Of the myriad medleys in the music world, many owe their origin to us dogs. Be it, Pink Floyd or Cat Stevens. And how can we forget Fiona Apple‘s heartwarming letter sent to her fans when she cancelled her tour to take care of her ailing dog.
But do you know that one of the most famous logos in the world, His Master’s Voice (HMV) also has an adorable origin story linked to a dog?
Nipper, the HMV logo dog, is recognized by music lovers across the world. The iconic logo featuring a phonograph and a dog staring at it has featured on hundreds of millions of records.
Francis Barraud was an English painter who had a brother named Mark. When Mark passed away, Francis inherited a bunch of his stuff: A phonograph player, recordings of Mark’s voice, and Mark’s dog, Nipper.
Francis observed that when he played the records, Nipper would run over to the phonograph, puzzled, as to make out where the voice came from. The scene remained so etched in Francis’s memories that even after 3 years of Nipper’s demise, he painted the same, calling it “His Master’s Voice”.
He tried selling the painting but record companies turned him down as they thought there’s no connection (read brand connect) between a confused dog listening to a gramophone and a music label.
Little did they know that this painting was to become an emblem for the music aficionados.
The Gramophone Company purchased the painting for £100. Fast forward to eight years, and the hugely popular logo made the company change its name to HMV after the painting.
“His Master’s Voice” logo was used around the world, and the motto became well known in different languages. In Europe these include “La voix de son maître,” (French), “La voz de su amo” (Spanish), “La voce del padrone” (Italian), “Die Stimme seines Herrn” (German), etc.
Having featured on hundreds of millions of records produced by the HMV label over more than a century, Nipper was immortalized with his own blue plaque in London on November 2014.
Now if you’d excuse this dog, I have some songs to croon to, tag along 🙂