Disc-O-Logue

The Disc-O-Logue archive consists of information compiled by Louise Lamothe from 1958 to 1985 on French-language popular music recordings available in Canada on LPs and 45-rpm records.

There are four main features to the archive: the Disc-O-Logue catalogues issued annually from 1962 to 1979, the master card catalogue (1958-1985), record release information and the Best Sellers lists.  In addition to these, Madame Lamothe compiled lists of new releases on 45-rpm records with her predictions of the most popular tunes.

The Disc-O-Logue database is a re-creation of the master card catalogue of 90,000 French-language song titles. You can search by keywords, song title, composer, performer, label and other details. The information has not been verified against any other source.

Search: Database

Database insights

While every attempt has been made to standardize the entries in the database, allowances should be made for errors that originated with the card catalogue or in our interpretation of the data on the cards. In the date field, if information is missing or unclear, we have inserted an "x" or a "00." If there was no information relevant to a particular field on a card, that field is left blank in the database.

Madame Lamothe did not include album titles in her card catalogue because her interest was primarily in song titles, the copyrights to those titles and the recording artists who had to pay for those rights. Therefore the album titles do not appear in this database. All the songs on a particular LP are noted along with the issue number of the recording. With knowledge of one song on an LP, a connection can be made to the other songs through the issue number but the title of the LP must be found through other sources.

Search help

You can search the database with these variables:

Title
Enter the name of a song. An additional song title line will appear when a translation or alternate version of the first song title exists. NOTE: Only song titles are catalogued, not album titles. 

Composer
Enter the last name of the individual who wrote the song. Most record companies only credit the composer by the last name or sometimes by an initial and a last name. Some composers' names do not appear in the database since Madame Lamothe had omitted them on the original index cards.

Performer
Enter the name of the artist or group performing the song.

Label
Enter the name of the record company. The companies may be Canadian, French or from other francophone countries.  The names of the companies have also changed over the years. For example, RCA Victor became Victor, Apex became MCA, and so on. 

Format
Enter the medium for delivery of the music, either 33 (for LPs) or 45 (for 45-rpm records).

Issue Number
Each issue number identifies a unique recording. Generally, record companies use an alpha-numeric format but this does tend to vary from company to company and from year to year. Sometimes a hyphen is used to separate sections of the issue number, sometimes a period, sometimes a space. This field may also include information about releases on different formats such as 8-track and cassette. It also includes any annotation that is on the card relating to the issue number, such as references to the record "master," possibly indicating the matrix number, and references to "1X12" and "1X15," indicating, for copyright purposes, 1 song of 12; 1 song of 15.

Date Received
Enter date in this format (dd/mm/yyyy). The date the information was received for a given record from a record company or the date Madame Lamothe prepared the record information from her own personal research. Usually this date will correspond to the release date by the record company.

Date Deleted
Enter date in this format (dd/mm/yyyy). This is the approximate date that the record company advised Madame Lamothe, or that she became aware that a particular disc was being withdrawn from the catalogue. There are no deletion dates for recordings that were still available in 1985.

Sample searches

To see titles of songs composed by Félix Leclerc

  1. In the field Composer enter "Félix Leclerc", "Felix Leclerc", "Leclerc", "Félix" or "Felix"
  2. Click on Search
  3. See the list of search results

To see all song titles recorded by the group, Les Classels

  1. In the field Performer enter "Les Classels"
  2. Click on Search
  3. This will retrieve all the songs recorded by Les Classels. A search using the term "Classels" will retrieve all the recordings by Les Classels, those by Les Super Classels, and any that have been entered simply as "Classels"
  4. See the list of search results

To see all the releases issued on Victor and RCA Victor

  1. In the field Label enter "Victor"
  2. Click on Search
  3. This will retrieve the complete list of entries attributed to Victor or RCA Victor.
  4. See the list of search results. Note that for each 45-rpm disc there will usually be two entries, and that for an LP there will be a separate entry for each song on the LP.

To see all the song titles on the album Starmania

  1. In the field Title enter any song title from the album Starmania such as "Danse à Naziland"
  2. Click on Search
  3. Click on an Item Number link. The Label is Kébec-Frog and the Issue is KF.8001.
  4. Click on the Issue link and the other 21 songs on this recording will appear

Louise Lamothe biography

Louise Lamothe, creator of Disc-O-Logue, was born in La Tuque, Québec on May 8, 1932. She began working as a record sales clerk for Edmond Archambault Inc. in Montreal in 1950.  After 7 years of practical experience, Madame Lamothe, at the age of 26, opened her own music store called Centre de Musique Enr. in La Tuque. She continued to own and operate her store until 1979.

To aid her in serving her customers, Madame Lamothe, in 1962, created Disc-O-Logue, a unique catalogue of French-language music available on records in Canada. Disc-O-Logue ceased publication in 1979.

In 1965, in addition to operating her store, Madame Lamothe began her involvement with intellectual property rights as the Canadian representative of the Harry Fox Agency in the U.S.A. The Fox Agency, founded in 1927 by National Music Publishers' Association was established to licence and collect fees for mechanical and synchronization rights. These rights include the right to use published music in broadcasts, films, commercials and recordings. On their behalf Madame Lamothe collected information about recorded musical works available in Canada, and prepared a catalogue listing the related copyright information. She was a pioneer in the identification and collection of mechanical rights in Canada.

In 1968, Madame Lamothe was named Director General of SDRM (Société des droits de reproduction mécanique du Canada Ltée). SDRM was founded in 1935 and was affiliated with the French copyright collection organization, the Société des auteurs, compositeurs et éditeurs de musique (SACEM). Like the Harry Fox Agency, SDRM was concerned with three principal activities: the recorded use of copyrighted works in Canada, the enforcement of the Copyright Law and the collection of fees from record companies for the members of SDRM and SACEM when their works were recorded. Madame Lamothe continued as Director General until 1985. In 1985, SDRM Canada Inc. became the Society for Reproduction Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers in Canada Inc. (SODRAC). Madame Lamothe was a founder of this organization which represents the rights of lyricist, composers and publishers, as well as the interests of international rights agencies in Canada.

Madame Lamothe represented Canada and shared her perspective on copyright laws as a member of the Canadian delegation to the International Congress of the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers (CISAC) in 1976 and 1978. She also participated in 1978 in the Summit of Cultural Industries organized by the Government of Québec. The resulting policy paper La juste part des créateurs (1980) [translation: Creators' fair share] identified copyright protection as a significant concern for cultural industries.

Along with her business concerns, Louise Lamothe found the time to co-host, with Claude Landré, "En Primeur," a variety music television show on RALT-TV during the 1960s. She also worked as a concert promoter during that time, producing more than 50 shows in the La Tuque area featuring such artists as Ginette Reno, Claude Valade, Jen Roger, Les Classels, Les Baronets, Fernand Gignac, Michèle Richard, Michel Louvain and many others. With the support of local radio stations in Trois-Rivières, La Tuque and Shawinigan, she initiated a series of local talent contests, the first prize being a recording contract with London Records.

Madame Lamothe opened an art and gift shop called Boutique Louise. In the words of Phildar, with which she had an exclusive contract, was "la plus belle et la plus complète au Québec" (the most beautiful and most complete in Quebec).

Library and Archives Canada acquired the Disc-O-Logue archive from Madame Lamothe in 1986 to complement its holdings of Canadian music and sound recordings. Louise Lamothe died in Montreal on August 21, 1999.

Interview with Louise Lamothe

Louise Lamothe, "Who remembers Disc-O-Logue?" interview by Richard Baillargeon, Rendez-vous 92, (2nd annual joint bulletin of Yé-Yé Publications and SARMA [Société pour l'avancement de la recherche en musique d'agrément]), 1992?, translation courtesy of Library and Archives Canada. It is reproduced with the kind permission of Richard Baillargeon.

Richard Baillargeon - Madame Lamothe has not said much until now. However, she has been very active too in a domain that is very close to music. I would like you to tell me about Disc-O-Logue; it's an activity that lasted many years!
Louise Lamothe - It began in '61. It was the only catalogue that listed all the records of French-language music from France or from Quebec. I did that until 1985.

RB - It was published for record stores?
LL - It was distributed in record stores and radio stations for record producers. This allowed record dealers, if someone asked them a title -- let's take for example "La vie en rose" - to find all the artists that had performed "La vie en rose", the name of their company, the number of the record, and the date when it was put on the market. Sometimes, the artists themselves didn't know that their record was on the market. For example, Monique Leyrac said to me "That can't be. I didn't record "Le petit bonheur" on a 45 rpm". I said "Madame, I have it in my hands. It has the number 0814 on RCA."

RB - It's kept somewhere today?
LL - It's at the National Library in Ottawa. They call it a gift to her majesty!

RB - How was the compilation carried out? Did every production house send you its lists or were there other steps that had to be taken?
LL - At the beginning, all the record companies gave me an annual fee to compile this information. But when I became involved in copyright, there were some companies that ceased to cooperate, perceiving me almost like an enemy for the use I could make of this information. At that juncture, I had to procure every new release that arrived on the market.

RB - Was this compilation called Disc-O-Logue up until 85?
LL - Yes. But I'm not talking here about the Best Sellers lists, it was really a catalogue.

RB - How many copies were published?
LL - I had about 550 subscribers throughout Quebec.

RB - So there were people who regularly received all these catalogues?
LL - Exactly.

RB - I had the impression, from the few examples I saw briefly, that Disc-O-Logue was a Best Sellers list distributed by Laval Records. What was the link between the company Laval and Disc-O-Logue ?
LL - From the catalogue that I was publishing and which was in alphabetical order, I made a Best Sellers list at the request of certain stores and certain producers, one of which was Tony Choma from Laval Records. It was a double sheet with French and American Best Sellers list, and in the inside there were the new releases of the month. The Best Sellers list was established from research done through radio stations and record dealers. I would make 50,000 samples of them and I would send them to all the stores for free. Laval paid me for an advertisement that was printed on the pamphlet.

RB - How long did the Best Sellers lists last?
LL - Those lists lasted from 1962 to 1970, probably... until I began working with copyright.

RB - When you were working with copyright, was it through SODRAC?
LL - SODRAC appeared in 1985, after I had retired. It was called SDRM Canada. I founded it in 1969. From '69 to '85, I managed it. In '85, there was a desire to found a Canadian organization for mechanical rights. This was an amalgamation where the people of Quebec had 51% of the shares; SACEM and SDE shared the financial costs. SDE pulled out after two years and now SODRAC is financed 100% by SACEM and SDRM Paris, but it's a Canadian organization.

RB - Since '85, have you continued to be interested in music?
LL - Not at all. I made a complete break. Whenever a variety show was on, I turned off the TV. For me, it was like a heartache. I had put so much heart into it. That ending was worse than a divorce! You see, I have a lot more enthusiasm to speak about the careers of others than to speak about myself.

Creating Disc-O-Logue

The success of Disc-O-Logue was greatly determined by careful and systematic organization, as can be seen in the following pictorial outline. As an example of the creation process, we have used Diane Tell's first album released in 1978.

  1. Record companies would supply record release information to Madame Lamothe in a variety of ways. It could take the form of "release sheets," of a work order for the production of the disc, of a photocopy of the record jacket, or of a simple memo. Sometimes, she had to request information after seeing it in a magazine or spotting a new recording in a record store before she received anything. In this case, a photocopy of the record jacket usually sufficed.

  2. Using this information, a "Formule No. 100" was produced for each recording. The "Formule No. 100" was Louise Lamothe's way of systematically preparing the information for her copyright analysis. One can see in this example the annotation "PM" (paroles et musique: words and music), in this case composed by Diane Tell, an indication that there were no other copyrights involved. For many other examples, there were notes indicating who owned the copyrights, the rights agency involved, and the percentage of the copyright assigned to that particular agency.

  3. Formule No. 100
  4. Once Louise Lamothe had her own document of the new record's information, she transferred the data onto index cards, one card for each song on an LP plus additional cards for each song title released as a "single." These cards were filed alphabetically by song title. (No computerized database programs or speedy mechanisms for sorting information were available when this work was done!) The copyright information was also transferred onto the cards for quick reference. The two examples below show the cards for Diane Tell's song "Je n'en peux plus." One card shows the entry for the LP version of the song, the other for the 45-rpm version of the song. The "date received" is marked on the bottom and the date in small characters in the corner usually indicates the month and year the information appeared in a Disc-O-Logue update.

  5. An edited version of the card-catalogue data was used in the published Disc-O-Logue. The normal publication pattern was an annual compilation followed by periodic updates, sometimes monthly, sometimes quarterly. Songs continued to be listed in each subsequent annual edition until notice was received from the record company that the recordings were being withdrawn from their catalogues. "Annulé" and the relevant date would then be marked on the card in question, and the card would be placed in another section of the card catalogue.

    Reproduced here is a page from the April 1978 "New Releases" listing showing "Je n'en peux plus" as being available on 33- and 45-rpm discs. The asterisk (*) indicates that it is a new release. 

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Acknowledgements

This site was produced by Library and Archives Canada under contract to the SchoolNet Digital Collections program (Industry Canada). The project was sponsored by Bell Canada through Stentor Alliance. Disc-O-Logue was produced by Louise Lamothe.

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