martes, 9 de septiembre de 2014


Warner Brothers Records

The great Warner Brothers film company made its first sortie into the music industry in 1930 when it bought Brunswick Records and two leading publishers for $28 million. The enterprise was a failure, the companies were sold, and Warners went back to making money out of movies. After 28 years, the time was right, and Warner Brothers Record Company was formed and headed by ex-Capitol Records executive, Jim Conklin. Early artists were film-related—popular film score composer Henry Mancini and matinee idols such as Tab Hunter. The label's first chart hit was "Kookie, Kookie Lend Me Your Comb" by Edd Byrnes, star of the "77 Sunset Strip" television series. In 1960, Warners signed the Everly Brothers to a 10-year contract. The label's first release, "Cathy's Clown," became the duo's biggest success. Comedian Bob Newhart also gave Warners a major hit album. Noticing a growing folk trend they signed Peter, Paul And Mary, who sold well in the '60s.
During 1963-65 Warners bought Reprise Records from Frank Sinatra, and two small West Coast labels, Valiant and Autumn, adding more bankable items to the roster. Among them were Harpers Bizarre whose singer/drummer Ted Templeman went on to produce hit albums for the Doobie Brothers and Van Halen. Warners also licensed Petula Clark and Reprise snagged the Kinks from the UK Pye label. In 1966 Warner Brothers signed an up-and-coming group from San Francisco, the Grateful Dead. The following year the company was bought by Seven Arts, which soon after bought Atlantic Records. In its turn, Seven Arts was purchased in 1969 by the Kinney Corporation, originally a car parks and funeral home firm. With the addition of the Elektra label, Kinney set up its WEA (Warner-Elektra-Atlantic) record division, changing its own corporate name to Warner Communications. WEA is now the largest record company in the USA and the third biggest (behind EMI and CBS/Sony) worldwide. The UK subsidiary paid for itself by signing Fleetwood Mac. In recent years Warners acquired the huge UK music publishers Chappell, which they purchased from the legendary Freddy Bienstock, and profitable links were formed with Sire and Prince's Paisley Park, although both affiliations ended in the mid-'90s. Warner has maintained one of the best back catalogues currently available, as well as a strong contemporary roster.

America - Ventura Highway


Gene Autry

b. Orvon Gene Autry, 29 September 1907, near Tioga, Texas, USA. d. October 2, 1998. The eldest of four children of Delbert Autry, a poor tenant farmer, who moved his family many times over the years, before eventually arriving at Ravia, Oklahoma. His grandfather, a Baptist minister, taught him to sing when he was a child so that he could perform in his church choir and at other local events. Autry also learned to ride at an early age and worked the fields with his father. He grew up listening to cowboy songs and received his first guitar at the age of 12. (Initially he studied the saxophone but chose the guitar so that he could sing as well.) He graduated from Ravia Community School in 1924 and after spending a few months with a Medicine Show, he found work as a telegraph operator for the Frisco Railroad in Chelsea, Oklahoma. He used to take his guitar to work and sing and one night was heard by the famous entertainer Will Rogers, who stopped to send a telegram. He suggested that Autry should look for a job in radio. After trying unsuccessfully to find work in New York, he returned to Oklahoma and began to appear on KVOO Tulsa as The Oklahoma Yodeling Cowboy. After hearing recordings of Jimmie Rodgers, he became something of a Rodgers clone as he tried to further his career. In 1929, he made his first RCA Victor recordings, "My Dreaming Of You" and "My Alabama Home," on which he was accompanied by Jimmy Long (a fellow telegrapher) and Frankie and Johnny Marvin. Further recordings followed for ARC Records under the direction of Art Satherley, some being released on various labels for chain store sales. It was because of releases on Conqueror for Sears that Autry found himself given the opportunity to join WLS in Chicago. In 1931, he became a featured artist on the "National Barn Dance," as well as having his own "Conqueror Record Time." Before long, Gene Autry "Roundup" guitars and songbooks were being sold by Sears. Interestingly, WLS portrayed him as a singing cowboy even though, at this time, few of his songs were of that genre. Between 1931 and 1934, he was a hillbilly singer, who still at times sounded like Rodgers. In fact most experts later rated him the best of the Rodgers' impersonators. He began to include his own songs and such numbers as "The Gangster's Warning" and "My Old Pal Of Yesterday" became very popular.
Late in 1931, he recorded "That Silver Haired Daddy Of Mine" as a duet with Jimmy Long, with whom he had co-written the song. The song eventually became Autry's first million selling record. By 1934, he was well known as a radio and recording personality. Having for some time been portrayed as a singing cowboy by the publicity departments of his record companies, he now took his first steps to make the publicity come true. He was given a small part in the Ken Maynard film In Old Santa Fe and soon after starred in a strange 12-episode western/science fiction serial called The Phantom Empire. In 1935, Republic Pictures signed him to a contract and Tumbling Tumbleweeds became his first starring western film. His previous singing cowboy image was now reality. He sang eight songs in the film including the title track, "That Silver Haired Daddy" and "Ridin' Down The Canyon." Further films followed in quick succession and by 1940 Autry ranked fourth among all Hollywood money-making stars at the box office. In January 1940, Gene Autry's "Melody Ranch" radio show, sponsored by the Wrigley Gum Company, first appeared on CBS and soon became a national institution, running until 1956. Helped out by such artists as Pat Buttram, Johnny Bond and the Cass County Boys, Autry regularly righted wrongs, sang his hits and as a result of the programme, built himself a new home in the San Fernando Valley called Melody Ranch.
Quite apart from the radio shows and films, he toured extensively with his stage show. It featured roping, Indian dancers, comedy, fancy riding from Autry, smart horse tricks by Champion and music. By 1941, he was respected and famous all over the USA. The little town of Berwyn, Oklahoma even changed its name to Gene Autry, Oklahoma. His songs such as "Be Honest With Me," "Back In The Saddle Again" (which became his signature tune), "Your The Only Star In My Blue Heaven," "Goodbye, Little Darlin' Goodbye" (later recorded by Johnny Cash) and many more became tremendously popular. In 1942, his income took a severe cut when he enlisted in the Air Force, being sworn-in live on a "Melody Ranch" programme. He spent some time working on recruitment but then became a pilot in Air Ferry Command and saw service in the Far East, India and North Africa. During this period, he co-wrote with Fred Rose his classic song, "At Mail Call Today." After his release from the services, he resumed his acting and recording career. Between 1944 and 1951, he registered 25 successive Top 10 country hits, including "Here Comes Santa Claus" (later recorded by Elvis Presley), "Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer," "Peter Cottontail" and "Frosty The Snow Man," which each sold one million copies. He also had Top 20 US pop chart success with "Buttons And Bows." He left Republic in 1947 and formed his own Flying A Productions, which produced his later films for release by Columbia. When he made his last b-western, Last Of The Pony Riders, in 1953 he had 89 feature films to his credit. Contrary to many beliefs, there never was a feud between Autry and his replacement at Republic, Roy Rogers . It was purely something invented by Republic's publicity department.
During the '50s, he became very successful in business and purchased many radio and television stations. Between 1950 and 1956, he produced 91 episodes of The Gene Autry Show for CBS-TV. His company also produced many other television series, including The Range Rider, The Adventures Of Champion and Annie Oakley. His business interest became even more involved during the '60s, when apart from owning various radio and television companies, he became the owner of the California Angels major league baseball team. "Melody Ranch" reappeared as a television programme in the '60s and ran for seven years on Autry's KTLA station. It was syndicated to stations across the country and although Autry did not appear as a regular, he did make guest appearances. In 1986, Nashville Network decided to screen his Republic and Columbia b-westerns under the title of Melody Ranch Theatre with Autry himself doing opening and closing announcements. During his long career, Autry had three horses to fill the role of Champion. The original died in 1947. Champion III, who appeared in the Gene Autry television series and also as the star of the Adventures Of Champion television series, died in 1991 at the age of 42. There was also a personal appearance Champion and a pony known as Little Champ. During his career he regularly sported a custom made C.F. Martin guitar, with beautiful ornamental pearl inlay together with his name.
Many artists over subsequent years have copied this guitar, having their own name inlaid into the fret board. Autry was elected to the Country Music Hall Of Fame in 1969 for his songwriting abilities as well as his singing and acting. In 1980, he was inducted into the Cowboy Hall Of Fame Of Great Westerners. At the time of his induction, he was described as ‘one of the most famous men, not only in America but in the world’. Autry sold the final 10 acres of his Melody Ranch film set in 1991. The ranch, in Placerita Canyon, California, which was used for the making of such classic westerns as High Noon and the television series Gunsmoke is scheduled to become an historical feature. His last US country chart entry was "Old Soldiers Never Die" in 1971. Judging by the popularity of his old films and his recordings, it is probably true to say that neither do old cowboys.

lunes, 8 de septiembre de 2014


John Coltrane

b. John William Coltrane, 23 September 1926, Hamlet, North Carolina, USA, d. 17 July 1967. Coltrane grew up in the house of his maternal grandfather, Rev. William Blair (who gave him his middle name), a preacher and community spokesman. While he was taking clarinet lessons at school, his school bandleader suggested his mother buy him an alto saxophone. In 1939 his grandfather and then his father died. After finishing high school he joined his mother in Philadelphia. He spent a short period at the Ornstein School of Music and the Granoff Studios, where he won scholarships for both performance and composition, but his real education began as he started gigging. Two years’ military service was spent in a navy band (1945-46), after which he toured in the King Kolax and Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson bands, playing goodtime, rhythmic big band music. It was while playing in the Dizzy Gillespie Big Band (1949-51) that he switched to tenor saxophone. Coltrane's musical roots were in acoustic black music that combined swing and instrumental prowess in solos, the forerunner of R&B.
He toured with Earl Bostic (1952), Johnny Hodges (1953-54) and Jimmy Smith (1955). However, it was his induction into Miles Davis's band of 1955 — rightly termed the Classic Quintet — that he was noticed. Next to Miles' filigree sensitivity, Trane sounds awkward and crude, and Miles received criticism for his choice of sideman. However, even in these early gropings you can hear a new seriousness. The only precedent for such modernist interrogation of tenor harmony was John Gilmore's playing with Sun Ra. Critics found Coltrane's tone raw and shocking after years in which the cool school of Lester Young and Stan Getz had held sway. It was generally acknowledged, though, that his ideas were first-rate. Along with Sonny Rollins he became New York's most in-demand hard bop tenor player: 1957 saw him appearing on 21 important recordings, and enjoying a brief but fruitful association with Thelonious Monk. That same year he returned to Philadelphia and kicked his longtime heroin habit and started to develop his own music (Coltrane's notes to the later A LOVE SUPREME refer to a "spiritual awakening"). He also found half of his "classic" quartet: at the Red Rooster (a nightclub he was taken to by trumpeter Calvin Massey, an old friend from the '40s) he discovered pianist McCoy Tyner and bassist Jimmy Garrison.
After recording numerous albums for the Prestige label, Coltrane signed to Atlantic Records and, on 15 August 1959, he recorded GIANT STEPS. Although it did not use the talents of his new friends from Philadelphia, it featured a dizzying torrent of tenor solos that harked back to the pressure-cooker creativity of bebop, whilst incorporating the muscular gospel attack of hard bop. Pianist Tommy Flanagan (later celebrated for his sensitive backings for singers like Ella Fitzgerald and Tony Bennett) and drummer Art Taylor provided the best performances of their lives. Although this record is rightly hailed as a masterpiece, it encapsulated a problem: where could hard bop go from here? Luckily, Trane knew the answer. After a second spell with Miles (1958-60), Coltrane formed his best-known quartet, with Tyner, Garrison and the amazing polyrhythmic drummer Elvin Jones. Jazz has been recovering ever since.
The social situation of the '60s meant that Coltrane's innovations were simultaneously applauded as avant-garde statements of black revolution and efficiently recorded and marketed. The Impulse! label, to which he switched from Atlantic in 1961, has a staggering catalogue that includes most of Coltrane's landmark records plus several experimental sessions from the mid-'60s that still remain unreleased (though they missed MY FAVOURITE THINGS, recorded in 1960 for Atlantic, in which Trane established the soprano saxophone as an important instrument). Between 1961 and his death in 1967, Coltrane made music that has become the groundbase of modern jazz. For commercial reasons Impulse! Records had a habit of delaying the release of his music: fans came out of the live performances in shock at the pace of his evolution. A record of BALLADS and an encounter with Duke Ellington in 1962 seemed designed to deflect criticisms of coarseness, although Coltrane later attributed their relatively temperate ambience to persistent problems with his mouthpiece. A LOVE SUPREME was more hypnotic and lulling on record than in live performance, but nevertheless a classic. After that the records became wilder and wilder. The unstinting commitment to new horizons led to ruptures within the group. Elvin Jones left after Trane incorporated a second drummer (Rashied Ali). McCoy Tyner was replaced by Alice McLeod (who married Coltrane in 1966). Coltrane was especially interested in new saxophone players, and ASCENSION (1965) made space for Archie Shepp, Pharoah Sanders, Marion Brown and John Tchicai. Eric Dolphy, although he represented a different tradition of playing from Coltrane (a modernist projection of Charlie Parker), had also been a frequent guest player with the quartet in the early '60s, touring Europe with them in 1961. INTERSTELLAR SPACE (1967), a duet record pitching Coltrane's tenor against Ali's drums, is a fascinating hint of new directions. Coltrane's death in 1967 robbed avant-garde jazz of its father figure. The commercial ubiquity of fusion in the '70s obscured his music, and the '80s jazz revival concentrated on his hard bop period. Only Reggie Workman's Ensemble and Ali's Phalanx carried the huge ambition of Trane's later music into the '90s. As soloists, though, few tenor players have remained untouched by his example. It is interesting that the saxophonists Coltrane encouraged did not sound like him: since his death his "sound" has become a mainstream commodity, from the Berklee College Of Music style of Michael Brecker to the European variant of Jan Garbarek. New stars like Andy Sheppard have established new audiences for jazz without finding new ways of playing. Coltrane's music — like that of Jimi Hendrix — ran parallel with a tide of mass political action and consciousness. Perhaps those conditions are required for the creation of such innovative and intense music. Nevertheless, Coltrane's music reached a wide audience, and was particularly popular with the younger generation of listeners who were also big fans of rock music. A LOVE SUPREME sold sufficient copies to win a gold disc, while the Byrds used the theme of Coltrane's tune "India" as the basis of their hit single "Eight Miles High." Perhaps by alerting the rock audience to the presence of jazz, Coltrane can be said to have — inadvertently — prepared the way for fusion.

domingo, 7 de marzo de 2010

Parlophone Records

By Ernie Reid

Las raíces del sello llegan a marzo de 1911, cuando Carl Gesellschaft Lindstrom (1867-1932) lanzó el sello Parlophon en Europa. En marzo de 1920, fue adquirido por la Transoceanic Trading Co. de Holanda., quienes establecieron la compañía Parlophone Co., Ltd en Londres, el 8 de agosto de 1923. Puesta bajo el ala de la Columbia británica en 1925, se convirtió luego en parte de EMI, cuando esa compañia fue formada por la fusión de Columbia y otros sellos en abril de 1931(ver nota EMI Music). La compañía comenzó a tener personalidad propia durante los años '50, bajo la dirección de Oscar Preuss y su asistente George Martin, a quien Preuss había rescatado de la audioteca de la BBC. La mayor parte de las publicaciones eran de música bailable liviana y música tradicional escocesa, hasta que Preuss se retiró y Martin se hizo cargo. Buscando un nicho, vió que los discos de comedia eran pocos y publicados con poca frecuencia. Así, comenzó a grabar a gente como Flanders y Swann, Peter Sellers y Mike y Bernie Winters. Incursionó en repertorio más contemporáneo, pulicando discos norteamericanos de rock'n'roll de Mac Curtis, Boyd Bennett y Charlie Gracie, entre otros, además de publicar talentos locales como The Vipers, Jim Dale, Rory Blackwell y Vince Eager. Con la llegada de los '60, llegaron artistas más vendedores, como Adam Faith, Mike Sarne, Shane Fenton y The Temperance Seven, pero fue en 1962 que Martin se aseguró un lugar el la historia del rock, aún cuando no lo impresionaron demasiado en un principio, Martin consideró que los Beatles eran un fichaje que valía la pena!. The Beatles, Cilla Black, Billy J. Kramer, Cliff Bennett, The Hollies y Adam Faith eran todos artistas Parlophone que dominaron los rankings en los '60. También había nombres menos conocidos como Byron Lee & The Dragonaires (Lee era un productor importante de Jamaica), Kippington Lodge (incluyendo a Nick Lowe), Davy Jones (quien luego sería conocido como David Bowie), The Herd (que incluía a Peter Frampton), y un muy joven Marc Bolan. Incluso seguían grabando música escocesa: Jimmy Shand venía a Londres desde Escocia, grababa una docena de Reels y se volvía a su casa, viendo como cada uno se publicaba como single a lo largo de un período de 12 meses. George Martin dejó el sello en 1965 para formar su propia compañía independiente, AIR, y Los Beatles formaron su propio sello, Apple, aunque sus discos siguieron publicándose usando la secuencia Parlophone, pero utilizando el sello Apple. Para principios de los '70, sólo los proyectos solistas de Los Beatles se publicaban por medio de Parlophone. Aún así en 1979 el sello tuvo una especie de revival, y en 1982, en el aniversario del sello, se publicó "101 Damnations" o "101 Maldiciones" de los imitadores de Los Beatles Scarlet Party. Desde entonces, el sello ha sido el hogar de publicaciones por los Dexy's Midnight Runners, Pet Shop Boys, Queen, EMF y The Sundays.

Parlophone Records

The label's roots go back to March 1911 when Carl Gesellschaft Lindstrom (b. 1867, d. 1932) launched the Parlophon label in Europe. In March 1920 it was taken over by the Transoceanic Trading Co of Holland who formed the Parlophone Co. Ltd in London on 8 August 1923. Taken under UK Columbia's wing in 1925, it subsequently became part of EMI when that organization was formed by the merger of Columbia and several other labels in April 1931. The label started to come into its own during the '50s when it was run by Oscar Preuss and his assistant George Martin, whom he had rescued from the BBC Gramphone Library. They released largely lightweight dance music and Scottish reels until 1955 when Preuss retired and Martin took over. Looking for a new angle he saw that comedy records were few and far between and began to make recordings of such people as Flanders And Swann, Peter Sellers and Mike and Bernie Winters. He moved into more contemporary music by releasing American rock ‘n’ roll records by Mac Curtis, Boyd Bennett, Charlie Gracie and others, as well as putting out home-grown talent like the Vipers, Jim Dale, Rory Blackwell and Vince Eager. As the '60s arrived, so did the bigger selling artists such as Adam Faith, Mike Sarne, Shane Fenton and the Temperance Seven, but it was in 1962 that George Martin ensured his place in rock history. Although not over impressed with The Beatles at first, he did think them a worthwhile signing! The Beatles, Cilla Black, Billy J. Kramer, Cliff Bennett, the Hollies and Adam Faith were all Parlophone recording acts that dominated the charts in the '60s. There were also less well-known names such as Byron Lee And The Dragonaires (Lee was a top Jamaican producer), Kippington Lodge (including Nick Lowe), Davy Jones (later known as David Bowie), the Herd (featuring Peter Frampton) and a very young Marc Bolan. They even continued with the odd Scottish reel: Jimmy Shand would come down to London once a year, record several dozen tunes, return home and watch while they were slowly released as singles over a 12-month period. George Martin left in 1965 to form his own independent production company, AIR, and The Beatles set up their own Apple label — though their records were still released in Parlophone's sequence but with the Apple logo. By the early '70s only the solo Beatles releases were coming out in the Parlophone series. In 1979, however, the label underwent something of a revival and in 1982 on the anniversary of the release of "Love Me Do" they issued "101 Damnations" by Beatles soundalikes Scarlet Party. Since then the label has been the home for releases by Dexy's Midnight Runners, the Pet Shop Boys, Queen, EMF and the Sundays.

EMI Records - EMI Music

By Ernie Reid

EMI puede encontrar sus orígenes en 1898, cuando William Barry Owen viajó desde Nueva York a Londres para establecer una compañía europea para vender los gramófonos de Emile Berliner. Otro norteamericano, Fred Gaisberg, estaba a cargo de las grabaciones, recorriendo Europa y Asia, haciendo discos de cera de artistas locales. La fabricación estaba centralizada en Hannover, Alemania, hasta que se abrió la fábrica en Hayes, al oeste de Londres, en 1908. Para 1910, la compañía había adoptado el logo y el nombre de "His Master's Voice" o "La Voz De Su Amo"(la famosa pintura del perro y el gramófono). Durante la década de 1920, absorbió el sello francés Pathé y la compañía Lindstrom (dueños del sello Parlophone), como así también otras compañías en Latinoamérica (la Argentina Odeón fue una de ellas). En 1931, los efectos de la depresión trajeron una fusión entre la compañía de gramófonos y su mayor competidora europea, Columbia (que no guarda relación con la Columbia norteamericana propiedad de Sony), que era mucho más fuerte en repertorio popular. La nueva ELECTRIC & MUSIC INDUSTRIES, Ltd. dominaba el mercado europeo y operaba un "cartel global" no oficial en conjunto con su contraparte norteamericana RCA Victor. La falta de competencia hizo que EMI poco receptiva a nuevas ideas y la compañía perdió terreno a merced de sus competidoras como Decca y CBS, retrasando la adopción del sigle de 45 rpm hasta 1952, cuatro años depués de su invención. Pero la suerte de la compañía mejoró cuando Joseph Lockwood fue nombrado director general en 1954 (después fue nombrado Caballero por sus servicios). Reconociendo la importancia del repertorio norteamericano, Lockwood compró Capitol Records y revolucionó la fabricación de discos y cintas en Gran Bretaña. Gran parte del fenomenal éxito de la compañía en los '60 se debió a un sólo artista, Los Beatles. PeroEMI cometió el error de diversificarse a las industrias de la electrónica médica y del ocio en los'70. Asimismo, en la compañía discográfica, hubo una seguidilla de altos directivos que no lograron generar una estrategia consistente. Las pérdidas generadas por esta situación, llevaron a la adquisición de EMI por parte de Thorn en 1979. La falta de conocimiento de la industria que evidenciaron los nuevos dueños, llevó a recurrentes rumores de que EMI Records estaba en venta. Estos rumores nunca se disiparon, hasta el nombramiento de otro norteamericano al frente de la compañía de música, Jim Fifield, en 1988. EMI habia comprado el grupo Imperial / United Artists / Blue Note, pero Fifield se embarcó en un plan de adquisiciones altamente ambicioso. Compró SBK songs, para convertir a EMI Music en la compañia de Publishing más grande del mundo, y también compró los sellos Chrysalis, IRS y Roulette. Hubo grandes éxitos de MC Hammer, Wilson Phillips, Bonnie Raitt y Garth Brooks, mientras que en Gran Bretaña la compañía entró en la escena del pop independiente, mediante una alianza con el sello Food, quienes contaban con Jesus Jones y Blur entre sus artistas. Para principios de los '90, EMI reportaba una participación en el mercado mundial de música del 12 %, y en Marzo de 1992, esto se incrementó dramáticamente con la compra del sello de Richard Branson, Virgin Records, por 510 millones de Libras Esterlinas. Decisiones desafortunadas, combinadas con el nacimiento y desarrollo de la tecnología de compresión mp3 y la aparición de conexiones de internet de banda ancha, han puesto a la industria de rodillas en el pasado reciente, y propiciado la compra del sello por parte del grupo inversor Terra Prima, el 21 de mayo de 2007.

EMI Records - EMI Music

The present-day EMI company can trace its origins to 1898 when William Barry Owen sailed from New York to London to set up a European company to market Emile Berliner's gramophone. Another American, Fred Gaisberg, was in charge of recording, travelling throughout Europe and Asia making wax discs of local artists. Manufacturing was centred on Hannover in Germany before the UK factory at Hayes, west London was opened in 1908. By 1910 the company had adopted the His Master's Voice name and logo (the famous ‘dog and trumpet’ painting) and during the '20s it absorbed the French Pathe label and the Lindstrom company, (which owned the Parlophone label) as well as other branches across Latin America (Argentinian label Odeón being one of them). In 1931, the effects of the Depression brought about a merger between the Gramophone Co and its main European rival, Columbia (no relation to the US company owned by Sony) which was stronger in popular repertoire. The new Electrical & Musical Industries (EMI) company dominated the European market and operated an unofficial global cartel in conjunction with its American counterpart, RCA Victor. Lack of competition made EMI unreceptive to new ideas and it lost ground to rivals such as Decca and CBS by delaying its adoption of the 45rpm single until 1952, four years after its invention. But EMI's fortunes improved when Joseph Lockwood (later knighted for his services) took over as managing director in 1954. Recognizing the importance of the US repertoire, he bought Capitol Records and revolutionized the distribution of records and tapes in the UK.
Much of the company's phenomenal success in the '60s was due to one act; the Beatles. But EMI made the mistake of diversifying into medical electronics and the leisure industries in the '70s. Similarly at the record company, a succession of senior executives could not provide a consistent strategy. Losses from its newer ventures led to EMI's takeover by Thorn in 1979. The new owners’ apparent lack of understanding of the music business led to constant rumours that EMI Records was for sale. These rumours were not dispelled until the appointment of another American, Jim Fifield, to run the music division in 1988. EMI had bought the Liberty/United Artists/Blue Note group in 1980, but Fifield embarked on a highly ambitious programme of acquisitions. He bought SBK Songs to make EMI the world's largest music publisher and also purchased the Chrysalis, IRS and Roulette labels. There were major hits from MC Hammer, Wilson Phillips, Bonnie Raitt and Garth Brooks, while in the UK, EMI entered the independent-pop scene through an agreement with the Food label, whose artists included Jesus Jones and Blur. By the early '90s, EMI was claiming a 12 per cent share of the world music market, and in March 1992 this dramatically increased with the purchase of Richard Branson's Virgin Records for £510 million. Unfortunate business decisions, combined with the birth and development of mp3 compression technology and broadband internet connections have brought the industry to its knees in the recent past, and have lead to the company's acqusition by Terra Prima, on May 21st, 2007.

miércoles, 31 de enero de 2007

The Priceless Artistry of GENESIS

This leading UK band first came together at the public school Charterhouse. Peter Gabriel (b. 13 May 1950, London, England; vocals), Tony Banks (b. 27 March 1951, East Heathly, Sussex, England; keyboards) and Chris Stewart (drums) were in an ensemble named the Garden Wall, and joined forces with Anthony Philips (guitar/vocals) and Mike Rutherford (b. 2 October 1950; bass/guitar/vocals), who were in a rival group, the Anon. In January 1967, the student musicians sent a demonstration tape to another Charterhouse alumnus, Jonathan King, then at Decca Records. King financed further recordings and also christened the band Genesis. They recorded one single, "The Silent Sun" in 1968, but it was not until the following year that their debut album FROM GENESIS TO REVELATION was issued.

Where The Sour Turns Sweet/In The Beginning/Fireside Song/The Serpent/Am I Very Wrong/In The Wilderness/The Conqueror/In Hiding/One Day/Window/In Limbo/Silent Gun/A Place To Call My Own/The Silent Sun/That's Me/A Winter's Tale/One Eyed Hound

Its lack of success left them without a label until the enterprising Tony Stratton-Smith signed them to his recently formed Charisma Records in 1970. The group had already lost three drummers from their line-up before finding the perfect candidate that August. Phil Collins (b. 31 January 1951, London, England) had already worked with a professional group, Flaming Youth, and his involvement would later prove crucial in helping Genesis achieve international success. The already recorded TRESPASS was issued in October 1970, but sold poorly.

Looking For Someone/White Mountain/Visions Of Angels/Stagnation/Dusk/The Knife

Further line-up changes ensued with the arrival of new guitarist Steve Hackett (b. 12 February 1950, London, England). The group were already known for their highly theatrical stage act and costumes, but this did not help record sales. When the 1971 album NURSERY CRYME also failed commercially, the group were again in danger of being dropped from their label.

The Musical Box/For Absent Friends/The Return Of The Giant Hogweed/Seven Stones/Harlequin/Harold The Barrel/The Fountain Of Salmacis

Success on the continent brought renewed faith, which was vindicated with the release of FOXTROT. The album reached the UK Top 20 and included the epic live favourite "Supper's Ready."

Watcher Of The Skies/Time Table/Get 'Em Out By Friday/Can-Utility And The Coastliners/Horizons/Supper's Ready:Lover's Leap/The Guaranteed Eternal Sanctuary Man/Ikhnaton And Itsacon And Their Band Of Merry Men/How Dare I Be So Beautiful?Willow Farm/Apocalypse In 9/8/As Sure As Eggs Is Eggs (Aching Men's Feet)

Over the next two-and-a-half years, Genesis increased their profile with the best-selling albums SELLING ENGLAND BY THE POUND and THE LAMB LIES DOWN ON BROADWAY.

Dancing With The Moonlit Knight/I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)/Firth Of Fifth/More Fool Me/The Battle Of Epping Forest/After The Ordeal/Medley:The Cinema Show-Aisle Of Plenty

The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway/Fly On A Windshield/Broadway Melody Of 1974/Cuckoo Cocoon/In The Cage/The Grand Parade Of Lifeless Packaging/Back In N.Y.C./Hairless Heart/Counting Out Time/Carpet Crawlers/The Chamber Of 32 Doors/Lilywhite Lilith/The Waiting Room/Anyway/The Supernatural Anaesthetist/The Lamia/Silent Sorrow In Empty Boats/The Colony Of Slippermen:The Arrival-A Visit To The Doctor-Raven/Ravine/The Light Dies Down On Broadway/Riding The Scree/In The Rapids/It

Having reached a new peak, however, their prospects were completely undermined by the shock departure of singer Gabriel in May 1975. Many commentators understandably wrote Genesis off at this point, particularly when it was announced that the new singer was to be their drummer Collins. The streamlined quartet proved remarkably resilient, however, and the succeeding albums TRICK OF THE TAIL and WIND & WUTHERING were well received.

Dance On A Volcano /Entangled/Squonk/Mad Man Moon/Robbery, Assault And Battery/Ripples/A Trick Of The Tail/Los Endos

Eleventh Earl Of Mar/One For The Vine/Your Own Special Way/Wot Gorilla/All In A Mouse's Night/Blood On The Rooftops/Unquiet Slumber For The Sleepers/In That Quiet Earth/Afterglow

In the summer of 1977, Hackett left to pursue a solo career, after which Genesis carried on as a trio, backed by various short-term employees. Amazingly, the group appeared to grow in popularity with the successive departure of each key member. During 1978, they received their first gold disc for the appropriately titled AND THEN THERE WERE THREE and two years later enjoyed a chart-topping album with DUKE.

Down And Out/Burning Rope/Snowbound/Undertow/Ballad Of Big/Many Too Many/Deep In The Motherlode/Scenes From A Night's Dream/Say It's Alright Joe/The Lady Lies/Follow You, Follow Me

Behind The Lines/Duchess/Guide Vocal/Man Of Our Times/Misunderstanding/ Heathaze/Turn It On Again/Alone Tonight/Cul-De-Sac/Please Don't Ask/Duke's Travels/Duke's End

With various solo excursions underway, Genesis still managed to sustain its identity as a working group and reached new levels of popularity with hits in the USA. By late 1981, they were in the US Top 10 with ABACAB and could rightly claim to be one of the most popular groups in the world.

Abacab/No Reply At All/Me And Sarah Jane/Keep It Dark/Medley:Dodo-Lurker/Man On The Corner/Who Dunnit?/Like It Or Not/Another Record

Helped by Collins' high profile as a soloist, they enjoyed their biggest UK singles hit with "Mama" and followed with "That's All" and "Illegal Alien." Both GENESIS and INVISIBLE TOUCH topped the UK charts, while the latter also reached number 1 in the USA.

Mama/That's All/Home By The Sea/Second Home By The Sea/Illegal Alien/Just A Job To Do/Taking It All Too Hard/Silver Rainbow/It's Gonna Get Better

Invisible Touch/Tonight, Tonight, Tonight/Land Of Confusion/In Too Deep/Anything She Does/Domino:In The Glow Of The Night/The Last Domino/Throwing It All Away/The Brazilian

By the mid-'80s, the group format was not sufficient to contain all their various projects and Collins pursued a parallel solo career, while Rutherford formed the hit group Mike & The Mechanics. Meanwhile, Genesis soldiered on, reuniting at various intervals for tours and albums. There was no sign of decline in their popularity and in America they scored a number 1 single in 1986 with "Invisible Touch," while the following four singles all made the US Top 5. Although their working partnership is less prolific these days, the concept of Genesis continues, amid a myriad of offshoot projects. In 1991, the group reconvened to record and issue WE CAN'T DANCE.

No Son Of Mine/Jesus He Knows Me/Driving The Last Spike/I Can't Dance/Never A Time/Dreaming While You Sleep/Tell Me Why/Living Forever/Hold On My Heart/Way Of The World/Since I Lost You/Fading Lights

Although this was their first album in over five years it immediately scaled the charts throughout the world confirming their status as one of the world's leading bands. After years of balancing his group affiliation and solo career, Collins announced his departure from Genesis in early April 1996.

jueves, 25 de enero de 2007

Great Record Labels: Atlantic Records

Original Atlantic Records Logo

Atlantic Records logo 1966-2005.

The Atlantic label was founded in 1947 by Herb Abramson, a dentistry student, and Ahmet Ertegun, the son of a Turkish ambassador. The New York-based company's early releases included R&B and jazz but by the early '50s it became established as a leading outlet for all facets of black music. Ruth Brown, Joe Turner, the Clovers and the Drifters were among its most successful acts during this period. Jerry Wexler, a former journalist with Billboard magazine, joined the flourishing label in 1953 as a partner and shareholder, and became their greatest producer. Abramson meanwhile, was drafted and although he returned to the company in 1955, events within Atlantic had overtaken him. Ahmet's brother Nesuhi was involved in building a formidable jazz catalogue while Abramson became responsible for the newly-formed Atco subsidiary. His wife Miriam also became a key member of the board, looking after the fast growing accounts department. He grew increasingly unhappy with his role and sold his share to the company's three executives. Atlantic's success continued unabated throughout the '50s with hits by the Coasters, Bobby Darin and, crucially, Ray Charles. This gifted performer provided the natural stepping-stone between the R&B prevalent during the decade and the soul of the next, by which time the label had grown into a major concern. As such it began lucrative distribution deals with independent outlets, one of which was Stax. This Memphis-based label/studio was instrumental in shaping Atlantic's '60s identity through hits for Otis Redding, Sam And Dave, Wilson Pickett and Carla Thomas. However, unrest between its owner, Jim Stewart, and Wexler, latterly soured the relationship, and the two sides split in 1968. In the meantime Wexler had entered another fruitful period with Rick Hall's Alabama-based Fame studio following success with Percy Sledge. It was here that Aretha Franklin recorded her first major smash, "I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Love You)," which began a long, critically and commercially rewarding relationship between the singer and outlet. Despite continuing its work with black music, Atlantic was increasingly drawn towards white rock. The Rascals, a blue-eyed soul quartet, and Sonny And Cher were successful singles' acts but the floodgates to the album market were opened when the label secured with their Atco subsidiary the American rights for Cream's releases. New groups, including Vanilla Fudge, Iron Butterfly (whose second album, IN A GADDA DA VIDA was, for many years, the label's biggest selling album) and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, furthered a process culminating in Atlantic's commercial triumphs with British acts Led Zeppelin and Yes. This period was also marked by a lucrative marketing deal with the newly-inaugurated Rolling Stones' label. Atlantic retained its black heritage during the '70s with the Detroit Spinners, Roberta Flack and Blue Magic, but its autonomous position ceased following its acquisition by Warner Brothers. The newly-inaugurated WEA group was itself taken over by the Kinney Corporation in 1969, but this brief re-naming was soon superseded by Time/Warner. Although the label continues to forge success on several musical fronts, Atlantic no longer boasts the individuality which made it such a potent force during its first 25 years. Ertegun, however, remains one of the most important ever figures in popular music and now shares the chairmanship at Atlantic (since January 1996) with Val Azzoli, a 41-year-old Canadian.

lunes, 22 de enero de 2007

Great Record Labels: Island Records

Chris Blackwell

Island Records

Chris Blackwell, the son of a wealthy plantation owner and of the Crosse and Blackwell food family, founded this label in Jamaica in 1961. Its early, low-key singles were imported into Britain where several were subsequently issued by Starlite. Blackwell opened a UK office the following year, instigating the famed ‘WI’ (West Indian) prefix with Lord Creator's "Independent Jamaica." Island's ensuing releases included material by the Maytals, Jackie Edwards and the Skatalites and over the next four years they encompassed the shift in styles from jump R&B, through ska, to rock steady. In 1963 Island secured the UK rights to the New York-based Sue label and although the deal was later rescinded, the appellation was kept as an outlet for material licensed from a variety of sources, including VeeJay, Ace and Kent. Although most of its recordings were distributed independently, Island enjoyed a marketing deal with Fontana. Thus their first chart success — Millie's "My Boy Lollipop" (1964) — bore the latter's imprint, a feature also prevalent on the label's first pop signing, the Spencer Davis Group. Such diversification was later shown by releases on Island by Wynder K. Frog, the V.I.P.s (later Spooky Tooth) and Kim Fowley, but the company did not undertake a fully-fledged switch to rock until 1967 and the formation of Traffic, which Blackwell also managed. The group scored three UK Top 10 hits but, more importantly, also established Island as a force within the nascent album market. Having assigned its West Indian catalogue to Trojan, the label now welcomed many of the era's best-loved 'underground' acts, including Jethro Tull, Fairport Convention and Free, and by 1970 was firmly established as one of Britain's leading labels. Judicious production deals with companies, including Chrysalis, Bronze and EG, brought further success with, among others, Roxy Music, King Crimson and Uriah Heep, but Island's eminent position was undermined later in the decade when several such enterprises themselves opted for independence. Blackwell developed a reputation for nurturing talent and persevering with his artists. John Martyn and Robert Palmer were with Island for many years, although major success eluded them. Cat Stevens by contrast became one of the most successful singer/songwriters of the '70s. By this point the company had exhumed its interest in Jamaican music with the Wailers' CATCH A FIRE. Island's relationship with group leader Bob Marley, which was maintained until his premature death, was largely responsible for introducing reggae into the rock mainstream. By the late '70s the company's diverse catalogue included the Chieftains, Inner Circle and Eddie And The Hot Rods, but a flirtation with punk act the Slits incurred the wrath of Blackwell, who returned from a recently-founded US office to take charge of UK operations. U2 became the label's most impressive signing of this period, but long-time artists Robert Palmer and Steve Winwood also enjoyed considerable success, while Island was also responsible for transforming Grace Jones from cult act to international star. The departure of all three individuals was another major blow, but Island nonetheless boasted a roster including Tom Waits, the Christians, Julian Cope and Anthrax at the time of its 25th Anniversary celebrations in 1987. However, two years later, Blackwell sold his company to A&M, ending Island's tenure as an independent outlet.

Great Record Labels - Virgin Records

Founded in 1973 by entrepreneur Richard Branson, the Virgin label was the natural extension of his successful retail stores, and previously, mail-order organization. Its first release, Mike Oldfield's TUBULAR BELLS had been turned down by most of Britain's major companies, but the album became a runaway smash, selling in excess of 5 million copies. It established Virgin's early reputation as a haven for experimental English rock as demonstrated by the early signing of Hatfield & The North, Robert Wyatt and Henry Cow. Avant garde continental acts, including Faust, Gong, Slapp Happy and Wigwam were also attracted by Virgin's enthusiasm for unconventional music, while the acquisition of America's Captain Beefheart, although later fraught by litigation, emphasized a desire to challenge. However, the advent of punk changed the label's perceived image to that of passé hippie and its catalogue was rendered old-fashioned almost overnight. This was rectified in 1977 with the signing of the Sex Pistols, and Virgin consolidated their new departure with releases by the Skids, the Ruts and XTC, the last-named of which has remained with the label to date. (The band's Andy Partridge stated that the reason Virgin have maintained XTC under contract for so long with only moderate sales is for ‘tax-loss’ purposes!) A steady promotion of reggae, punk's rebellious bedfellow, drew dividends through excellent albums by the Mighty Diamonds, Peter Tosh and U Roy, issued on their Front Line subsidiary. Yet it was not until the early '80s that Virgin established itself as a major outlet with international hits by the Human League, Heaven 17, Culture Club and Simple Minds. The success of Phil Collins, who came to the label through its acquisition of his former outlet, Charisma, established the artist as the company's one true household name, feted by royalty and a star of the magnitude of Elton John and Paul McCartney. Virgin's transition from idealism to pragmatism was reflected in its eclectic back catalogue, while the parent corporation boasted thriving recording facilities, an equally strong publishing arm and a series of flourishing subsidiaries, including Virgin America, the roster of which included Bob Mould and Lenny Kravitz. In a bid to concentrate more on the Virgin Atlantic airline, and future projects such as an independent British rail company, Branson sold his interests in Virgin Records to Thorn EMI in 1992, thereby bringing the story to a close.

Mike Oldfield - Tubular Bells (1973)

viernes, 19 de enero de 2007

Tweety González: Maker of Rock Albums and Icons

They say that the key to success in life lies in being at the right place at the right time, and most of all, in being ready and clever about it. Tweety is a fine exapmple of this. Since the early 80's, he has been so far involved in the production of 78 (yes, SEVENTY-EIGHT!) of the most iconic albums ever recorded in Latin America. Ever aware of new music trends, he is up-to-date with the latest in sound techonology and young talent.

He could justify being a "Prima Donna", but he is the humblest of people. Maybe that's part of the sercret.

I was lucky enough to find his profile on MySpace ( I wrote him a brief note, in the hope that he would talk to me... He did more than that, he actually remembered seeing me many years ago at Dante Spinetta's birthday party. It wasn't like I was the life of the party or anything... He just has an unbelieveable memory. We went out to grab some coffee and after two really juicy hours of behind-the-scenes-rock-trivia-talk, he actually drove me home! And this was when I felt really surprised, because just as one expects gorgeous women to be nasty, shallow or stupid, one expects rock icons to be stand-offish, full of themselves or appallingly self-centered. Tweety is neither of these things. He is a really nice, candid, generous open book.

Here are some pictures I took from his profile:

During the "Ahí Vamos!" sessions, wearing his production hat, with Gustavo Cerati:

Here he is "sitting at the table" in his second home:

In England, he would have been Knighted, and you'd have to call him "Sir Tweety!". In Argentina you just say: "Qué hacé Tweety"!

Lastly, here's the link to his website:

Have FUN!

jueves, 18 de enero de 2007

The 80's series - Great Albums Look Alike!

I released these compilations in 1995-96. Collectively, they sold over 350,000 units, and are still part of Universal Music Argentina's catalogue. In those days, the local Argentinian market was flooded with multi-major company compilations such as the "Now This is What I Call Music" and "Kutschel Rock" collections, and we still beat them!
Click on the images to see a larger picture.

domingo, 14 de enero de 2007

Metallica En Argentina

El 7 de Mayo de 1993 el estadio de River Plate se sacudió como nunca antes cuando Metallica subió al escenario. Al llegar al estadio me encontré con Norberto "el ruso" Verea y el Mariscal Romero, ambos ataviados con la correspondiente remera de la banda. Estábamos todos súper ansiosos, porque sabíamos que lo que íbamos a ver era histórico. Recuerdo que me tocó en suerte estar en el "snake-pit", junto a Gustavo Lutteral. El show fué arrasador, al palo, sin descanso, sin frenos, ni trucos. Sólo metal. Y que te la saque el dentista. Jamás había escuchado una banda de metal con un sonido tan sólido, y tan cuidado. Estaba todo al mango, pero se escuchaban hasta los arreglos más sutiles.
Antes del show, parte de la banda (sin James Hetfield) brindó una conferencia de prensa en el piso 24 del hotel Sheraton. Me tocó el enorme privilegio de traducirla para unos 150 medios que se agolparon en la sala. Hasta aquí, todo tranquilo. Pero cuando la conferencia de prensa terminó y la banda amagó a levantarse para salir de la sala, ocurrió lo que se ve en la foto. TODOS los periodistas allí presentes (menos el ruso Verea, la foto es testigo), esos que son tan duros y "profesionales" cuando destrozan a todas las bandas que se les cruzan; y que viven en pose de grandes, duros y omnipotentes periodistas de rock, hicieron un papelón digno de las groupies de Ricky Martin: se levantaron y se fueron encima de la banda para que les firmaran un papelito, una remera, una tapa de disco... un horror. Claro ejemplo de ecuanimidad e imparcialidad del periodismo de la iglesia del rock en Argentina.
De todos modos, fue una experiencia inolvidable.

Metallica en Argentina - 8 de Mayo de 1993 - Primera Visita

sábado, 13 de enero de 2007

Jennifer Paige - Crush

Jennifer Paige - Now that was a CRUSH!

Conocer a Jenny fue realmente divertido. Es lo que hace que nuestro trabajo valga la pena. Ella es un espíritu libre y muy seria respecto de su trabajo. Fuimos a todos lados juntos, en compañía de Adrián Muscari y nuestro jefe, THE BOSS, Martin Davis (qué gran tipo, man!!!). Hicimos toneladas de promo en radio, TV y prensa y tuve el privilegio de traducir para ella. Entre otras cosas, estuvimos en Rumores, del amigo CARLOS MONTI!! (otro tipazo). Para cerrar la visita, cenamos bifes en Happening de Puerto Madero con Juan Alberto Mateyko (digo, no sé, me parece...), Martin Davis y Adrián Muscari. La noche anterior habíamos visitado un show de Tango en la calle Balcarce al 600.
Todo esto ocurrió a fines de 1999. En Edel Music éramos pocos, pero un equipo sólido como una roca!. Allí trabajamos también junto a la hija de Rodolfo Ranni, y el amigo Néstor Borio.

lunes, 8 de enero de 2007

Keith Richards & The Expensive Winos, Buenos Aires, 1992

Esto ocurrió en 1992, durante la primer visita de un Rolling Stone a la Argentina. La foto fue tomada por José Luis Massa. Tuve el privilegio de traducir su primer conferencia de prensa (soy el de la derecha). Atrás se ve la cara de quien era nuestro Director de Marketing, Alberto De Ritis. Se llevó a cabo en el piso 24 del Sheraton Hotel. Keith es un gigante tanto sobre como fuera del escenario. Durante la cena con nuestra gente de la compañia discográfica (EMI), hasta accedió a firmarle una guitarra a mi amigo Willie Ares Pacheco. Esa misma noche, tomamos unos tragos en el bar del piso 24 y le dió unas clases de "Jumpin' Jack Flash" al violero de la banda que estaba tocando para él. Keith es un ENORME tipo! Fue un placer tenerlo entre nosotros, y otro sueño del pibe cumplido!

domingo, 7 de enero de 2007

Genesis - Knebworth, 1º de Agosto de 1992

Trabajé en EMI Odeón Argentina entre 1988 y 1993. Manejaba el repertorio de Virgin Records. Fue mi primer visita a Inglaterra. Pasé una semana en Londres. El segundo día, "tuve que ir a Knebworth" para asistir a Felipe McGough de Telefé con su nota a Genesis. La cuestión es que ese día ocurrió lo que se ve en la foto. Fue durante la prueba de sonido, el día anterior al show de cierre de la que fue su última gira Europea. De hecho, fue el último show en vivo de Genesis en Inglaterra. Sin palabras. Cumplido el sueño del pibe!

Favourite Movies

  • 2001: A Space Odyssey
  • Airplane!
  • Alfie
  • All That Jazz
  • Amadeus
  • An Officer And A Gentleman
  • Anchors Aweigh
  • Around The World In 80 Days
  • Arthur
  • Back To The Future
  • Batman
  • Ben-Hur
  • Blazing Saddles
  • Braveheart
  • Breakfast At Tiffany's
  • Bridge Over The River Kwai
  • Casablanca
  • Close Encounters Of The Third Kind
  • Cocoon
  • Cyrano De Bergerac
  • David Copperfield
  • Dead Poets Society
  • Doctor Zhivago
  • Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde
  • Dracula
  • E.T. - The Extra-Terrestrial
  • Enter The Dragon
  • From Hell
  • Gone With The Wind
  • Good Morning, Vietnam
  • Grease
  • Hair
  • Henry V
  • History Of The World, Part 1
  • Hot Shots!
  • Jaws
  • Jesus Christ Superstar
  • Love Story
  • Melody
  • Midnight Express
  • Moby Dick
  • Moulin Rouge
  • New York, New York
  • Oliver Twist
  • Rob Roy
  • Rocky
  • Saturday Night Fever
  • Scrooge
  • The Alamo
  • The Blues Brothers
  • The Dirty Dozen
  • The Dirty Dozen
  • The Godfather
  • The Jazz Singer
  • The Life Of Brian
  • The Man Who Would Be King
  • The Phantom Of The Opera
  • This Is Spinal Tap
  • Titanic
  • Top Secret
  • West Side Story
  • When Harry Met Sally
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
  • Young Frankenstein