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|Parent company||Universal Music Group|
|Distributor(s)|| Virgin EMI Records (United Kingdom)|
Capitol Music Group (United States)
|Genre||Progressive rock, comedy|
|Country of origin||England|
Charisma Records (also known as The Famous Charisma Label) was a British record label founded in 1969 by former journalist Tony Stratton-Smith. He had previously acted as manager for rock bands such as The Nice, the Bonzo Dog Band and Van der Graaf Generator. Gail Colson was label manager and joint managing director.
The label's most successful acts were Genesis, Peter Gabriel, Julian Lennon, and Monty Python. The initial release was the album The Least We Can Do Is Wave to Each Other by Van der Graaf Generator. Stratton-Smith was unable to find a company to release the album, so he became determined to release it himself.
Charisma's first UK label was a distinctive "pink scroll" design. Its second logo (used beginning in 1972) of Sir John Tenniel's drawing of the Mad Hatter (sometimes combined with a montage of other images from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland ) made the label instantly recognizable. Much of the early distinctive artwork used by the label was created by Paul Whitehead.
The label also released material by The Nice, Lindisfarneand Alan Hull, Hawkwind, The Alan Parsons Project, Clifford T. Ward, String Driven Thing, Jack The Lad, Audience, Vivian Stanshall, Brand X, Sir John Betjeman, Malcolm McLaren and Afraid of Mice. 1970s solo albums of Peter Hammill, Tony Banks and Steve Hackett were also on Charisma.
Gail Colson left Charisma in the late 1970s to form her own management company, Gailforce.
In 1983, Charisma Records was acquired by Virgin Records and continued to operate until 1986, when Virgin absorbed the label. Virgin's purchase by EMI, then known as Thorn EMI, occurred in 1992. A new version of Charisma, with no connection to the original label other than the name, operated between 1990 and 1992, with a street-oriented and independently distributed subsidiary called Cardiac Records. Some Charisma Records recordings were re-issued on the EMI label. In the UK, the label was revived by EMI's Angel Records in 2007.
With most of EMI's purchase by Universal Music Group, Charisma returned to Virgin Records.
Charisma was initially manufactured and distributed in the United Kingdom as an offshoot of B&C Records, sharing the B&C catalogue series for both singles and albums, but it later absorbed that label. During the mid- and late 1970s Charisma's European distribution was handled by Phonogram Inc.
In the United States and Canada, Charisma recordings were initially licensed to other labels. These included ABC Records, along with subsidiaries, Impulse, Probe and Dunhill. Artists included Van der Graaf Generator and Genesis. Elektra Records in the USA released records by Charisma artists Atomic Rooster, Audience, Lindisfarne and Jack the Lad.
In 1971 Charisma entered into a distribution agreement with Buddah Records and began to release albums on the Charisma label in the USA. These included Pawn Hearts by Van der Graaf Generator and Nursery Cryme , Foxtrot and Genesis Live by Genesis. Atlantic Records also later released Charisma recordings in the United States from 1973 to 1974 including many Genesis titles.
In 1973 Atlantic stopped distributing Charisma in America; as a result, in the USA Charisma's bands signed to various labels such as Mercury Records (Van der Graaf Generator) and Arista Records (Monty Python). Genesis records were released in the USA under Atlantic's subsidiary label Atco Records from 1974 to 1976. In 1976, Charisma signed a new distribution deal in the UK with Polydor that lasted until 1980. In Canada, many Charisma releases were distributed by GRT and PolyGram Canada.
Between 1980 and 1982, Charisma operated a subsidiary called Pre Records, who were devoted to new wave and reggae acts. Pre's roster included Scars, Prince Far I, Delta 5, Gregory Isaacs, The Monochrome Set and Congo Ashanti Roy, amongst others. Pre also licensed albums by The Residents and Tuxedomoon from the American label Ralph Records. In Europe, Pre's releases were issued on the Charisma label.
Most Charisma artists were relatively unknown early on, so original pressings have become quite rare and sought after by collectors. The "pink scroll" label was first used in the UK from 1969 until mid-1972.This was replaced by the Mad Hatter label, designed by Paul Whitehead. In the US, the pink scroll labels were used in late 1973 and early 1974 on releases distributed by Buddah. Releases distributed by Atlantic Records used a variation of the Mad Hatter design.
|1970||The Nice||Five Bridges||UK #2|
|1970||Lindisfarne||Nicely Out of Tune||UK #8|
|1971||The Nice||Elegy||UK #5|
|1971||Lindisfarne||Fog on the Tyne||UK #1|
|1971||Genesis||Nursery Cryme||UK #39||FRA: Gold|
|1972||Lindisfarne||Dingly Dell||UK #5|
|1972||Genesis||Foxtrot||UK #12||FRA, UK: Gold|
|1973||Genesis||Genesis Live||UK #9|
|1973||Lindisfarne||Lindisfarne Live||UK #25|
|1973||Clifford T. Ward||Home Thoughts||UK #40|
|1973||Alan Hull||Pipedream||UK #29|
|1973||Genesis||Selling England by the Pound||UK #3||FRA, UK, US: Gold|
|1974||Genesis||The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway||UK #10||FRA, UK, US: Gold|
|1975||Steve Hackett||Voyage of the Acolyte||UK #26||UK: Silver|
|1976||Genesis||A Trick of the Tail||UK #3, NLD #7, US #31||FRA, UK, US: Gold|
|1976||The Alan Parsons Project||Tales of Mystery and Imagination||US #38||GER: Gold|
|1976||Hawkwind||Astounding Sounds, Amazing Music||UK #33|
|1976||Genesis||Wind & Wuthering||UK #7, US #26||FRA, UK, US: Gold|
|1977||Peter Gabriel||Peter Gabriel||FRA #5, NOR #5, UK #7, SWE #8, GER #9, ITA #9, |
NLD #9, US #38
|FRA, GER, UK: Gold|
|1977||Brand X||Moroccan Roll||UK #37|
|1977||Hawkwind||Quark, Strangeness and Charm||UK #30|
|1977||Genesis||Seconds Out||UK #4|
|1978||Genesis||...And Then There Were Three...||GER #2, UK #3, NOR #7, NLD #8, US #14||US: Platinum, FRA, GER, UK: Gold|
|1978||Steve Hackett||Please Don't Touch||UK #38|
|1978||Peter Gabriel||Peter Gabriel||FRA #2, UK #10|
|1979||Tony Banks||A Curious Feeling||UK #21|
|1979||Steve Hackett||Spectral Mornings||UK #22|
|1980||Genesis||Duke||UK #1, GER #2, FRA #4, NOR #4, SWE #9, US #11||UK, US: Platinum, FRA: Gold|
|1980||Peter Gabriel||Peter Gabriel||FRA #1, UK #1, NOR #5, CAN #7, SWE #8, US #22||CAN: 2x Platinum, FRA, UK, US: Gold|
|1980||Steve Hackett||Defector||UK #9|
|1980||The Residents||The Commercial Album|
|1981||Steve Hackett||Cured||UK #15|
|1981||Genesis||Abacab||UK #1, NOR #4, GER #6, NLD #6, US #7||US: 2x Platinum, FRA, GER, UK: Gold|
|1982||Genesis||Three Sides Live||UK #2, NLD #6, US #10||US: Gold|
|1982||Peter Gabriel||Peter Gabriel||CAN #2, FRA #5, UK #6, SWE #10, US #28||CAN: Platinum, UK, US: Gold|
|1983||Malcolm McLaren||Duck Rock 2||UK #18||UK: Silver|
|1983||Steve Hackett||Highly Strung||UK #16|
|1983||Peter Gabriel||Plays Live||UK #8|
|1983||Genesis||Genesis 1||GER #1, UK #1, AUT #2, NLD #2, NOR #2, SWI #2, |
|UK: 2x Platinum, FRA, GER: Platinum|
|1984||Julian Lennon||Valotte||AUS #8, US #17, UK #20||US: Platinum, UK: Silver|
|1986||Peter Gabriel||So 3||CAN #1, NLD #1, NOR #1, NZ #1, UK #1, GER #2, |
SWE #2, US #2
|US: 5x Platinum, UK: 3x Platinum, |
GER, NLD: Platinum, FRA: Gold
|1986||Genesis||Invisible Touch 1||UK #1, GER #2, NLD #2, NOR #3, SWE #4, SWI #4, |
AUT #5, FRA #8
|UK: 4x Platinum, FRA, GER: Platinum|
|1986||The World's Famous Supreme Team||Rappin’|
1: On Virgin Records in Australia, Atlantic Records in the US
2: On Island Records in the US
3: On Geffen Records in the US
|1971||Lindisfarne||"Lady Eleanor"||UK #3|
|1971||Lindisfarne||"Meet Me on the Corner"||UK #5|
|1973||Clifford T. Ward||"Gaye"||UK #8|
|1974||Genesis||"I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe)"||UK #21|
|1977||Peter Gabriel||"Solsbury Hill"||UK #13|
|1977||Genesis||Spot the Pigeon||UK #14|
|1978||Genesis||"Follow You Follow Me"1||SWI #6, UK #7, GER #8|
|1980||Peter Gabriel||"Games Without Frontiers"||UK #4, CAN #7|
|1980||Genesis||"Turn It on Again"||UK #8|
|1980||Peter Gabriel||"No Self Control"||UK #33|
|1980||Peter Gabriel||"Biko"||UK #38|
|1981||Genesis||"Abacab"1||NOR #8, UK #9|
|1981||Genesis||"Keep It Dark"||UK #33|
|1982||Malcolm McLaren and the World's Famous Supreme Team||"Buffalo Gals"1||SWI #9, UK #9|
|1983||Malcolm McLaren and the Mclarenettes||"Soweto"||UK #32|
|1983||Malcolm McLaren and the Ebonettes||"Double Dutch"||UK #3, IRE #7, NZ #10|
|1984||Malcolm McLaren||"Madam Butterfly (Un bel di vedremo)"||IRE #10, UK #13|
|1985||Julian Lennon||"Too Late for Goodbyes"1||IRE #5, UK #6|
|1985||Julian Lennon||"Say You're Wrong"||US #21|
|1986||Peter Gabriel||"Sledgehammer"2||IRE #3, UK #4, NLD #6, GER #7, ITA #8|
|1991||Julian Lennon||"Saltwater"1||IRE #5, UK #6|
1: On Atlantic Records in Canada, New Zealand and the US
2: On Geffen Records in Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the US
|1973||Parlour Song Book - An Evening of Victorian Gems|
|Music from Free Creek|
|Lay Lady Lay|
|One More Chance|
|The Golden Age of Comedy|
|The Famous Charisma Label 5th Anniversary|
|1975||Beyond an Empty Dream (Songs for a Modern Church)|
|Charisma Records October Releases|
|Charisma Records September Releases|
|Beyond an Empty Dream|
|1977||Charisma Festival '77|
|The Charisma Repeat Performance|
|1981||We Are Most Amused: The Very Best of British Comedy|
|Heat from the Street|
|1983||Songs for a Modern Church '83|
|1984||Hip Hop - The Original and Best|
Virgin Records Ltd was a British independent record label founded by entrepreneurs Richard Branson, Simon Draper, Nik Powell, and musician Tom Newman in 1972. It grew to be a worldwide success over time, with the success of platinum performers such as Paula Abdul, Janet Jackson, Devo, Tangerine Dream, Genesis, Phil Collins, the Human League, Culture Club, Simple Minds, Lenny Kravitz and Mike Oldfield among others, meaning that by the time it was sold, it was regarded as a major label, alongside other large international independents such as A&M and Island Records.
Genesis Live is the first live album from the English rock band Genesis, released in July 1973 on Charisma Records. Initially recorded for radio broadcast on the American rock program King Biscuit Flower Hour, the album is formed from the recordings of shows at Free Trade Hall, Manchester and De Montfort Hall, Leicester in February 1973 during the band's tour supporting their fourth studio album Foxtrot (1972).
Buddah Records was an American record label founded in 1967 in New York City. The label was born out of Kama Sutra Records, an MGM Records-distributed label, which remained a key imprint following Buddah's founding. Buddah handled a variety of music genres, including bubblegum pop, folk-rock (Melanie), experimental music, and soul.
Pawn Hearts is the fourth album by English progressive rock band Van der Graaf Generator, released in October 1971 on Charisma Records. The original album features just three tracks, including the side-long suite "A Plague of Lighthouse Keepers". The album was not commercially successful in the UK, but reached number one in Italy. It has since seen retrospective critical praise and was reissued on CD in 2005 with extra material.
H to He, Who Am the Only One is the third album by the British progressive rock band Van der Graaf Generator. It was released in 1970 on Charisma Records.
Trident Studios was a British recording facility, located at 17 St Anne's Court in London's Soho district between 1968 and 1981. It was constructed in 1967 by Norman Sheffield, drummer of the 1960s group the Hunters, and his brother Barry.
The Least We Can Do Is Wave to Each Other is the second album by the British progressive rock band Van der Graaf Generator, released in February 1970 on Charisma Records. It was the group's first album to be released in the UK and the only one to chart in the top 50 in that country.
Paul Whitehead is a British painter and graphic artist known for his surrealistic album covers for artists on the Charisma Records label in the 1970s, such as Genesis and Van der Graaf Generator.
Tony Stratton-Smith was an English rock music manager, and entrepreneur. He founded the London-based record label Charisma Records in 1969 and managed rock groups such as the Nice, Van der Graaf Generator and Genesis.
Vital: Van der Graaf Live is the first live album by English progressive rock band Van der Graaf Generator. It was recorded 16 January 1978 at the Marquee Club in London and was released in July, one month after the band's 1978 break-up. The album was credited under the abbreviated name Van der Graaf, like the previous year's The Quiet Zone/The Pleasure Dome (1977), and featured the same line-up plus newcomer cellist/keyboardist Charles Dickie, who had officially joined the band in August 1977, and original saxophonist and flautist David Jackson, who re-joined the band for this recording.
The Aerosol Grey Machine is the debut studio album by English progressive rock band Van der Graaf Generator. It was first released in the United States in 1969 by Mercury Records.
World Record is the seventh studio album by the British progressive rock group Van der Graaf Generator, originally released in 1976 on Charisma Records. Bonus tracks were added for the 2005 rerelease.
Present is the ninth studio album by British progressive rock band Van der Graaf Generator, released in 2005. It was the band's first studio album since The Quiet Zone/The Pleasure Dome in 1977, and the first with the 'classic' line-up since World Record in 1976. The Charisma Records label was reactivated for its release, as well as a reissue series of Van der Graaf Generator's back catalog and Peter Hammill's solo releases from 1972-86.
Fool's Mate is the debut solo album by Peter Hammill of progressive rock band Van der Graaf Generator. The title is both a chess and tarot reference. It was produced by Trident Studios' in-house producer John Anthony. The album was recorded in 1971, in the midst of one of Van der Graaf Generator's most prolific periods. Hammill used the album to record a backlog of songs which were much shorter and simpler than his Van der Graaf Generator material, and declared on the original album sleeve: "This isn't intended to be any kind of statement of my present musical position, but at the same time, it is an album which involves a great deal of me, the person, basically a return to the roots."
Van der Graaf Generator are an English progressive rock band, formed in 1967 in Manchester by singer-songwriters Peter Hammill and Chris Judge Smith and the first act signed by Charisma Records. They did not experience much commercial success in the UK, but became popular in Italy during the 1970s. In 2005 the band reformed, and are still musically active with a line-up of Hammill, organist Hugh Banton and drummer Guy Evans.
Repeat Performance were a series of budget compilation albums issued by Charisma Records in 1980. The first of the series was a various artists compilation, subsequent albums showcased an artist on the label. BG004, claimed to be a compilation of Genesis, was unissued.
Trisector is the tenth studio album by the British rock group Van der Graaf Generator. It was released on Virgin/EMI Records in March 2008. It is an important release for Van der Graaf Generator because it is the first album the band recorded as a trio. Saxophonist David Jackson departed the band following the 2005 tour.
John Anthony is an English music producer. He has worked with Van der Graaf Generator, Genesis, Queen, Roxy Music and Peter Hammill.
A Grounding in Numbers is the eleventh studio album by the British rock group Van der Graaf Generator. It was released on 14 March 2011. This date, if written as 3,14, comprises the first three digits of the number π. The second track, "Mathematics", refers to Euler's identity, sometimes known as the mathematical poem. The album's release signals a continuation in the direction set by the current trio lineup, but it is released on a new label, Esoteric Recordings, a departure from previous releases on Virgin/Charisma. Hugh Padgham is the mixer of the album.
Luxford House is a 16th-century Grade II listed building near Crowborough, East Sussex. It is near the 11.5-acre (4.7 ha) Luxford Farm. It was used by several rock musicians in the 1970s under the guidance of Tony Stratton Smith.