Columbia Records
Overview
 
Columbia Records is an American record label
Record label
In the music industry, a record label is a brand and a trademark associated with the marketing of music recordings and music videos. Most commonly, a record label is the company that manages such brands and trademarks, coordinates the production, manufacture, distribution, marketing and promotion,...

, owned by Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

's Sony Music Entertainment
Sony Music Entertainment
Sony Music Entertainment ' is the second-largest global recorded music company of the "big four" record companies and is controlled by Sony Corporation of America, the United States subsidiary of Japan's Sony Corporation....

, operating under the Columbia Music Group with Aware Records
Aware Records
Aware Records is an American record label, existent to seek unsigned musical artists and expose them to the mainstream media. The label has had success with a range of artists, including John Mayer, Train, Five For Fighting, Mat Kearney and Guster....

. It was founded in 1888, evolving from an earlier enterprise, the American Graphophone Company — successor to the Volta Graphophone Company. Columbia is the oldest brand name in pre-recorded sound, being the first record company to produce pre-recorded records as opposed to blank cylinders. Columbia Records went on to release records by an array of notable singers, instrumentalists and groups.
Encyclopedia
Columbia Records is an American record label
Record label
In the music industry, a record label is a brand and a trademark associated with the marketing of music recordings and music videos. Most commonly, a record label is the company that manages such brands and trademarks, coordinates the production, manufacture, distribution, marketing and promotion,...

, owned by Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

's Sony Music Entertainment
Sony Music Entertainment
Sony Music Entertainment ' is the second-largest global recorded music company of the "big four" record companies and is controlled by Sony Corporation of America, the United States subsidiary of Japan's Sony Corporation....

, operating under the Columbia Music Group with Aware Records
Aware Records
Aware Records is an American record label, existent to seek unsigned musical artists and expose them to the mainstream media. The label has had success with a range of artists, including John Mayer, Train, Five For Fighting, Mat Kearney and Guster....

. It was founded in 1888, evolving from an earlier enterprise, the American Graphophone Company — successor to the Volta Graphophone Company. Columbia is the oldest brand name in pre-recorded sound, being the first record company to produce pre-recorded records as opposed to blank cylinders. Columbia Records went on to release records by an array of notable singers, instrumentalists and groups. From 1961 to 1990, its recordings were released outside the U.S. and Canada on the CBS Records label (for Columbia Broadcasting System
CBS
CBS Broadcasting Inc. is a major US commercial broadcasting television network, which started as a radio network. The name is derived from the initials of the network's former name, Columbia Broadcasting System. The network is sometimes referred to as the "Eye Network" in reference to the shape of...

, its parent from 1938 to 1988) before adopting the Columbia name in most of the world.

Until 1989, Columbia Records had no connection to Columbia Pictures
Columbia Pictures
Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. is an American film production and distribution company. Columbia Pictures now forms part of the Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group, owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment, a subsidiary of the Japanese conglomerate Sony. It is one of the leading film companies...

, which used various other names for record labels they owned, including Colpix
Colpix Records
Colpix Records was the first recording company for Columbia Pictures–Screen Gems. Colpix got its name from combining Columbia and Pictures . It was founded by Jonie Taps and Harry Cohn in 1958, and was based in New York City. Paul Wexler headed the label. Stu Phillips was in charge of A&R...

 and later Arista
Arista Records
Arista was an American record label. It was a wholly owned subsidiary of Sony Music Entertainment and operated under the RCA Music Group. The label was founded in 1974 by Clive Davis, who formerly worked for CBS Records...

; rather, it was connected to the original owner, CBS
CBS
CBS Broadcasting Inc. is a major US commercial broadcasting television network, which started as a radio network. The name is derived from the initials of the network's former name, Columbia Broadcasting System. The network is sometimes referred to as the "Eye Network" in reference to the shape of...

, which stood for Columbia Broadcasting System. Though Arista was later sold to BMG
BMG
Bertelsmann Music Group, , was a division of Bertelsmann before its completion of sale of the majority of its assets to Japan's Sony Corporation of America on October 1, 2008. It was established in 1987 to combine the music label activities of Bertelsmann...

, it is now a sister label to Columbia Records through Sony Music; both are connected to Columbia Pictures through Sony Corporation of America
Sony Corporation of America
Sony Corporation of America , based in New York, is the United States subsidiary of Japan's Sony Corporation, headquartered in Tokyo. It is the umbrella company under which all Sony companies operate in the United States....

, worldwide parent of both the music and motion picture
Sony Pictures Entertainment
Sony Pictures Entertainment, Inc. is the television and film production/distribution unit of Japanese multinational technology and media conglomerate Sony...

 arms of Sony
Sony
, commonly referred to as Sony, is a Japanese multinational conglomerate corporation headquartered in Minato, Tokyo, Japan and the world's fifth largest media conglomerate measured by revenues....

.

Beginnings

The Columbia Phonograph Company was originally the local company run by Edward Easton, distributing and selling Edison
Thomas Edison
Thomas Alva Edison was an American inventor and businessman. He developed many devices that greatly influenced life around the world, including the phonograph, the motion picture camera, and a long-lasting, practical electric light bulb. In addition, he created the world’s first industrial...

 phonograph
Phonograph
The phonograph record player, or gramophone is a device introduced in 1877 that has had continued common use for reproducing sound recordings, although when first developed, the phonograph was used to both record and reproduce sounds...

s and phonograph cylinder
Phonograph cylinder
Phonograph cylinders were the earliest commercial medium for recording and reproducing sound. Commonly known simply as "records" in their era of greatest popularity , these cylinder shaped objects had an audio recording engraved on the outside surface which could be reproduced when the cylinder was...

s in Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

, Maryland
Maryland
Maryland is a U.S. state located in the Mid Atlantic region of the United States, bordering Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; and Delaware to its east...

 and Delaware
Delaware
Delaware is a U.S. state located on the Atlantic Coast in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. It is bordered to the south and west by Maryland, and to the north by Pennsylvania...

, and derives its name from the District of Columbia, which was its headquarters. As was the custom of some of the regional phonograph companies, Columbia produced many commercial cylinder recordings of its own, and its catalogue of musical records in 1891 was 10 pages long. Columbia's ties to Edison and the North American Phonograph Company were severed in 1894 with the North American Phonograph Company's breakup, and thereafter sold only records and phonographs of its own manufacture. In 1902, Columbia introduced the "XP" record, a molded brown wax record, to use up old stock. Columbia introduced "black wax" records in 1903, and, according to Tim Gracyk, continued to mold brown waxes until 1904; the highest number known to Gracyk is 32601, "Heinie", which is a duet by Arthur Collins and Byron G. Harlan
Byron G. Harlan
Byron G. Harlan was an American singer from Kansas, a comic minstrel singer and balladeer who often recorded with Arthur Collins. The two together were often billed as "Collins & Harlan".-Solo recordings:1899...

. According to Gracyk, the molded brown waxes may have been sold to Sears for distribution (possibly under Sears' "Oxford" trademark for Columbia products).
Columbia began selling disc records
Gramophone record
A gramophone record, commonly known as a phonograph record , vinyl record , or colloquially, a record, is an analog sound storage medium consisting of a flat disc with an inscribed, modulated spiral groove...

 and phonographs in addition to the cylinder system in 1901, preceded only by their "Toy Graphophone" of 1899, which used small, vertically cut records. For a decade, Columbia competed with both the Edison Phonograph Company cylinders and the Victor Talking Machine Company
Victor Talking Machine Company
The Victor Talking Machine Company was an American corporation, the leading American producer of phonographs and phonograph records and one of the leading phonograph companies in the world at the time. It was headquartered in Camden, New Jersey....

 disc records as one of the top three names in American recorded sound.

In order to add prestige to its early catalog of artists, Columbia contracted a number of New York Metropolitan Opera stars to make recordings (from 1903 onwards). These stars included Marcella Sembrich
Marcella Sembrich
Marcella Sembrich was the stage name of the Polish coloratura soprano, Prakseda Marcelina Kochańska...

, Lillian Nordica
Lillian Nordica
Lillian Nordica was an American opera singer who had a major stage career in Europe and her native country....

, Antonio Scotti
Antonio Scotti
Antonio Scotti was an Italian baritone. He was a principal artist of the New York Metropolitan Opera for more than 33 seasons, but also sang with great success at London's Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and Milan's La Scala.-Life:Antonio Scotti was born in Naples, Italy...

 and Edouard de Reszke
Edouard de Reszke
Édouard de Reszke, originally Edward, was a Polish bass from Warsaw. Born with an impressive natural voice and equipped with compelling histrionic skills, he became one of the most illustrious opera singers active in Europe and America during the late-Victorian Era.-Career:Édouard de Reszke was...

, but the technical standard of their recordings were not considered to be as high as the results achieved with classical singers during the pre-World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

 period by Victor, Edison, England's His Master's Voice or Italy's Fonotipia Records
Fonotipia Records
Fonotipia Records, or Dischi Fonotipia, was an Italian gramophone record label established in 1904 with a charter to record the art of leading opera singers and some other celebrity musicians, chiefly violinists. Fonotipia continued to operate into the electrical recording era, which commenced in...

. After an abortive attempt in 1904 to manufacture discs with the recording grooves stamped into both sides of each disc — not just one — in 1908 Columbia commenced successful mass production of what they called their "Double-Faced" discs, the 10-inch variety initially selling for 65 cents apiece. The firm also introduced the internal-horn "Grafonola
Graphophone
The Graphophone was the name and trademark of an improved version of the phonograph invented at the Volta Laboratory established by Alexander Graham Bell in Washington, D.C....

" to compete with the extremely popular "Victrola" sold by the rival Victor Talking Machine Company
Victor Talking Machine Company
The Victor Talking Machine Company was an American corporation, the leading American producer of phonographs and phonograph records and one of the leading phonograph companies in the world at the time. It was headquartered in Camden, New Jersey....

.

During this era, Columbia used the famous "Magic Notes" logo — a pair of sixteenth notes (semiquavers) in a circle — both in the United States and overseas (where this particular logo would never substantially change).

Columbia stopped recording and manufacturing wax cylinder records in 1908, after arranging to issue celluloid cylinder records made by the Indestructible Record Company of Albany, New York, as "Columbia Indestructible Records." In July 1912, Columbia decided to concentrate exclusively on disc records and stopped manufacturing cylinder phonographs although they continued selling Indestructible's cylinders under the Columbia name for a year or two more.

In late 1923, Columbia went into receivership. The company was bought by their English subsidiary, the Columbia Graphophone Company
Columbia Graphophone Company
The Columbia Graphophone Company was one of the earliest gramophone companies in the United Kingdom. Under EMI, as Columbia Records, it became a very successful label in the 1950s and 1960s...

 in 1925 and the label, record numbering system, and recording process changed. (The "New Process" [still acoustic] was used on budget labels until 1930). See more at American Columbia single record cataloging systems. On February 25, 1925, Columbia began recording with the new electric recording process licensed from Western Electric
Western Electric
Western Electric Company was an American electrical engineering company, the manufacturing arm of AT&T from 1881 to 1995. It was the scene of a number of technological innovations and also some seminal developments in industrial management...

. The new "Viva-tonal" records set a benchmark in tone and clarity unequalled on commercial discs during the "78-rpm" era. The first electrical recordings were made by Art Gillham
Art Gillham
Art Gillham, , was an American songwriter, who was among the first crooners as a pioneer radio artist and a recording artist for Columbia Records....

, the popular "Whispering Pianist." In a secret agreement with Victor, neither company made the new recording technology public knowledge for some months, in order not to hurt sales of their existing acoustically recorded catalog while a new electrically recorded catalog was being compiled.

In 1926, Columbia acquired Okeh Records
Okeh Records
Okeh Records began as an independent record label based in the United States of America in 1918. From 1926 on, it was a subsidiary of Columbia Records.-History:...

 and its growing stable of jazz and blues artists, including Louis Armstrong
Louis Armstrong
Louis Armstrong , nicknamed Satchmo or Pops, was an American jazz trumpeter and singer from New Orleans, Louisiana....

 and Clarence Williams. (Columbia has already built an impressive catalog of blues and jazz artists, including Bessie Smith
Bessie Smith
Bessie Smith was an American blues singer.Sometimes referred to as The Empress of the Blues, Smith was the most popular female blues singer of the 1920s and 1930s...

). In 1928, Paul Whiteman
Paul Whiteman
Paul Samuel Whiteman was an American bandleader and orchestral director.Leader of the most popular dance bands in the United States during the 1920s, Whiteman's recordings were immensely successful, and press notices often referred to him as the "King of Jazz"...

, the nation's most popular orchestra leader, left Victor to record for Columbia. That same year, Columbia executive Frank Buckley Walker pioneered some of the first country music or "hillbilly" genre recordings with the Johnson City sessions
Johnson City sessions
The Johnson City Sessions were a series of recording auditions conducted in Johnson City, Tennessee, in 1928 and 1929 by Frank Buckley Walker, head of the Columbia Records “hillbilly” recordings division. They were part of a search for native Appalachian-Blue Ridge Mountains musical talent...

 in Tennessee, including artists such as Clarence Horton Greene
Clarence Horton Greene
Clarence Horton Greene was an American musician and recording artist, noted for his fiddle and guitar work, and a pioneer in country music of the 1920s.-Biography:...

 and the legendary fiddler and entertainer, "Fiddlin'" Charlie Bowman
Charlie Bowman
Charles Thomas Bowman was an American old-time fiddle player and string band leader. He was a major influence on the distinctive fiddle sound that helped shape and develop early Country music in the 1920s and 1930s...

. He followed that with a return to Tennessee the next year, as well as recording sessions in other cities of the South. 1929 saw industry legend Ben Selvin
Ben Selvin
Benjamin B. Selvin , son of Russian-immigrant Jewish parents, was a musician, bandleader, record producer and innovator in recorded music. He was known as The Dean of Recorded Music....

 signing on as house bandleader and A. & R. director. Other favorites in the Viva-tonal era included Ruth Etting, Fletcher Henderson
Fletcher Henderson
James Fletcher Hamilton Henderson, Jr. was an American pianist, bandleader, arranger and composer, important in the development of big band jazz and swing music. His was one of the most prolific black orchestras and his influence was vast...

 and Ted Lewis
Ted Lewis (musician)
Theodore Leopold Friedman, better known as Ted Lewis , was an American entertainer, bandleader, singer, and musician. He led a band presenting a combination of jazz, hokey comedy, and schmaltzy sentimentality that was a hit with the American public. He was known by the moniker "Mr...

. Columbia kept using acoustic recording for "budget label" pop product well into 1929 on the labels Harmony, Velvet Tone (both general purpose labels) and Diva (sold exclusively at W.T. Grant stores). 1929 was the year that Columbia's older rival and former affiliate Edison Records
Edison Records
Edison Records was one of the earliest record labels which pioneered recorded sound and was an important player in the early recording industry.- Early phonographs before commercial mass produced records :...

 folded, leaving Columbia as the oldest surviving record label.

Columbia ownership separation

In 1931, the British Columbia Graphophone Company
Columbia Graphophone Company
The Columbia Graphophone Company was one of the earliest gramophone companies in the United Kingdom. Under EMI, as Columbia Records, it became a very successful label in the 1950s and 1960s...

 (itself originally a subsidiary of American Columbia Records, then to become independent, actually went on to purchase its former parent, American Columbia, in late 1929) merged with the Gramophone Company
Gramophone Company
The Gramophone Company, based in the United Kingdom, was one of the early recording companies, and was the parent organization for the famous "His Master's Voice" label...

 to form Electric & Musical Industries Ltd. (EMI
EMI
The EMI Group, also known as EMI Music or simply EMI, is a multinational music company headquartered in London, United Kingdom. It is the fourth-largest business group and family of record labels in the recording industry and one of the "big four" record companies. EMI Group also has a major...

). EMI was forced to sell its American Columbia operations (because of anti-trust concerns) to the Grigsby-Grunow Company, makers of the Majestic Radio. But Majestic soon fell on hard times. An abortive attempt in 1932 (around the same time that Victor was experimenting with their 33 1/3 "program transcriptions") was the "Longer Playing Record", a finer-grooved 10" 78 with 4:30 to 5:00 playing time per side. Columbia issued about 8 of these (in the 18000-D series), as well as a short-lived series of double-grooved "Longer Playing Record"s on its Harmony
Harmony Records
Harmony Records was a label owned by Columbia Records. It was originally used as a label for low-price 78 rpm records in the 1920s and 1930s; subsequently it was revived as a label for budget albums of reissued tracks during the 1950s with nine or ten songs per album...

, Clarion and Velvet Tone
Velvet Tone Records
Velvet Tone Records was a United States based record label, active from 1925 through 1932. It was produced by Columbia Records and contained material identical to that of Columbia's two other low price labels, Harmony Records and Diva Records....

 labels. All of these experiments (and indeed the Harmony, Velvet Tone and Clarion labels) were discontinued by mid-1932.

A longer-lived marketing ploy was the Columbia "Royal Blue Record," a brilliant blue laminated product with matching label. Royal Blue issues, made from late 1932 through 1935, are particularly popular with collectors for their rarity and musical interest. The C.P. MacGregor Company, an independent recording studio in Oakland, California
Oakland, California
Oakland is a major West Coast port city on San Francisco Bay in the U.S. state of California. It is the eighth-largest city in the state with a 2010 population of 390,724...

, did Columbia's pressings for sale west of the Rockies and continued using the Royal Blue material for these until about mid-1936. It was also used for their own radio-only music library.

With the Great Depression's tightened economic stranglehold on the country, in a day when the phonograph itself had become a passé luxury, nothing slowed Columbia's decline. It was still producing some of the most remarkable records of the day, especially on sessions produced by John Hammond
John H. Hammond
John Henry Hammond II was an American record producer, musician and music critic from the 1930s to the early 1980s...

 and financed by EMI for overseas release. Grigsby-Grunow went under in 1934 and was forced to sell Columbia for a mere $70,000 to the American Record Corporation
American Record Corporation
ARC, the American Record Company, also referred to as American Record Corporation, or as ARC Records, was a United States based record company...

 (ARC). This combine already included Brunswick
Brunswick Records
Brunswick Records is a United States based record label. The label is currently distributed by E1 Entertainment.-From 1916:Records under the "Brunswick" label were first produced by the Brunswick-Balke-Collender Company...

 as its premium label so Columbia was relegated to slower sellers such as the Hawaiian music of Andy Iona
Andy Iona
Andy Iona was an American musician and one of Hawaii's most influential musicians. He was a composer, songwriter, conductor, saxophonist, and steel guitarist. He went to the Kamehameha School for Boys. He was also educated at Henri Berger's Private School of Music in Honolulu.He was a member of...

, the Irving Mills
Irving Mills
Irving Mills was a jazz music publisher, also known by the name of "Joe Primrose."Mills was born to Jewish parents in the Lower East Side of Manhattan in New York City. He founded Mills Music with his brother Jack in 1919...

 stable of artists and songs and the still unknown Benny Goodman
Benny Goodman
Benjamin David “Benny” Goodman was an American jazz and swing musician, clarinetist and bandleader; widely known as the "King of Swing".In the mid-1930s, Benny Goodman led one of the most popular musical groups in America...

. By late 1936, pop releases were discontinued, leaving the label essentially defunct.

In 1935, Herbert M. Greenspon, an 18-year-old shipping clerk, led a committee to organize the first trade union shop at the main manufacturing factory in Bridgeport, Connecticut
Bridgeport, Connecticut
Bridgeport is the most populous city in the U.S. state of Connecticut. Located in Fairfield County, the city had an estimated population of 144,229 at the 2010 United States Census and is the core of the Greater Bridgeport area...

. Elected as president of the Congress of Industrial Unions (CIO) local, Greenspon negotiated the first contract between factory workers and Columbia management. In a career with Columbia that lasted 30 years, Greenspon retired after achieving the position of executive vice president of the company.

As southern gospel
Southern Gospel
Southern Gospel music—at one time also known as "quartet music"—is music whose lyrics are written to express either personal or a communal faith regarding biblical teachings and Christian life, as well as to give a Christian alternative to mainstream secular music...

 developed, Columbia had astutely sought to record the artists associated with that aspiring genre; for example, Columbia was the first and only company to record Charles Davis Tillman
Charles Davis Tillman
Charles Davis Tillman —also known as Charlie D. Tillman, Charles Tillman, Charlie Tillman, and C. D. Tillman—was a popularizer of the gospel song...

. Most fortuitously for Columbia in its Depression Era financial woes, in 1936 the company entered into an exclusive recording contract with the Chuck Wagon Gang, a symbiotic relationship which continued into the 1970s. A signature group of southern gospel
Southern Gospel
Southern Gospel music—at one time also known as "quartet music"—is music whose lyrics are written to express either personal or a communal faith regarding biblical teachings and Christian life, as well as to give a Christian alternative to mainstream secular music...

, the Chuck Wagon Gang became Columbia's bestsellers with at least 37 million records, many of them through the aegis of the Mull Singing Convention of the Air sponsored on radio (and later television) by southern gospel broadcaster J. Bazzel Mull
J. Bazzel Mull
Jacob Bazzel Mull was a Christian minister and religious broadcaster in East Tennessee.-Biography:Mull was the grandson of Wallace B. Mull, a circuit riding preacher in the 1800s...

 (1914–2006).

CBS takes over 1938-1947

In 1938 ARC, including the Columbia label in the USA, was bought by William S. Paley
William S. Paley
William S. Paley was the chief executive who built Columbia Broadcasting System from a small radio network into one of the foremost radio and television network operations in the United States.-Early life:...

 of the Columbia Broadcasting System for US$750,000. (Columbia Records had originally co-founded CBS in 1927 along with New York talent agent Arthur Judson
Arthur Judson
Arthur Leon Judson was an artists' manager who also managed the New York Philharmonic and Philadelphia Orchestra...

, but soon cashed out of the partnership leaving only the name; Paley acquired the fledgling radio network in 1928.) CBS revived the Columbia label in the place of Brunswick and the Okeh label in the place of Vocalion
Vocalion Records
Vocalion Records is a record label active for many years in the United States and in the United Kingdom.-History:Vocalion was founded in 1916 by the Aeolian Piano Company of New York City, which introduced a retail line of phonographs at the same time. The name was derived from one of their...

. CBS retained control of all of ARC's past masters, but in a complicated move, the pre-1931 Brunswick and Vocalion masters, as well as trademarks of Brunswick and Vocalion reverted back to Warner Brothers (who had leased their whole recording operation to ARC in early 1932) and Warners sold the lot to Decca Records
Decca Records
Decca Records began as a British record label established in 1929 by Edward Lewis. Its U.S. label was established in late 1934; however, owing to World War II, the link with the British company was broken for several decades....

 in 1941.

The Columbia trademark from this point until the late 1950s was two overlapping circles with the Magic Notes in the left circle and a CBS microphone in the right circle. The Royal Blue labels now disappeared in favor of a deep red, which caused RCA Victor to claim infringement on its "Red Seal" trademark. (RCA lost the case.) The blue Columbia label was kept for its classical music Columbia Masterworks Records
Columbia Masterworks Records
Columbia Masterworks Records was a record label started in 1927 by Columbia Records.It was intended for releases of classical music and artists, as opposed to popular music, which bore the regular Columbia logo. Masterworks Records' first release, in 1927, was a complete performance of the...

 line until it was later changed to a green label before switching to a gray label in the late 1950s, and then to the bronze that is familiar to owners of its classical and Broadway albums. Columbia Phonograph Company of Canada did not survive the Great Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

, so CBS made a distribution deal with Sparton Records
Sparton Records
Sparton Records was a Canadian record company which was based in London, Ontario.Sparton Records was founded in 1930 by the American electronics company Sparks-Withington Corp., of Jackson, Michigan, which made Sparton radios. It manufactured and distributed Columbia Records in Canada from 1939 to...

 in 1939 to release Columbia records in Canada under the Columbia name.

During the 1940s Columbia had a contract with Frank Sinatra. Sinatra helped boost Columbia in revenue. Sinatra recorded over 200 songs with Columbia which include his most popular songs from his early years. Other popular artists on Columbia were Benny Goodman
Benny Goodman
Benjamin David “Benny” Goodman was an American jazz and swing musician, clarinetist and bandleader; widely known as the "King of Swing".In the mid-1930s, Benny Goodman led one of the most popular musical groups in America...

 (signed from Victor), Count Basie
Count Basie
William "Count" Basie was an American jazz pianist, organist, bandleader, and composer. Basie led his jazz orchestra almost continuously for nearly 50 years...

, Jimmie Lunceford
Jimmie Lunceford
James Melvin "Jimmie" Lunceford was an American jazz alto saxophonist and bandleader in the swing era.-Biography:...

 (both signed from Decca), Eddy Duchin
Eddy Duchin
Eddy Duchin was an American popular pianist and bandleader of the 1930s and 1940s, famous for his engaging onstage personality, his elegant piano style, and his fight against leukemia.-Early career:...

, Ray Noble
Ray Noble
Ray Noble was an English bandleader, composer, arranger and actor. Noble studied music at the Royal Academy of Music and became leader of the HMV Records studio band in 1929. The band, known as the New Mayfair Dance Orchestra, featured members of many of the top hotel orchestras of the day...

 (both moved to Columbia from Brunswick), Kate Smith
Kate Smith
Kathryn Elizabeth "Kate" Smith was an American Popular singer, best known for her rendition of Irving Berlin's "God Bless America". Smith had a radio, television, and recording career spanning five decades, which reached its pinnacle in the 1940s.Smith was born in Greenville, Virginia...

, Mildred Bailey
Mildred Bailey
Mildred Bailey was a popular and influential American jazz singer during the 1930s, known as "The Rockin' Chair Lady" and "Mrs. Swing"...

, Will Bradley
Will Bradley
Wilbur Schwictenberg was an American trombonist and bandleader who also performed under the name Will Bradley...

, etc.

In 1947, CBS founded its Mexican record company, Discos Columbia de Mexico.

The LP record 1948-1959

Columbia's president Ted Wallerstein, instrumental in steering Paley to the ARC purchase, at this time set his talents to the goal (as he saw it) of hearing an entire movement of a symphony on one side of an album. Ward Botsford writing for the Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Issue of "High Fidelity Magazine" relates, "He was no inventor—he was simply a man who seized an idea whose time was ripe and begged, ordered, and cajoled a thousand men into bringing into being the now accepted medium of the record business." Despite Wallerstein's stormy tenure, in 1948 Columbia introduced the Long Playing "microgroove" LP record format (sometimes written "Lp" in early advertisements), which rotated at 33⅓ revolutions per minute
Revolutions per minute
Revolutions per minute is a measure of the frequency of a rotation. It annotates the number of full rotations completed in one minute around a fixed axis...

, to be the standard for the gramophone record for half a century. CBS research director Dr. Peter Goldmark
Peter Carl Goldmark
Peter Carl Goldmark was a German-Hungarian engineer who, during his time with Columbia Records, was instrumental in developing the long-playing microgroove 33-1/3 rpm vinyl phonograph disc, the standard for incorporating multiple or lengthy recorded works on a single disc for two generations...

 played a managerial role in the collaborative effort, but Wallerstein credits engineer William Savory
William Savory
William Savory , , was an audio engineer known for his extensive private recordings of important jazz musicians in the 1930s, and for his contributions to recording technology. A musician who developed an interest in sound engineering, Savory began building his own recording devices in the...

 with the technical prowess that brought the long-playing disc to the public. By the early 1940s, Columbia had been experimenting with higher fidelity recordings, as well as longer masters, which paved the way for the successful release of the LPs in 1948. One such record that helped set a new standard for music listeners was the 10" LP reissue of The Voice of Frank Sinatra
The Voice of Frank Sinatra
The Voice of Frank Sinatra is the first studio album by American singer Frank Sinatra, released in 1946.It was released on Columbia Records, Set C-112, March 4, 1946. It was first issued as a set of four 78 rpm records totaling eight songs, and went to #1 on the fledgling Billboard chart. It stayed...

, originally released on March 4, 1946 as an album of four 78 rpm records, which was the first pop album issued in the new LP format. Sinatra was arguably Columbia's hottest commodity and his artistic vision combined with the direction Columbia were taking the medium of music, both popular and classic, were well suited. The Voice of Frank Sinatra was also considered to be the first genuine concept album
Concept album
In music, a concept album is an album that is "unified by a theme, which can be instrumental, compositional, narrative, or lyrical." Commonly, concept albums tend to incorporate preconceived musical or lyrical ideas rather than being improvised or composed in the studio, with all songs contributing...

.

Columbia's LPs were particularly well-suited to classical music's longer pieces, so some of the early albums featured such artists as Eugene Ormandy
Eugene Ormandy
Eugene Ormandy was a Hungarian-born conductor and violinist.-Early life:Born Jenő Blau in Budapest, Hungary, Ormandy began studying violin at the Royal National Hungarian Academy of Music at the age of five...

 and the Philadelphia Orchestra
Philadelphia Orchestra
The Philadelphia Orchestra is a symphony orchestra based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in the United States. One of the "Big Five" American orchestras, it was founded in 1900...

, Bruno Walter
Bruno Walter
Bruno Walter was a German-born conductor. He is considered one of the best known conductors of the 20th century. Walter was born in Berlin, but is known to have lived in several countries between 1933 and 1939, before finally settling in the United States in 1939...

 and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, and Sir Thomas Beecham and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra is a British orchestra based in London. It tours widely, and is sometimes referred to as "Britain's national orchestra"...

. The success of these recordings eventually persuaded Capitol Records
Capitol Records
Capitol Records is a major United States based record label, formerly located in Los Angeles, but operating in New York City as part of Capitol Music Group. Its former headquarters building, the Capitol Tower, is a major landmark near the corner of Hollywood and Vine...

 to begin releasing LPs in 1949. RCA Victor began releasing LPs in 1950, quickly followed by other major American labels. (Decca Records
Decca Records
Decca Records began as a British record label established in 1929 by Edward Lewis. Its U.S. label was established in late 1934; however, owing to World War II, the link with the British company was broken for several decades....

 in the U.K. was the first to release LPs in Europe, beginning in 1949.)

An "original cast recording" of Rodgers & Hammerstein's South Pacific
South Pacific (musical)
South Pacific is a musical with music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II and book by Hammerstein and Joshua Logan. The story draws from James A. Michener's Pulitzer Prize-winning 1947 book Tales of the South Pacific, weaving together characters and elements from several of its...

 with Ezio Pinza
Ezio Pinza
Ezio Pinza was an Italian basso opera singer with a rich, smooth and sonorous voice. He spent 22 seasons at New York's Metropolitan Opera, appearing in more than 750 performances of 50 operas...

 and Mary Martin
Mary Martin
Mary Virginia Martin was an American actress and singer. She originated many roles over her career including Nellie Forbush in South Pacific and Maria in The Sound of Music. She was named a Kennedy Center Honoree in 1989...

 was recorded in 1949. Both conventional metal masters and tape were used in the sessions in New York City. For some reason, the taped version was not used until Sony released it as part of a set of CDs devoted to Columbia's Broadway albums. Over the years, Columbia joined Decca and RCA Victor in specializing in albums devoted to Broadway musicals with members of the original casts. In the 1950s, Columbia also began releasing LPs drawn from the soundtracks of popular films.

The 1950s

In 1951, Columbia USA began issuing records in the 45 rpm format RCA had introduced two years earlier. Also in 1951, Ted Wallerstein retired as Columbia Records chairman; also, Columbia USA severed its decades-long distribution arrangement with EMI and signed a distribution deal with Philips Records
Philips Records
Philips Records is a record label that was founded by Dutch electronics company Philips. It was started by "Philips Phonographische Industrie" in 1950. Recordings were made with popular artists of various nationalities and also with classical artists from Germany, France and Holland. Philips also...

 to market Columbia recordings outside North America. EMI continued to distribute Okeh and later Epic label recordings until 1968. EMI also continued to distribute Columbia recordings in Australia and New Zealand. American Columbia was not happy with EMI's reluctance to introduce long playing records.

Columbia became the most successful non-rock record company in the 1950s when they lured impresario Mitch Miller
Mitch Miller
Mitchell William "Mitch" Miller was an American musician, singer, conductor, record producer, A&R man and record company executive...

 away from the Mercury label (Columbia remained largely uninterested in the teenage rock market until the early 1960s, despite a handful of crossover hits). Miller quickly signed on Mercury's biggest artist at the time, Frankie Laine
Frankie Laine
Frankie Laine, born Francesco Paolo LoVecchio , was a successful American singer, songwriter, and actor whose career spanned 75 years, from his first concerts in 1930 with a marathon dance company to his final performance of "That's My Desire" in 2005...

, and discovered several of the decade's biggest recording stars including Tony Bennett
Tony Bennett
Tony Bennett is an American singer of popular music, standards, show tunes, and jazz....

, Jimmy Boyd
Jimmy Boyd
Jimmy Boyd was an American singer, musician, and actor. He was best known for his recording of the novelty song "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus".-Early years:...

, Guy Mitchell
Guy Mitchell
Guy Mitchell, born Albert George Cernik, was an American pop singer, successful in his homeland, the U.K. and Australia...

, Johnnie Ray
Johnnie Ray
Johnnie Ray was an American singer, songwriter, and pianist. Popular for most of the 1950s, Ray has been cited by critics as a major precursor of what would become rock and roll, for his jazz and blues-influenced music and his animated stage personality.-Early life:John Alvin Ray was born in...

, The Four Lads
The Four Lads
The Four Lads is a popular Canadian male singing quartet. In the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, the group earned many gold singles and albums. Its million-selling signature tunes include "Moments to Remember," "Standin' on the Corner," "No, Not Much," "Who Needs You," and "Istanbul."The Four Lads makes...

, Rosemary Clooney
Rosemary Clooney
Rosemary Clooney was an American singer and actress. She came to prominence in the early 1950s with the novelty hit "Come On-a My House" written by William Saroyan and his cousin Ross Bagdasarian , which was followed by other pop numbers such as "Botch-a-Me" Rosemary Clooney (May 23, 1928 –...

, Ray Conniff
Ray Conniff
Joseph Raymond Conniff was an American bandleader and arranger best known for his Ray Conniff Singers during the 1960s.-Biography:...

 and Johnny Mathis
Johnny Mathis
John Royce "Johnny" Mathis is an American singer of popular music. Starting his career with singles of standards, he became highly popular as an album artist, with several dozen of his albums achieving gold or platinum status, and 73 making the Billboard charts...

. He also oversaw many of the early singles of the label's top female recording star of the decade, Doris Day
Doris Day
Doris Day is an American actress, singer and, since her retirement from show business, an animal rights activist. With an entertainment career that spanned through almost 50 years, Day started her career as a big band singer in 1939, but only began to be noticed after her first hit recording,...

. In 1953, CBS formed Columbia's sister label Epic Records
Epic Records
Epic Records is an American record label, owned by Sony Music Entertainment. Though it was originally conceived as a jazz imprint, it has since expanded to represent various genres. L.A...

. 1954 saw Columbia end its distribution arrangement with Sparton Records and form Columbia Records of Canada. Despite favoring a country music genre, Columbia bid $15,000 for Elvis Presley's
Elvis Presley
Elvis Aaron Presley was one of the most popular American singers of the 20th century. A cultural icon, he is widely known by the single name Elvis. He is often referred to as the "King of Rock and Roll" or simply "the King"....

 contract from Sun Records
Sun Records
Sun Records is a record label founded in Memphis, Tennessee, starting operations on March 27, 1952.Founded by Sam Phillips, Sun Records was known for giving notable musicians such as Elvis Presley , Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison, and Johnny Cash...

 in 1955. Miller made no secret of the fact that he was not a fan of rock music and was saved from having to deal with it when Presley's manager, Colonel Tom Parker, turned down their offer (Presley ended up signing with Columbia's now-sister label RCA Records
RCA Records
RCA Records is one of the flagship labels of Sony Music Entertainment. The RCA initials stand for Radio Corporation of America , which was the parent corporation from 1929 to 1985 and a partner from 1985 to 1986.RCA's Canadian unit is Sony's oldest label...

). However, Columbia did sign two Sun artists in 1958: Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins.

With 1954, Columbia USA decisively broke with its past when it introduced its new, modernist-style "Walking Eye" logo, designed by Columbia's art director S. Neil Fujita
S. Neil Fujita
Sadamitsu "S. Neil" Fujita was an American graphic designer known for his innovative book cover and record album designs.-Background:...

. This logo actually depicts a stylus (the legs) on a record (the eye); however, the "eye" also subtly refers to CBS's main business in television, and that division's iconic Eye logo. Columbia continued to use the "notes and mike" logo on record labels and even used a promo label showing both logos until the "notes and mike" was phased out (along with the 78 in the US) in 1958. In Canada, Columbia 78s were pressed with the "Walking Eye" logo in 1958. The original Walking Eye was tall and solid; it was modified in 1960 to the familiar one still used today (pictured on this page), in spite the fact that the Walking Eye was not used during most of the 1990s.

Columbia changed distributors in Australia and New Zealand in 1956 when the Australian Record Company picked up distribution of U.S. Columbia product to replace the Capitol Records
Capitol Records
Capitol Records is a major United States based record label, formerly located in Los Angeles, but operating in New York City as part of Capitol Music Group. Its former headquarters building, the Capitol Tower, is a major landmark near the corner of Hollywood and Vine...

 product which ARC lost when EMI bought Capitol. As EMI owned the Columbia trademark at that time, the U.S. Columbia material was issued in Australia and New Zealand on the CBS Coronet
Coronet Records
Coronet Records was a record label in Australia, based in Sydney, NSW. The label that operated from the early 1950s until around 1960 was recognizable by its famous octagonal label....

 label.

Stereo

Although Columbia began recording in stereo in 1956, stereo LPs did not begin to be manufactured until 1958. One of Columbia's first stereo releases was an abridged and re-structured performance of Handel
HANDEL
HANDEL was the code-name for the UK's National Attack Warning System in the Cold War. It consisted of a small console consisting of two microphones, lights and gauges. The reason behind this was to provide a back-up if anything failed....

's Messiah by the New York Philharmonic
New York Philharmonic
The New York Philharmonic is a symphony orchestra based in New York City in the United States. It is one of the American orchestras commonly referred to as the "Big Five"...

 and the Westminster Choir conducted by Leonard Bernstein
Leonard Bernstein
Leonard Bernstein August 25, 1918 – October 14, 1990) was an American conductor, composer, author, music lecturer and pianist. He was among the first conductors born and educated in the United States of America to receive worldwide acclaim...

 (recorded on December 31, 1956, on 1/2 inch tape, using an Ampex 300-3 machine). Bernstein combined the Nativity and Resurrection sections, and ended the performance with the death of Christ. As with RCA Victor, most of the early stereo recordings were of classical artists, including the New York Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Bruno Walter
Bruno Walter
Bruno Walter was a German-born conductor. He is considered one of the best known conductors of the 20th century. Walter was born in Berlin, but is known to have lived in several countries between 1933 and 1939, before finally settling in the United States in 1939...

, Dmitri Mitropoulos, and Leonard Bernstein
Leonard Bernstein
Leonard Bernstein August 25, 1918 – October 14, 1990) was an American conductor, composer, author, music lecturer and pianist. He was among the first conductors born and educated in the United States of America to receive worldwide acclaim...

, and the Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Eugene Ormandy
Eugene Ormandy
Eugene Ormandy was a Hungarian-born conductor and violinist.-Early life:Born Jenő Blau in Budapest, Hungary, Ormandy began studying violin at the Royal National Hungarian Academy of Music at the age of five...

, who also recorded an abridged Messiah for Columbia. Some sessions were made with the Columbia Symphony Orchestra, an ensemble drawn from leading New York musicians, which had first made recordings with Sir Thomas Beecham in 1949 in Columbia's famous New York City studios. George Szell
George Szell
George Szell , originally György Széll, György Endre Szél, or Georg Szell, was a Hungarian-born American conductor and composer...

 and the Cleveland Orchestra
Cleveland Orchestra
The Cleveland Orchestra is an American orchestra based in Cleveland, Ohio. It is one of the five American orchestras informally referred to as the "Big Five". Founded in 1918, the orchestra plays most of its concerts at Severance Hall...

 recorded mostly for Epic. When Epic dropped classical music, the roster and catalogue was moved to Columbia Masterworks Records
Columbia Masterworks Records
Columbia Masterworks Records was a record label started in 1927 by Columbia Records.It was intended for releases of classical music and artists, as opposed to popular music, which bore the regular Columbia logo. Masterworks Records' first release, in 1927, was a complete performance of the...

.

The 1960s

In 1961, CBS ended its arrangement with Philips Records and formed its own international organization, CBS Records, in 1962, which released Columbia recordings outside the USA and Canada on the CBS label (until 1964 marketed by Philips in Britain). The recordings could not be released under the "Columbia Records" name because EMI operated a separate record label
Columbia Graphophone Company
The Columbia Graphophone Company was one of the earliest gramophone companies in the United Kingdom. Under EMI, as Columbia Records, it became a very successful label in the 1950s and 1960s...

 by that name outside North America. (This was the result of the legal maneuvers which had led to the creation of EMI in the early 1930s.)

Columbia's Mexican unit, Discos Columbia, was renamed Discos CBS.

With the formation of CBS Records' international arm, it started establishing its own distribution in the early 1960s beginning in Australia. In 1960 CBS took over its distributor in Australia and New Zealand, the Australian Record Company (founded in 1936) including Coronet Records
Coronet Records
Coronet Records was a record label in Australia, based in Sydney, NSW. The label that operated from the early 1950s until around 1960 was recognizable by its famous octagonal label....

, one of the leading Australian independent recording and distribution companies of the day. The CBS Coronet label was replaced by the CBS label with the 'walking eye' logo in 1963. ARC continued trading under that name until the late 1970s when it formally changed its business name to CBS Australia.

In 1962, Columbia joined in the then red-hot folk music
Folk music
Folk music is an English term encompassing both traditional folk music and contemporary folk music. The term originated in the 19th century. Traditional folk music has been defined in several ways: as music transmitted by mouth, as music of the lower classes, and as music with unknown composers....

 genre by releasing debut albums by The New Christy Minstrels (Presenting The New Christy Minstrels
Presenting The New Christy Minstrels
Presenting The New Christy Minstrels, also known as Exciting New Folk Chorus, is a studio album by the acoustic American folk music group The New Christy Minstrels. It was their debut album and was recorded in mid-April 1962...

) and Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan is an American singer-songwriter, musician, poet, film director and painter. He has been a major and profoundly influential figure in popular music and culture for five decades. Much of his most celebrated work dates from the 1960s when he was an informal chronicler and a seemingly...

 (Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan (album)
Bob Dylan is the debut album by the American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, released in March 1962 on Columbia Records. It features two original compositions, the rest being old folk standards, and was produced by Columbia's legendary talent scout John H...

).

In September 1964, CBS established its own British distribution by purchasing the independent Oriole Records (UK)
Oriole Records (UK)
Oriole Records was the first British record label founded in 1925 by the London-based Levy Company, which owned a gramophone record subsidiary called Levaphone Records.-History:...

 label, pressing plant and recording studio (as well as its sold-only-in-Woolworth's Embassy
Embassy Records
Embassy Records was originally a UK budget record label that produced cover versions of current hit songs that were sold exclusively in Woolworths shops at a cheaper price than the original recordings. As such, Embassy can be seen as the UK equivalent of U.S. labels such as Hit and Bell Records...

 cover version label). The acquisition also gave Columbia and its sister labels instant access to its own roster of British recording artists to compete with during the British Invasion
British Invasion
The British Invasion is a term used to describe the large number of rock and roll, beat, rock, and pop performers from the United Kingdom who became popular in the United States during the time period from 1964 through 1966.- Background :...

 such as The Tremeloes
The Tremeloes
The Tremeloes are an English beat group founded in 1958 in Dagenham, Essex, and still active today.-Career:They formed as Brian Poole and the Tremoloes influenced by Buddy Holly and The Crickets...

.

Mitch Miller left Columbia in 1965.

A small number of rock 'n' roll musicians performed for the company before 1967, notably Paul Revere and the Raiders and The Byrds
The Byrds
The Byrds were an American rock band, formed in Los Angeles, California in 1964. The band underwent multiple line-up changes throughout its existence, with frontman Roger McGuinn remaining the sole consistent member until the group disbanded in 1973...

.

Following the appointment of Clive Davis
Clive Davis
Clive Davis is an American record producer and music industry executive. He has won five Grammy Awards and is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a non-performer. From 1967 to 1973 he was the President of Columbia Records. He was the founder and president of Arista Records from 1975...

 as president in 1967 the Columbia label became more of a rock music
Rock music
Rock music is a genre of popular music that developed during and after the 1960s, particularly in the United Kingdom and the United States. It has its roots in 1940s and 1950s rock and roll, itself heavily influenced by rhythm and blues and country music...

 label, thanks mainly to Davis's fortuitous decision to attend the Monterey International Pop Festival, where he spotted and signed several leading acts including Janis Joplin
Janis Joplin
Janis Lyn Joplin was an American singer, songwriter, painter, dancer and music arranger. She rose to prominence in the late 1960s as the lead singer of Big Brother and the Holding Company and later as a solo artist with her backing groups, The Kozmic Blues Band and The Full Tilt Boogie Band...

. Joplin led the way for several generations of female rock and rollers. However, Columbia/CBS still had a hand in traditional pop and jazz and one of its key acquisitions during this period was Barbra Streisand
Barbra Streisand
Barbra Joan Streisand is an American singer, actress, film producer and director. She has won two Academy Awards, eight Grammy Awards, four Emmy Awards, a Special Tony Award, an American Film Institute award, a Peabody Award, and is one of the few entertainers who have won an Oscar, Emmy, Grammy,...

. She released her first solo album on Columbia in 1963 and remains with the label to this day.

Perhaps the most commercially successful Columbia pop act of this period was Simon & Garfunkel. The group broke through in 1965 with the Tom Wilson-produced single "The Sound of Silence
The Sound of Silence
"The Sound of Silence" is the song that propelled the 1960s folk music duo Simon & Garfunkel to popularity. It was written in February 1964 by Paul Simon in the aftermath of the 1963 assassination of John F. Kennedy. An initial version preferred by the band was remixed and sweetened, and has become...

", which helped to usher in the so-called "folk-rock" boom of the mid-Sixties, and whose valedictory 1970 LP Bridge Over Troubled Water
Bridge over Troubled Water
Bridge Over Troubled Water is the fifth and final studio album by Simon & Garfunkel. Released on January 26, 1970 on both Quadraphonic and Stereo formats, it reached No. 1 on Billboard Music Charts pop albums list...

 became one of the biggest selling albums ever released up to that time.

Over the course of the decade, Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan is an American singer-songwriter, musician, poet, film director and painter. He has been a major and profoundly influential figure in popular music and culture for five decades. Much of his most celebrated work dates from the 1960s when he was an informal chronicler and a seemingly...

 achieved a preeminent position, becoming arguably the most influential recording artist in the history of the Columbia label. His early 'folk' output was heavily covered by his contemporaries, and hit cover versions were recorded by many acts including The Byrds
The Byrds
The Byrds were an American rock band, formed in Los Angeles, California in 1964. The band underwent multiple line-up changes throughout its existence, with frontman Roger McGuinn remaining the sole consistent member until the group disbanded in 1973...

, Peter, Paul & Mary and The Turtles
The Turtles
The Turtles are an American rock group led by vocalists Howard Kaylan and Mark Volman. The band became notable for several Top 40 hits beginning with its cover version of Bob Dylan's "It Ain't Me Babe" in 1965...

. Some of these covers in turn became the foundation of the so-called folk rock
Folk rock
Folk rock is a musical genre combining elements of folk music and rock music. In its earliest and narrowest sense, the term referred to a genre that arose in the United States and the UK around the mid-1960s...

 genre – The Byrds
The Byrds
The Byrds were an American rock band, formed in Los Angeles, California in 1964. The band underwent multiple line-up changes throughout its existence, with frontman Roger McGuinn remaining the sole consistent member until the group disbanded in 1973...

' achieved their pop breakthrough with a version of Dylan's "Mr. Tambourine Man
Mr. Tambourine Man
"Mr. Tambourine Man" is a song written and performed by Bob Dylan, which was released on his 1965 album Bringing It All Back Home. The Byrds also recorded a version of the song that was released as their first single on Columbia Records, reaching number 1 on both the Billboard Hot 100 chart and...

", and its success in turn directly inspired producer Tom Wilson to record a new 'electric' backing track for the Simon & Garfunkel song "The Sound of Silence
The Sound of Silence
"The Sound of Silence" is the song that propelled the 1960s folk music duo Simon & Garfunkel to popularity. It was written in February 1964 by Paul Simon in the aftermath of the 1963 assassination of John F. Kennedy. An initial version preferred by the band was remixed and sweetened, and has become...

" (created without their knowledge or approval); when this became a surprise hit in early 1965 it revived the stalled career of the duo, who had in fact split up prior to its release.

Dylan's early albums and singles strongly influenced many of the so-called "British Invasion
British Invasion
The British Invasion is a term used to describe the large number of rock and roll, beat, rock, and pop performers from the United Kingdom who became popular in the United States during the time period from 1964 through 1966.- Background :...

" acts including The Beatles
The Beatles
The Beatles were an English rock band, active throughout the 1960s and one of the most commercially successful and critically acclaimed acts in the history of popular music. Formed in Liverpool, by 1962 the group consisted of John Lennon , Paul McCartney , George Harrison and Ringo Starr...

, Donovan
Donovan
Donovan Donovan Donovan (born Donovan Philips Leitch (born 10 May 1946) is a Scottish singer-songwriter and guitarist. Emerging from the British folk scene, he developed an eclectic and distinctive style that blended folk, jazz, pop, psychedelia, and world music...

 and The Animals
The Animals
The Animals were an English music group of the 1960s formed in Newcastle upon Tyne during the early part of the decade, and later relocated to London...

. In the mid-1960s his controversial decision to 'go electric' and record with pop/rock-style backing groups polarised his audience but catapulted him to even greater commercial success, with his landmark 1965 single "Like a Rolling Stone
Like a Rolling Stone
"Like a Rolling Stone" is a 1965 song by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan. Its confrontational lyrics originate in an extended piece of verse Dylan wrote in June 1965, when he returned exhausted from a grueling tour of England...

" reaching #2 on the US singles chart. Following his withdrawal from touring in late 1966, Dylan recorded a large group of songs with his backing group The Band
The Band
The Band was an acclaimed and influential roots rock group. The original group consisted of Rick Danko , Garth Hudson , Richard Manuel , and Robbie Robertson , and Levon Helm...

, which were originally intended as 'demos', but these recordings were heavily bootlegged over the next few years and many of these songs became hits for other artists over the ensuing years, including Manfred Mann
Manfred Mann
Manfred Mann was a British beat, rhythm and blues and pop band of the 1960s, named after their South African keyboardist, Manfred Mann, who later led the successful 1970s group Manfred Mann's Earth Band...

 ("The Mighty Quinn
Quinn the Eskimo (The Mighty Quinn)
"Quinn the Eskimo " is a folk-rock song written by Bob Dylan and first recorded during The Basement Tapes sessions in 1967. The song was first released in January 1968 as "Mighty Quinn" by the British band Manfred Mann and became a great success...

") and Brian Auger
Brian Auger
Brian Auger is a jazz and rock keyboardist, who has specialized in playing the Hammond organ.A jazz pianist, bandleader, session musician and Hammond B3 player, Auger has played or toured with artists such as Rod Stewart, Tony Williams, Jimi Hendrix, Sonny Boy Williamson, Led Zeppelin, Eric Burdon...

, Julie Driscoll
Julie Driscoll
Julie Tippetts is an English singer and actress, known for her 1960s versions of Bob Dylan's "This Wheel's on Fire", and Donovan's "Season of the Witch", both with Brian Auger & The Trinity...

 & Trinity ("This Wheel's On Fire
This Wheel's on Fire
This Wheel's on Fire - Levon Helm and the Story of The Band is the 1993 autobiography of actor and musician Levon Helm, focusing on his career as a member of the rock group The Band...

"); these recordings were eventually given an official release on Columbia in the 1970s under the title The Basement Tapes
The Basement Tapes
The Basement Tapes is a 1975 studio album by Bob Dylan and The Band. The songs featuring Dylan's vocals were recorded in 1967, eight years before the album's release, at houses in and around Woodstock, New York, where Dylan and the Band lived...

. Dylan's late-Sixties albums John Wesley Harding
John Wesley Harding (album)
John Wesley Harding is singer-songwriter Bob Dylan's eighth studio album, released by Columbia Records in December 1967.Produced by Bob Johnston, the album marked Dylan's return to acoustic music and traditional roots, after three albums of electric rock music...

 and Nashville Skyline
Nashville Skyline
Nashville Skyline is singer-songwriter Bob Dylan's ninth studio album, released by Columbia Records in April 1969.The album marked a dramatic departure for Dylan, previously known for his groundbreaking, poetic folk music and rock and roll...

 also inspired a new phase of popular music, becoming cornerstone documents of the country rock
Country rock
Country rock is sub-genre of popular music, formed from the fusion of rock with country. The term is generally used to refer to the wave of rock musicians who began to record country-flavored records in the late 1960s and early 1970s, beginning with Bob Dylan and The Byrds; reaching its greatest...

 genre and influencing musicians and groups such as The Byrds
The Byrds
The Byrds were an American rock band, formed in Los Angeles, California in 1964. The band underwent multiple line-up changes throughout its existence, with frontman Roger McGuinn remaining the sole consistent member until the group disbanded in 1973...

 and The Flying Burrito Brothers
The Flying Burrito Brothers
The Flying Burrito Brothers was an early country rock band, best known for its influential debut album,The Gilded Palace of Sin . Although the group is most often mentioned in connection with country rock legends Gram Parsons and Chris Hillman, the group underwent many personnel changes.-Original...

.

The 1970s

In September 1970, under the guidance of Clive Davis
Clive Davis
Clive Davis is an American record producer and music industry executive. He has won five Grammy Awards and is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a non-performer. From 1967 to 1973 he was the President of Columbia Records. He was the founder and president of Arista Records from 1975...

, Columbia Records entered the West Coast rock market with a vengeance, both opening a state-of-the art recording studio (CBS recording studio, 827 Folsom St, San Francisco, later the Automatt) and establishing an A&R head and office in San Francisco at Fisherman's Wharf, headed by ex Nils Lofgren and Roy Buchanan band mate, Monument records artist and producer George Daly
George Daly (Music Industry)
George Daly is a music executive, songwriter, musician, video and music producer and technology inventor, who originally worked as an A&R music executive...

. The recording studio operated under CBS until 1978.

During the early 1970s, Columbia began recording in a four-channel process called quadraphonic
Quadraphonic
Quadraphonic sound – the most widely used early term for what is now called 4.0 surround sound – uses four channels in which speakers are positioned at the four corners of the listening space, reproducing signals that are independent of one another...

, using the "SQ" standard which used an electronic encoding process that could be decoded by special amplifiers and then played through four speakers, with each speaker placed in the corner of a room. Remarkably, RCA Victor countered with another quadraphonic process which required a special cartridge to play the "discrete" recordings for four-channel playback. Both Columbia and RCA's quadraphonic records could be played on conventional stereo equipment. Although the Columbia process required less equipment and was quite effective, many were confused by the competing systems and sales of both Columbia's matrix recordings and RCA's discrete recordings were disappointing. A few other companies also issued some matrix recordings for a few years. Quadraphonic recording was used by both classical artists, including Leonard Bernstein
Leonard Bernstein
Leonard Bernstein August 25, 1918 – October 14, 1990) was an American conductor, composer, author, music lecturer and pianist. He was among the first conductors born and educated in the United States of America to receive worldwide acclaim...

 and Pierre Boulez
Pierre Boulez
Pierre Boulez is a French composer of contemporary classical music, a pianist, and a conductor.-Early years:Boulez was born in Montbrison, Loire, France. As a child he began piano lessons and demonstrated aptitude in both music and mathematics...

, and popular artists such as Electric Light Orchestra
Electric Light Orchestra
Electric Light Orchestra were a British rock group from Birmingham who released eleven studio albums between 1971 and 1986 and another album in 2001. ELO were formed to accommodate Roy Wood and Jeff Lynne's desire to create modern rock and pop songs with classical overtones...

, Billy Joel
Billy Joel
William Martin "Billy" Joel is an American musician and pianist, singer-songwriter, and classical composer. Since releasing his first hit song, "Piano Man", in 1973, Joel has become the sixth best-selling recording artist and the third best-selling solo artist in the United States, according to...

, Pink Floyd
Pink Floyd
Pink Floyd were an English rock band that achieved worldwide success with their progressive and psychedelic rock music. Their work is marked by the use of philosophical lyrics, sonic experimentation, innovative album art, and elaborate live shows. Pink Floyd are one of the most commercially...

, Barbra Streisand
Barbra Streisand
Barbra Joan Streisand is an American singer, actress, film producer and director. She has won two Academy Awards, eight Grammy Awards, four Emmy Awards, a Special Tony Award, an American Film Institute award, a Peabody Award, and is one of the few entertainers who have won an Oscar, Emmy, Grammy,...

, Carlos Santana
Carlos Santana
Carlos Augusto Alves Santana is a Mexican rock guitarist. Santana became famous in the late 1960s and early 1970s with his band, Santana, which pioneered rock, salsa and jazz fusion...

, and Blue Öyster Cult
Blue Öyster Cult
Blue Öyster Cult, often abbreviated BÖC, is an American rock band, most of whose members first came together in Long Island, NY in 1967 as the band Soft White Underbelly...

. Columbia even released a soundtrack album of the movie version of Funny Girl
Funny Girl (film)
Funny Girl is a 1968 romantic musical film directed by William Wyler. The screenplay by Isobel Lennart was adapted from her book for the stage musical of the same title...

 in quadraphonic. Many of these recordings were later remastered and released in Dolby surround sound on CD.

In 1976, Columbia Records of Canada was renamed CBS Records Canada Ltd. The Columbia label continued to be used by CBS Canada, but the CBS label was introduced for Francophone
Francophone
The adjective francophone means French-speaking, typically as primary language, whether referring to individuals, groups, or places. Often, the word is used as a noun to describe a natively French-speaking person....

 recordings. On May 5, 1979, Columbia Masterworks began digital recording
Digital recording
In digital recording, digital audio and digital video is directly recorded to a storage device as a stream of discrete numbers, representing the changes in air pressure for audio and chroma and luminance values for video through time, thus making an abstract template for the original sound or...

 in a recording session of Stravinsky
Igor Stravinsky
Igor Fyodorovich Stravinsky ; 6 April 1971) was a Russian, later naturalized French, and then naturalized American composer, pianist, and conductor....

's Petrouchka by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Zubin Mehta
Zubin Mehta
Zubin Mehta is an Indian conductor of western classical music. He is the Music Director for Life of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra.-Biography:...

, in New York (using 3M
3M
3M Company , formerly known as the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company, is an American multinational conglomerate corporation based in Maplewood, Minnesota, United States....

's 32-channel multitrack digital recorder).

The 1980s and sale to Sony

The structure of US Columbia remained the same until 1980, when it spun off the classical/Broadway unit, Columbia Masterworks Records, into a separate imprint, CBS Masterworks Records
CBS Masterworks Records
CBS Masterworks Records was a subsidiary of CBS Records, producing classical and spoken-word releases as well as Broadway albums.It was started in 1927 as Columbia Masterworks Records, a subsidiary of the Columbia Records label...

 (now Sony Classical).

In 1988, the CBS Records Group, including the Columbia Records unit, was acquired by Sony
Sony
, commonly referred to as Sony, is a Japanese multinational conglomerate corporation headquartered in Minato, Tokyo, Japan and the world's fifth largest media conglomerate measured by revenues....

, which re-christened the parent division Sony Music Entertainment
Sony Music Entertainment
Sony Music Entertainment ' is the second-largest global recorded music company of the "big four" record companies and is controlled by Sony Corporation of America, the United States subsidiary of Japan's Sony Corporation....

 in 1991. As Sony only had a temporary license on the CBS Records name, it then acquired the rights to the Columbia trademarks (Columbia Graphophone) outside the U.S., Canada, Spain (trademark owned by BMG
BMG
Bertelsmann Music Group, , was a division of Bertelsmann before its completion of sale of the majority of its assets to Japan's Sony Corporation of America on October 1, 2008. It was established in 1987 to combine the music label activities of Bertelsmann...

) and Japan (Nippon Columbia) from EMI
EMI
The EMI Group, also known as EMI Music or simply EMI, is a multinational music company headquartered in London, United Kingdom. It is the fourth-largest business group and family of record labels in the recording industry and one of the "big four" record companies. EMI Group also has a major...

, which generally had not been used by them since the early 1970s. The CBS Records label was officially renamed Columbia Records on January 1, 1991 worldwide except Spain (where Sony acquired the rights by 2004) and Japan. CBS Masterworks Records
CBS Masterworks Records
CBS Masterworks Records was a subsidiary of CBS Records, producing classical and spoken-word releases as well as Broadway albums.It was started in 1927 as Columbia Masterworks Records, a subsidiary of the Columbia Records label...

 was renamed Sony Classical Records
Sony Classical Records
Sony Classical Records was started in 1927 as Columbia Masterworks Records, a subsidiary of the American Columbia Records. In 1948, it issued the first commercially successful long-playing 12" record...

. In December 2006, CBS Corporation
CBS Corporation
CBS Corporation is an American media conglomerate focused on commercial broadcasting, publishing, billboards and television production, with most of its operations in the United States. The President and CEO of the company is Leslie Moonves. Sumner Redstone, owner of National Amusements, is CBS's...

 revived the CBS Records
CBS Records
CBS Records is a record label founded by CBS Corporation in 2006 to take advantage of music from its entertainment properties owned by CBS Television Studios. The initial label roster consisted of only three artists; rock band Señor Happy and singer/songwriters Will Dailey and P.J...

 name for a new minor label closely linked with its television properties (coincidentally, the new CBS Records is currently distributed by another Sony Music division, RED Distribution
RED Distribution
RED - An Artist Development Company is a Sony Music Entertainment-owned sales and marketing division that handles releases for over sixty independent record labels....

).

Today

Columbia Records remains a premier subsidiary label of Sony Music Entertainment. The label is headed by chairman Rob Stringer
Rob Stringer
Rob Stringer is Chairman of the Columbia Records, which is part of Sony Music Entertainment.He is the younger brother of Sir Howard Stringer, who is Chairman and CEO of Sony Corporation.-References:...

, along with co-presidents Rick Rubin
Rick Rubin
Frederick Jay "Rick" Rubin is an American record producer and the co-president of Columbia Records. Along with Russell Simmons, Rubin was the co-founder of Def Jam Records and also established American Recordings...

 and Steve Barnett. In 2009, during the reconsolidation of Sony Music, Columbia was partnered with its Epic Records
Epic Records
Epic Records is an American record label, owned by Sony Music Entertainment. Though it was originally conceived as a jazz imprint, it has since expanded to represent various genres. L.A...

 sister to form the Columbia/Epic Label Group
Columbia/Epic Label Group
Columbia/Epic Label Group was an American record label group, owned by Sony Music Entertainment. The Columbia/Epic configuration began as the "Sony Music Label Group" during the last Sony BMG merger, and was restructured in 2009 to form a larger umbrella for Columbia Records and Epic Records to...

. under which it operated as an imprint. In July 2011, as part of further corporate restructuring, Epic was split from the Columbia/Epic Group as Epic took in multiple artists from Jive Records.

Logos and branding

The acquisition of rights to the Columbia trademarks from EMI (including the "Magic Notes" logo) presented Sony Music with a dilemma of which logo to use. For much of the 1990s, Columbia released their albums without a logo, just the "COLUMBIA" word mark in the Bodoni
Bodoni
-Cold Type versions:As it had been a standard type for many years, Bodoni was widely available in cold type. Alphatype, Autologic, Berthold, Compugraphic, Dymo, Harris, Mergenthaler, MGD Graphic Systems, and Varityper, Hell AG, Monotype, all sold the face under the name ‘’Bodoni, while Graphic...

 Classic Bold typeface. Columbia experimented with bringing back the "notes and mike" logo but without the CBS mark on the microphone. That logo is currently used in the "Columbia Jazz" series of jazz releases and reissues. A modified "Magic Notes" is found on the logo for Sony Classical. It was eventually decided that the "Walking Eye" (previously the CBS Records logo outside North America) would be Columbia's logo, with the retained Columbia word mark design, world wide except in Japan where Columbia Music Entertainment has the rights to the Columbia trademark to this day and continues to use the "Magic Notes" logo. In Japan, CBS/Sony Records was renamed Sony Records and continues to use the "Walking Eye" logo.

American Recording Company (ARC)

In February 1979 Maurice White
Maurice White
Maurice White is a Grammy Award–winning American singer, songwriter, musician, record producer, arranger. He is the older brother of Verdine White and Fred White and the leader and founder of the band Earth, Wind & Fire...

, founding member of the R&B group Earth, Wind and Fire, re-launched the American Recording Company (ARC). The Columbia Records distributed label artist roster included successful R&B and pop singer Deniece Williams
Deniece Williams
June Deniece Chandler known by her stage name Deniece Williams is an American Grammy Award-winning singer, songwriter and record producer who achieved success in the 1970s and 1980s...

, jazz-fusion group Weather Report
Weather Report
Weather Report was an American jazz-rock band of the 1970s and early 1980s. The band was co-led by the Austrian-born keyboard player Joe Zawinul and the American saxophonist Wayne Shorter...

, and R&B trio the Emotions
The Emotions
The Emotions are an American all female soul and R&B singing group. The group was formed in its current hometown of Chicago, Illinois originally consisting of the three Hutchinson sisters, all the children of Joseph and Lillian Hutchinson....

. The label's final release was in 1982.

Columbia Label Group (UK)

In January 2006, Sony BMG UK split its frontline operations into 2 separate labels. RCA Label Group, mainly dealing with Pop and RnB and Columbia Label Group, mainly dealing with Rock, Dance and Alternative music. Mike Smith
Mike Smith (A&R man)
Mike Smith started as an A&R man at MCA Publishing as a scout in 1988, where he signed Blur, Levitation and scouted The Smashing Pumpkins. He then moved to EMI Publishing in 1992 where he went on to sign acts such as PJ Harvey, Elastica, Supergrass, Teenage Fan Club, Doves, Starsailor, The Beta...

 is the Managing Director of Columbia Label Group, Angie Somerside is General Manager, Philippe Ascoli is Head of A&R.

Aware Records

In 1997, Columbia made an affiliation with unsigned artist promotion label Aware Records
Aware Records
Aware Records is an American record label, existent to seek unsigned musical artists and expose them to the mainstream media. The label has had success with a range of artists, including John Mayer, Train, Five For Fighting, Mat Kearney and Guster....

to distribute Aware's artists music. Through this venture, Columbia has had success finding highly successful artists. In 2002, Columbia and Aware accepted the option to continue this relationship.

Columbia Nashville

In 2007, Columbia formed Columbia Nashville and is part of Sony Music Nashville
Sony Music Nashville
Sony Music Nashville is the country music branch of Sony Music Entertainment based in Nashville, Tennessee. It comprises of RCA Records Nashville, Columbia Records Nashville, Arista Nashville and BNA Records...

. This gave Columbia Nashville complete autonomy and managerial separation from Columbia in New York City. Columbia had given its country music
Country music
Country music is a popular American musical style that began in the rural Southern United States in the 1920s. It takes its roots from Western cowboy and folk music...

 department semi-autonomy for many years and through the 1950s, had a 20000 series catalog for country music singles while the rest of Columbia's output of singles had a 30000 then 40000 series catalog number.

Recording studios

In 1913, Columbia moved into the Woolworth Building
Woolworth Building
The Woolworth Building is one of the oldest skyscrapers in New York City. More than a century after the start of its construction, it remains, at 57 stories, one of the fifty tallest buildings in the United States as well as one of the twenty tallest buildings in New York City...

 in New York City
and housed its first recording studio there. In 1917, Columbia used this studio to make a recording of a dixieland
Dixieland
Dixieland music, sometimes referred to as Hot jazz, Early Jazz or New Orleans jazz, is a style of jazz music which developed in New Orleans at the start of the 20th century, and was spread to Chicago and New York City by New Orleans bands in the 1910s.Well-known jazz standard songs from the...

 band, the Original Dixieland Jass Band
Original Dixieland Jass Band
The Original Dixieland Jass Band were a New Orleans, Dixieland jazz band that made the first jazz recordings in early 1917. Their "Livery Stable Blues" became the first jazz single ever issued. The group composed and made the first recordings of many jazz standards, the most famous being Tiger Rag...

.

In New York City, Columbia Records had some of the most highly respected sound recording studios, including the Columbia 30th Street Studio
CBS 30th Street Studio
CBS 30th Street Studio, also known as Columbia 30th Street Studio, and nicknamed "The Church", was an American recording studio operated by Columbia Records from 1949 to 1981 located at 207 East 30th Street, between Second and Third Avenues in Manhattan, New York City...

 at 207 East 30th Street ("Studio C" and "Studio D"), the CBS Studio Building
CBS Studio Building
The CBS Studio Building is a seven-story office building at 49 East 52nd Street in midtown Manhattan that has at various times served as a Vanderbilt family home, the first graduate school of the Juilliard School, CBS Radio studios and Columbia Records studio....

 at 49 East 52nd Street ("Studio B" on the second floor and "Studio E" on the sixth floor), and one of their earliest recording studios, "Studio A" at 799 Seventh Avenue near 52nd Street.

The Columbia 30th Street Studio was considered by some in the music industry to be the best sounding room in its time and others consider it to have been the greatest recording studio in history.

Columbia also had the highly respected Liederkranz Hall, at 111 East 58th Street between Park and Lexington Avenues, in New York City, a building built by and formerly belonging to a German cultural and musical society, The Liederkranz Society, and used as a recording studio. The producer Morty Palitz had been instrumental in convincing Columbia Records to begin to use the Liederkranz Hall studio for recording music, additionally convincing the conductor Andre Kostelanetz
Andre Kostelanetz
André Kostelanetz was a popular orchestral music conductor and arranger, one of the pioneers of easy listening music.-Biography:...

 to make some of the first recordings in Liederkranz Hall which until then had only been used for CBS Symphony
Columbia Symphony Orchestra
The Columbia Symphony Orchestra was an orchestra formed by Columbia Records. It provided a vehicle for some of Columbia's better known recording artists to record using only company resources.-Bruno Walter:...

 radio shows. In the late 1940s, the large Liederkranz Hall space was physically rearranged to make room for television studios.

See also

  • RCA Records
    RCA Records
    RCA Records is one of the flagship labels of Sony Music Entertainment. The RCA initials stand for Radio Corporation of America , which was the parent corporation from 1929 to 1985 and a partner from 1985 to 1986.RCA's Canadian unit is Sony's oldest label...

  • Epic Records
    Epic Records
    Epic Records is an American record label, owned by Sony Music Entertainment. Though it was originally conceived as a jazz imprint, it has since expanded to represent various genres. L.A...

  • Sony Music Entertainment
    Sony Music Entertainment
    Sony Music Entertainment ' is the second-largest global recorded music company of the "big four" record companies and is controlled by Sony Corporation of America, the United States subsidiary of Japan's Sony Corporation....

  • Sony BMG Music Entertainment
    Sony BMG Music Entertainment
    Sony BMG Music Entertainment was a recorded music company, which was a 50–50 joint venture between the Sony Corporation of America and Bertelsmann AG...

  • Alex Steinweiss
    Alex Steinweiss
    Alexander "Alex" Steinweiss was a graphic designer known for inventing the album cover.-Early life:Alex Steinweiss was born on March 24, 1917, in Brooklyn. His father was a women's shoe designer from Warsaw and his mother was a seamstress from Riga, Latvia...

    , the label's Art Director from 1938 to 1943, inventor of the illustrated album cover and the LP sleeve
  • Jim Flora
    Jim Flora
    James "Jim" Flora , best known for his distinctive and idiosyncratic album cover art for RCA Victor and Columbia Records during the 1940s and 1950s, was also a prolific commercial illustrator from the 1940s to the 1970s and the author/illustrator of 17 popular children's books...

    , successor to Alex Steinweiss and legendary illustrator for the label during the 1940s
  • List of record labels

Columbia Records Executives

  • Rob Stringer
    Rob Stringer
    Rob Stringer is Chairman of the Columbia Records, which is part of Sony Music Entertainment.He is the younger brother of Sir Howard Stringer, who is Chairman and CEO of Sony Corporation.-References:...

     – Chairman
  • Rick Rubin
    Rick Rubin
    Frederick Jay "Rick" Rubin is an American record producer and the co-president of Columbia Records. Along with Russell Simmons, Rubin was the co-founder of Def Jam Records and also established American Recordings...

    , Steve Barnett
    Steve Barnett (music executive)
    Steve Barnett is the Co-president of Columbia Records.-Life and career:Barnett began his music career as an agent in London in 1970, working for the Bron Agency [Gerry Bron] and dealing with legendary bands such as Colosseum and Uriah Heep...

     – Co-Chairmen
  • Mike Smith
    Mike Smith (A&R man)
    Mike Smith started as an A&R man at MCA Publishing as a scout in 1988, where he signed Blur, Levitation and scouted The Smashing Pumpkins. He then moved to EMI Publishing in 1992 where he went on to sign acts such as PJ Harvey, Elastica, Supergrass, Teenage Fan Club, Doves, Starsailor, The Beta...

     – Columbia UK Head of A&R

Further reading

  • Cogan, Jim; Clark, William, Temples of sound : inside the great recording studios, San Francisco : Chronicle Books, 2003. ISBN 0811833941. Cf. chapter on Columbia Studios, pp. 181–192.
  • Hoffmann, Frank, Encyclopedia of Recorded Sound, New York & London : Routledge, 1993 & 2005, Volume 1. Cf. pp. 209–213, article on "Columbia (Label)"
  • Koenigsberg, Allen, The Patent History of the Phonograph, 1877–1912, APM Press, 1990/1991, ISBN 0937612103.
  • Revolution in Sound: A Biography of the Recording Industry. Little, Brown and Company, 1974. ISBN 0-316-77333-6.
  • High Fidelity Magazine, ABC, Inc. April, 1976, "Creating the LP Record."
  • Rust, Brian, (compiler), The Columbia Master Book Discography, Greenwood Press, 1999.
  • Marmorstein, Gary. The Label: The Story of Columbia Records
    The Label: The Story of Columbia Records
    The Label: The Story of Columbia Records is a book about the rise of Columbia Records and the way it made its way from the beginning. From signing its own artists, to making them celebrities.- Quotes From The Book :...

    . New York: Thunder's Mouth Press; 2007. ISBN 1-56025-707-5
  • Ramone, Phil
    Phil Ramone
    Phil Ramone is a South-African violinist, composer, recording engineer, and record producer.-Biography:As a young child in South Africa, Ramone was a musical prodigy, beginning to play the violin at age three and performing for Queen Elizabeth II at age ten...

    ; Granata, Charles L., Making records: the scenes behind the music, New York : Hyperion, 2007. ISBN 9780786868599. Many references to the Columbia Studios, especially when Ramone bought Studio A, 799 Seventh Avenue from Columbia. Cf. especially pp. 136–137.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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