ISLAND RECORDS is a British-Jamaican record label that operates as a
Universal Music Group
Universal Music Group (UMG). It was founded by Chris
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
Demi Lovato ,
The Killers ,
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
Jackson Browne . We were the opening act for
The Who for about
Toots and the Maytals album released and distributed by
Chris Blackwell 's
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
Toots and the Maytals , saying "I've known Toots longer
than anybody – much longer than Bob (
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 '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
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
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 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.
UNDER UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP
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 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 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
Vivendi Universal S.A.; but the music company remains under the
Universal Music Group
Universal Music Group (UMG).
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
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
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.
Island Records marked the 50th anniversary of its foundation
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 , 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
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 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
also featured live performances at the Vinyl Factory Gallery by DJ
PJ Harvey .
INTO ISLAND\'S SIXTH DECADE: 2009–2017
Following its 50th anniversary in 2009,
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 , 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 's
The Hope Six Demolition Project , Drake 's Views (which
spent two weeks at number one),
Ariana Grande 's Dangerous Woman and
Catfish & The Bottlemen's The Ride .
Island\'s Sixth Decade: The Artists
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
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
Grammy Awards . Island also secured the signing of Florence + The
Machine after songwriter
Florence Welch dropped out of her local art
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
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 )
with subsequent releases
Under the Iron Sea (2006), Perfect Symmetry
(2008), Night Train (2010) and Strangeland (2012) all topping the
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).
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 ">
ARTISTS AND RECORDINGS
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 50th
anniversary event, at which new artists provided the entertainment.
List of current Island Records artists Main article:
List of former Island Records artists Main article: Island Records
SUBSIDIARIES AND LABELS
This list is probably incomplete, and some of the dates are
* 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)
Jamaica Jazz (1996)
Island Masters (1980s–1990s; reissues)
Island Records Australia (2007–present)
Reggae Greats (1985, compilation series; re-issued in
* Island Trading Company (US holding distributor under
* 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 )
Safehouse Records (2015–present, founded by
Demi Lovato , Nick
Jonas , and Phil Mclntyre)
* Sense ("Sense of Island"; 1990–1991)
Stiff Records (1984–1986 only)
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 )
Witchseason Productions (Joe Boyd)
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* ^ "Artists Island Records". Island Records. Retrieved 27
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Graeme Goodall - obituary". 2015. ISSN 0307-1235 . Retrieved
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http://www.kool97fm.com Retrieved November 27, 2016.
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Reggae & Caribbean Music Backbeat Books, 2002,
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* ^ "Toots and the Maytals:
Reggae Got Soul", BBC Four
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* ^ "How Universal Music Group\'s New Top-Level Troika Brings Peace
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* ^ "The Official Top 40 Biggest Songs of 2016". The Official UK
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Anniversary Party - Page 1". UK Anime Network. Etharius Ltd. Retrieved
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* Official website (US)
* Official website