The Info List - Island Records

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ISLAND RECORDS is a British-Jamaican record label that operates as a division of Universal Music Group
Universal Music Group
(UMG). It was founded by Chris Blackwell , Graeme Goodall and Leslie Kong in Jamaica
in 1959. Blackwell sold the label to PolyGram
in 1989. Island and another label recently acquired by PolyGram, A&M Records , were both at the time the largest independent record labels in history, with Island in particular having exerted a major influence on the progressive UK music scene in the early 1970s.

Three Island labels exist in the world: Island UK, Island US, and Island Australia, with the main label operating out of London. Notable artists include Demi Lovato , The Killers
The Killers
, Leona Lewis
Leona Lewis
, U2 , Mumford the music was also not reviewed by the press. Meanwhile, Goodall left to start the Doctor Bird record label in 1965.

Blackwell signed the Spencer Davis Group to the label (at that time, many Island releases were being distributed by Philips/Fontana). The group became very popular and Island started their own independent series to spotlight UK rock talent. They signed artists like John Martyn, Fairport Convention, Free, and greatly influenced the growing FM radio market. By the late 1960s and early 1970s, they were a major label in England with artists like Roxy Music, King Crimson, Traffic, The Wailers, Cat Stevens, Steve Winwood and many others. (In the US, many of their releases were issued on A we were talking about reggae is going international now. We kept on meeting and he (Blackwell ) decided that the backing band that back all of the songs, the recording band, should be the Maytals band. So everything came under Toots and the Maytals . So we became Maytals also. And then we hit the road in 1975...we were the opening act for the Eagles , Linda Ronstadt , and Jackson Browne
Jackson Browne
. We were the opening act for The Who
The Who
for about two weeks."

The first Toots and the Maytals album released and distributed by Chris Blackwell 's Island Records
Island Records
was Funky Kingston . The Maytals had recently added a full-time backing band which included drummer Paul Douglas and bassist Jackie Jackson, and Chris Blackwell joined the group in the studio as a co-producer for the album. Music critic Lester Bangs described the album in Stereo Review as "perfection, the most exciting and diversified set of reggae tunes by a single artist yet released." As Blackwell says, "The Maytals were unlike anything else...sensational, raw and dynamic." Blackwell had a strong commitment to Toots and the Maytals , saying "I've known Toots longer than anybody – much longer than Bob ( Bob Marley
Bob Marley
). Toots is one of the purest human beings I've met in my life, pure almost to a fault."

Despite the initial establishment work that Blackwell completed almost single-handedly, Island struggled as a business in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Bob Marley
Bob Marley
's 1981 death was detrimental to the company, especially after its having engineered Marley's international breakthrough only a few years earlier, while Irish rock band U2 , which had signed to Island in March 1980, was growing in popularity, but had not yet reached the international superstar status that was to come. In 1982, Paul Morley and producer Trevor Horn started the ZTT label under the Island banner and Blackwell was known to approve excessive spending by the label. Morley recalls in a 2009 book about Island Records:

I eventually grew to appreciate how Chris Blackwell, and therefore Island Records, was not about one thing, or one style, or one system, or one way of doing things ... reflecting how the world functions and reinvents itself precisely because it is a fluid, sometimes dangerous, always exhilarating union of systems and beliefs and the best way of allowing the world to progress is to mix up and place in glorious conflict these various systems and beliefs.

In 1983, Blackwell also used the label to finance a new film production and distribution company called Island Alive. In August 1987, the company was not able to pay a US$5 million sum that it owed to U2 in royalties for The Joshua Tree album, as it had diverted the funds to finance several unsuccessful films. U2 responded by negotiating a deal whereby they invested the unpaid royalties into the company in exchange for a stake in the company that was estimated to be around 10 per cent.

The label's 4th ">

Blackwell eventually ended his association with the company in 1997, as the corporate life hindered the independent ethos of his personal life. "I never really had a job until I sold Island to PolyGram
in 1989. It had gotten too corporate," he commented afterwards. Blackwell left to found the Palm Pictures company and run a chain of boutique hotels in Miami, US and the Caribbean, including the very exclusive Goldeneye estate, once the Jamaican home of James Bond
James Bond
creator Ian Fleming . Then in May 1998, all of Polygram and its associated labels were purchased by Seagram which announced its plan to integrate Polygram with UMG to produce an estimated cost savings, within a couple of years, of between US$275 million and $300 million annually. Seagram further explained that the acquisition would unite a significant international presence with a thriving domestic business, as more than three-quarters of Polygram's sales were outside the US.


In December 1998 and the first three months of 1999, UMG placed three divisions under the management of the Island brand: one in the UK, one in the US, and one in Germany. In each territory, these companies were merged under umbrella groups:

* In the UK, Island Records
Island Records
Group. * In the US, Island, Mercury, and Def Jam and 14 other record labels were merged into The Island Def Jam Music Group ; however, within the year, Island/Mercury decided to build upon the success of Def Jam Recordings and re-incorporated the label as The Island Def Jam Music Group. On April 1, 2014, Universal Music announced the disbandment of IDJMG, one of four operational umbrella groups within Universal Music. Effective as of the same day of the announcement, Island Records
Island Records
and Def Jam will now operate as autonomous record labels. * In Germany, Island and Mercury merged to become divisions of the Island Mercury Label group.

However, in 2001, UMG was merged with French company Vivendi
S.A. to create Vivendi
Universal S.A.; but the music company remains under the name Universal Music Group
Universal Music Group

In the US, Island became a predominantly pop/rock label, as their urban artists were assigned to either Def Jam or Def Soul, a new Island/ Def Jam R"> Following the takeover of Island by UMG, flagship band U2 were dissatisfied after chief Jason Iley moved to the Mercury label in the mid-2000s and signed with Mercury for the UK and Interscope Records for the US. However, successful artists such as Tricky and PJ Harvey
PJ Harvey
were impressed by the label and signed on as artists. Tricky explained: "I knew I could get freedom. I knew I could do what I wanted to do.", while Harvey later stated:

I came to work with them, sort of fully formed—the way that I looked, the way that I sounded: that was already there. And I felt, like, that they just supported where that was going to go.

The label celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2009.


In 2009, Island Records
Island Records
marked the 50th anniversary of its foundation in Jamaica
by Chris Blackwell with a series of live concerts and an exhibition under the Island 50 banner. The events were a celebration of the street-cool, independent outlook and striking visual imagery at the label's creative core. These festivities centred around a week-long run of shows at Shepherd's Bush Empire and Bush Hall in London. The concerts featured performances tracing the label's history from its reggae and jazz roots to the modern era. Among the artists who appeared were Sly & Robbie, Ernest Ranglin, Paul Weller , The Compass Point All Stars, The I-Threes, Aswad, Kid Creole & The Coconuts, Grace Jones, Steel Pulse, Keane, Tom Tom Club, Toots & The Maytals , The Mighty Diamonds, Yusuf Islam/ Cat Stevens
Cat Stevens
, Bombay Bicycle Club , Baaba Maal and U2 . Another Island 50 tribute event was held over four nights at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, with Marianne Faithfull, Grace Jones and Sly & Robbie all appearing, and Chris Blackwell holding a Question & Answer session.

There was also a major exhibition at the Vinyl Factory Gallery in Soho, held in an open space beneath the record shop Phonica. The exhibition featured a display of treasured musical artifacts, including the Trabant car from the sleeve of U2 's Achtung Baby , Nick Drake 's guitar, the dress worn by Amy Winehouse
Amy Winehouse
at the 2008 Grammy Awards, the handwritten lyric sheet for Winehouse's song Love Is A Losing Game and Bob Marley's passport application form. The exhibition contained 800 prints showcasing the work for Island of the photographers Adrian Boot, Jean-Paul Goude, Anton Corbijn, Gered Mankowitz, Keith Morris and Brian Cooke, and the London
exhibition also featured live performances at the Vinyl Factory Gallery by DJ Shadow and PJ Harvey
PJ Harvey


Following its 50th anniversary in 2009, Island Records
Island Records
entered its sixth decade on a tide of optimism. The years that followed saw fresh success for a number of established acts, including PJ Harvey
PJ Harvey
, Keane , Paul Weller and Bombay Bicycle Club and an exciting wave of new signings. In its largest live production since its 2009 anniversary, the label also staged a concert by The Weeknd and Jack Garratt on Osea Island , a small island in Essex
, as part of a bespoke one-day festival for 400 guests, including label staff, media and 200 fans who obtained tickets via a ballot.

2016 proved a particularly successful year for the label in the UK: over a seven-week period between April and June, four separate Island acts spent at least one week at number one. The albums concerned were PJ Harvey
PJ Harvey
's The Hope Six Demolition Project , Drake 's Views (which spent two weeks at number one), Ariana Grande
Ariana Grande
's Dangerous Woman and Catfish & The Bottlemen's The Ride .

Island\'s Sixth Decade: The Artists

PJ Harvey
PJ Harvey
's eighth studio album, 2011's Let England Shake , was one of the key records of Island's sixth decade. Made in a cliff-top church in Dorset
, it won the 2011 Mercury Music Prize , making Harvey the only artist to land the prestigious award twice (she had prevailed ten years previously with Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea ). Mumford & Sons , who grew out of a series of jam sessions in London in 2007, signed a licensing deal with Island in 2009. Heralded as standard bearers for a vibrant new wave of folkish, countrified rock, their debut album, Sigh No More , sold two million, reaching number two in Britain and America. It also won best British album at the BRIT Awards in February 2011. The follow-up, Babel , did even better in 2012, becoming the UK's fastest-selling album of that year, going to number one in Britain and the US and winning album of the year at the 2013 Grammy Awards . Island also secured the signing of Florence + The Machine after songwriter Florence Welch
Florence Welch
dropped out of her local art college in Camberwell
, South London. Her 2009 debut album, Lungs , sold four million and spent over 12 months in the UK chart before being crowned British album of the year at the BRIT Awards in 2010. Lungs was followed by 2011's theatrical Ceremonials , and 2015's more introspective How Big How Blue How Beautiful .

Keane were another of the big successes of Island's sixth decade. Having topped the charts with their five million-selling debut album Hopes and Fears in 2004, they went on to secure five consecutive number one albums in the UK (a feat bettered only by The Beatles
The Beatles
) with subsequent releases Under the Iron Sea (2006), Perfect Symmetry (2008), Night Train (2010) and Strangeland (2012) all topping the charts. Paul Weller 's relationship with Island dates back to his fourth solo album, 1997's Heavy Soul , and its 2000 follow-up Heliocentric. He returned to the label in 2008 and began an outstanding trilogy of releases that contained some of his strongest solo work 22 Dreams (2008), the Mercury Music Prize -nominated Wake Up The Nation (2010) and Sonik Kicks (2012).

North London
quartet Bombay Bicycle Club also released four albums on Island, with each one signalling a change of direction: the indie-rock of 2009's I Had The Blues But I Shook Them Loose paved the way for 2010's folkier Flaws , the modern rock of 2011's A Different Kind Of Fix and the broad-based invention of 2014's So Long, See You Tomorrow . Having built a loyal live following, Catfish ">


The recording roster of Island Records, both past and present, has been and continues to be diverse. The label continues to champion new music, a practice that was highlighted at the Island Records
Island Records
50th anniversary event, at which new artists provided the entertainment. Main article: List of current Island Records artists Main article: List of former Island Records artists Main article: Island Records discography


This list is probably incomplete, and some of the dates are uncertain.

* Al's Records (1996–1997) * Aladdin Records (UK) (1965–66) * Antilles Records (1972–1998) * Apollo Recordings (2006–2007) * Black Swan Records (UK) (1963–1965 and mid-1970s) * Blue Mountain (UK imprint only, 1970s) * Blue (1999–2001) * Blunted (1993–1996) * De facto Records (2009–2010) * Europa Recordings (2006–2007) * Fallout Records (UK division) * 4th "> * Hannibal (1981–unknown closing date, distributed under Antilles) * Island Black Music (1995–1998) * Island Jamaica
(1993–1997) * Island Jamaica
Jazz (1996) * Island Masters (1980s–1990s; reissues) * Island Records Australia (2007–present) * Island Reggae
Greats (1985, compilation series; re-issued in several forms) * Island Trading Company (US holding distributor under PolyGram
; 1983–1989) * Island Urban Music (2007) * Island Visual Arts (1985 and 1990s) * Jump Up Records (1963–67) * Loose Cannon Records (1994–1996) * Manga Entertainment (1991–1997, moved to Chris Blackwell 's Palm Pictures , then was sold to Starz Media ) * Mango Records (1972–1997, US imprint only until 1993) * Mango Street (1989–1992) * Mercury Records (2014–present) * MonarC Entertainment (2002, founded by Mariah Carey
Mariah Carey
) * Safehouse Records (2015–present, founded by Demi Lovato , Nick Jonas , and Phil Mclntyre) * Sense ("Sense of Island"; 1990–1991) * Springtime! (1981–1985) * Stiff Records (1984–1986 only) * Stolen Transmission
Stolen Transmission
(−2007, still in business, but not part of Island any more) * Sue Records (1963–68) * Super Records (2007–) * Surprise Records (mid-1960s, later known as Sportdisc) * Trade 2 (1996–1997) * Teen Island (2008–) * Trojan Records (1967–1968 only) * Tuff Gong (1990–present, founded by Bob Marley
Bob Marley
) * Witchseason Productions (Joe Boyd)

* Jamaica


* ^ A B C Perrone, Pierre (1 May 2009). "Island: The record label that changed the world". The Independent. UK. Retrieved 1 May 2009. * ^ "Artists Island Records". Island Records. Retrieved 27 January 2017. * ^ " Island Records
Island Records
President Darcus Beese Awarded OBE". The Voice. 17 November 2014. * ^ A B C D E F G H reggae page (10 May 2012). "Keep on Running: 50 Years of Island Records
Island Records
(full documentary)" (Video upload). YouTube. Google. Retrieved 8 February 2014. * ^ Southall, Brian (2000). The A-Z of Record Labels. London: Sanctuary Publishing. ISBN 1-86074-281-5 . * ^ Pride, Dominic. "Islandlife Promotes Three U.K. Execs". Billboard magazine. Published by Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 31 October 1998, p. 8. Retrieved 17 December 2016. * ^ Newman, Suzette and Chris Salewicz. (2010). The Story of Island Records: Keep on Running. Universe Publishing. Retrieved 2016-12-17. * ^ " Graeme Goodall - obituary". 2015. ISSN 0307-1235 . Retrieved 2017-12-30. * ^ "reggae". Dictionary.com Unabridged. Random House, Inc. 2016-11-30. * ^ A B Mikey T interview with Jackie Jackson, Paul Douglas, and Radcliffe "Dougie" Bryan. Kool 97 FM. kool97fm.com. November 27, 2016. http://www.kool97fm.com Retrieved November 27, 2016. * ^ Thompson, Dave. Reggae
& Caribbean Music Backbeat Books, 2002, p. 179. Print. Retrieved 19 November 2016. * ^ "Toots and the Maytals", Contemporary Musicians. Encyclopedia.com. 6 October 2016. * ^ "Toots and the Maytals: Reggae
Got Soul", BBC Four (documentary). Directed by George Scott. UK. 2011. 59 min. Retrieved 15 December 2016. * ^ Katz, David, "Toots and the Maytals\' Live: From Stage to Wax in 24 Hours", Red Bull Music Academy, 19 June 2013. Retrieved 18 September 2016. * ^ A B David Sinclair (30 May 2009). "A history of cool". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 February 2014. * ^ McGee, Matt (2008). U2:A Diary. Omnibus Press. ISBN 978-1-84772-108-2 . * ^ Lars Brandle (8 February 2013). "HOT SEAT: MIKE TAYLOR – ISLAND RECORDS". The Music Network. The Music Network. Retrieved 8 February 2014. * ^ Geraldine Fabrikant (22 May 1998). "INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS; $10.6 Billion Seagram Deal For Polygram". The New York Times. Retrieved 8 February 2014. * ^ "How Universal Music Group\'s New Top-Level Troika Brings Peace (For Now)". billboard.com. Retrieved April 28, 2014. * ^ Geoffrey P. Hull; Thomas William Hutchison; Richard Strasser (2011). The Music Business and Recording Industry: Delivering Music in the 21st Century. Taylor & Francis. pp. 175–. ISBN 978-0-415-87560-8 . * ^ Jem Aswad (30 December 2013). "U2 Return to \'Spiritual Home\' Island Records
Island Records
for Next LP, Expected in April". Spin. BUZZMEDIA. Retrieved 8 February 2014. * ^ Perry, Andrew (2009-05-27). "Island Records\' 50th anniversary concert: Grace Jones, Sly & Robbie and other guests - review". ISSN 0307-1235 . Retrieved 2017-12-14. * ^ "The Official Top 40 Biggest Songs of 2016". The Official UK Charts Company. 2016-12-30. Retrieved 2017-03-19. * ^ "Manga Entertainment: Taking Anime To The Next Stage". Retrieved 4 January 2016. * ^ Robert Frazer (June 2011). "Manga Entertainment\'s 20th Anniversary Party - Page 1". UK Anime Network. Etharius Ltd. Retrieved 8 February 2014. * ^ Laura Bruneau (27 April 2009). "Island Records\' 50th Birthday Party - The Constitution,". Daily Music Guide. Daily Music Guide. Archived from the original on 21 February 2014. Retrieved 9 February 2014. * ^ " Stolen Transmission
Stolen Transmission
splits from Island Records". Punknews.org. 2 December 2007. Retrieved 28 February 2013.


* Official website (US) * Official website