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|United Artists Records|
|Founder||Max E. Youngstein|
|Defunct||September 1980 (fate: absorbed into Liberty Records by EMI)|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Location||New York City, New York, U.S.|
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
United Artists Records was a record label founded by Max E. Youngstein of United Artistsin 1957 to issue movie soundtracks. The label expanded into other genres, such as easy listening, jazz, pop, and R&B.
In 1959, United Artists released Forest of the Amazons, a cantata by Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos adapted from the music he composed for MGM's Green Mansions , with the composer conducting the Symphony of the Air. Brazilian soprano Bidu Sayão was the featured soloist on the unusual recording, which was released on both LP and reel-to-reel tape.
United Artists releases included soundtracks from the James Bond movies, It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963), A Hard Day's Night starring the Beatles (1964), The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965), A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1966), Fiddler on the Roof (1971), and Man of La Mancha (1972). The soundtrack album of United Artists's West Side Story (1961) was released by Columbia Records, which had also released the Broadway cast album. Also, the American version of the soundtrack album of United Artists's Help! (1965), also starring the Beatles, was released on Capitol Records.
As Henry Mancini was signed to RCA Victor, that company handled the soundtracks of the United Artists films that he composed the music for, most notably The Pink Panther ; exceptions include Gaily, Gaily , The Hawaiians , The Pink Panther Strikes Again and Revenge of the Pink Panther . Many of these soundtracks have reverted to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, whose MGM Music unit licensed them to other labels for reissue, first Rykodisc, then Universal Music and EMI. As owner of Columbia and RCA Victor, Sony released the West Side Story original cast album and film soundtrack on CD. Sony has owned most of Mancini's soundtrack albums since its music division's merger with BMG in 2004.
The label produced rock and roll and R&B hits from 1959 and into the 1960s by the Clovers, Marv Johnson, the Falcons, the Exciters, Patty Duke, the Delicates, Bobby Goldsboro, Jay and the Americans, and later Manfred Mann and the Easybeats. Berry Gordy placed a number of early Motown acts with United Artists, including Marv Johnson and Eddie Holland in 1959. Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller were hired to produce artists signed to the label after they left Atlantic. These included the Exciters, Bobby Goldsboro, Jay and the Americans, the Clovers, and Mike Clifford. United Artists covered folk music when it added Gordon Lightfoot to its roster and easy listening with the addition of piano duo Ferrante & Teicher.
United Artists' involvement with jazz was significant. The company hired Alan Douglas in 1960 to run its jazz division.Other producers were George Wein, Jack Lewis, and Tom Wilson. United Artists released jazz albums by Count Basie, Art Blakey, Ruby Braff, Betty Carter, Teddy Charles, Kenny Dorham, Mose Allison, Duke Ellington, Art Farmer, Bud Freeman, Curtis Fuller, Benny Golson, Billie Holiday, Milt Jackson, Dave Lambert, Booker Little, Howard McGhee, Gerry Mulligan, Oliver Nelson, Herb Pomeroy, Bill Potts, Zoot Sims, Rex Stewart, Billy Strayhorn, and the Modern Jazz Quartet.
In 1966, the Solid State division was begun, recording several albums by The Thad Jones/Mel Lewis Orchestra.Other subsidiary labels were Unart, Ascot, United Artists Jazz, Musicor (United Artists was half owner of the company from 1960 to 1964 before selling in 1965 Ultra Audio (an audiophile label), and Veep. Unart was created in 1958 and was in operation until 1959, producing singles by vocal groups, then was recreated in 1967 for budget albums.
In 1966 United Artists acquired the masters of Sue Records, an R&B and soul record label in New York City which produced Ike & Tina Turner, Baby Washington, and jazz organist Jimmy McGriff. Some material produced by Sue was reissued on Unart.
United Artists produced a series of children's records under the "Tale Spinners for Children" name throughout the 1960s. These were album-length adaptations of classic fairy tales and children's stories done in an audio drama format.
United Artists Special Projects were budget records designed for product and movie tie-ins. Examples are The Incredible World of James Bond , an album sold by Pepsi Cola and Frito Lay of cover version themes and original soundtrack music of the first three James Bond films, and Music from Marlboro Country, various cover versions of the theme to The Magnificent Seven and original soundtrack music from Elmer Bernstein's Return of the Seven that was sold by Philip Morris as a tie-in to its Marlboro cigarette brand.
In 1969, United Artists merged with co-owned Liberty Records and its subsidiary, Imperial Records. In 1971, Liberty/UA Records dropped the Liberty name in favor of United Artists.
Mainstream pop acts were signed to the label, among them Traffic, the Spencer Davis Group, Peter Sarstedt, Shirley Bassey, and War. The label attempted to update the style of 1950s rock group Bill Haley & His Comets with a 1968 single. After UA bought Mediarts Records, the roster grew to include Don McLean, Merrilee Rush, Paul Anka, Chris Rea, Dusty Springfield, Bill Conti, Northern Calloway, Johnny Rivers, Ike & Tina Turner, Gerry Rafferty, and Crystal Gayle. Later, through a distribution deal with Jet Records, Electric Light Orchestra was signed. UA also distributed the otherwise-independent Grateful Dead Records in the early-to-mid 1970s.
In England, Andrew Lauder, who had been head of A&R at the UK branch of Liberty Records, transferred to UA when Liberty was shut down in 1971. His signings included the Groundhogs, Aynsley Dunbar (only in the UK), Hawkwind, Bonzo Dog Band, Brinsley Schwarz, Man (all originally Liberty artists), High Tide, Help Yourself, Dr. Feelgood, the Buzzcocks, the Stranglers and 999. He also licensed UK releases for several influential German bands during the early 70s, the best known of which were Can, Neu! and Amon Düül II. Lauder left UA in late 1977 to help found Radar Records.
The label's most commercially successful artist was country artist Kenny Rogers who signed to UA in the mid-1970s, enjoying a long string of hit singles and albums.
In the mid-to-late 1970s the company was known as United Artists Music and Records Group (UAMARG).
In 1978, UA executives Artie Mogull and Jerry Rubinstein bought the record company from Transamerica with a loan from EMI, which took over distribution of the label. The official name of the company was changed to Liberty/United Records, but the United Artists Records name was retained under license. The deal led to an immediate setback, as the change of ownership allowed Jet Records to end its relationship with UA and switch its distribution to CBS Records, with the Jet back catalog transferring to CBS distribution as well.UA dumped many ELO albums into the cutout market, which CBS was unable to prevent. However, CBS reissues of early ELO albums through Out of the Blue (1977) contained copyright notices for United Artists Music and Records Group. Unable to generate enough income to cover the loan, Liberty/United Records was sold to EMI in 1979 for $3 million and assumed liabilities of $32 million.
EMI dropped the United Artists name in 1980 and revived the Liberty label for releases by artists who had been signed to UA.This incarnation of Liberty Records operated between 1980 and about 1986, when it was deactivated and its artists assigned to other EMI labels.
Many albums from the United Artists Records catalog were reissued on Liberty during these years. Two significant exceptions were a couple of Beatles albums not previously controlled by EMI in the United States: the A Hard Day's Night (1964) soundtrack album, and Let It Be (1970). The Let It Be album was actually released by Apple Records in both the UK and the US but because the movie had been distributed by United Artists Pictures, in America the album was distributed by United Artists rather than EMI.Both previously non-EMI Beatles albums were reissued on the Capitol label, which already controlled the rest of the Beatles' catalog in the United States.
When producer Jerry Weintraub was enlisted to revive the United Artists movie studio in 1986, he attempted to revive the United Artists Records label as well. However, only one album was released: the soundtrack for The Karate Kid Part II , a film Weintraub had produced for Columbia Pictures before being hired at UA. A single from the movie's soundtrack, Mancrab's "Fish for Life," was also released on United Artists Records.
The United Artists catalog is controlled by Capitol Records, now part of Universal Music Group (who also owns the non-soundtrack catalog of MGM Records, once owned by UA's current parent Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer).Capitol Records also has the rights to soundtrack albums UA Records released under license from MGM Music. The catalog of British acts who were signed to the British branch of UA Records is today controlled by the Parlophone unit of Warner Music Group, with North American distribution by Rhino Entertainment.
Parlophone Records Limited is a German–British record label founded in Germany in 1896 by the Carl Lindström Company as Parlophon. The British branch of the label was founded on 8 August 1923 as the Parlophone Company Limited, which developed a reputation in the 1920s as a jazz record label. On 5 October 1926, the Columbia Graphophone Company acquired Parlophone's business, name, logo, and release library, and merged with the Gramophone Company on 31 March 1931 to become Electric & Musical Industries Limited (EMI). George Martin joined Parlophone in 1950 as assistant label manager, taking over as manager in 1955. Martin produced and released a mix of recordings, including by comedian Peter Sellers, pianist Mrs Mills, and teen idol Adam Faith.
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 on January 15, 1889, 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 1991, 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.
Capitol Records is an American record label owned by Universal Music Group through its Capitol Music Group imprint. It was founded as the first west coast–based record label of note in the United States in 1942 by Johnny Mercer, Buddy DeSylva, and Glenn E. Wallichs. Capitol was acquired by British music conglomerate EMI as its North American subsidiary in 1955. EMI was acquired by Universal Music Group in 2012 and was merged with the company a year later, making Capitol and the Capitol Music Group both a part of UMG. The label's circular headquarters building is a recognized landmark of Hollywood, California. Capitol is well known as the U.S. record label of the Beatles, especially during the years of Beatlemania in America from 1964 to 1967.
Apple Records is a record label founded by the Beatles in 1968 as a division of Apple Corps Ltd. It was initially intended as a creative outlet for the Beatles, both as a group and individually, plus a selection of other artists including Mary Hopkin, James Taylor, Badfinger, and Billy Preston. In practice, the roster had become dominated by the mid-1970s with releases of the former Beatles as solo artists. Allen Klein managed the label from 1969 to 1973, then it was managed by Neil Aspinall on behalf of the Beatles and their heirs. Aspinall retired in 2007 and was replaced by Jeff Jones.
Polydor Records Ltd. is a German-British record label and company that operates as part of Universal Music Group. It has a close relationship with Universal's Interscope Geffen A&M Records label, which distributes Polydor's releases in the United States. In turn, Polydor distributes Interscope releases in the United Kingdom. Polydor Records Ltd. was established in London in 1954 as a British subsidiary of German company Deutsche Grammophon GmbH. It was renamed Polydor Ltd. in 1972.
MGM Records was a record label founded by the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film studio in 1946 for the purpose of releasing soundtrack recordings of their musical films. It transitioned into a pop music label which continued into the 1970s. The company also released soundtrack albums of the music for some of their non-musical films as well, and on rare occasions, cast albums of off-Broadway musicals such as The Fantasticks and the 1954 revival of The Threepenny Opera. In one instance, it released the highly successful soundtrack album of a film made by another studio, Columbia Pictures's Born Free (1966).
Liberty Records was a record label founded in the United States by chairman Simon Waronker in 1955 with Al Bennett as president and Theodore Keep as chief engineer. It was reactivated in 2001 in the United Kingdom and had two previous revivals.
Vee-Jay Records is an American record label founded in the 1950s, located in Chicago and specializing in blues, jazz, rhythm and blues and rock and roll.
Imperial Records is an American record company and label started in 1947 by Lew Chudd. The label was reactivated in 2006 by EMI, which owned the label and back catalogue at the time. Imperial is owned by Universal Music Group.
Rhino Entertainment Company is an American specialty record label and production company founded in 1978. It is currently the catalog division for Warner Music Group. Its current CEO is Mark Pinkus.
Blue Thumb Records was an American record label founded in 1968 by Bob Krasnow and former A&M Records executives Tommy LiPuma and Don Graham. Blue Thumb's last record was released in 1978. In 1995, the label was revived and remained active until 2005.
Angel Records was a record label founded by EMI in 1953. It specialised in classical music, but included an occasional operetta or Broadway score. The Angel mark was used by EMI, its predecessors, and affiliated companies from 1898. The label has been inactive since 2006, wnen it dissolved and reassigned its classical artists and catalogues to its parent label EMI Classics and merged its musical theatre artists and catalogues into Capitol Records. EMI Classics was sold to the Warner Music Group in 2013.
EMI Records Ltd. is a British record label owned by Universal Music Group (UMG). The original EMI Records was founded by the music company of the same name in 1972 as its flagship label, and launched in January 1973 as the successor to its Columbia and Parlophone record labels. The label was later launched worldwide. It has a branch in India called "EMI Records India", run by director Mohit Suri. UMG revived the label in June 2020, as the successor to Virgin EMI, with Virgin Records now operating as an imprint of EMI Records.
20th Century Fox Records, also known as 20th Fox Records and 20th Century Records, was a wholly owned subsidiary of film studio 20th Century Fox. The history of the label covers three distinct 20th Century Fox-related operations in the analog era, ranging chronologically from about 1938 to 1981.
Minit Records was an American independent record label, originally based in New Orleans and founded by Joe Banashak in 1959. Ernie K. Doe, Aaron Neville, Irma Thomas, and Benny Spellman were early artists on the label. Later artist included Bobby Womack and Ike & Tina Turner.
Universal Music Group Nashville is Universal Music Group's country music subsidiary. Some of the labels in this group include MCA Nashville Records, Mercury Nashville Records, Lost Highway Records, Capitol Records Nashville and EMI Records Nashville. UMG Nashville not only handles these imprints, but also manages the country music catalogues of record labels Universal Music and predecessor companies acquired over the years including ABC Records, Decca Records, Dot Records, DreamWorks Records, Kapp Records, MGM Records and Polydor Records.
Pacific Jazz Records was a Los Angeles-based record company and label best known for cool jazz or West coast jazz. It was founded in 1952 by producer Richard Bock (1927–1988) and drummer Roy Harte (1924–2003). Harte, in 1954, also co-founded Nocturne Records with jazz bassist Harry Babasin (1921–1988).
Bell Records was an American record label founded in 1952 in New York City by Arthur Shimkin, the owner of the children's record label Golden Records, and initially a unit of Pocket Books, after the rights to the name were acquired from Benny Bell who used the Bell name to issue risque novelty records. A British branch was also active in the 1960s and 1970s. Bell Records was shut down in late in 1974, and its assets were transferred to Columbia's new label, Arista Records.
Capitol Music Group is an American front line umbrella label owned by the Universal Music Group (UMG). The company is run by Chairman & CEO Jeff Vaughn. It oversees handling of record labels assigned to UMG's Capitol Records division and was inherited from its acquisition of EMI's catalog [with the exception of Parlophone, which was sold to Warner Music Group (WMG) in 2013]. It is one of seven umbrella labels owned by UMG, the other six being Interscope Geffen A&M, Island Records, Def Jam Recordings, Republic Records, Verve Records, and Decca Records.
Budget albums were low-priced vinyl LPs of popular and classical music released during the 1950s to 1970s consisting either of previously released material or material recorded especially for the line. Prices ranged from as low as 59 U.S. cents to $2.98. In the UK Pickwick Records' Top of the Pops record series, which operated between 1968 and 1985, was the most successful budget album range.