Capitol Records (also referred to simply as Capitol and
Vine) is an American major record label which operates as a division
of the Capitol Music Group. The label was founded as the first West
Coast-based record label in the
United States in 1942 by industry
insiders Johnny Mercer,
Buddy DeSylva and Glenn E. Wallichs. In 1955,
the label was acquired by the British music conglomerate
EMI as its
North American subsidiary.
EMI was later acquired by Universal
Music Group in 2012 and was merged with the company in 2013, making
Capitol Records and the
Capitol Music Group
Capitol Music Group both a part of the
Universal Music Group. Capitol Records' circular headquarter building
located in Hollywood,
Los Angeles is a recognized landmark of
California. As of July 2017[update], artists signed to Capitol
Special Forces, Paul McCartney, Mary J. Blige, the
Beach Boys, the Beastie Boys, Neil Diamond, Eagles, Katy Perry, Brian
Wilson, Beck, Avenged Sevenfold, 5 Seconds of Summer, Don Henley, Sam
Smith, NF, Emeli Sandé, Troye Sivan, Calum Scott, Tori Kelly, Jon
Niall Horan and Minus Gravity.
3.1 The Beatles
3.2 Other bands
5.1 First Releases
6 International operations
6.2 United Kingdom
6.3 Latin America
7 See also
9 External links
Capitol Records was founded by songwriter
Johnny Mercer in 1942,
with the financial help of fellow songwriter and film producer Buddy
DeSylva and the business acumen of Glenn Wallichs, the owner of
Wallichs Music City. Mercer first raised the idea of starting a record
company while golfing with
Harold Arlen and Bobby Sherwood. By 1941,
Mercer was an experienced songwriter and a singer with multiple
successful releases. Mercer next suggested the idea to Wallichs while
visiting his record store. Wallichs expressed interest in the idea and
the pair negotiated an agreement whereby Mercer would run the company
and identify their artists, while Wallichs managed the business
side. On February 2, 1942, Mercer and Wallichs met
with DeSylva at a
Hollywood restaurant to inquire about the
possibility of investment of the company from Paramount Pictures.
While DeSylva declined the proposal, he handed the pair a check worth
$15,000. On March 27, 1942, the three men
Liberty Records (not to be confused with an unrelated
label later founded in 1955, Liberty Records, which was eventually
acquired by Capitol). In May 1942, the application was amended to
change the company's name to Capitol Records. On April 6, 1942,
Mercer supervised Capitol's first recording session where Martha
Tilton recorded the song "Moon Dreams". On May 5,
Bobby Sherwood and
his orchestra recorded two tracks in the studio. On May 21, Freddie
Slack and his orchestra recorded three tracks in the studio; one with
the orchestra, one with
Ella Mae Morse
Ella Mae Morse called "Cow-Cow Boogie" and
"Air-Minded Executive" supervised by Mercer. On June 4, 1942, Capitol
opened its first office in a second-floor room south of Sunset
Boulevard. On that same day, Wallichs presented the company's first
free record to
Los Angeles disc jockey Peter Potter, thus originating
the practice of distributing free discs to DJs. On
June 5, 1942,
Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra recorded four songs at
the studio. On June 12, the orchestra recorded five more songs in the
studio, including one featuring Billie Holiday, "Trav'lin' Light." On
Tex Ritter recorded "(I Got Spurs That) Jingle Jangle Jingle"
and "Goodbye My Little Cherokee" for his first Capitol recording
session, and the songs formed Capitol's 110th produced record.
The earliest recording artists included co-owner Mercer, Whiteman,
Tilton, Morse, Margaret Whiting, Jo Stafford, the Pied Pipers, Johnnie
Johnston, Tex Ritter, and
Paul Weston and His Orchestra. Capitol's
first gold single was Morse's "Cow Cow Boogie" in 1942. Capitol's
first album was Capitol Presents Songs By Johnny Mercer, a three
78-rpm disc set with recordings by Mercer, Stafford and the Pied
Pipers, all with Weston's Orchestra. The label's other 1940s artists
included Les Baxter, Les Brown, the Nat Cole Trio, Tennessee Ernie
Ford, Benny Goodman, Betty Hutton, Stan Kenton, Dinning Sisters,
Skitch Henderson, Billy Butterfield, Kay Starr, Peggy Lee, Billy May,
Alvino Rey, Jimmy Bryant, Speedy West, Les Paul, Mary Ford, Andy
Russell, Smilin' Jack Smith, Sammy Davis Jr., Cootie Williams, and
western swing artists on the Capitol Americana label Lead Belly,
Cliffie Stone, Hank Thompson (musician), Merle Travis, Wesley Tuttle,
Jimmy Wakely and
Tex Williams amongst others. Capitol was the first
major West Coast label and competed with New York City-based East
Coast powers RCA Victor, Columbia and Decca. In addition to its Los
Angeles recording studio, Capitol owned a second studio in New York
City and, on occasion, sent mobile recording equipment to New Orleans
and other cities.
By 1946, Capitol had sold 42 million records and was established as
one of the "Big Six" record labels. Also in 1946,
Alan W. Livingston created
Bozo the Clown
Bozo the Clown for the
company's new children's record library. Examples of notable Capitol
albums for children during that era are
Sparky's Magic Piano and Rusty
in Orchestraville. Capitol also developed a noted jazz catalog that
included the Capitol Jazz Men and issued the Miles Davis-led sessions,
"Birth of the Cool". Capitol released a few classical albums in the
1940s, some of which featured a heavily embossed, leather-like cover.
These recordings initially appeared in the 78 rpm format and were then
released on LPs (33 1/3 rpm) in 1949. Among the recordings was a
unique performance from Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos' Choros
No. 10, with contributions from a
Los Angeles choral group and the
Janssen Symphony Orchestra (1940–1952), conducted by Werner Janssen;
Symphony No. 3 by Russian composer Reinhold Moritzovich Glière; and
César Franck's Symphony in D minor, with
Willem Mengelberg and the
Concertgebouw Orchestra. In 1949, its Canadian branch was established
and Capitol purchased the KHJ Studios on Melrose Avenue that is
adjacent to the
Paramount Pictures lot in Hollywood. By the mid-1950s,
Capitol had become a huge company that concentrated on popular music.
Center of image: 1950s LP on Capitol
The label's roster during the 1950s included Nat King Cole, the Four
Knights, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Frank Sinatra, Stan Kenton, June
Christy, Louis Prima, Keely Smith, the Louvin Brothers, Judy Garland,
the Andrews Sisters, Dick Haymes, Kay Starr, Jackie Gleason, Harry
James, Jane Froman, Wesley Tuttle, the Four Preps, Ray Anthony, Andy
Griffith, Shirley Bassey, Hank Thompson, Merle Travis, Tommy Duncan,
Skeets McDonald, the Kingston Trio (who in 1960 would account for 20%
of all record sales for Capitol), Dean Martin, Nelson Riddle, the Four
Freshmen, Al Martino, and Dinah Shore. Notable comedy recordings
included Johnny Standley, several by
Stan Freberg and the
Yiddish-dialect parodies of Mickey Katz. The label also began
recording rock and roll acts such as the Jodimars, and Gene Vincent.
Children listened to Capitol's
Bozo the Clown
Bozo the Clown albums, which featured
78-rpm discs and full color booklets that children could follow as
they listened. Although various people played
Bozo the Clown
Bozo the Clown on
television, Capitol used the voice of Pinto Colvig, who was also the
voice for Walt Disney's cartoon character Goofy. Don Wilson also
released some children's records. In June 1952, Billboard magazine
presented a multi-page chronicle of the label's first ten years in
In 1955, the British record company
EMI ended its 55-year mutual
distribution agreement with
RCA Victor and acquired 96% of Capitol
Records' stock for $8.5 million. Soon afterward,
EMI built a new
Hollywood and Vine to match its state-of-the-art Abbey Road
Studios in London. EMI's classical
Angel Records label was merged into
Capitol in 1957. Some classical recordings were issued in high
fidelity and even stereophonic sound on the label by William Steinberg
and the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra,
Leopold Stokowski with various
orchestras (including the
Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra) and Sir
Thomas Beecham and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as light
classical albums by
Carmen Dragon and the
Hollywood Bowl Orchestra and
a series of albums of film music conducted by leading Hollywood
composers such as Alfred Newman.
In 1959, with the advent of stereo, Capitol changed its LP label
design from a large "dome logo" with a gray background to a smaller
"dome logo" in a silver oval with a black background and a colorband
around the edge. At first, the oval was on the left side of the label,
with a tapering spire extending from the top and bottom. Classical
labels replaced the spire with the words "Incomparible High-Fidelity"
and added a round "FDS-Full Dimensional Sound" shield. In the early
1960s the oval was moved to the top of the label, while the colorband
was slightly narrower. This design was used until 1969.
During the 1950s Capitol introduced its series of "Hi-Q" production
music LP's and tapes. Television and film productions that made use of
this extensive library included The Gumby Show, Davey and Goliath, The
Donna Reed Show, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, The Ren &
Stimpy Show and the earliest
Hanna-Barbera cartoons. Due to a strike
by the American Federation of Musicians in 1958 affecting motion
picture orchestras, Warner Brothers relied on several cues from the
library to score some of its theatrical cartoons. Capitol also
released many soundtrack recordings in the 1950s, including the film
versions of three
Rodgers and Hammerstein
Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals Oklahoma!,
Carousel, and The King and I, as well as excerpts from Dimitri
Tiomkin's music from Warner Bros.' Giant.
Capitol’s Capitol of the World series, introduced in 1956 and active
into the 1970s, encompassed a wide range of titles, from its early
best-selling German Beer Drinking Songs and Honeymoon in Rome to more
“exotic” titles such as Australian Aboriginals and Kasongo! Modern
Music of the Belgian Congo. Many were produced by Dave Dexter, Jr.
“Capitol of the World” included over 400 albums. Four
subcategories were designed to bring particular aspects of a
country’s music and culture to the listener: “modern song
stylists” for “popular tunes of the day presented by the top stars
of foreign lands”; “folk songs” for “authentic music of the
people, handed down from generation to generation”; “folk
dances” for “traditional dance music that captures the living
spirit of distant lands”; and “unusual recordings” for “exotic
instruments and unique musical groups rarely heard” in the US.
45rpm Beatles single on Capitol
One of the first rock bands to sign with
Capitol Records in the early
1960s was the Beach Boys, founded in early 1962. As the British music
scene burgeoned in 1963, Capitol, as an
EMI label, had the right of
first refusal on
EMI artists. After initial resistance to issuing
records by the Beatles, who were signed to sister
EMI label Parlophone
in the U.K., Capitol exercised its option in November 1963 and helped
Beatlemania in 1964. The Beatles' earliest US issues had been
on the independent
Vee-Jay label and the key "She Loves You" single on
the small Swan label. Capitol's producers significantly altered the
content of the Beatles' albums (see "Record altering") and, believing
the Beatles' recordings were unsuited to the US market, modified them.
They brightened the sound and piped the recordings through an echo
chamber located underneath the parking lots outside the Tower. Other
instances in which Capitol exercised its right of first refusal
included its passing on such
EMI acts as the Dave Clark Five, Gerry
& the Pacemakers, the Hollies, the Swinging Blue Jeans, The
Manfred Mann (among others), all of which had their
records issued on Canadian Capitol.
As rock music's influence grew in America,
Capitol Records hired Artie
Kornfeld, who later co-created and produced the Woodstock Festival, as
a vice president in his early 20s, making him the youngest to hold the
position and the first vice president of rock and roll ever. Capitol
also either signed or became the distributor of albums in the United
States by Badfinger, the Band, Joe South, Glen Campbell, Bobby Darin,
Vic Damone, Grand Funk Railroad, Howard Roberts, the Human Beinz, the
Chocolate Watchband, If, the Lettermen, Lou Rawls, Steve Miller Band,
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, People, Pink Floyd, Buck Owens, Nancy Wilson,
Bobby Gentry, Linda Ronstadt, the Outsiders, Sandler and Young, Peter
Tosh, Bob Seger, and various solo albums by members of the Beatles.
The classic red and yellow "swirl" 45 RPM label design (pictured) was
first used in January 1962. Originally yellow and orange, it became
yellow and red in the mid-1960s. It was brought back briefly from 1979
to 1981 for use on 45 RPM records by the Knack. Before 1968, it also
appeared on "Starline" label for reissues, albeit with light and dark
green swirls replacing yellow and orange (or red) ones. (Several CD
reissues, including an early-1990s version of the Beach Boys' "Pet
Sounds", used the "swirl" label.) In 1968,
EMI increased its stake in
Capitol Records to 98%; However that same year, Capitol merged with
Audio Devices, Inc., a manufacturer of computer tape and recording, to
form a new holding company called Capitol Industries, Inc., reducing
EMI's stake of the company to 68%.
In the summer of 1969, Capitol replaced its "dome" logo with a "C"
logo incorporating a new 45 rpm record design. The new logo appeared
on a light-green background on albums and a red and orange
concentric-circle label on 45's. These became known as the "target"
labels. The target label for LP's had a red background for most albums
released from May 1971 until November 1972, when both albums and 45's
had an orange label with the word "Capitol" printed at the bottom. (In
Grand Funk Railroad
Grand Funk Railroad became the first Capitol act to be given
custom label designs for all its releases, beginning with the "E
Pluribus Funk" album.) Budget albums had the same logos but with a
yellow backdrop. (The "dome" logo did not disappear entirely: on many
labels of this era it can be seen in the small print at the edge.) In
1978, the "dome" design returned with purple
backgrounds for rock and pop releases and red backgrounds for soul and
disco. Budget albums had the same logo but a blue or green label.
Between 1964 and 1970, Tower Records was a subsidiary label. Other
short-lived subsidiary labels included Uptown, Crazy Horse and
Capitol logo from 1969 to 1978
In 1972, the company changed its name to Capitol Industries-EMI, Inc.
EMI increased its holdings to 70.84%. By 1976,
EMI had purchased
the remaining shares. In the seventies, Capitol launched two
EMI America Records and
EMI Manhattan Records. New
artists included John Lennon, Helen Reddy, Anne Murray, Skylark
(Canadian band), April Wine, Blondie, Bloodrock, Burning Spear,
Buzzcocks, David Bowie, Kim Carnes, Rosanne Cash, Max Webster, Lee
Clayton, Natalie Cole, the Goose Creek Symphony, Sammy Hagar, the
Knack, Maze, Mink DeVille, Juice Newton, Raspberries, Minnie Riperton,
Diana Ross, Sweet, the Specials, the Sylvers, Ten Wheel Drive, the
Stranglers, Tavares, George Thorogood, Triumvirate, Little River Band,
Wings and the Persuasions. In 1977,
EMI merged with THORN Electrical
Industries to form Thorn
EMI PLC. In 1979, Capitol was merged into the
EMI Music Worldwide division.
Capitol added artists across genres during the 1980s: popular music
groups and singers like Richard Marx, The Motels, Tina Turner, George
Clinton (musician), Billy Squier, Crowded House, Peter Blakeley, Duran
Duran (and spinoffs Arcadia and The Power Station), Heart, The Doobie
Brothers, Katrina & The Waves, Lloyd Cole, Sawyer Brown, Queen,
Brian Setzer, the Smithereens, The Tubes, Paul Westerberg, Missing
Persons (band), Butthole Surfers, Plasmatics, Megadeth, Exodus, Rigor
Mortis, Helix, W.A.S.P., Poison, Iron Maiden, Climie Fisher, Beastie
Boys, King Tee, Mantronix, Mellow Man Ace, Robbie Robertson, Dave Koz,
Ashford and Simpson, Freddie Jackson, BeBe & CeCe Winans and
Skinny Puppy. In 1983, the Beatles-era "colorband" label design was
brought back, with white print, for both albums and 45's. The last
label Capitol used on records was a return to the old purple design
with the "dome logo"; after that, compact discs became the dominant
format for recorded music. Since the advent of CD's, labels on the
discs have varied greatly.
Nineties acts include Blind Melon, Garth Brooks, Meredith Brooks,
Coldplay, The Dandy Warhols, Dilated Peoples, Doves, Everclear, Foo
Fighters, Geri Halliwell, Ice Cube, Idlewild, Jane's Addiction, the
Jesus Lizard, Selena, Jimmy Eat World, Ras Kass, Kottonmouth Kings,
Ben Lee, Less Than Jake, Luscious Jackson, Lynda Thomas, Tara MacLean,
Marcy Playground, Jesse Campbell, Mazzy Star, MC Eiht, MC Hammer, MC
Ren, The Moffatts, Moist, Liz Phair, Lisa Marie Presley, Radiohead,
Bonnie Raitt, Snoop Dogg, Spearhead, Starsailor, Stir, Supergrass,
Télépopmusik, Television, Richard Thompson,
Butthole Surfers and
Robbie Williams. The Ultra-Lounge series of compilation CDs appeared
EMI merged Capitol with the
Priority Records label. The
combined label manages rap artists including Cee-Lo, Ice Cube, Snoop
Lil Romeo and Lil Zane. Other 21st-century artists
Katy Perry (whose 2010 album, Teenage Dream, is the most
successful, producing six No. 1 singles), J. Holiday, Jiggolo, LeToya
(who, in 2006, had the first No. 1 album for the label since MC
Hammer's 1990 masterpiece Please Hammer, Don't Hurt 'Em), Zay, Red
Cafe, Aslyn, Melissa Auf der Maur, Big Moe, Chingy, the Decemberists,
Depeche Mode, Dexter Freebish, From First to Last, the F-Ups, Faith
Evans, Fischerspooner, Interpol, Jonny Greenwood, Shelby Lynne, Kudai,
Ed Harcourt, Houston, Van Hunt, Javier, Mae, Matthew Jay, Kylie
Minogue, Dave Navarro, OK Go, Lady Antebellum, Lisa Marie Presley,
Relient K, Anahí, Belinda Peregrin, Roscoe, RBD, Saosin, Sick
Puppies, Squad Five-O, Otep, the Star Spangles, Steriogram, Skye
Sweetnam, the Vines, Yellowcard, Young Bleed, Young Life, Don Yute,
Cherish, Sky Ferreira, Shout Out Louds, Hurt, Corinne Bailey Rae, the
Magic Numbers, Hedley, End of Fashion, Mims,
Keith Urban and
Robbie Williams released his smash hit album (of jazz songs
being remade) called
Swing When You're Winning
Swing When You're Winning on the Capitol label
(rather than his native Chrysalis Records) in tribute to his musical
hero Frank Sinatra.
In 2006, the label signed a deal to distribute Fat Joe's music and
that of his record label Terror Squad Entertainment. Around the same
time, Capitol was able to sign up-and-coming New York rapper Mims. In
this deal they also agreed to distribute music from Mims' record label
American King Music. Around this time they also added recording artist
J. Holiday to their roster as the main artist for Capitol Music Group,
as they had become frequent collaborators. Capitol gained ground on
other labels such as Def Jam, and
Interscope Records with these
signings. In 2007, they cut a distribution deal with the Game's The
Black Wall Street Records and signed former
Bad Boy Records
Bad Boy Records star Faith
Jermaine Dupri and his
So So Def Recordings
So So Def Recordings label were briefly
signed as a result of
Capitol Records merging with Virgin Records.
Dupri was the head of urban music for the label.
In February 2007,
EMI announced the merger of
Virgin Records and
Capitol into the Capitol Music Group. As part of this restructuring,
hundreds of staff from multiple divisions were laid off and many
artists were cut from the roster. In September 2006,
EMI announced that they had sold the tower and adjacent properties for
$50 million to New York-based developer Argent Ventures. Capitol
continued to lease the building as its West Coast office.
Capitol Records filed a lawsuit against Vimeo, an online video-sharing
website, for audio copyright infringement. Capitol filed the claim
after users were visibly lip-synching to some of their tracks.
Artists signed or distributed in the 2010s include the pop-kids, Tori
Kelly, Brian Wilson, Capital Cities, 5 Seconds of Summer, Bastille,
Morrissey, My Morning Jacket, Counting Crows, Beck, Arcade Fire, Elton
John, Rod Stewart, Jon Bellion, Alice In Chains, Niykee Heaton, the
Decemberists and Niall Horan.
In 2012, the recorded music operations of
EMI were sold to the
Universal Music Group
Universal Music Group and the world headquarters were re-established
in the Capitol Tower as part of the subsequent reorganization of the
Capitol Music Group. Steve Barnett, previously an employee of Columbia
Records, was recruited to run the division.
Following a legal action by
Capitol Records against the ReDigi.com
online company in April 2013, the latter was found to be in violation
of copyright law.
Capitol Records claimed that ReDigi was guilty of
copyright infringement due to a business model that facilitated the
creation of additional copies of Capitol's digital music files,
whereby users could upload the files for downloading or streaming to
the new purchaser of the file. ReDigi argued that the resale of
MP3/digital music files is actually permitted under certain doctrines
("fair use" and "first sale") but the court maintained that the
doctrines' application "was limited to material items that the
copyright owner put into the stream of commerce."
In 2014, PGH Live Music joined the team and
Katy Perry founded the
record label Metamorphosis Music, starting a label venture with
Capitol Records. The name of the label was later changed to Unsub
Records in 2016. Also that year, Capitol rose to number two in
terms of market share and swept all four major award categories at the
Grammys through the works of
Beck and Sam Smith. In 2016, the band
Avenged Sevenfold created their own imprint, Avenged Sevenfold
Partnership, on which they released their new album, The Stage.
Capitol Records has released some of the most notable original cast
albums and motion picture soundtrack albums ever made. Between 1955
and 1956, they released the soundtracks of three now-classic Rodgers
and Hammerstein films, Oklahoma!, Carousel, and The King and I. The
mono versions of these soundtrack albums were all released the year
that the films were released. The films had been released in then
state-of-the-art stereo, so Capitol later released stereo albums of
the soundtracks. However, the mono and stereo versions did not always
contain identical material. Because stereo grooves took up more space
than their mono counterparts, the stereo versions were somewhat
shorter than their predecessors. This was not much of a problem with
Oklahoma!, because the soundtrack was relatively short. The only piece
missing from the stereo edition of the album was a few seconds of the
overture. With Carousel, however, half of the Carousel Waltz had to be
lopped off, and with The King and I, the instrumental bridge from the
song Getting to Know You was removed. These albums (especially
Oklahoma!) were bestsellers for Capitol for many years, until, in the
Angel Records bought the rights to them.
Angel Records restored
the omitted portions, and in 2001 issued new expanded editions that
included all music left out of every previous edition of these
soundtracks, bringing the playing time of each to well over an hour.
In 1957, Capitol issued the original cast album of The Music Man,
starring Robert Preston, an album that became one of the biggest cast
album sellers of all time, even after the highly successful film
version of the show was released in 1962. Capitol was also responsible
for the original cast and film soundtrack albums of Cole Porter's
Can-Can and the original cast album of Stephen Sondheim's A Funny
Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. In 1962, Capitol issued a
studio cast recording of the songs from Lionel Bart's Oliver!, in
anticipation of its U.S. tour prior to its opening on Broadway. Barbra
Streisand starring in Broadway's Funny Girl had the cast album, both
mono & stereo versions, released by
Capitol Records in 1964, which
reached #2 in the Billboard 200 chart, and won a Grammy for Best
Musical Show Album.
In 1966, Capitol released the soundtrack album of the documentary
tribute John F. Kennedy: Years of Lightning, Day of Drums, a film made
United States Information Agency that, originally, was not
produced for general viewing. However, the quality of the film was
considered so high that the public was eventually allowed to see it.
The film featured the voice of
Gregory Peck as narrator, with
narration written and music composed by Bruce Herschensohn. The album
was virtually a condensed version of the film—it included the
narration as well as the music. One immensely successful spoken word
album was the soundtrack of Franco Zeffirelli's film Romeo and Juliet,
based on Shakespeare's play. The film became the highest grossing
Shakespeare film for several years and the album was also a tremendous
hit. It featured not only Nino Rota's score, but large chunks of
Shakespeare's dialog. The success of this album spurred Capitol to
issue two other Romeo and Juliet albums, one a three-disk album that
contained the entire soundtrack (dialog and music), and another album
that contained only Nino Rota's score.
As Capitol was later accused of doing with Beatles albums, the label
modified the Years of Lightning and Romeo and Juliet albums. Extra
music was added to some scenes that, in the film, contained little or
no music, such as the duel between Romeo and Tybalt. Presumably this
was done to show off the score—and at the end of both the abridged
and complete versions of the Romeo albums, the end credits music was
omitted, especially unfortunate since virtually all of the film's
credits were saved for the end of the picture. Capitol tried to strike
gold again with another spoken word album, one made from the 1970 film
Richard Harris and Alec Guinness, but neither the
film nor album were successful.
The influence of the Romeo and Juliet album briefly spread to other
Columbia Records issued an album of dialog and music
excerpts from the successful 1970
Dustin Hoffman film, Little Big Man,
and also Barbra Streisand's
The Owl and the Pussycat (album)
The Owl and the Pussycat (album) in the
same year; and
20th Century Fox Records
20th Century Fox Records included George C. Scott's
opening and closing speeches, as well as Jerry Goldsmith's score, in
their soundtrack album made from the film Patton.
As was common practise in the 1950s and 1960s, Capitol modified some
albums that were originally released in other countries on other
labels. Albums released in the
United States contained fewer tracks,
typically no more than 11 or 12, compared to albums released in the
United Kingdom due to differences in the method publishing royalties
were calculated in the two countries. Also, in the American market
it was expected for albums to include the current hit single, whereas
British albums typically did not duplicate songs released as singles.
Possibly the most well-known treatment of an international artist's
recordings was the company's release pattern for various albums by the
Beatles. This began with Capitol's release of Meet the Beatles!, the
first album by the band to be released by Capitol in the United
States. It was based on the British album With the Beatles, which
contained 14 tracks and a running time of around 35 minutes. Capitol
removed five tracks ("Money", "You've Really Got A Hold On Me", "Devil
In Her Heart", "Please Mister Postman", and "Roll Over Beethoven") and
added both sides of the band's first American hit single ("I Want To
Hold Your Hand" and "I Saw Her Standing There") and the British
single's B-side, "This Boy". "I Saw Her Standing There" was on the
Beatles' first British album Please Please Me. This resulted in
Capitol releasing Meet the Beatles as a 12-track album with a duration
of around 30 minutes, and made it comparable with other American pop
albums. It also provided Capitol with unreleased tracks for use in
later US Beatles albums such as The Beatles' Second Album.
Capitol also issued "duophonic" stereo releases of some recordings
where the original master was monophonic. Capitol engineers split the
single master monaural track into two, boosted the bass on the right
channel, boosted treble on the left channel and added a split-second
delay between channels to produce a "stereo" release. This Duophonic
process meant that the Beatles' American fans heard a slightly
different song from that heard by the rest of the world if they
listened to the stereo version.
This trend in the Beatles' American discography continued until 1967
when a new recording contract with
EMI was signed. Unhappy with the
way Capitol in the US and other companies around the world were
issuing their work in almost unrecognizable forms, beginning in 1967
the Beatles gained full approval of album titles and cover art, track
listing and running order in North America. Starting with Sgt.
Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band Beatles' albums were released
unmodified. Issue of 45 RPM singles featuring album tracks was also
stopped. Instead non-album tracks were issued as singles between album
Modification of albums for American release continued with other
Pink Floyd's first album,
The Piper at the Gates of Dawn
The Piper at the Gates of Dawn on the Tower
label (a subsidiary of Capitol), had several tracks removed in favor
of their first hit single "See Emily Play". This was
criticized because the removed tracks combined
("Flaming", "Bike", and "Astronomy Domine") were much longer than
"Emily", making the removals completely unnecessary for reasons of
running time. PGH Live Music battled this decision in court and won in
Iron Maiden's first two albums,
Iron Maiden and Killers, had more
tracks than their UK counterparts. Iron Maiden's 1980 self-titled
debut was released in the US a few months after its UK release with
the added track "Sanctuary". Its follow-up, 1981's Killers, was
released a few months later in the US, with the added track "Twilight
Megadeth's Risk album was littered with samples and guitar pieces that
Dave Mustaine never authorized, causing him to release one final album
on Capitol, Capitol Punishment: The
Megadeth Years, and then move to
Sanctuary Records. After leaving Sanctuary Records, it was falsely
Megadeth would return to Capitol, but
signed with Roadrunner Records.
The company also had a history of making mistakes with album releases;
the American release of Klaatu's debut album 3:47 EST had several
spelling errors on the track list, and later Capitol pressings of CD
versions of Klaatu's albums suffered severe quality problems. The poor
sound quality of Duran Duran's May 1982 release Rio (on Capitol
subsidiary Harvest) contributed to the lag in initial sales, until a
remixed version was released in November.
Capitol Records Building
Capitol Records headquarters building
Welton Becket and a young architect from Becket's
office, the thirteen-story, earthquake-resistant Capitol Records
Tower is the world's first circular office building. Home to several
recording studios, it is one of Hollywood's most distinctive
landmarks. While not originally intended as a tribute to record
players, its wide curved awnings and tall narrow tower mimic the
appearance of a stack of gramophone records atop a phonograph. The
building was commissioned by
EMI soon after its acquisition of Capitol
Records in 1955, and was soon completed in April 1956. The building is
located just north of the intersection of
Hollywood and Vine and is
the center of the Company's consolidated West Coast operations–and
was nicknamed "The House That Nat Built" to recognize the enormous
financial contributions of Capitol star Nat "King" Cole. The
rectangular ground floor is a separate structure, joined to the tower
after it was completed.
Coordinates: 34°06′11″N 118°19′34″W / 34.103085°N
118.326189°W / 34.103085; -118.326189
In September 2006,
EMI announced that it had sold the tower and
adjacent properties for $50 million to New York-based developer Argent
Ventures. In mid-2008, a controversy erupted over a plan to build
a condominium complex next door, igniting fears that the building's
legendary acoustic properties (specifically its renowned underground
echo chambers) would be compromised. It was announced in November 2012
that Steve Barnett would become Chairman and CEO of Capitol Music
Group and would be based at the
Capitol Records Building.
Capitol Records and artist Richard Wyatt Jr. joined forces
to restore his iconic
Hollywood Jazz Mural on the south wall of the
Capitol Records building.
Main article: Capitol Studios
Capitol's recording studios were designed by guitarist and sound
expert Les Paul to minimize noise and vibration, then
newly important goals in the high-fidelity sound era. An inner wall
floating on layers of rubber and cork was erected inside the
building's 10-inch-thick (250 mm) concrete exterior walls,
leaving a one-inch air gap to provide complete sound isolation.
The facility also features subterranean echo chambers that allow
engineers to add reverberation during the recording process. Eight
trapezoidal chambers are located 30 feet (9.1 m) underground,
with 10-inch concrete walls and 12-inch-thick (300 mm) concrete
ceilings. Speakers on one side and microphones on the other permit an
echo effect of up to five seconds. Studios A and B can be combined for
the recording of orchestral music and symphonic film soundtracks. The
first album recorded in the tower was
Frank Sinatra Conducts Tone
Poems of Color.
On July 1, 1942,
Capitol Records released its first nine records:
101 – "I Found a New Baby"/"The General Jumped at Dawn" – Paul
Whiteman and His Orchestra
102 – "Cow-Cow Boogie" with
Ella Mae Morse
Ella Mae Morse and Freddy Slack and His
Orchestra/ "Here You Are" – Freddy Slack and His Orchestra
103 – "Strip Polka"/"Air-Minded Executive" – both with vocals by
104 – "Johnny Doughboy Found A Rose In Ireland"/"Phil, The Fluters
Ball" – both with vocals by Dennis Day
105 – "The Angels Cried" – vocal
Martha Tilton and The
Mellowaires/"I'll Remember April" – vocal
Martha Tilton with
Gordon Jenkins and his Orchestra
106 – "He Wears A Pair Of Silver Wings" – vocal Connie
Haines/"I’m Always Chasing Rainbows" –
Gordon Jenkins and his
107 – "Elk's Parade"/"I Don't Know Why" –
Bobby Sherwood and
108 – "Serenade In Blue" –
Martha Tilton with Paul Whiteman
and his Orchestra/"(I've Got a Gal In) Kalamazoo" – The
Paul Whiteman and his Orchestra
109 – "Windmill Under The Stars"/"Conchita Lopez" – Johnnie
By July 25, 1942, "Cow Cow Boogie" - had reached #1 on the "hit
133 - "Get On Board Little Chillun" - July 31, 1942 - is a Freddie
Mae Morse/Mellowaires recording that might be the first
rock 'n' roll record. She has sometimes been called the first rock 'n'
roll singer. A good example is her 1942 recording of this song which,
with strong gospel, blues, boogie, and jive sounds can be considered a
genuine precursor to the later rockabilly/rock 'n' roll songs to
On July 20, 1942
T. Bone Walker
T. Bone Walker recorded "Mean Old World" a pioneering
example of the use of electric guitar.
251 - February 12, 1946 - "The House Of Blue Lights" - is a Don
Ella Mae Morse
Ella Mae Morse recording made at Radio Recorders,
Hollywood Ca. that many feel is a key harbinger of rock 'n' roll as
well with its solid 4/4 beat.
Capitol Records of Canada was established in 1949 by independent
businessman W. Lockwood Miller.
Capitol Records broke with Miller's
company and formed Capitol Record Distributors of Canada Limited in
EMI acquired this company when it acquired Capitol Records. The
company was renamed
Capitol Records of Canada Ltd in 1958 after
Miller's rights to the name expired. In 1959, Capitol of Canada picked
up distribution rights for sister
EMI labels Angel Records, Pathé
Odeon Records and
Parlophone Records. In 1957, Paul White
joined Capitol of Canada and in 1960 established an A&R department
independent of the American company to promote talent for the Canadian
market. They found homegrown Canadian talent such as Anne Murray
as well as
EMI artists from other countries. Canada-only issues bore
6000 series catalog numbers for LPs and 72000 series catalog numbers
for singles. Capitol Canada issues of American Capitol recordings bore
the same catalog numbers as their American counterparts. Beginning in
1962, Capitol of Canada issued albums by British artists such as Cliff
Helen Shapiro and Frank Ifield. They accepted the Beatles
long before the American company. By 1967, they were distributing
EMI labels such as Disneyland Records, Buena Vista Records, 20th
Century Fox Records and Pickwick Records. The company was renamed
EMI of Canada" in 1974, before the "
EMI Music Canada"
name was adopted in 1993. The Canadian branch of Capitol won two
Juno Awards in 1971, the leading music awards in that country. One
Juno was for "Top Record Company" and the other was for "Top
Promotional Company". In 1982, Capitol Records-
EMI of Canada developed
the "SDR", or Super Dynamic Range, process for duplicating cassettes,
which resulted in higher-quality audio. SDR was adopted by Capitol's
American operations later that year and renamed "XDR" (eXtended
Dynamic Range). SDR/XDR cassette releases are noted for their use of a
short burst of tones ascending in frequency at the beginning and end
of the cassette, before and after the program material.
Canada was absorbed into
Universal Music Canada which retained the
Beginning in 1948,
Capitol Records were released in the UK on the
Capitol label by Decca Records. After its 1955 acquisition of Capitol,
EMI took over distribution in 1956. EMI's
Parlophone unit handled
Capitol label marketing in the UK in later years. In 2012,
Universal Music Group. The
European Union forced
EMI to spin
off assets for antitrust reasons, including Parlophone. As a result,
Universal Music launched Capitol as an autonomous label in the UK
with the rights to the Beatles' recorded music catalog. This marks
the first time that the Capitol label in the UK operated as an
Capitol Latin focuses on Latin music artists in Latin America and the
United States. It was founded in 1989 as
EMI Latin and was renamed to
Capitol Latin in 2009.
Capitol Latin was merged with Universal
Music Latin Entertainment in 2013.
Capitol Music Group
Capitol Music Group Sweden was established in 2014; formerly known as
Lionheart Music Group. The label is solely distributed, and wholly
Universal Music Sweden.
Capitol Music Taiwan was established in 2006. It is home to several
megastar artists in the Chinese music industry. They include Jolin
Tsai, Stefanie Sun, A-mei, Stanley Huang, and Show Lo. Even though
artists are signed to this label, the albums are released under EMI
Music Taiwan. The label had the highest sales among all labels in
Taiwan between 2006 and 2008. In 2008,
EMI Music Taiwan was acquired
by Paco Wong's
Gold Label Records and reformed as Gold Typhoon. The
name is in reference to Jolin Tsai's
Love Exercise released after the
acquisition. However, the label of "Capitol Music
Taiwan" is not part of Gold Typhoon.
List of record labels
Capitol Music Group
Capitol Records artists
Capitol Records v. Naxos
^ a b Christopher Hawthorne (29 May 2011). "Critic's Notebook:
Hollywood landmark at a crossroads".
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Vimeo Sued Over Lip Dubs". Gigaom.
Gigaom. Retrieved 18 April 2013.
^ Brown, August (November 26, 2012). "Steve Barnett to lead Capitol
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You should have stuck with CDs". The Conversation. The Conversation
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^ "Introducing my new label venture with @capitolrecords featuring my
first artist FERRAS". 17 June 2014.
^ Kaufman, Gil. "
Katy Perry Really Wants You to Get 'Together' with
Her Latest Signing, CYN". Retrieved 14 July 2017.
^ Lewis, Randy (9 February 2015). "Grammy Awards bring gold to
revitalized Capitol Records". Pop & Hiss.
Los Angeles Times.
Retrieved 10 September 2015.
^ "AVENGED SEVENFOLD Have A New Label Home, Settle Lawsuit with Warner
Bros. - Metal Injection". Metal Injection. 2016-10-14. Retrieved
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4, 1967: 10
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Capitol Records Tower to Be
Los Angeles Times.
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Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 18 April 2013.
Capitol Records Jazz Mural restored!". Millennium Hollywood.
Hollywood Partners. January 30, 2013. Archived from the
original on May 25, 2013. Retrieved April 18, 2013.
^ Bob Pool (18 June 2008). "Capitol fears for its sonic signature".
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Business Media, Inc. p. 4. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 19
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Capitol Records -
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EMI du Canada Limitée". The Canadian Encyclopedia.
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Clifford, Steve; Serge Pelletier (1999–2013). "
Capitol Records of
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Piers A. Hemmingsen & Serge Pelletier. Retrieved 18 April
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Songs, Pictures and Stories of
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UK". CMU. Unlimited Media. Retrieved 18 April 2013.
^ Ingham, Tim (26 November 2012). "Universal's Capitol takes shape:
Barnett in, Beatles on roster". Music Week. Intent Media. Retrieved 18
Capitol Records U.K. Launches, Nick Raphael Named President".
Billboard. 2013-04-25. Retrieved 2013-09-04.
EMI Latin A Retrospective". Billboard. 111 (17): LM-20. April 24,
1999. ISSN 0006-2510.
^ Cobo, Leila (January 26, 2010). "Billboard.biz Q&A: Diana
Rodriguez, Senior VP of Capitol Latin". Billboard. Prometheus Global
Media. Retrieved August 16, 2014.
Universal Music Latin Entertainment
Universal Music Latin Entertainment Announces Key Senior
Appointments in Mexico, Latin America". Billboard. Prometheus Global
Media. January 29, 2013.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Capitol Records.
Capitol UK official site
3D model of the Capitol Tower for use in Google Earth
The Judy Garland Online Discography "Capitol Records" pages.
Capitol Records' channel on YouTube
Capitol Records Myspace page.
Capitol of Canada 72000 series singles discography
Capitol of Canada 6000 series LP discography
Swirl Daze – The 1960s Capitol Singles Discography
List of owned assets
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