
To fulfil his vision, a state of the art recording studio was
built in Bayside on Long Island, where Westrex was
commissioned to build the studios to his exacting high
standards and at no small cost.
Each mixing desk is reputed
to have cost $20,000 (a small fortune at the time) and they
were kitted out with Neumann U 47 microphones.
To oversee the label's jazz and easy listening productions,
Belock hired Raymond Scott, a Julliard School of Music
trained musician who had already made a name for himself
via his work at CBS Radio, NBC Television and his passion for
To manage the studios and to create a catalogue of
classical recordings, Belock brought in Bert Whyte, a former
General Manager of MGM's subsidiary Perspectasound.
Whyte's wife, Ruth would be his assistant. Together they
would put Everest Records on the map, releasing high class
stereo LPs and breaking new ground by issuing 71/2 i.p.s.
stereo reel to reel tapes at the same time.
And they did it by
contracting some of the best conductors of the day, including
Malcolm Sargent, Adrian Boult, Josef Krips and Eugène
Leopold Stokowski was another of the early
signings conducting The Stadium Symphony Orchestra of
New York (actually The New York Philharmonic
'moonlighting' to get around contractual niceities).
Whyte recorded many of these classical pieces in the
ballroom of The Manhattan Centre in New York and then
came to England to record the London Philharmonic
Orchestra and London Symphony Orchestra in either
Walthamstow Town Hall or Watford Town Hall. These
three venues gave Bert Whyte a layout that allowed him to
use just three microphones to record the orchestra in
Before moving on to RCA Victor's classical division Red
Seal, Whyte created an impressive catalogue of recordings for
Harry Belock that stands the test of time and has been sought
after by collectors for many years. When he died in 1994,
praise for his pioneering work on the popularization of stereo
recordings was universal.
But the volume of recordings and the cost of maintaining
such a high standard was a drain on Everest's resources.
Barely two years after its creation, Everest Records cut back
its classical side, opting for a more 'catch all' range of
activities in the pop field. By 1962 it had been sold to Belock's
accountant. The Bayside studio limped along for a few more
years and then was broken up, its equipment eventually being
sold to Robert Fine who used it for recordings released on
Mercury and Command Classics.
Now, fifty years on, it's time again to listen to the
wonderful legacy that is the Everest Records classical
Austin Powell, March 2008