Capitol Records
   HOME

TheInfoList



Capitol Records, LLC (known legally as Capitol Records, Inc. until 2007) is an American record label owned by
Universal Music Group Universal Music Group B.V. (often abbreviated as UMG) is a global Music industry, music corporation that is majority owned by the French media conglomerate Vivendi, with Chinese tech company Tencent owning a minority stake. UMG's corporate head ...
through its
Capitol Music Group Capitol Music Group (abbreviated as CMG) is an American front line umbrella label owned by the Universal Music Group Universal Music Group B.V. (often abbreviated as UMG) is a global Music industry, music corporation that is majority owned by t ...
imprint. It was founded as the first West Coast-based record label of note in the United States in 1942 by
Johnny Mercer John Herndon Mercer (November 18, 1909 – June 25, 1976) was an American lyricist, songwriter, and singer. He was also a record label executive who co-founded Capitol Records with music industry businessmen Buddy DeSylva and Glenn E. Walli ...

Johnny Mercer
,
Buddy DeSylva George Gard "Buddy" DeSylva (January 27, 1895 – July 11, 1950) was an American songwriter, film producer A film producer is a person who oversees film production. Either employed by a production company or working Independent film, independent ...
, and Glenn E. Wallichs. Capitol was acquired by British music conglomerate
EMI EMI Group Limited (originally an initialism for Electric and Musical Industries, also referred to as EMI Records Ltd. or simply EMI) was a British transnational conglomerate founded in March 1931 in London. At the time of its break-up in 2012 ...
as its North American
subsidiary A subsidiary, subsidiary company or daughter company is a company (law), company owned or controlled by another company, which is called the parent company, parent, or holding company. The subsidiary can be a company, corporation, or limited liabil ...
in 1955. EMI was acquired by Universal Music Group in 2012, and was merged with the company a year later, making Capitol and the Capitol Music Group both a part of UMG. The label's
circular headquarters building
circular headquarters building
is a recognized landmark of
Hollywood Hollywood is a neighborhood in the Central Los Angeles, central region of Los Angeles, California. Its name has come to be a metonymy, shorthand reference for the Cinema of the United States, U.S. film industry and the people associated with i ...

Hollywood
,
California California is a U.S. state, state in the Western United States. With over 39.3million residents across a total area of approximately , it is the List of states and territories of the United States by population, most populous and the List of ...
. Capitol is well known as the U.S. record label of
the Beatles The Beatles were an English Rock music, rock band formed in Liverpool in 1960. The group, whose best-known line-up comprised John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, are regarded as the Cultural impact of the Beatles, most ...

the Beatles
, especially during the years of
Beatlemania Beatlemania was the fanaticism surrounding the English rock band the Beatles The Beatles were an English Rock music, rock band formed in Liverpool in 1960. The group, whose best-known line-up comprised John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George ...
in America from 1964 to 1967. Capitol's roster has included
Nat King Cole Nathaniel Adams Coles (March 17, 1919 – February 15, 1965), known professionally as Nat King Cole, was an American singer, jazz pianist, and actor. He recorded over 100 songs that became hits on the pop charts. His trio was the model for sm ...

Nat King Cole
,
Frank Sinatra Francis Albert Sinatra (; December 12, 1915 – May 14, 1998) was an American singer and actor who was one of the most popular and influential musical artists of the 20th century. He is one of the List of best-selling music artists, best-sel ...

Frank Sinatra
,
Judy Garland Judy Garland (born Frances Ethel Gumm; June 10, 1922 – June 22, 1969) was an American actress, singer, vaudevillian, and dancer. With a career spanning 45 years, she attained international stardom as an actress in both musical and dramatic rol ...
,
Peggy Lee Norma Deloris Egstrom (May 26, 1920 – January 21, 2002), known professionally as Peggy Lee, was an American jazz and popular music singer, songwriter, composer, and actress, over a career spanning seven decades. From her beginning as a vocalist ...

Peggy Lee
,
Dinah Shore Dinah Shore (born Fannye Rose Shore; February 29, 1916 – February 24, 1994) was an American singer, actress, and television personality, and the top-charting female vocalist of the 1940s. She rose to prominence as a recording artist during the ...
,
Tina Turner Tina Turner (born Anna Mae Bullock; November 26, 1939) is an American-born singer, songwriter, and actress, who is currently a naturalized citizen of Switzerland. Referred to as the "Honorific nicknames in popular music, Queen of Rock 'n' Roll ...

Tina Turner
,
Garth Brooks Troyal Garth Brooks (born February 7, 1962) is an American country music singer and songwriter. His integration of rock and pop elements into the country music, country genre has earned him popularity, particularly in the United States with suc ...

Garth Brooks
,
Paul McCartney Sir James Paul McCartney (born 18 June 1942) is an English singer, songwriter, musician, and record and film producer who gained worldwide fame as co-lead vocalist and bassist for the Beatles. His Lennon–McCartney, songwriting partnership wi ...

Paul McCartney
,
Ringo Starr Sir Richard Starkey (born 7 July 1940), better known by his stage name Ringo Starr, is an English musician, singer, songwriter and actor who achieved international fame as the drummer for the Beatles. He occasionally sang lead vocals with t ...

Ringo Starr
,
the Beach Boys The Beach Boys are an American Rock music, rock band that formed in Hawthorne, California, in 1961. The group's original lineup consisted of brothers Brian Wilson, Brian, Dennis Wilson, Dennis, and Carl Wilson, their cousin Mike Love, and frien ...

the Beach Boys
,
Brian Wilson Brian Douglas Wilson (born June 20, 1942) is an American musician, singer, songwriter, and record producer who co-founded the Beach Boys. After signing with Capitol Records in 1962, Wilson wrote or co-wrote more than two dozen Top 40 hits for t ...

Brian Wilson
,
Bee Gees The Bee Gees were a music group formed in 1958, featuring brothers Barry Gibb, Barry, Robin Gibb, Robin, and Maurice Gibb. The trio were especially successful as a popular music act in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and later as prominent pe ...
,
Megadeth Megadeth is an American heavy metal band formed in Los Angeles in 1983 by guitarist Dave Mustaine and bassist David Ellefson. Along with Metallica Metallica is an American Heavy metal music, heavy metal band. The band was formed in 1981 in ...
,
The Knack The Knack was an American rock band based in Los Angeles that rose to fame with its first single, " My Sharona", an international number-one hit in 1979. History Founding (1977–1978) Singer Doug Fieger was a native of Oak Park, Michigan, a ...
, NF, Everclear,
Katy Perry Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson (born October 25, 1984), known professionally as Katy Perry, is an American singer, songwriter, and television judge. Her music has been credited with influencing the Pop music, pop sound and style of the 2010s decad ...

Katy Perry
,
Mary J. Blige Mary Jane Blige (; born January 11, 1971) is an American singer, songwriter, rapper, actress, and philanthropist. Her career began in 1991 when she was signed to Uptown Records. She went on to release 13 studio albums, eight of which have achiev ...

Mary J. Blige
,
Halsey Halsey may refer to: People *Halsey (surname), including a list of people *Halsey (singer) (born 1994), American singer and songwriter *Halsey baronets, a title in the Baronetage of the United Kingdom Places in the United States * Halsey, Oregon, ...
,
Duran Duran Duran Duran () are an English new wave New Wave may refer to: Music * New wave music, a genre of popular music that originated in the 1970s Albums * ''New Wave'' (Against Me! album) or the title song, 2007 * ''New Wave'' (The Auteurs ...

Duran Duran
,
Beastie Boys Beastie Boys were an American Hip hop music, hip hop group from New York City, formed in 1981. The group was composed of Mike D, Michael "Mike D" Diamond (vocals, drums), Adam Yauch, Adam "MCA" Yauch (vocals, bass) and Ad-Rock, Adam "Ad-Rock" Ho ...
,
Juice Newton Judy Kay "Juice" Newton (born February 18, 1952) is an American pop and country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an individual's birth, residence or citizenship. ...
,
The Kingston Trio The Kingston Trio is an American folk and pop music Pop is a genre of popular music that originated in its modern form during the mid-1950s in the United States and the United Kingdom. The terms ''popular music'' and ''pop music'' are often u ...
,
Neil Diamond Neil Leslie Diamond (born January 24, 1941) is an American singer-songwriter and actor. He has sold more than 100 million records worldwide, making him one of the List of best-selling music artists, best-selling musicians of all time. He has had t ...

Neil Diamond
,
Iron Maiden Iron Maiden are an English Heavy metal music, heavy metal band formed in Leyton, East London, in 1975 by bassist and primary songwriter Steve Harris (musician), Steve Harris. The band's Iron Maiden discography, discography has grown to 41 albu ...

Iron Maiden
, Richard Thompson,
Minnie Riperton Minnie Julia Riperton Rudolph (November 8, 1947 – July 12, 1979) was an American singer-songwriter best known for her 1975 single " Lovin' You" and her four octave D3 to F#7 coloratura soprano range. She is also widely known for her use ...
,
Luscious Jackson Luscious Jackson is an alternative rock/ rap-rock group formed in 1991. The band's name was inspired by former American basketball Basketball is a team sport in which two teams, most commonly of five players each, opposing one another o ...
,
Linda Ronstadt Linda Maria Ronstadt (born July 15, 1946) is a retired American singer who performed and recorded in diverse genres including rock, country, light opera, and Latin. She has earned 11 Grammy Awards, three American Music Awards, two Academy of Coun ...
,
Eagles Eagle is the common name for many large birds of prey Birds of prey, also known as raptors, include species of bird Birds are a group of warm-blooded vertebrates constituting the class (biology), class Aves , characterised by feather ...
,
Beck is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Harold Sakuishi. It was originally serialized in ''Monthly Shōnen Magazine'' from 1999 to 2008, with the 103 chapters later published into 34 tankōbon volumes by Kodansha. It tells t ...
,
Avenged Sevenfold Avenged Sevenfold (sometimes abbreviated as A7X) is an American heavy metal band from Huntington Beach, California Huntington Beach is a seaside city in Orange County in Southern California, located southeast of Downtown Los Angeles Downt ...
,
Don Henley Donald Hugh Henley (born July 22, 1947) is an American musician, singer, songwriter, record producer, and a founding member of the Rock music, rock band Eagles (band), Eagles. He was the drummer and co-lead vocalist for the Eagles from 1971 until ...

Don Henley
,
Yellowcard Yellowcard was an American Rock music, rock band that formed in Jacksonville, Florida, in 1997 and were based in Los Angeles beginning in 2000. The band is well known for its singles "Ocean Avenue (song), Ocean Avenue", "Only One (Yellowcard song ...

Yellowcard
,
Sam Smith Samuel Frederick Smith (born 19 May 1992) is an English singer and songwriter. They rose to prominence in October 2012 after being featured on Disclosure's breakthrough single " Latch", which peaked at number eleven on the UK Singles Chart ...
,
Sparklehorse Sparklehorse was an American indie rock band from Richmond, Virginia, led by singer and multi-instrumentalist Mark Linkous. Sparklehorse was active from 1995 until Linkous' 2010 death. Prior to forming Sparklehorse, Linkous fronted local bands ...
,
Migos Migos () are an American hip hop trio from Lawrenceville, Georgia Lawrenceville is a city and the county seat A county seat is an administrative center, seat of government, or capital city of a county or Parish (administrative division), ci ...
,
Emeli Sandé Adele Emily Sandé, ( ; born 10 March 1987), known professionally as Emeli Sandé, is a British singer and songwriter. Born in Sunderland Sunderland () is a port city and the main settlement of the metropolitan borough of the City of Sunderlan ...

Emeli Sandé
, Queen Naija,
Helena Paparizou Helena Paparizou (; el, Έλενα Παπαρίζου, Élena Paparízou, ; born 31 January 1982) is a Greek-Swedish singer, songwriter and television personality. Born and raised in Sweden to Greek parents, she enrolled in various arts schools ...
, 5 Seconds of Summer,
Brian Courtney Wilson Brian Courtney Wilson is an American Gospel music, gospel and contemporary Christian music singer. Biography Wilson was raised in the Chicago area. In his childhood, Wilson began singing with the adult male chorus with his father at the Rock of ...
,
Niall Horan Niall James Horan (; born 13 September 1993) is an Irish singer and songwriter. He rose to prominence as a member of the boy band One Direction One Direction, often shortened to 1D, are an English-Irish Pop music, pop boy band formed in L ...
, and Fletcher.


History


Founding

Songwriter
Johnny Mercer John Herndon Mercer (November 18, 1909 – June 25, 1976) was an American lyricist, songwriter, and singer. He was also a record label executive who co-founded Capitol Records with music industry businessmen Buddy DeSylva and Glenn E. Walli ...

Johnny Mercer
founded Capitol Records in 1942 with financial help from songwriter and film producer
Buddy DeSylva George Gard "Buddy" DeSylva (January 27, 1895 – July 11, 1950) was an American songwriter, film producer A film producer is a person who oversees film production. Either employed by a production company or working Independent film, independent ...
and the business acumen of Glenn Wallichs, owner of
Wallichs Music CityWallichs Music City was a record store in Hollywood, Hollywood, California, USA, founded by Glenn E. Wallichs, that also had stores in West Covina, Lakewood, California, Lakewood, Canoga Park, California, Canoga Park, Costa Mesa, California, Costa M ...
. Mercer raised the idea of starting a record company while golfing with
Harold Arlen Harold Arlen (born Hyman Arluck; February 15, 1905 – April 23, 1986) was an American composer of popular music, who composed over 500 songs, a number of which have become known worldwide. In addition to composing the songs for the 1939 film '' ...
and
Bobby Sherwood Robert J. Sherwood Jr. (May 30, 1914 – January 23, 1981), known professionally as Bobby Sherwood, was a guitarist, trumpeter, bandleader, and radio host. Early years Sherwood's parents were Bob and Gail Sherwood. When they lived in Kokomo, In ...

Bobby Sherwood
and with Wallichs at Wallichs's record store. On February 2, 1942, Mercer and Wallichs met DeSylva at a restaurant in Hollywood to talk about investment by
Paramount Pictures Paramount Pictures Corporation (common metonym: Par) is an American film and television production company, production and Distribution (marketing), distribution company and a subsidiary of ViacomCBS. It is the fifth oldest film studio in the w ...

Paramount Pictures
. On March 27, 1942, the three men incorporated as Liberty Records (not Capitol's future sister label
Liberty Records Liberty Records was a record label started in the United States by chairman Simon Waronker in 1955 with Al Bennett as president and Theodore Keep as chief engineer. It was reactivated in 2001 in the United Kingdom and had two previous revivals. ...
). In May, the application was amended to change the label's name to Capitol Records. On April 6, 1942, Mercer supervised Capitol's first recording session where
Martha Tilton Martha Tilton (November 14, 1915 – December 8, 2006) was an American popular singer during America's swing era The swing era (also frequently referred to as the "big band era") was the period (1933–1947) when big band A big band is a ...
recorded the song "Moon Dreams". On May 5, Bobby Sherwood and his orchestra recorded two tracks in the studio. On May 21,
Freddie Slack Frederick Charles Slack (August 7, 1910 – August 10, 1965) was an American swing and boogie-woogie pianist and bandleader A bandleader is the leader of a music group such as a rock or pop band or jazz quartet. The term is most commonly used ...

Freddie Slack
and his orchestra recorded three tracks in the studio: one with the orchestra, one with
Ella Mae Morse Ella Mae Morse (September 12, 1924 – October 16, 1999) was an American singer of popular music whose 1940s and 1950s recordings mixing jazz, blues, and country styles influenced the development of rock and roll. Her 1942 recording of " Cow-Cow ...
called "
Cow-Cow Boogie "Cow Cow Boogie (Cuma-Ti-Yi-Yi-Ay)" is a "country-boogie"-style blues song, with music was written by Don Raye, and lyrics were written by Benny Carter and Gene De Paul. The song was written for the 1942 Abbott & Costello film ''Ride 'Em Cowboy (194 ...
" and "Air-Minded Executive" supervised by Mercer. On June 4, Capitol opened its first office in a second-floor room south of
Sunset Boulevard Sunset Boulevard is a boulevard in the central and western part of Los Angeles, California, that stretches from the Pacific Coast Highway (California), Pacific Coast Highway in Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles, Pacific Palisades east to Figuero ...

Sunset Boulevard
. On that same day, Wallichs presented the company's first free record to Los Angeles disc jockey Peter Potter. On June 5,
Paul Whiteman Paul Samuel 'Pops' Whiteman (March 28, 1890 – December 29, 1967) was an American bandleader A bandleader is the leader of a music group such as a rock or pop band or jazz quartet. The term is most commonly used with a group that plays popul ...

Paul Whiteman
and his Orchestra recorded four songs at the studio. On June 12, the orchestra recorded five more songs in the studio, including "Trav'lin' Light" with
Billie Holiday Billie Holiday (born Eleanora Fagan; April 7, 1915 – July 17, 1959) was an American jazz and swing music singer. Nicknamed "Lady Day" by her friend and music partner Lester Young, Holiday had an innovative influence on jazz music and pop music, ...
. On June 11,
Tex Ritter Woodward Maurice "Tex" Ritter (January 12, 1905 – January 2, 1974) was an American country music Country (also called country and western) is a genre of popular music that originated with blues, church music such as Southern gospel and sp ...

Tex Ritter
recorded " (I Got Spurs That) Jingle Jangle Jingle" and "Goodbye My Little Cherokee" for his first Capitol recording session, and the songs comprised Capitol's 110th produced record. The earliest recording artists included co-owner Mercer,
Johnnie Johnston Johnny Johnston (December 1, 1915 – January 6, 1996) was an American actor and singer who was popular in the 1940s. Early years He was born John Clifford Johnston in St. Louis, Missouri, United States. Radio In the late 1930s, Johnston had his ...
, Morse,
Jo Stafford Jo Elizabeth Stafford (November 12, 1917July 16, 2008) was an American traditional pop music singer and occasional actress, whose career spanned five decades from the late 1930s to the early 1980s. Admired for the purity of her voice, she orig ...

Jo Stafford
, the
Pied Pipers
Pied Pipers
,
Tex Ritter Woodward Maurice "Tex" Ritter (January 12, 1905 – January 2, 1974) was an American country music Country (also called country and western) is a genre of popular music that originated with blues, church music such as Southern gospel and sp ...

Tex Ritter
, Tilton,
Paul Weston Paul Weston (born Paul Wetstein, March 12, 1912 – September 20, 1996) was an American pianist, arranger, composer, and conductor who worked in music and television from the 1930s to the 1970s, pioneering mood music and becoming known as "the F ...
, Whiteman, and
Margaret Whiting Margaret Eleanor Whiting (July 22, 1924 – January 10, 2011) was an American popular music and country music Country music is a blend of popular musical forms originally found in the Southern United States and the Appalachian Mountains. The ter ...
. 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 disc set with recordings by Mercer, Stafford and the Pied Pipers, all with Weston's orchestra. The label's other 1940s musicians included
Les Baxter Leslie Thompson "Les" Baxter (March 14, 1922 – January 15, 1996) was an American musician and composer. After working as an arranger and composer for swing bands, he developed his own style of easy listening music, known as exotica. Early life B ...
, Les Brown,
Jimmy Bryant Ivy J. Bryant, Jr. (March 5, 1925 – September 22, 1980), known as Jimmy Bryant, was an American country music guitarist. Biography Bryant was born in Moultrie, Georgia Moultrie is the county seat and largest city of Colquitt County, Georg ...
,
Billy Butterfield Charles William Butterfield (January 14, 1917 – March 18, 1988) was an American jazz bandleader A bandleader is the leader of a music group such as a rock or pop band or jazz quartet. The term is most commonly used with a group that plays popul ...
,
Nat King Cole Nathaniel Adams Coles (March 17, 1919 – February 15, 1965), known professionally as Nat King Cole, was an American singer, jazz pianist, and actor. He recorded over 100 songs that became hits on the pop charts. His trio was the model for sm ...

Nat King Cole
,
Sammy Davis Jr. Samuel George Davis Jr. (December 8, 1925 – May 16, 1990) was an American singer, dancer, actor, vaudevillian and comedian whom critic Randy Blaser called "the greatest entertainer ever to grace a stage in these United States". At age th ...
, ,
Tennessee Ernie Ford Ernest Jennings Ford (February 13, 1919 – October 17, 1991), known professionally as Tennessee Ernie Ford, was an American singer and television host who enjoyed success in the Country music, country and Western, Pop music, pop, and Gospel mu ...
,
Mary Ford Mary Ford (born Iris Colleen Summers; July 7, 1924 – September 30, 1977) was an American vocalist and guitarist, comprising half of the husband-and-wife musical team Les Paul and Mary Ford. Between 1950 and 1954, the couple had 16 top-ten hit ...
,
Benny Goodman Benjamin David Goodman (May 30, 1909 – June 13, 1986) was an American jazz clarinetist and bandleader known as the "King of Swing". In the mid-1930s, Goodman led one of the most popular musical groups in the United States. His concert at Carn ...
,
Skitch Henderson Lyle Russell Cedric "Skitch" Henderson (January 27, 1918 – November 1, 2005) was a pianist, conductor, and composer. His nickname "Skitch" came from his ability to "re-sketch" a song in a different key and Bing Crosby Harry Lillis "Bing" ...
,
Betty Hutton Betty Hutton (born Elizabeth June Thornburg; February 26, 1921 – March 12, 2007) was an American stage, film, and television actress, comedian, dancer and singer. Early life and education Hutton was born Elizabeth June Thornburg on February 26, ...

Betty Hutton
,
Stan Kenton Stanley Newcomb Kenton (December 15, 1911 – August 25, 1979) was an American popular music and jazz artist. As a pianist, composer, arranger and band leader, he led an innovative and influential jazz orchestra for almost four decades. Though Ken ...
,
Peggy Lee Norma Deloris Egstrom (May 26, 1920 – January 21, 2002), known professionally as Peggy Lee, was an American jazz and popular music singer, songwriter, composer, and actress, over a career spanning seven decades. From her beginning as a vocalist ...

Peggy Lee
,
Billy May Edward William May Jr. (November 10, 1916 – January 22, 2004) was an American composer, arranger and trumpeter. He composed film and television music for '' The Green Hornet'' (1966), ''The Mod Squad (TV series), The Mod Squad'' (1968), ''Batma ...
,
Les Paul Lester William Polsfuss (June 9, 1915 – August 12, 2009), known as Les Paul, was an American jazz Jazz is a music genre that originated in the African-American communities of New Orleans, Louisiana, United States, in the late 19th and ea ...

Les Paul
,
Alvino Rey Alvin McBurney (July 1, 1908 – February 24, 2004), known by his stage name Alvino Rey, was an American jazz guitarist and bandleader. Career Alvin McBurney was born in Oakland, California, in 1908 but grew up in Cleveland, Ohio. Early in life h ...
, Andy Russell, Smilin' Jack Smith,
Kay Starr Catherine Laverne Starks (July 21, 1922November 3, 2016), known professionally as Kay Starr, was an American pop and jazz Jazz is a music genre that originated in the African-American communities of New Orleans, Louisiana, United States, in ...

Kay Starr
,
Speedy West Wesley Webb West (January 25, 1924 – November 15, 2003), better known as Speedy West, was an United States, American pedal steel guitarist and record producer. He frequently played with Jimmy Bryant, both in their own duo and as part of the reg ...
, and
Cootie Williams Charles Melvin "Cootie" Williams (July 10, 1911 – September 15, 1985) was an American jazz Jazz is a music genre that originated in the African-American communities of New Orleans, Louisiana, United States, in the late 19th and early 20 ...
. Musicians on the Capitol Americana label included
Lead Belly Huddie William Ledbetter (; January 23, 1888 – December 6, 1949), better known by the stage name Lead Belly, was an American folk and blues singer, musician, and songwriter notable for his strong vocals, virtuosity on the twelve-string ...

Lead Belly
,
Cliffie Stone Clifford Gilpin Snyder (March 1, 1917 – January 16, 1998), professionally Cliffie Stone, was an American country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an individ ...
, Hank Thompson,
Merle Travis Merle Robert Travis (November 29, 1917 – October 20, 1983) was an American country music, country and western singer, songwriter, and guitarist born in Rosewood, Kentucky, United States. His songs' lyrics often discussed both the lives and the ...
, ,
Jimmy Wakely James Clarence Wakely (February 16, 1914 – September 23, 1982) was an American actor, songwriter, country Western music vocalist, and one of the last singing cowboys. During the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s, he released records, appeared in seve ...
, and
Tex Williams Sollie Paul "Tex" Williams (August 23, 1917October 11, 1985) was an American Western swing musician from Ramsey, Illinois. He is best known for his talking blues style; his biggest hit was the novelty song A novelty song is a type of song ...
. Capitol was the first major west coast label to compete with major labels on the east coast such as
RCA Victor RCA Records is an American record label owned by Sony Music Entertainment Sony Music Entertainment (commonly referred to as Sony Music) is an American global Music industry, music company. Owned by the Japanese conglomerate (company), conglom ...
,
Columbia Columbia may refer to: * Columbia (personification), the historical female national personification of the United States, and a poetic name for the Americas Places North America Natural features * Columbia Plateau, a geologic and geographic regio ...
, and
DeccaDecca may refer to: Music * Decca Records or Decca Music Group, a record label * Decca Gold, a classical music record label owned by Universal Music Group * Decca Broadway, a musical theater record label * Decca Studios, a recording facility in Wes ...

Decca
. In addition to its Los Angeles recording studios, Capitol owned a second studio in New York City and occasionally sent mobile recording equipment to other cities.


Other genres

In 1946, writer-producer Alan W. Livingston created
Bozo the Clown Bozo the Clown, sometimes billed as "Bozo, The World's Most Famous Clown", is a clown character created for children's entertainment, widely popular in the second half of the 20th century. He was introduced in the United States in 1946, and to tel ...
for the company's children's record library. Examples of notable Capitol albums for children during that era are ''
Sparky's Magic Piano ''Sparky's Magic Piano'' is the second in a series of children’s audio stories featuring Sparky, an original character created for Capitol Records Capitol Records (legal name: Capitol Records, LLC, until 2007 Capitol Records Inc.) is an Americ ...
'' and ''Rusty in Orchestraville''. Capitol also developed a noted jazz catalog that included the Capitol Jazz Men and issued the
Miles Davis Miles Dewey Davis III (May 26, 1926September 28, 1991) was an American trumpeter The trumpet is a brass instrument commonly used in Classical music, classical and jazz musical ensemble, ensembles. The trumpet group ranges from the piccolo ...

Miles Davis
's album ''
Birth of the Cool ''Birth of the Cool'' is a compilation album A compilation album comprises Album#Tracks, tracks, which may be previously released or unreleased, usually from several separate recordings by either one or several Performing arts#Performers, perfo ...
''. Capitol released a few classical albums in the 1940s, some of which contained handsome heavily embossed, leather-like covers. These recordings appeared on the 78 rpm format and were subsequently reissued on the new LP format in 1949. Among the recordings: Brazilian composer
Heitor Villa-Lobos Heitor Villa-Lobos (, , ; March 5, 1887November 17, 1959) was a Brazilian composer, conductor, cellist, and classical guitarist described as "the single most significant creative figure in 20th-century Brazilian art music". Villa-Lobos has becom ...
' ''Choros No. 10'', with contributions from a Los Angeles choral group and the Janssen Symphony Orchestra (1940–1952), conducted by
Werner Janssen Hans-Werner Janssen (1 June 1899 – 19 September 1990) was an United States, American Conducting, conductor of classical music, and composer of classical music and film scores. He was the first New York born conductor to lead the New York Philhar ...
; ''Symphony No. 3'' by Russian composer Reinhold Moritzovich Glière; and
César Franck César-Auguste-Jean-Guillaume-Hubert Franck (10 December 1822 – 8 November 1890) was a composer, pianist, organist, and music teacher who worked in Paris during his adult life. He was born at Liège, in what is now Belgium (though at the tim ...
's ''Symphony in D minor'', with
Willem Mengelberg Joseph Wilhelm Mengelberg (28 March 1871 – 21 March 1951) was a Dutch conductor, famous for his performances of Beethoven, Brahms, Mahler and Strauss with the Concertgebouw Orchestra. Biography Mengelberg was the fourth of fifteen childre ...

Willem Mengelberg
and the
Concertgebouw Orchestra The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra ( nl, Koninklijk Concertgebouworkest, ) is a Dutch symphony orchestra, based at the Amsterdam Royal Concertgebouw (concert hall). Considered one of the world's leading orchestras, Queen Beatrix conferred the "R ...
. In 1949, Capitol opened a branch office in Canada and purchased KHJ Studios on Melrose Avenue adjacent to Paramount in Hollywood. By the 1950s, Capitol had become a huge label that concentrated primarily on popular music. The label's roster at that time included
the Andrews Sisters The Andrews Sisters were an American close harmony singing group of the swing and boogie-woogie eras. The group consisted of three sisters: contralto LaVerne Sophia (July 6, 1911 – May 8, 1967), soprano A soprano () is a type of classica ...
,
Ray Anthony Raymond Antonini (born January 20, 1922), known as Ray Anthony, is an American bandleader, trumpeter, songwriter, and actor. He is the last surviving member of the Glenn Miller Orchestra. Biography Anthony was born to an Italian family in Bent ...

Ray Anthony
,
Shirley Bassey Dame Shirley Veronica Bassey, (; born 8 January 1937) is a Welsh singer, whose career began in 1953, well known for her expressive voice and for recording the soundtrack theme songs to the James Bond The ''James Bond'' series focuses on ...
,
June Christy June Christy (born Shirley Luster; November 20, 1925June 21, 1990) was an American singer, known for her work in the cool jazz genre and for her silky smooth vocals. Her success as a singer began with The Stan Kenton Orchestra. She pursued a solo ...
,
Tommy Duncan Thomas Elmer Duncan (January 11, 1911 – July 25, 1967), better known as Tommy Duncan, was a pioneering American Western swing Western swing music is a subgenre of American country music Country music is a blend of popular musical forms origin ...
,
Tennessee Ernie Ford Ernest Jennings Ford (February 13, 1919 – October 17, 1991), known professionally as Tennessee Ernie Ford, was an American singer and television host who enjoyed success in the Country music, country and Western, Pop music, pop, and Gospel mu ...
,
the Four Freshmen The Four Freshmen is an American male vocal quartet that blends open-harmonic jazz arrangements with the big band vocal group sounds of The Modernaires, The Pied Pipers, and The Mel-Tones, founded in the Barbershop music, barbershop tradition. ...
, the Four Knights,
the Four Preps The Four Preps are an American popular music male quartet. In the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s, the group amassed eight gold singles and three gold albums. Its million-selling signature tunes included " 26 Miles (Santa Catalina)", "Big Man (The Four ...
,
Jane Froman Ellen Jane Froman (November 10, 1907 – April 22, 1980) was an American singer and actress. During her thirty-year career, Froman performed on stage, radio and television despite chronic health problems due to injuries sustained in a 1943 plane c ...
,
Judy Garland Judy Garland (born Frances Ethel Gumm; June 10, 1922 – June 22, 1969) was an American actress, singer, vaudevillian, and dancer. With a career spanning 45 years, she attained international stardom as an actress in both musical and dramatic rol ...
,
Jackie Gleason John Herbert Gleason (February 26, 1916June 24, 1987) was an American actor, comedian, writer, composer, and conductor known affectionately as "The Great One." Developing a style and characters from growing up in Brooklyn, New York, he was known ...
,
Andy Griffith Andy Samuel Griffith (June 1, 1926 – July 3, 2012) was an American actor, comedian, television producer, southern gospel singer, and writer whose career spanned seven decades in music and television. Known for his Southern drawl, his charact ...
,
Dick Haymes Richard Benjamin Haymes (September 13, 1918 – March 28, 1980) was an American actor and singer, born in Argentina. He was one of the most popular male vocalists of the 1940s File:1940s decade montage.png, Above title bar: events during World ...
,
Harry James Harry Haag James (March 15, 1916 – July 5, 1983) was an American musician who is best known as a trumpet-playing band leader who led a big band A big band is a type of musical ensemble of jazz music that usually consists of ten or more mus ...

Harry James
,
the Louvin Brothers The Louvin Brothers were an American musical duo composed of brothers Ira and Charlie Louvin ( Lonnie Loudermilk, April 21, 1924 – June 20, 1965, and Charlie Louvin, Charlie Elzer Loudermilk, July 7, 1927– January 26, 2011). The brothers are ...
,
Dean Martin Dean Martin (born Dino Paul Crocetti; June 7, 1917 – December 25, 1995) was an American singer, actor and comedian of Italian Americans, Italian descent. One of the most popular and enduring American entertainers of the mid-20th century, Mart ...
,
Al Martino Al Martino (born Jasper Cini; October 7, 1927 – October 13, 2009) was an American singer and actor. He had his greatest success as a singer between the early 1950s and mid-1970s, being described as "one of the great Italian American pop croo ...

Al Martino
,
Skeets McDonaldEnos William McDonald (October 1, 1915–March 31, 1968), better known as Skeets McDonald, was an American country music, country and rockabilly musician popular during the 1950s and 60s. Best known for the Slim Willet-penned song "Don't Let the ...
, Louis Prima, Nelson Riddle,
Dinah Shore Dinah Shore (born Fannye Rose Shore; February 29, 1916 – February 24, 1994) was an American singer, actress, and television personality, and the top-charting female vocalist of the 1940s. She rose to prominence as a recording artist during the ...
,
Frank Sinatra Francis Albert Sinatra (; December 12, 1915 – May 14, 1998) was an American singer and actor who was one of the most popular and influential musical artists of the 20th century. He is one of the List of best-selling music artists, best-sel ...

Frank Sinatra
, and Keely Smith. Capitol began recording rock and roll acts such as The Jodimars and Gene Vincent. There were comedy records by Stan Freberg, Johnny Standley, and Mickey Katz. Children listened to Capitol's Bozo the Clown albums. Although various people played Bozo the Clown on television, Capitol used the voice of Pinto Colvig, who was also the voice of Goofy in Walt Disney cartoons. Don Wilson (announcer), Don Wilson also released children's records. In June 1952, ''Billboard (magazine), Billboard'' magazine contained a chronicle of the label's first ten years in business.


Ownership under EMI

In 1955, the British record company
EMI EMI Group Limited (originally an initialism for Electric and Musical Industries, also referred to as EMI Records Ltd. or simply EMI) was a British transnational conglomerate founded in March 1931 in London. At the time of its break-up in 2012 ...
ended its 55-year mutual distribution agreement with RCA Victor and acquired 96% of Capitol's stock for $8.5 million. EMI built a Capitol Records Building, studio at Hollywood and Vine to match its state-of-the-art Abbey Road Studios in London. In 1957, EMI's classical label Angel Records, Angel was merged into Capitol. Some classical recordings were issued in high fidelity and stereophonic sound. These included 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 albums of film music conducted by Hollywood composers such as Alfred Newman (composer), Alfred Newman. The Capitol of the World series introduced in 1956 and active into the 1970s encompassed ''German Beer Drinking Songs'', ''Honeymoon in Rome'', ''Australian Aboriginals'', and ''Kasongo! Modern Music of the Belgian Congo''. Many were produced by Dave Dexter Jr. This series contained over 400 albums. In October 1979, EMI merged with Thorn Electrical Industries to form Thorn EMI and, due to business models increasingly diverging, on August 16, 1996, Thorn EMI's shareholders voted to demerge. The resulting media company was then known as the EMI Group.


Ownership under Universal Music Group

In 2012, the recorded music operations of EMI were sold to the
Universal Music Group Universal Music Group B.V. (often abbreviated as UMG) is a global Music industry, music corporation that is majority owned by the French media conglomerate Vivendi, with Chinese tech company Tencent owning a minority stake. UMG's corporate head ...
and the world headquarters were re-established in the Capitol Tower in Hollywood as part of the subsequent reorganization of the
Capitol Music Group Capitol Music Group (abbreviated as CMG) is an American front line umbrella label owned by the Universal Music Group Universal Music Group B.V. (often abbreviated as UMG) is a global Music industry, music corporation that is majority owned by t ...
. Steve Barnett, previously an employee of Columbia, was hired as chairman and CEO of the division. Capitol 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. Following legal action by Capitol against the ReDigi.com online company in April 2013, the latter was found to have violated 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 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 Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson (born October 25, 1984), known professionally as Katy Perry, is an American singer, songwriter, and television judge. Her music has been credited with influencing the Pop music, pop sound and style of the 2010s decad ...

Katy Perry
founded the record label Metamorphosis Music, starting a label venture with Capitol. The name of the label was later changed to Unsub Records in 2016. Also that year, Capitol rose to number two market share and won four categories at the 57th Annual Grammy Awards, Grammy Awards for music by Beck and Sam Smith (singer), Sam Smith. In 2018, Capitol's electronic division Astralwerks relaunched with a new team and moved its entire operations to Capitol's tower in Los Angeles. In December 2019, Jeff Vaughn was named President of Capitol Records, assuming his position as of January 1, 2020, and is based in Hollywood at the iconic Capitol Tower.


Headquarters

Designed by Welton Becket with Louis Naidorf, a young architect from Becket's office, serving as project designer the thirteen-story, earthquake-resistant Capitol Records Tower was the world's first circular office building and it is the base for several recording studios. Although not 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 after its acquisition of Capitol Records in 1955 and was completed in April 1956. The building is north of the intersection of Hollywood and Vine and is the center of the company's consolidated West Coast operations. It was nicknamed "The House That Nat Built" after the financial success of Capitol singer Nat King Cole. The rectangular ground floor is a separate structure joined to the tower after it was completed. 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 acoustic properties, specifically its underground echo chambers, would be compromised. It was announced in November 2012 that Steve Barnett (music executive), Steve Barnett would become chairman and CEO of
Capitol Music Group Capitol Music Group (abbreviated as CMG) is an American front line umbrella label owned by the Universal Music Group Universal Music Group B.V. (often abbreviated as UMG) is a global Music industry, music corporation that is majority owned by t ...
and would be based at the Capitol Records Building. Capitol and artist Richard Wyatt Jr. restored his Hollywood Jazz Mural on the south wall of the Capitol Records Building.


Studios

Capitol's recording studios were designed 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 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 underground, with 10-inch concrete walls and 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''.


International operations

Capitol modified albums that were originally released in other countries on other labels. Albums released in the United States contained fewer tracks, usually no more than 11 or 12, compared to albums released in the United Kingdom due to differences in the method of publishing royalties were calculated in the two countries. Also, in the American market it was expected that albums would include the current hit single, whereas British albums typically did not duplicate songs released as singles.


The Beatles

Possibly the best-known treatment of an international artist's recordings was the label's release pattern for various albums by
the Beatles The Beatles were an English Rock music, rock band formed in Liverpool in 1960. The group, whose best-known line-up comprised John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr, are regarded as the Cultural impact of the Beatles, most ...

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" c/w "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 mono 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 occasionally 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. The issue of 45 RPM singles featuring album tracks was also stopped. Instead, non-album tracks were issued as singles between album releases.


United Kingdom

Beginning in 1948, Capitol Records were released in the UK on the Capitol label by Decca. 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, EMI was sold to Universal Music Group. Universal Music started Capitol as an autonomous label in the UK with the rights to the Beatles' catalog. This marks the first time that Capitol in the UK operated as an autonomous label.


Canada

Capitol Records of Canada was established in 1949 by businessman W. Lockwood Miller. Capitol broke with Miller's company and formed Capitol Record Distributors of Canada Limited in 1954. EMI acquired this company when it acquired Capitol. 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 EMI's labels Angel, Pathé Records, Pathé, Odeon Records, Odeon, and Parlophone Records, Parlophone. 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. The division found native talent such as Anne Murray and EMI musicians from other countries. Beginning in 1962, Capitol of Canada issued albums by British musicians such as Cliff Richard, Helen Shapiro and Frank Ifield. They accepted the Beatles long before the American company. By 1967, they were distributing non-EMI labels such as 20th Century Fox Records, 20th Century Fox, Buena Vista Records, Disneyland Records, Disneyland, and Pickwick Records, Pickwick. The company was renamed Capitol Records-EMI of Canada in 1974, before the EMI Music Canada name was adopted in 1993. EMI Music Canada was absorbed into Universal Music Canada in 2012. In 2016, Universal Music Canada donated the EMI Music Canada archives to the University of Calgary.


Other countries

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 Germany was founded by EMI Music Germany and inherited most of EMI's German artists catalog. In 2013, Capitol Germany was acquired by Universal and merged with UMG's Vertigo Records, Vertigo Berlin domestic division. The new label is called ''Vertigo/Capitol''. Capitol Music Group Sweden was relaunched in 2015 after UMG rebranded the Lionheart Music Group label. It originally existed as a division of EMI Music Sweden during the 90's and mid-2000's. EMI's swedish offices were included in the Parlophone Label Group sale and were acquired by Warner Music Group, which owns the Capitol Sweden's back catalog. In France, Capitol Label Services (formerly Capitol Music France) exists as a division of Universal Music France, and bears the 70's Capitol "C" logo.


See also

* Capitol Records Nashville * ''Capitol Records, Inc. v. Naxos of America, Inc.'' * List of Capitol Records artists * List of record labels


References


External links


Capitol Records

Capitol UK official site






* {{Authority control Capitol Records, 1942 establishments in California Record labels established in 1942 Record labels based in California Labels distributed by Universal Music Group American record labels Companies based in Los Angeles Jazz record labels Pop record labels Rock record labels IFPI members EMI