In 1926, at the age of 21, Eric Gallo became the exclusive agent in SA for Brunswick, a US record producer. It was the start of an empire. Gallo became swept up in the recording boom after the Second World War. In 1949, he established Music Publishing in Africa, SA’s first music publishing company and constructed the first record-pressing plant. By 1951 the plant was turning out 1.5-million long-playing records (LPs) annually. In the late 1960s, cassettes started replacing LPs. Gallo kept pace with the technological changes and continued to expand, building SA’s first cassette pressing plant in 1971. In 1978, the company bought the Downtown Recording Studios, a five-storey building on the corner of Fox and Nugget streets in Johannesburg. Eddie Veale, a master acoustician from London, was brought out to design the studios, complete with customised woodwork and lead mirrors that survive to this day. Veale was renowned for, among other things, collaborating with Jimi Hendrix on the sec...

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