Fontana Records

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Fontana Records
Fontanalogo.png
Parent company Universal Music Group (1954-2012, 2019-present)
Isolation Network (2012-2019)
Founded1954 (1954)
Distributor(s)
GenreVarious
Country of originU.S.
LocationLos Angeles, California
Official website fontanadistribution.com

Fontana Records is a record label which was started in the 1950s as a subsidiary of the Dutch Philips Records. [1] The independent label distributor Fontana Distribution takes its name from the label.

A record label, or record company, is a brand or trademark associated with the marketing of music recordings and music videos. Sometimes, a record label is also a publishing company that manages such brands and trademarks, coordinates the production, manufacture, distribution, marketing, promotion, and enforcement of copyright for sound recordings and music videos, while also conducting talent scouting and development of new artists, and maintaining contracts with recording artists and their managers. The term "record label" derives from the circular label in the center of a vinyl record which prominently displays the manufacturer's name, along with other information. Within the mainstream music industry, recording artists have traditionally been reliant upon record labels to broaden their consumer base, market their albums, and be both promoted and heard on music streaming services, radio, and television. Record labels also provide publicists, who assist performers in gaining positive media coverage, and arrange for their merchandise to be available via stores and other media outlets.

Philips Records Dutch record label; imprint of Philips Phonografische Industrie

Philips Records is a record label that was founded by the Dutch electronics company Philips. In 1946, Philips acquired the company which pressed records for British Decca's Dutch outlet in Amsterdam.

Fontana Distribution US music distributor

Fontana Distribution is a division of San Francisco-based Isolation Network. A minority stake of the company was owned by Universal Music until INgrooves acquired Fontana Distribution from UMG in 2012 to form INgrooves Fontana.

Contents

History

Fontana started in the 1950s as a subsidiary of the Dutch Philips Records; when Philips restructured its music operations, it dropped Fontana in favor of Vertigo Records.

Vertigo Records British record label

Vertigo Records is a record company, which originated in the United Kingdom. It was a subsidiary of the Philips/Phonogram record label, launched in 1969 to specialise in progressive rock and other non-mainstream musical styles. Today it is operated by Universal Music UK.

1960s U.S. Fontana 45-rpm record of "Winchester Cathedral" by the New Vaudeville Band, one of four U.S. Fontana singles that topped the Billboard charts FontanaRecord45Small.jpg
1960s U.S. Fontana 45-rpm record of "Winchester Cathedral" by the New Vaudeville Band, one of four U.S. Fontana singles that topped the Billboard charts

Fontana's U.S. counterpart label was started in 1964 and distributed by Philips US subsidiary Mercury Records. The initial single release (F 1501) was a wild teen beat instrumental by famed British session drummer Bobby Graham, both sides featuring Jimmy Page on guitar. Among the hitmakers were Wayne Fontana & the Mindbenders (then on their own simply as the Mindbenders), the Troggs, the New Vaudeville Band and Steam, all of whom had No. 1 hits on the label. Other successful Fontana artists included Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich, the Silkie, Nana Mouskouri, the Pretty Things, the Herd, Gloria Lynne and the duo of Jane Birkin & Serge Gainsbourg. The label also served as an outlet for other British acts such as the Merseybeats, the Others, Eden Kane, the Escorts and Sight & Sound.

Mercury Records record label

Mercury Records is an American record label owned by Universal Music Group. In the United States, it operates through Island Records; in the UK, it is distributed by Virgin EMI Records.

Bobby Graham was an English session drummer, composer, arranger and record producer. Shel Talmy, who produced The Kinks, David Bowie and The Who, described Graham as "the greatest drummer the UK has ever produced."

Jimmy Page British guitarist of Led Zeppelin

James Patrick Page is an English musician, songwriter, and record producer who achieved international success as the guitarist and founder of the rock band Led Zeppelin.

In some cases, Fontana was early on artists who achieved greater fame and fortune with subsequent releases for other labels, like the Spencer Davis Group, the Guess Who, Don Partridge and Helen Reddy. Notably, in 1964, a group calling themselves The High Numbers released their first single, "I'm The Face"/"Zoot Suit." They achieved worldwide success after changing labels and management, and changing their name to The Who. It was also an outlet for some of the productions James Brown recorded under his deal with sister label Smash Records including Vicki Anderson. Mercury discontinued the label (and one other subsidiary, Smash Records) in 1970.[ citation needed ]

The Spencer Davis Group British band

The Spencer Davis Group are a British rock band formed in Birmingham in 1963, by Spencer Davis with Steve Winwood and his brother, Muff Winwood. Their best known songs include the UK number ones "Somebody Help Me" and "Keep on Running", "I'm a Man" and "Gimme Some Lovin'", which reached #2 in the UK and #7 in the US.

The Guess Who Canadian rock band

The Guess Who is a Canadian rock band, formed in Winnipeg in 1965. Initially gaining recognition in Canada, the group found international success from the late 1960s through the mid-1970s with many hit singles, including "No Time", "American Woman", "Laughing", "These Eyes", "Undun" and "Share the Land". The band have continued to perform and record to the present day, and at various times have included many well-known musicians, including Burton Cummings and Randy Bachman. Formed as a garage rock band, their musical style encompassed the pop rock and psychedelic rock genres.

Don Partridge English singer and songwriter

Donald Eric Partridge was an English singer and songwriter, known as the "king of the buskers". He performed from the early 1960s first as a folk singer and later as a busker and one-man band, and achieved unexpected commercial success in the UK and Europe in the late 1960s with the songs "Rosie", "Blue Eyes" and "Breakfast On Pluto". He later was a founder of the group Accolade, which released two albums. He continued writing music, playing, busking and recording, mainly as a solo artist, until 2008.

Fontana's British division was the UK licensee for Motown Records (in 1961), Columbia Records and Epic Records (until 1962), Vanguard Records (until 1967), Mainstream Records and ESP-Disk. As with Philips, labels were blue for singles, black for EPs and LPs. In 1972, PolyGram acquired the dormant label.[ citation needed ]

Columbia Records American record label; currently owned by Sony Music Entertainment

Columbia Records is an American record label owned by Sony Music Entertainment, a subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America, the North American division of Japanese conglomerate Sony. It was founded in 1887, evolving from the American Graphophone Company, the successor to the Volta Graphophone Company. Columbia is the oldest surviving brand name in the recorded sound business, and the second major company to produce records. From 1961 to 1990, Columbia recordings were released outside North America under the name CBS Records to avoid confusion with EMI's Columbia Graphophone Company. Columbia is one of Sony Music's four flagship record labels, alongside former longtime rival RCA Records, as well as Arista Records and Epic Records.

Epic Records American record label

Epic Records is an American record label owned by Sony Music Entertainment, a subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America, Inc., the North American division of Japanese conglomerate Sony. The label was founded predominantly as a jazz and classical music label in 1953, but later expanded its scope to include a more diverse range of genres, including pop, R&B, rock, and hip hop. Epic has released music by artists including Glenn Miller, Tammy Wynette, George Michael, The Yardbirds, Donovan, Shakin Stevens, Europe, Cheap Trick, Meat Loaf, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Ted Nugent, Shakira, Sly & the Family Stone, The Hollies, Celine Dion, Mariah Carey, ABBA, Anastacia, Boston, Dave Clark Five, Gloria Estefan, Pearl Jam, Rage Against the Machine, and Michael Jackson. Along with Arista, Columbia and RCA Records, Epic is one of Sony Music Entertainment's four flagship record labels.

Vanguard Records Record label

Vanguard Records is an American record label set up in 1950 by brothers Maynard and Seymour Solomon in New York City. It was a primarily classical label throughout its heyday in the 50s and 60s, but is perhaps best known for its catalogue of recordings by a number of pivotal jazz, folk, and blues musicians. The Bach Guild was a subsidiary label.

In the UK and Europe, the Fontana label was largely dormant after 1974, although in 1980-81 it was used for releases by Sector 27 and Dennis Bovell. Fontana was revived in the late 1980s as an outlet for acts such as Tears for Fears, the Teardrop Explodes, Pere Ubu, Cocteau Twins and Swing Out Sister, and was active in the 1990s, releasing music for acts such as House of Love, Gorky's Zygotic Mynci, Ocean Colour Scene, Oleta Adams and James. It is currently an active division of Fontana Distribution, using the same logo.

Tom Robinson British musician

Thomas Giles Robinson is a British singer-songwriter, bassist, radio presenter and long-time LGBT rights activist, best known for the hits "Glad to Be Gay", "2-4-6-8 Motorway", and "Don't Take No for an Answer", with his Tom Robinson Band. He later peaked at No. 6 in the UK Singles Chart with his solo single "War Baby".

Dennis Bovell Barbadian-British reggae musician

Dennis Bovell is a Barbados-born reggae guitarist, bass player and record producer, based in England. He was a member of the British reggae band Matumbi, and released dub-reggae records under his own name as well as the pseudonym Blackbeard. He is most widely known for his decades-spanning collaborations with Linton Kwesi Johnson.

Tears for Fears English pop/rock band

Tears for Fears are an English pop rock band formed in Bath in 1981 by Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith. Founded after the dissolution of their first band, the mod-influenced Graduate, they were initially associated with the new wave synthesiser bands of the early 1980s but later branched out into mainstream rock and pop, which led to international chart success. They were part of the MTV-driven Second British Invasion of the US.

The label's only artists as of March 2013 are Brooke Hogan and Papoose.[ citation needed ]

US label variations

See also

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The Mindbenders band that plays beat music

The Mindbenders were an English beat group from Manchester, England. Originally the backing group for Wayne Fontana, they were one of several acts that were successful in the mid-1960s British Invasion of the US charts, achieving major chart hits with "Game of Love" in 1965 and "A Groovy Kind of Love" in 1966.

Pye Records was a British record label. Its best known artists were Lonnie Donegan (1956–69), Petula Clark (1957–71), The Searchers (1963–67), The Kinks (1964–71), Sandie Shaw (1964–71), Status Quo (1968–71) and Brotherhood of Man (1975–79). The label changed its name to PRT Records in 1980, before being briefly reactivated as Pye Records in 2006.

Charisma Records record label

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Embassy Records was a UK budget record label that produced cover versions of current hit songs, which were sold exclusively in Woolworths shops at a lower price than the original recordings. The original label was active between 1954 and 1965, after which it disappeared when its parent company, Oriole, was taken over by CBS Records.

Phonogram Incorporated was started in 1970 as a successor to Philips Phonographic Industries, a unit of the Grammophon-Philips Group (GPG), a joint venture of Philips N.V. of the Netherlands and Siemens A.G. of Germany.

Marty Wilde English singer and songwriter

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Eric Stewart British musician

Eric Michael Stewart is an English singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and record producer, best known as a founding member of the rock groups The Mindbenders with whom he played from 1963 to 1968, and likewise of 10cc from 1972 to 1995. Stewart co-owned Strawberry Studios in Stockport, England from 1968 to the early 1980s, where he recorded albums with 10cc and artists like Neil Sedaka and Paul McCartney. Stewart collaborated with McCartney extensively in the 1980s, playing on or co-writing songs for McCartney's solo albums Tug of War (1982), Pipes of Peace (1983), Give My Regards to Broad Street (1984), and Press to Play (1986). Since 1980, Stewart has released four solo studio albums.

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Wayne Fontana is an English rock and pop singer, best known for the 1965 hit "Game of Love" with the Mindbenders.

Diane Renay, born Renee Diane Kushner, is an American pop singer, best known for her 1964 hit song, "Navy Blue".

Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um 1963 single by Major Lance

"Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um" is a song, written by Curtis Mayfield. The first recording to be released was by Major Lance, as a single in December 1963, produced by Okeh label president Carl Davis. The song was Major Lance's third release to make the Billboard Hot 100 and his most successful hit with a #5 peak on the Billboard Hot 100 on 8 February 1964 with a #1 peak on the Cash Box R&B chart. In the UK it reached #40, Lance's only UK chart appearance. The song would become a major UK hit in the autumn of 1964 via a rendition by Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders which reached #5. A French rendering entitled "Hum, hum, hum" had been recorded by Frank Alamo and charted in France in early 1965 with a chart peak of #6.

References

  1. Bell, Robin (13 February 2016). The History of British Rock and Roll: The Beat Boom 1963 - 1966. Lulu Press. pp. 226–. ISBN   978-91-981916-6-0.