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WARNER BROS. RECORDS INC. is an American major record label established in 1958 as the foundation label of the present-day Warner Music Group (WMG), and now operates as a wholly owned subsidiary of that corporation. Warner Bros. Records was established on March 19, 1958, as the recorded-music division of the American film studio Warner Bros. For most of its early existence it was one of a group of labels owned and operated by larger parent corporations. The sequence of companies that controlled Warner Bros. and its allied labels evolved through a convoluted series of corporate mergers and acquisitions from the early 1960s to the early 2000s. Over this period, Warner Bros. Records grew from a struggling minor player in the music industry to become one of the top recording labels in the world.

In 2003, these music assets were divested by their then owner Time Warner and purchased by a private equity group. This independent company traded as the Warner Music Group before being bought by Access Industries in 2011. WMG is the smallest of the three major international music conglomerates and the world's last publicly traded major music company. Cameron Strang serves as CEO of the company.

Artists currently signed to Warner Bros. Records include but are not limited to Sleeping with Sirens , Cher
Cher
, Kylie Minogue
Kylie Minogue
, Kimbra , the Goo Goo Dolls
Goo Goo Dolls
, Sheryl Crow
Sheryl Crow
, Ciara , Gorillaz , Adam Lambert
Adam Lambert
, Bette Midler , Blur , Duran Duran , Fleet Foxes , Jason Derulo , Kid Rock , Lily Allen , Linkin Park
Linkin Park
, Muse , Nile Rodgers , the Red Hot Chili Peppers , the Black Keys , My Chemical Romance and Regina Spektor .

CONTENTS

* 1 History
History

* 1.1 Founding * 1.2 1958–1963: formation and early years * 1.3 Warner/Reprise 1963–1967 * 1.4 1967–1969: Warner-Seven Arts * 1.5 1969–1972: Kinney takeover * 1.6 1970–1979: The Ostin era * 1.7 1980–1988

* 1.8 1989–2004: The Time Warner era

* 1.8.1 End of an era: Ostin and Waronker depart

* 1.9 2004–present: Warner Music Group

* 2 Affiliated labels

* 2.1 Current * 2.2 Former

* 3 Artists * 4 See also * 5 References * 6 External links

HISTORY

FOUNDING

At the end of the silent movie period, Warner Bros. Pictures decided to expand into publishing and recording so that it could access low-cost music content for its films. In 1928, the studio acquired several smaller music publishing firms which included M. Witmark "> The gold, black and red label design used for Warner Bros. stereo albums from 1958 to 1968 and mono albums from 1964 to 1968. The grey, black, white and yellow label design used for Warner Bros. mono albums from 1958 to 1964 when it switched to the same gold label as the stereo version.

Warner Bros. reëntered the record business in 1958 with the establishment of its own recording division, Warner Bros. Records. By this time, the established Hollywood
Hollywood
studios were reeling from multiple challenges to their former dominance - the most notable being the introduction of television in the late 1940s. Legal changes also had a major impact on their business—lawsuits brought by major stars had effectively overthrown the old studio contract system by the late 1940s; Warner Bros. Pictures sold off much of its movie library in 1948 (although, ironically, Time Warner's 1996 takeover of Turner Broadcasting returned most of the Warner archive to the company) and, beginning in 1949, anti-trust suits brought by the U.S. government forced the five major studios to divest their cinema chains.

In 1956, Harry Warner
Harry Warner
and Albert Warner
Albert Warner
sold their interest in the studio and the board was joined by new members who favoured a renewed expansion into the music business—Charles Allen of the investment bank Charles Allen its founding directors of A its original office was located above the film studio's machine shop at 3701 Warner Boulevard in Burbank, California. Its early album releases (1958–1960) were aimed at the upscale end of the mainstream audience, and Warner Bros. took an early (though largely unsuccessful) lead in recording stereo LPs that targeted the new "hi-fi " market. The catalogue in this period included:

* vocal /spoken word albums by Warner contract players such as Tab Hunter, Edd Byrnes , Connie Stevens
Connie Stevens
, Jack Webb and William Holden * novelty /comedy albums by artists such as Spike Jones and Bob Newhart * film soundtracks and collections of film and TV themes * 'middle of the road' instrumental albums by artists including Matty Matlock , Buddy Cole , Henry Mancini , George Greeley , Warren Barker and "Ira Ironstrings" (a pseudonym for guitarist Alvino Rey , Conkling's brother-in-law, who was in fact under contract to Columbia Records at the time).

Some albums featured jokey or self-deprecating titles such as:

* _Music for People with $3.98 (Plus Tax If Any)_, * _Terribly Sophisticated Songs: A Collection of Unpopular Songs for Popular People_, * _Songs the Kids Brought Home from Camp_ * _Don't Put Your Empties on the Piano_ and * _But You've Never Heard Gershwin With Bongos_.

Almost all were commercial failures; and the only charting album in Warner Bros.' first two years was Warren Barker\'s 'soundtrack' album for the studio's hit series _ 77 Sunset Strip _, which reached #3 in 1959. Tab Hunter's " Jealous Heart " (WB 5008), which reached #62, was Warner Bros. only charting single during its first year.

Early Warner Bros. singles had distinctive red labels, with the WB logo to the side and a number of different-colored arrows surrounding and pointing at the center hole. The first hit was the novelty record "Kookie, Kookie (Lend Me Your Comb)", which reached #4 on the _Billboard_ Hot 100 . It was nominally performed by Warner contract actor Edd Byrnes , who played the wisecracking hipster character Gerald Lloyd "Kookie" Kookson III on Warner's TV detective series _77 Sunset Strip _. The story behind the recording illustrates the sharp practices often employed by major recording companies. Actress and singer Connie Stevens
Connie Stevens
(who appeared in the Warner TV series _Hawaiian Eye _) sang the song's chorus, but although her record contract entitled her to a 5 percent royalty rate, the label arbitrarily defined her contribution to be a favour to Byrnes and assigned her just 1% royalty on the song, despite the fact that, as she soon discovered, her name was being prominently displayed on the single's label. Warner Bros. also charged her for a share of the recording costs, which was to be recouped from her drastically reduced royalty. When Stevens scored her own hit single with " Sixteen Reasons " in 1960, Warner Bros. refused to allow her to perform it on _Hawaiian Eye_ because it was not published by MPHC, and they also prevented her from singing it on _ The Ed Sullivan Show _, thereby robbing her of nationwide promotion (and a $5000 appearance fee).

With only two hits to its credit in two years, the label was in serious financial trouble by 1960, having lost at least US$3 million and music historian Frederic Dannen reports that the only reason it was not closed down was because the Warner board was reluctant to write off the additional $2 million the label was owed in outstanding receivables and inventory. After a restructure, Conkling was obliged to report to Herman Starr; he rejected a buyout offer by Conkling and a group of other record company employees but agreed to keep the label running in exchange for heavy cost-cutting—the staff was reduced from 100 to 30 and Conkling voluntarily cut his own pay from $1000 to $500.

Warner Bros. now turned to rock\'n\'roll acts in hopes of advancing its sales but their first signing, Bill Haley , was by then past his prime and failed to score any hits. The label was more fortunate with its next signing, the Everly Brothers , whom Warner Bros. secured after the end of their previous contract with Cadence Records . Herman Starr effectively gambled the future of the company by approving what was reputed to be the first million-dollar contract in music history, which guaranteed the Everly Brothers $525,000 against an escalating royalty rate of up to 7 percent, well above the industry standard of the day. Luckily, the Everlys' first Warner Bros. single, "Cathy\'s Clown " was a smash hit, going to #1 in the U.S. and selling more than eight million copies, and their debut Warner Bros. album _It\'s Everly Time _ reached #9 on the album chart.

In 1959, Warner Bros. had signed rising standup comedian Bob Newhart , marking the beginning of the label's continuing involvement with comedy. Newhart provided the label's next major commercial breakthrough—in May 1960, three months after the success of "Cathy's Clown", Newhart's debut album _The Button-Down Mind of Bob Newhart _ went straight to #1 in the U.S., staying at the top for fourteen weeks, charting for more than two years and selling more than 600,000 copies. Capping this commercial success, Newhart scored historic wins in three major categories at the 1961 Grammy
Grammy
Awards —he won Album of the Year for _Button-Down Mind_, his quickly released follow-up album, _The Button-Down Mind Strikes Back_ (1960) won the Best Comedy Performance - Spoken Word category and Newhart himself won Best New Artist —the first time in Grammy
Grammy
history that a comedy album had won 'Album of the Year', and the only time a comedian has won 'Best New Artist'.

New staff joined the label in late 1961. Jim Conkling retired in the fall of that year, selecting as his successor Mike Maitland, a former Capitol executive, with Joe Smith appointed as head of promotions. Warner Bros. made another prescient signing in folk group Peter, Paul & Mary . The trio had been on the verge of signing with Atlantic Records , but before the deal could be completed they were poached by Warner Bros. Artie Mogull (who worked for one of Warner Bros.' publishing companies, Witmark Music) had introduced their manager Albert Grossman to Herman Starr, and as a result the group signed a recording and publishing deal with Warner Bros. Grossman's deal for the group broke new ground for recording artists—it included a substantial advance of $30,000 and, most significantly, it set a new benchmark for recording contracts by stipulating that the trio would have complete creative control over the recording and packaging of their music.

Soon after, Grossman and Mogull signed a publishing deal that gave Witmark one of its most lucrative clients -- Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan
. Grossman bought out Dylan's previous contract with Leeds Music and signed the then unknown singer-songwriter to Witmark for an advance of $5000. Two years later in 1963, Peter, Paul & Mary scored two consecutive Top 10 hits with Dylan songs, launching Dylan's career, and this was followed by many more hits by artists covering Dylan's songs, alongside the growing commercial success of Dylan himself. Grossman benefited enormously from both deals, because he took a 25% commission as Dylan's manager, and he structured Dylan's publishing deal so that he received 50% of Witmark's share of Dylan's publishing income —a tactic that was later emulated by other leading artist managers such as David Geffen .

Meanwhile, the label enjoyed further success with comedy recordings. Allan Sherman 's LP _ My Son, the Folk Singer _, which satirised the folk boom, became a huge hit, selling over a million copies. Bill Cosby broke through soon after and he continued the label's dream run with comedy LPs into the late 1960s, releasing a string of highly successful albums on Warner Bros. over the next six years, alongside his groundbreaking career as a TV actor.

The label's fortunes had finally turned around by 1962 thanks to the Everly Brothers , Newhart , folk stars Peter, Paul Warner Bros. Records head Mike Maitland became the president of the new combine and Mo Ostin was retained as manager of the Reprise label.

Reprise was heavily in debt at the time of the takeover, and the Warner Records management team was reportedly dismayed at their balance sheet being pushed back into the red by the acquisition, but they were given no choice in the matter. Ben Kalmenson, a Warner Bros. company director and close aide to Jack Warner, summoned the label's directors to a meeting in New York and explicitly told them that both he and Warner wanted the deal and that they expected them to vote in favor of it.

Despite these misgivings, the purchase ultimately proved very beneficial to the Warner group. Reprise flourished in the late 1960s thanks to Sinatra's famous "comeback" and the hits by Sinatra and his daughter Nancy , and the label also secured the U.S. distribution rights to the recordings of the Kinks and Jimi Hendrix
Jimi Hendrix
. Most importantly for the future of the company, the merger brought Reprise manager Mo Ostin into the Warner fold and "his ultimate value to Warner Bros. would dwarf Sinatra's". Ostin's business and musical instincts and his rapport with artists were to prove crucial to the success of the Warner labels over the next two decades.

In 1964, Warner Bros. started Loma Records which was meant to focus on R"> "Cream Puff War" (1967), the first single by the Grateful Dead . The orange label with chevron border was used on Warner Bros.' American 45s for much of the 1960s.

In 1964, Warner Bros. successfully negotiated with French label Disques Vogue and Warner Bros.' British distributor Pye Records for the rights to distribute Petula Clark
Petula Clark
's recordings in the US (said rights were previously held by Laurie Records ). Clark soon scored a #1 US hit with "Downtown " and she enjoyed consistent chart success in the USA over the next four years with hits such as "My Love ", "I Know A Place ", "I Couldn\'t Live Without Your Love ", "This Is My Song " and "Don\'t Sleep In The Subway ". Warner also released other Pye artists in the U.S. market such as the Kinks .

Another significant development in the label's history came in 1966 when Ostin hired young independent producer Lenny Waronker as an A&R manager, beginning a strong and enduring mentor/protege relationship between the two. Waronker, the son of Liberty Records founder Simon Waronker , had previously worked as an assistant to Liberty producer Snuff Garrett . Later he worked with the small San Francisco
San Francisco
label Autumn Records , founded by disc jockeys Tom Donahue , Bobby Mitchell and Sylvester Stewart (who would soon become famous as a musician under his stage name, Sly Stone).

Waronker had been hired as a freelance producer for some of Autumn's acts including The Tikis (who later became Harpers Bizarre ), the Beau Brummels and the Mojo Men and for these recording sessions he brought in several musician friends who were then becoming established on the L.A. music scene - composer/musicians Randy Newman (a childhood friend), Leon Russell and Van Dyke Parks
Van Dyke Parks
. Together they became the foundation of the creative 'salon' that centred on Waronker at Warner Bros. and which, with Ostin's continuing support, became the catalyst for Warner Records' subsequent success as a rock music label. Initially, Waronker looked after the acts that Warner Bros. took over when they bought Autumn Records for $10,000, but during the year he also avidly pursued rising Los Angeles band Buffalo Springfield
Buffalo Springfield
. Although (much to his and Ostin's chagrin) the band was ultimately signed by Atlantic Records , they eventually became part of the Warner Bros. catalogue after Atlantic was purchased by Warner Bros. Records.

In 1967, Warner Bros. took over Valiant Records , which added hit-making harmony pop group the Association to the Warner roster. This acquisition proved to be another huge money-spinner for Warner Bros. - The Association scored a string of major hits in the late 1960s, and their 1967 hit " Never My Love " went on to become the second most-played song on American radio and TV in the 20th century. During the year, the label also took its first tentative step into the burgeoning rock market when they signed leading San Francisco psychedelic rock group the Grateful Dead
Grateful Dead
. Warner Bros. threw the band a release party at the Fugazi Hall in San Francisco's North Beach . During the concert, Warner A"> Beginning in 1968, Warner LP and single label designs became identical. From 1968 to 1970, the label was called Warner Bros.-Seven Arts Records. The basic design and colour scheme of the W7 label were retained after the company name reverted to Warner Bros. Records and the "WB" shield in 1970 and remained in use until 1973.

In June 1967, Mo Ostin attended the historic Monterey International Pop Festival , where The Association performed the opening set. Ostin had already acquired the US rights to the Jimi Hendrix
Jimi Hendrix
Experience recordings, sight unseen, but he was reportedly unimpressed by Hendrix's now-famous performance. During his visit he met Andy Wickham , who had come to Monterey as an assistant to festival promoter Lou Adler . Wickham had worked as a commercial artist in London
London
, followed by a stint with Andrew Loog Oldham 's Immediate Records before moving to Los Angeles to work for Adler's Dunhill label. Ostin initially hired Wickham as Warner's "house hippie" on a generous retainer of $200 per week. Hanging out around Laurel Canyon , Wickham scouted for new talent and established a rapport with the young musicians WBR was seeking to sign. Like Lenny Waronker, Wickham's youth, intelligence and hip attitude allowed him to bridge the "generation gap between these young performers and the older Warner 'establishment'". He played a major role in signing Eric Andersen , Jethro Tull and Van Morrison and Joni Mitchell (who signed to Reprise), whom Wickham successfully recommended to Ostin in his first week with the company. Over the next thirty years, Wickham became one of WBR's most influential A he also pointed out that the provocative title would inevitably hurt sales because major retailers like Sears would refuse to stock it. Realizing that this would reduce their income, the band voluntarily changed the title to Grateful Dead, known generally as _ Skull and Roses _.

Some of Warner Bros.' biggest commercial successes during this period were with " Sunshine Pop " acts. Harpers Bizarre scored a #13 Billboard hit in April 1967 with their version of Simon & Garfunkel 's "The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin\' Groovy) " and a month later, the Association scored a US #1 with " Windy
Windy
" and they reached #8 on the album chart with their first WBR album _ Insight Out _. Their next single " Never My Love " also topped the charts in autumn 1967 (#2 Billboard , #1 Cashbox ) and now ranks as one of the most successful of all Warner Bros. recordings—it became a radio staple and is now accredited by BMI as the second most-played song on US radio in the 20th century
20th century
, surpassing both "Yesterday " by the Beatles and "Stand by Me " by Ben E. King . The group's 1968 _Greatest Hits album _ was also a major hit, reaching #4 on the US album chart. In 1968, Mason Williams ' instrumental composition " Classical Gas " reached #2 on the _Billboard_ chart, selling more than a million copies, and Williams won three Grammys that year.

Another notable Warner release from this period was _ Astral Weeks _, the second solo album by Van Morrison (his first was on Bang ), who signed with the label in 1968. Although it sold relatively poorly on its first release (and did not reach gold record status until 2001) it has been widely acclaimed by musicians and critics worldwide, has featured prominently on many "Best Albums of All Time" lists and has remained in release almost continuously since 1968.

During 1968, using the profits from Warner/Reprise, W7 purchased Atlantic Records for $17.5 million, including the label's valuable archive, its growing roster of new artists and the services of its three renowned executives, Jerry Wexler , Nesuhi Ertegun and Ahmet Ertegun . However, the purchase again caused rancour among the Warner/Reprise management, who were upset that their hard-won profits had been co-opted to buy Atlantic, and that Atlantic's executives were made large shareholders in Warner-Seven Arts—the deal gave the Ertegun brothers and Wexler between them 66,000 shares of Warner Bros.' common stock.

On 1 June 1968, _Billboard _ announced that WBR's star comedy performer Bill Cosby had turned down a five-year, US$3.5 million contract renewal offer and would leave the label in August that year to record for his own Tetragrammaton Records label. Just over one month later (July 13) _Billboard _ reported on a major re-organization of the entire Warner-Seven Arts music division. Mike Maitland was promoted to Executive Vice-President of both the recorded music and publishing operations, and George Lee took over from Victor Blau as operational head of the recording division. The restructure also reversed the reporting arrangement put in place in 1960 and from this point the Warner publishing arm reported to the record division under Maitland. The _Billboard_ article also noted the enormous growth and vital significance of W7's music operations, which were by then providing most of Warner-Seven Arts' revenue—during the first nine months of that fiscal year, the recording and publishing divisions generated 74% of the corporation's total profit, with the publishing division alone accounting for over US$2 million of ASCAP 's collections from music users.

1969–1972: KINNEY TAKEOVER

In 1969, Warner-Seven Arts was taken over by the Kinney National Company , headed by New York businessman Steve J. Ross , who would successfully lead the Warner group of companies until his death in 1992. The US$400 million deal created a new conglomerate that combined the Warner film, recording and music publishing divisions with Kinney's multi-faceted holdings. Ross had started the company in the late 1950s while working in his family's funeral business—seeing the opportunity to use the company's cars, which were idle at night, he founded a successful hire car operation, which he later merged with the Kinney parking garage company. Ross took the company public in 1962 and from this base it expanded rapidly between 1966 and 1968, merging with National Cleaning Services in 1966 to form the Kinney National Company, and then acquiring a string of companies that would prove of enormous value to the Warner group in the years ahead -- National Periodical Publications (which included DC Comics and All American Comics ), the Ashley-Famous talent agency and Panavision .

In the summer of 1969, Atlantic Records agreed to assist Warner Bros. Records in establishing overseas divisions but when Warner executive Phil Rose arrived in Australia
Australia
to begin setting up an Australian subsidiary, he discovered that just one week earlier Atlantic had signed a new four-year production and distribution deal with local label Festival Records , without informing WBR.

During 1969, the rivalry between Mike Maitland and Ahmet Ertegun quickly escalated into an all-out executive battle, but Steve Ross favoured Ertegun and the conflict culminated in Maitland being dismissed from his position on 25 January 1970. He declined an offer of a job with Warner Bros. Pictures and left the company, subsequently becoming president of MCA Records . Mo Ostin was appointed as president of Warner Bros. Records with Joe Smith as executive vice-president.

1970–1979: THE OSTIN ERA

Beginning back in 1967 with the signing of the Grateful Dead, Warner Bros. Records and its affiliate labels steadily built up a diverse and prestigious lineup of rock and pop artists through the 1970s, and earning a strong reputation as an "artists first" record company. Under the guidance of Edward West, Vice-President of Warner Bros. Records Inc in 1973 and its executives, A&R managers and staff producers, including Mo Ostin, David Geffen, Joe Smith, Stan Cornyn, Lenny Waronker, Andy Wickham, Russ Titelman and ex-Warner Bros. recording artist (with Harpers Bizarre) Ted Templeman , sales grew steadily throughout the decade and by the end of the 1970s Warner Bros. and its sister labels had become one of the world's leading recording groups, with a star-studded roster that included Fleetwood Mac , James Taylor
James Taylor
, Van Morrison , America , Alice Cooper , Carly Simon , Van Halen
Van Halen
, the Doobie Brothers , Bonnie Raitt , Ambrosia , and Rickie Lee Jones
Rickie Lee Jones
. This was augmented by the group's valuable back-catalogue, and lucrative licensing deals with American and international labels including Sire , Vertigo and Island Records (1975–1982) that gave WBR the American distribution rights for leading British and European rock acts including Deep Purple
Deep Purple
, Jethro Tull , Black Sabbath
Black Sabbath
, Roxy Music , King Crimson and Kraftwerk
Kraftwerk
. Aided by the growth of FM radio and the album oriented rock format, LPs became the primary vehicle of Warner Bros. sales successes throughout the 1970s, although artists such as the Doobie Brothers and America also scored many major US and international hit singles .

One of the first Warner Bros. albums to achieve both critical and commercial success in the early 1970s was Van Morrison's third solo LP _ Moondance _ (January 1970) which consolidated his distinctive blend of rock, jazz and R Deep Purple
Deep Purple
were originally signed in the USA to the independent Tetragrammaton Records , which was distributed by Warner Bros., who acquired the label after it folded in 1970. Black Sabbath's eponymous debut album (recorded in just two days) reached #8 on the UK album chart , and #23 on the _Billboard_ 200 , where it remained for over a year, selling strongly despite some negative reviews. It has since been certified platinum in the US by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and in the UK by British Phonographic Industry
British Phonographic Industry
(BPI). Sabbath's second album was to have been called _War Pigs_, but Warner Bros. Records changed the title to _Paranoid _ fearing a backlash by consumers. It was a Top 10 hit on the US album chart in 1971, and went on to sell four million copies in the US alone with virtually no radio airplay.

By 1970, "Seven Arts" was dropped from the company name and the WB shield became the Warner Bros. Records logo again. During 1971, a financial scandal in its parking operations forced Kinney National to spin off its non-entertainment assets, and the Warner recording, publishing and film divisions then became part of a new umbrella company, Warner Communications .

In July 1970, the Warner recording group acquired another prestige asset with the purchase of Jac Holzman's Elektra Records
Elektra Records
for US$10 million. Like Atlantic, the new acquisition came with a very valuable back-catalogue, which included the Doors , Love , Paul Butterfield Blues Band , Tim Buckley , the Stooges , MC5 and Bread , but Elektra soon began producing more major hits under the Warner umbrella. Recent signing Carly Simon scored two successive Top 20 singles in 1971 with "That\'s the Way I\'ve Always Heard It Should Be " and "Anticipation ", and her first two albums both made the Billboard Top 50, but the following year she topped the single and album charts with her international smash hit "You\'re So Vain " and the album _No Secrets _, which both went to #1 in the U.S. Jac Holzman ran the label until 1972, when he was succeeded by David Geffen and Elektra was merged with Geffen's label Asylum Records
Asylum Records
. Geffen was forced to step down in 1975 for health reasons and Joe Smith was appointed president in his place, although the label's fortunes subsequently waned considerably, with Elektra-Asylum reportedly losing some $27 million during the last two years of Smith's tenure.

With three co-owned record companies, the next step was the formation of the group's in-house distribution arm, initially called Kinney Records Distributing Corporation, to better control distribution of product and make sure records by breaking new acts were available.

In 1971, UK-based pop rock trio America were signed to the recently established British division of Warner Bros. Their debut album , released late in the year, at first enjoyed only moderate success, but in early 1972 their single " A Horse with No Name " became a major international hit, reaching #1 in the US. Warner hastily reissued the album with the song included and it too became a huge hit, reaching #1 on the US album chart and eventually earning a platinum record award. Although criticised for their similarity to Neil Young (indeed, rumours circulated around Hollywood
Hollywood
that Young had cut the track anonymously ), America scored five more US Top 10 singles over the next three years, including a second US #1 with " Sister Golden Hair " in 1975. Their albums performed very strongly in the charts—each of their first seven LPs were US Top 40 albums, five of these made the Top 10 and all but one (_Hat Trick _, 1973) achieved either gold or platinum status. Their 1975 _Greatest Hits _ album became a perennial seller and is now accredited at 4x platinum.

In 1972, Dionne Warwick was signed to Warner Bros. Records after leaving Scepter Records in what was the biggest contract at the time for a female recording artist, although her five years at Warner Bros. were relatively unsuccessful in comparison to her spectacular hit-making tenure at Scepter.

After a slow start, the Doobie Brothers proved to be one of Warner Bros.' most successful signings. Their debut album made little impact but their second album _ Toulouse Street _ (1972) reached #21 and spawned two US Top 40 singles, " Listen to the Music " and "Jesus is Just Alright ", inaugurating a string of hit albums and singles over the next five years. Their third album _ The Captain and Me _ was even more successful, reaching #7 in the US and producing two more hit singles, "China Grove " (#15) and "Long Train Runnin\' " (#8); it became a consistent seller and is now accredited 2x Platinum by the RIAA . _ What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits _ (1974) reached #4 and produced two more hits including their first US #1 single "Black Water " (1975). _Stampede _ also reached #4, and produced another hit single with the Motown cover " Take Me in Your Arms (Rock Me a Little While) " (US #11).

Warner Bros. Records' reputation for nurturing new artists was demonstrated by the career of Alice Cooper (originally the name of the band, but later taken over as the stage name / persona of singer and main songwriter Vince Furnier). The Alice Cooper band recorded two unsuccessful albums for Frank Zappa
Frank Zappa
's Warner-distributed label Straight Records before teaming with producer Bob Ezrin , who became a longtime collaborator. Their third LP _ Love it to Death _ (originally released on Straight and later reissued on Warner Bros.) reached #35 on the Billboard album chart and produced the hit single "I\'m Eighteen ", which reached #21. Following the runaway success of their 1971 European tour Warner Bros. Records offered the band a multi-album contract; their first Warner Bros. album _Killer _ sold well, with the single "Halo of Flies " making the Top 10 in the Netherlands, but it was their next album _School\'s Out _ (1972) that really put them on the map. The title song was a Top 10 hit in the US, reached #1 in the UK and became a radio staple, and the album went to #2 in the USA and sold more than a million copies. _ Billion Dollar Babies _ (1973) became their biggest success, going to #1 in both the US and the UK. The follow-up _ Muscle of Love _ (1973) was less successful, although the single "Teenage Lament \'74 was a Top 20 hit in the UK. Furnier split from the band in 1974 and signed to Warner Bros.' sister label, Atlantic as a solo artist, scoring further success with his solo albums and singles.

In 1973, Frank Zappa
Frank Zappa
and manager Herb Cohen closed the Straight and Bizarre labels and established a new imprint, DiscReet Records , retaining their distribution deal with Warner Bros. Zappa's next album _Apostrophe (\') _ (1973) became the biggest commercial success of his career, reaching #10 on the _Billboard_ album chart, and the single "Don\'t Eat the Yellow Snow " was a minor hit and (at the time) his only single to make the Hot 100 chart. Zappa also enjoyed moderate commercial success with the live double LP _ Roxy and Elsewhere _ (1974) and his next studio LP _One Size Fits All _ (1975), both of which reached the Top 30 on the Billboard album chart. The Warner Bros. "Burbank" picture label introduced in 1973. It was later modified when a banner was added across the WB Shield, on which the word "RECORDS" was inscribed.

WBR introduced a new label design for its LPs and singles in mid-1973. This design, which WBR would use until mid-1978, featured a multi-coloured, idealised view of a Burbank street lined by palms and eucalypts, and titled with the slogan "Burbank, Home of Warner Bros. Records".

After several years as a 'cult ' artist, Randy Newman achieved his first significant commercial success as a solo artist with his 1974 album _Good Old Boys _ which made the Top 40. His controversial 1977 single " Short People " was one of the surprise hits of the year, reaching #2 on the _ Billboard Hot 100 _. On October 12, 1974 WBR and Phil Spector established Warner-Spector Records , but the label was short-lived and folded in 1977; most of its releases were reissues Philles Records recordings from the 1960s and the only new material released was two singles by the disco group Calhoon and a single by Cher
Cher
.

In 1975 David Geffen was obliged to leave the company for health reasons, after being told that he had a terminal illness (although this later proved to be a false diagnosis). In his place, Joe Smith was promoted to become President of the combined Elektra /Asylum label. At this time Warner Bros. began to wind down the Reprise label. In 1976–77 almost all Reprise acts, including Fleetwood Mac , Gordon Lightfoot , Ry Cooder and Michael Franks were transferred to Warner Bros., leaving only Neil Young (who refused to move) and founder Frank Sinatra. Apart from these artists and some reissues, the Reprise label was dormant until it was reactivated in 1986 with the issue of the Dream Academy 's single "The Love Parade " on Reprise 28750.

By far the most successful of the Reprise acts who moved to Warner Bros. was Fleetwood Mac , whose massive success firmly established Warner Bros. in the front rank of major labels—although few would have predicted it from the band's tumultuous history. Between 1970 and 1975 there were multiple lineup changes (with only two original members remaining by 1974), their album sales declined drastically, and a legal battle over the group's name kept them off the road for over a year. However, just as Fleetwood Mac was switching labels in 1975, the group re-invigorated by the recruitment of new members Lindsay Buckingham and Stevie Nicks . The 'new' Fleetwood Mac scored a string of US and international hits and their self-titled Warner Bros. debut album was a huge success, reaching #1 in the US, charting for more than 30 weeks and selling more than 5 million copies. In 1977, their now-legendary _Rumours _ took both group and label to even greater heights—it generated a string of international hit singles and became the most successful album in the label's history; it is currently ranked the 11th biggest selling album of all time and as of 2009 was estimated to have sold more than 40 million copies.

After a string of albums with the Faces and as a solo artist for Mercury Records in the early 1970s, British singer Rod Stewart
Rod Stewart
signed with Warner Bros. in 1974, applied for American citizenship and moved to the USA. Launching a sustained run of success, his Warner debut album _ Atlantic Crossing _ (1975) was a major international hit, reaching #9 on the Billboard album chart and #1 in Australia
Australia
, with the single "I Don\'t Want to Talk
Talk
About It " going to #1 in the UK. His second WBR album _A Night on the Town _ (1976) went to #2 in the USA and #1 in Australia
Australia
and produced three US Top 40 singles, including his first US #1 "Tonight\'s the Night ". _Foot Loose & Fancy Free _ (1977) reached #2 on the Billboard Pop Albums chart and #1 in Australia
Australia
and again produced three US Top 40 singles, including "You\'re in My Heart (The Final Acclaim) ", which reached #4. _Blondes Have More Fun _ (1978) went to #1 in the USA and Australia, and produced two more Top 40 singles including his second US #1, "Da Ya Think I\'m Sexy " (although Stewart and co-writer Carmine Appice were later successfully sued for plagiarizing the song's catchy melody hook from "Taj Mahal l" by Brazilian songwriter Jorge Ben ). Stewart's _Greatest Hits _ collection (1979) went to #1 in the UK and Australia, giving the singer a record-breaking five consecutive #1 albums in the latter country.

Warner Bros. Records also had unexpected success in the mid-1970s with another 'heritage' act, veteran vocal group the Four Seasons . In early 1975, they signed with Curb Records (which was distributed by WBR) just as lead singer Frankie Valli scored a surprise hit with his independently released solo single " My Eyes Adored You ". Soon after, Valli and The Four Seasons burst back onto the charts with the disco-styled " Who Loves You ", which reached #3 in the US and sold more than a million copies, and the album _ Who Loves You _ sold more than 1 million copies. Their next single "December, 1963 (Oh, What a Night) " topped the charts in both Britain and the US in early 1976, becoming the group's first US #1 since 1967. A remixed version was a hit again in 1994 and its total of 54 weeks in charts gives it the longest tenure of any song on the Billboard Hot 100.

By the time of The Doobie Brothers 1976 album _Takin\' It to the Streets _, founding member Tom Johnston had effectively left the band and he was replaced by former Steely Dan session man Michael McDonald , whose distinctive voice helped to propel the group to even greater success. The new album sold strongly, reaching #8 in the US, and the title track reached #13 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming a perennial on radio playlists. Warner Bros. also released the massively successful _ Best of the Doobies _ (1976), which has become one of the biggest-selling albums of all time and is currently accredited at 10x Platinum status. 1978's _ Minute by Minute _ marked the peak of their career—both the album and its lead single " What A Fool Believes " went to #1 in the US and the album's title track also made the US Top 20, although it was their last album with founding drummer John Hartman and longserving guitarist Jeff "Skunk" Baxter .

During the late 1970s, Warner Bros.' reputation as an "artists first" label was challenged by a bitter and long-running dispute with Frank Zappa . In 1976, Zappa's relationship with manager Herb Cohen ended in litigation. For _ Zoot Allures , Z_appa took his own copy of the master directly to Warner Bros. Records, who agreed to release the album, therefore bypassing Cohen and DiscReet. However, Warner Bros. changed their position following legal action from Cohen. Zappa was then obligated to deliver four more albums to Warner Bros. for release on DiscReet. Zappa sequenced a double live album and three studio albums, but Warner Bros. objected to some or all of these recordings and refused to reimburse Zappa for production costs, as required by the DiscReet distribution contract. Zappa then re-edited the material into a 4-LP set called _ Läther _ (pronounced 'leather'), made a deal with Phonogram , and scheduled the release of _Läther_ for Halloween
Halloween
1977. However, Warner Bros. threatened legal action, forcing Zappa to shelve the release. Infuriated, Zappa hosted a broadcast on KROQ-FM in Pasadena, California , where he played the entire _Läther_ album in sequence, repeatedly criticizing Warner Bros., and openly encouraging listeners to record the broadcast. Warner Bros. took further legal action against Zappa, which prevented him from issuing any material for over a year. During 1978 and 1979, Warner Bros. issued the disputed material over four albums - _ Zappa in New York _ (an edited and censored version of the original 1977 live double album), _Studio Tan _, _ Sleep Dirt _ and _ Orchestral Favorites _. Zappa eventually won the rights to his Straight , Bizarre , DiscReet and Warner Bros. material, but remained trenchantly critical of his treatment by Warner Bros. for the rest of his life. Zappa's recordings were subsequently reissued on CD by Rykodisc (ironically it was later acquired by Warner Music), including _ Läther _, which appeared posthumously in 1996.

Ry Cooder was another Reprise act who was transferred to Warner Bros. in 1977. His first Warner release was the 1977 live album _Showtime_ and he remained with the label until his contract expired in the late 1980s. His 1979 album _Bop \'Til You Drop _ is notable as the first major-label rock album to be digitally recorded, and it became the best-selling album of his career.

Thanks to its distribution deal with Curb Records , WBR scored the biggest hit single in the company's history in 1977. The ballad "You Light Up My Life " (written and produced by Joe Brooks ) was originally recorded by the late Kasey Cisyk for the soundtrack to the film of the same name, in which actress Didi Conn lip-synched to Cisyk's recording. Teenager Debby Boone (daughter of actor-singer Pat Boone ) was recruited to record a new version for single release, and this became a massive success, topping the Billboard Hot 100 for a record-setting 10 consecutive weeks, and earning a Platinum certification from the RIAA . It became the most successful single of the 1970s in the United States, setting what was then a new record for longest run at #1 in the US and surpassing Elvis Presley's "Hound Dog ". Boone's success also earned her Grammy
Grammy
nominations for "Best Female Pop Vocal Performance " and "Record of the Year" and won her the 1977 Grammy
Grammy
for "Best New Artist" and the 1977 American Music Award
American Music Award
for "Favorite Pop Single". The song also earned Joe Brooks the 1977 "Song of the Year " Grammy
Grammy
(tied with "Evergreen (Love Theme from A Star Is Born) ") as well as "Best Original Song" at both the 1977 Golden Globe and Academy Awards
Academy Awards
.

Throughout the 1970s, Warner Bros. also benefited from its US/Canada distribution deals with independent labels such as Straight Records , DiscReet Records , UK labels Chrysalis (1972–1976) and Island (1974–1982), Bizarre Records , Bearsville Records (1970–1984) and Geffen Records (which was sold to MCA in 1990).

Although primarily associated with mainstream white acts in the Seventies, Warner Bros.' distribution deals with smaller labels also brought it some success in the disco , soul and funk genres in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Among the imprints it distributed that were notable in these fields were Seymour Stein 's Sire Records (which Warner Bros. soon purchased), Curtis Mayfield 's Curtom , Norman Whitfield 's Whitfield Records , Quincy Jones ' Qwest , Prince 's Paisley Park , RFC Records (formed in December 1978 when Ray Caviano became the executive director of Warner's disco division), and Tom Silverman 's Tommy Boy Records (another label Warner Bros. eventually took over).

Until the late 1970s, Warner Bros. itself still had very few African American music artists on its roster, but this began to change with the signing of artists such as George Benson and Prince . Benson had risen to prominence in jazz in the 1960s but was still relatively little-known by the general public. However, his move to Warner Bros. in 1976 and the teaming with producer Tommy LiPuma enabled him to straddle genres and made him a popular and highly successful mainstream R&B and pop artist. His first Warner Bros. LP _Breezin\' _ (1976) became one of the most successful jazz albums of the decade and a major 'crossover' hit—it topped the American Pop, R&B and Jazz album charts and produced two hit singles, the title track (which became a Jazz
Jazz
standard and a radio favourite) and " This Masquerade ", which was a Top 10 pop and R the first five of these were also Top 20 hits on both the Pop and R&B charts. His live version of Leiber & Stoller 's "On Broadway " (from his 1978 live album _Weekend in L.A. _) outcharted the original version by the Drifters , reaching #7 on the Billboard Hot 100, and gained further exposure thanks to its memorable use in the famous audition sequence in Bob Fosse 's 1979 film _All That Jazz
Jazz
_. Benson's most successful single "Give Me the Night " (1980) became his first US #1 R&B hit, reached #4 on the Pop chart and also reached #2 on the Hot Disco Singles chart.

Prince signed to Warner Bros. in 1977. His first album _For You _ made little impact, although the single " Soft and Wet " reached #12 on the Billboard R&B chart. However, his second self-titled album (1979) fared considerably better, reaching #3 on the R the first single lifted from the album, " I Wanna Be Your Lover " became Prince's first crossover hit, reaching #1 on the R&B chart and #11 on the main pop chart, while the follow-up single " Why You Wanna Treat Me So Bad? " reached #13 on the R its American signings included the Ramones , the Dead Boys , and Talking Heads and most importantly of all, Madonna , who soon became the most successful female artist in music history, earning billions for Warner. Sire's distribution deals with British independent labels including Mute , Rough Trade , Korova and Fiction gave WEA the American rights to important UK-based New Wave bands including Depeche Mode , the Smiths , the Beat , Madness , Echo "When Doves Cry " and "Let\'s Go Crazy " both reached #1 and the title track reached #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. However, the sexually explicit album track " Darling Nikki " generated a major controversy that had lasting effects—when politician's wife Tipper Gore heard her 12-year-old daughter listening to the song and investigated the lyrics, her outrage led to the formation of the conservative lobby group Parents Music Resource Center . Their stance was vehemently opposed by former Warner Bros. artist Frank Zappa
Frank Zappa
and others, but the PMRC's political clout eventually forced the US recording industry to adopt the compulsory practice of placing a "Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics " sticker on records deemed to contain "offensive" content.

1984 also saw Van Halen
Van Halen
break into the big league with the single "Jump " (their only US #1 hit) and the album _1984 _; it was a huge seller (earning Diamond album status in 1999) and reached #2 in the US, producing two more Top 20 hits. However, escalating friction between guitarist Eddie Van Halen
Van Halen
and lead singer David Lee Roth reached breaking point soon after the album's release and Roth left the band, to be replaced by Sammy Hagar
Sammy Hagar
, who recorded for WB as part of Montrose ; _1984_ was also the last time they worked with Ted Templeman , who had produced all their albums up to this point.

In 1985, Dire Straits' single "Money for Nothing " gained massive exposure on MTV
MTV
thanks to its innovative computer-animated music video , propelling the single to #1 in the US. They scored two more US Top 20 hits with "Walk of Life " and "So Far Away " and the album _Brothers in Arms _ was a phenomenal success—it went to #1 in the USA, Australia
Australia
and most European countries and sold in colossal numbers—by 1996 it had been certified at 9× platinum in the USA and it is currently ranked at #25 in the list of best-selling albums of all time , with sales of more than 30 million copies worldwide.

The new incarnation of Van Halen
Van Halen
bounced back in 1986, releasing the enormously successful _5150 _ album which went to #1 and produced two hit singles, "Why Can't This Be Love" (US #3) and "Dreams" (#22). Their four subsequent studio albums (_ OU812 _, _For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge _, _Balance _, and _ Van Halen
Van Halen
III _) all reached #1 and the band scored 17 US Top 20 singles, including 1988's "When It's Love" (US #5), but their overall sales gradually declined, with each album selling less than its predecessor.

The same was true of Prince. He scored numerous hit albums and singles through the latter half of the 1980s, but his record sales declined and Warner Bros. executives became increasingly concerned that he was producing far more material than they could release. His image was also tarnished by the failure of his later film ventures, his embarrassing refusal to participate in the recording of "We Are The World " and his sacking of guitarist Wendy Melvoin and long-serving keyboard player Lisa Coleman . The 1985 album _Around the World in a Day _ held the #1 spot on the Billboard 200 for three weeks and peaked at #5 in the UK, selling seven million copies despite minimal promotion. _Parade _ (1986) served as the soundtrack for Prince's second film _ Under the Cherry Moon _; although the movie was a critical and commercial failure, the album peaked at #3 in Billboard and #2 on the R Prince then proposed a solo LP which he intended to issue under the pseudonym _Camille _, but he eventually combined elements from both to create the ambitious three-album set _Crystal Ball _. However, because of the relatively lower sales of his previous albums, Prince's manager Steve Fargnoli and Warner Bros. president Mo Ostin both doubted the commercial viability of releasing a 3-LP set, and after previewing _Crystal Ball_, Ostin insisted that Prince pare it down to two records. Prince at first refused and a battle of wills ensued for several weeks, but he eventually backed down and removed seven tracks; the resulting double-album was released in March 1987 as "_Sign o\' the Times "_. Despite Prince's bitterness over its forced reduction, it was very successful, peaking at #6 on the Billboard 200 albums chart and selling 5 million copies, while the title single "Sign o\' the Times " reached #3 on the Hot 100. The follow-up single " If I Was Your Girlfriend " flopped (although it went to #12 on R&B chart) but he scored big hits with the next two singles, "U Got the Look " (#2 Hot 100, #11 R&B) and "I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man " (#10 Hot 100, #14 R the title track also won 'Song of the Year' in 1987. In jazz, Warner Bros. scored another artistic coup by signing jazz legend Miles Davis
Miles Davis
after his break with longtime label Columbia . His comeback album _Tutu _ (1986) was a major crossover hit, gaining rave reviews and winning a Grammy
Grammy
in 1987.

In the summer of 1986, Warner Bros. announced the reactivation of Reprise Records with its own separate promotions department, and former Warner Bros. Vice President of Promotion Richard Fitzgerald was appointed as label Vice President.

During 1987, Prince recorded a pared-down funk LP, _The Black Album _, but he withdrew it in December just before it was to be released (even though 500,000 copies had been printed). Its hastily recorded replacement _ Lovesexy _ (1988) was a moderate success, reaching #11 on the Billboard album chart although it reached #1 in the UK. However, he rebounded in 1989 with the soundtrack for the hugely successful _Batman _ film, which sold more than eleven million copies, reached #1 on the _Billboard_ album chart and produced four hit singles including " Batdance ", which topped both the Hot 100 and R they also scored three consecutive hit singles with " Love Shack " (#3 US, #1 Australia), " Roam " (US #3) and " Deadbeat Club " (US #30).

Warner Bros.' most successful decade yet closed in sensational fashion. In early 1989, Madonna signed an endorsement deal with Pepsi , who introduced her new single "Like a Prayer " in the lavish "Make a Wish" commercial—the first time a pop single had debuted in an advertisement and the first time such a commercial was given a worldwide satellite premiere. However Pepsi
Pepsi
had no control over Madonna's own "Like a Prayer" music video, which debuted exclusively on MTV
MTV
soon after—it generated heated criticism due to its provocative use of religious imagery and was condemned by the Vatican . As a result, Pepsi
Pepsi
withdrew the advertisement and canceled the endorsement deal—although Madonna was allowed to retain her US$5 million fee—but the controversy only heightened interest in the single and the album (also titled _Like a Prayer_). The single became Madonna's seventh US #1 and topped the chart in more than 30 other countries, and the album also went to #1, sold seven million copies worldwide and produced two more US Top 5 singles, establishing Madonna as the most successful female artist of the 1980s and one of the most successful musical performers of all time.

1989–2004: THE TIME WARNER ERA

In 1989 Time Inc. acquired Warner Communications and merged the two enterprises to create Time Warner in a deal valued at US$14 billion.

After a long period of relative stability that was notable in the cutthroat American music industry, the death of Steve Ross in late 1992 marked the start of a period of major upheaval at Warner Bros. Records.

R.E.M.'s second Warner album _Out of Time _ (1991) consolidated their success, topping the charts in both the US and the UK and producing two major hit singles: " Losing My Religion
Losing My Religion
" became their biggest American single (#4 on Billboard Hot 100) and a hit in numerous other countries, and " Shiny Happy People ", a Top 10 hit in both the US and the UK; the group also won three categories at that year's Grammy Awards .

Prince's fortunes in the Nineties were mixed; he scored more hits and renewed his contract in 1992, but his relationship with Warner Bros. Records soon soured, climaxing in a highly publicized legal battle and his eventual departure from the label. Although his fourth film, _Graffiti Bridge _ was panned by critics and bombed at the box office the album of the same name was very successful—it reached #6 on both the Billboard Hot 200 and R&B album chart and produced two US Top 20 singles. _ Diamonds and Pearls _ (1991) became one of the biggest albums of his career, selling 9 million records, reaching #3 in the USA, #2 in the UK and #1 in Australia, with five of the six singles lifted from the album becoming hits in the US and other countries, including "Cream ", which became his fifth US #1.

Prince was appointed a vice-president of Warner Bros. Records when he re-signed with them in 1992, but soon regretted his decision. His next album—identified by the cryptic symbol on the cover later defined as "The Love Symbol "—was another solid hit, peaking at #5 on the _Billboard_ 200 and selling 5 million copies worldwide, but by now tensions were increasing. Warner Bros. wanted to release "7 " as his next single, but Prince successfully pushed for " My Name Is Prince " and it was only a minor hit (#36 Hot 100, #23 R the follow-up "Sexy MF " was censored in the US because of the expletive in the chorus and did not even make the US Top 50 although it was a Top 5 hit in the UK and Australia. When eventually released, "7" became the only major US hit lifted from the album, peaking (appropriately) at #7.

Following the 3-disc compilation _ The Hits/The B-Sides _ (1993), Prince stopped using his first name and started using only the "Love Symbol"—a decision that drew considerable ridicule from the media. Because this sign has no verbal equivalent, he was often derisively referred to as "The Artist Formerly Known as Prince". By 1994, relations between The Artist and his record label had reached an impasse—in February WEA cancelled its distribution deal with Paisley Park , effectively putting the label out of business. Although released by an independent distributor, his next single "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World " (1994) reached #3 in the U.S. and topped the singles charts throughout Europe, becoming the biggest hit single of his career.

Prince had meanwhile prepared two new albums, _Come_ and _The Gold Experience_; an early version of _Come_ was rejected but Warner Bros. eventually accepted both albums, although they refused to issue them simultaneously. By this time Prince had launched a legal action to terminate his contract and gain ownership of his master recordings, and he publicised his views by appearing in public with the word "SLAVE" written across his right cheek. _Come_ (1994) was moderately successful in the USA (#15, gold record) and the single " Letitgo " reached #10 on the R it included "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World" and produced two other charting singles, " I Hate U " (US #11 and "Gold " UK #10). Prince's remarkable career with Warner Bros. ended with _ Chaos and Disorder _ (1996), compiled expressly to end his contract. It was one of his least successful releases but still managed to reach #26 in the USA and #14 in the UK and produced one minor hit, "Dinner With Delores" (#36 UK). Prince subsequently released recordings on his own NPG label (via EMI
EMI
) before eventually signing with Universal Music in 2005.

R.E.M.'s _ Automatic for the People _ (1992) cemented their status as one of the top bands of the period and was the most successful album of their career, reaching #1 in the UK and #2 in the US, selling more than 10 million copies worldwide and generating three US hit singles, "Drive ", "Man on the Moon ", and " Everybody Hurts ".

During 1992 WBR faced one of the most serious controversies in its history over the provocative recording "Cop Killer " from the self titled album by Body Count , a rap metal band led by Ice-T . Unfortunately for Warner Bros., the song (which mentions the Rodney King case) came out just before the controversial acquittal of the police charged with King's beating, which sparked the 1992 Los Angeles Riots and the confluence of events put the song under the national spotlight. Complaints escalated over the summer—conservative police associations called for a boycott of Time Warner products, politicians including President George H. W. Bush denounced the label for releasing the song, Warner executives received death threats, Time Warner stockholders threatened to pull out of the company and the New Zealand police commissioner unsuccessfully tried to have the record banned there. Although Ice-T later voluntarily reissued _Body Count_ without "Cop Killer", the furore seriously rattled Warner Music and in January 1993 WBR made an undisclosed deal releasing Ice-T from his contract and returning the _ Body Count _ master tapes to him. In the wake of the "Cop Killer" affair, Warner Bros. distanced itself from gangsta rap and in late 1995, it sold its 50% stake in Interscope Records and its controversial subsidiary Death Row Records (Tupac Shakur , Snoop Dogg ) back to co-owners Jimmy Iovine and Ted Field. Iovine and Field quickly aligned Interscope with the Universal Music Group ; the label, now known as Interscope-Geffen-A his debut album _ You Might Be a Redneck If... _ was a major hit in the US and Canada, and both it and his follow-up album sold more than three million copies each.

End Of An Era: Ostin And Waronker Depart

During 1994–1995, Warner Bros.'s successes and problems with its artists were overshadowed by a protracted period of highly publicized internecine strife, centering on Warner Music Group chairman Robert J. Morgado and his successor Michael J. Fuchs . In September 1993, Ostin began negotiations to renew his contract and it was at this point that Morgado unveiled his plan for a major corporate shakeup of the Warner group. This triggered a series of damaging corporate conflicts and in particular created a fatal rift between Morgado and Ostin. The first major casualty was Elektra chairman Bob Krasnow , who resigned abruptly in July 1994.

For many years Ostin had reported directly to Time Warner chairman Steve Ross (and then to Ross's successor Gerald Levin) but Morgado now insisted that Ostin should report to him, and he established a new division, Warner Music US, headed by Doug Morris , to oversee the three main record labels. Fearing the loss of autonomy and worried that he would be obliged to implement Morgado's "slash-and-burn" policy to streamline the label's staff and artist roster, he refused to carry out Morgado's orders and decided not to renew his contract. Ostin officially stepped down from Warner Bros. when his contract expired on 31 December 1994, although he stayed on as a senior consultant to Time Warner's chairman until August 1995. He later commented:

“ This business is about freedom and creative control. An executive has to be able to make risky decisions with minimal corporate interference. But Warner is a different company now than the company I was brought up in. And in the end, I found it impossible to operate in that kind of environment. ”

Ostin's departure sent shockwaves through the company and the industry, and elicited glowing tributes from colleagues and competitors like Joe Smith and Clive Davis , and musicians like Paul Simon and R.E.M. It also triggered an exodus of Warner executives who had joined the company primarily because of Ostin. Next to go was Lenny Waronker—he was initially designated to succeed Ostin as chairman but he ultimately declined the job and left WBR soon after. Following a period of uncertainty and speculation, the two joined forces to establish a new label, DreamWorks Records . Waronker was replaced by ex Atlantic Records president Danny Goldberg , but his tenure proved short. Long-serving WBR executive Russ Thyret , who had joined the label in 1971 and worked closely with Mo Ostin for many years, was promoted to Vice-Chairman in January 1995.

Gerald Levin forced Morgado to resign in May 1995 and he was replaced by HBO chairman Michael J. Fuchs . Fuchs sacked Morris a month later (sparking a US$50m breach of contract suit) and Warner Music US was dissolved. Morris' removal led to speculation that Ostin was being courted to return to WBR, but these reports proved unfounded, since Ostin and Waronker moved to DreamWorks soon after. Morris moved to MCA Records .

Despite his close ties to Morris, Danny Goldberg was initially told he could remain as WBR president but he left the company in August 1995 after negotiating a settlement with Time Warner to terminate his five-year, US$20 million contract, which still had four years to run. He was subsequently appointed president of Polygram subsidiary Mercury Records in October. Following Goldberg's departure Russ Thyret was promoted to Chairman, CEO and label president. Fuchs himself was forced out of Time Warner on November 1995. In May 1997, Phil Quartararo took over as president of WBR, only weeks after he had left EMI's Virgin Records following a management shake-up there.

The departure of the team led by Ostin and Waronker also meant that many of the Warner artists whose careers they had nurtured and curated over the previous 30 years were now deprived of their patronage. As a result, by the year 2000 many of the "flagship" Warner acts of the Ostin/Waronker years left the label as their contracts expired. Ry Cooder was dropped in 1995 and Randy Newman followed Ostin and Waronker to DreamWorks, departing with a wry comment on his own status and the recent turmoil at Warner Bros.:

“ "I've sent Warner an amusing letter of resignation, and I haven't heard anything. It's like trying to find a general to surrender to. I think I'm gone, you know? And I signed with DreamWorks and I haven't heard from them! The people I'm leaving don't give a shit that I'm leaving and the people I'm going to don't give a shit that I'm coming!

Although never rising beyond "cult" status in terms of his sales as a solo artist, one of the most notable survivors from the Ostin era was Van Dyke Parks, who continued to release albums on Warner Bros. - _Tokyo Rose _ (1989), the Brian Wilson
Brian Wilson
collaboration _Orange Crate Art _ (1995) and the live album _Moonlighting: Live at the Ash Grove _ (1998). In 2004 Parks reunited with Brian Wilson
Brian Wilson
to complete their long-shelved collaboration, _Smile _, which was released on the Nonesuch label to universal critical praise, winning a Grammy
Grammy
award, and making the Top 20 in the US and Top 10 in the UK, where it earned a gold record award.

In early 2001, there was a major restructure of the Warner Music Group; about 600 positions were eliminated across the three labels, and an executive reshuffle led to the departures of Thyret and Quartararo (as well as Reprise president Howie Klein) and the hiring of then-Interscope president Tom Whalley as head of Warner Bros. Records. In August Whalley appointed Jeff Ayeroff as Creative Director of Warner Bros. Records and Creative Consultant to Warner Music Group. Ayeroff had previously been WBR's Senior Vice-President and Creative Director from 1983–86, overseeing many successful album covers and music videos in that period.

In 2002, Linkin Park
Linkin Park
won the Grammy
Grammy
Award for Best Hard Rock Performance for their single _Crawling _ released under Warner Bros. Whereas they were also nominated for Best Rock Album for _Hybrid Theory _ which also turned out to be the best selling album of 2001 worldwide and Best New Artist . In 2004, the band was nominated for their song _Session _ for Best Rock Instrumental Performance . In 2006 the band won Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for the song _ Numb/Encore _ released under Warner Bros./ Roc-A-Fella /Machine Shop .

2004–PRESENT: WARNER MUSIC GROUP

Warner Bros. Records headquarters, at 3300 Warner in Burbank, California .

In 2003, amid management disputes, sagging share prices and rising alarm about the impact of digital file sharing , Time Warner decided to unload its music operations. In March 2004, Time Warner's music assets were acquired by a private equity group headed by Thomas H. Lee Partners , Lexa Partners (led by Edgar Bronfman Jr. , who put up US$150 million drawn from his family's stake in Vivendi ), Bain Capital and Providence Equity Partners . The deal set the group's value at around US$2.6 billion, payable in cash and other considerations, and it included an option that would allow Time Warner to buy back in if conditions proved favorable. Bronfman, Lee, Bain and Providence had reportedly recouped their investment by May 2006 through dividends, refinancing and a share offer floated in May 2005.

Today, Warner Bros. Records remains one of Warner Music Group's dominant labels, with around 120 artists on its roster.

Despite the divestiture, WMG currently enjoys a royalty-free license from Time Warner for the use of Warner Bros. trademarks, although this could be revoked if WMG comes under control of a major motion picture studio.

In 2004, Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park
Linkin Park
started his own record label under Warner Bros. named as _Machine Shop _.

In 2005, Linkin Park
Linkin Park
asked Warner Bros. Records to release their contract with the band, however Warner Bros. convinced the band to stay in the label. In 2006, the Warner Music Group signed a licensing and revenue-sharing deal with internet video service YouTube
YouTube
. According to a _New York Times_ report, this reflected ongoing efforts by YouTube
YouTube
to deal with the fact that many of its user-generated video clips include copyrighted music and images sourced from commercial TV and film productions. Under the agreement, YouTube
YouTube
would use special software to identify recordings used in videos posted by users and then offer the owner of the copyrighted content a percentage of the fee for advertising that would run alongside the clip. The deal also allowed the copyright owner to demand that YouTube
YouTube
remove the clip.

In October 2007, Madonna ended her 25-year association with Warner Bros., becoming the inaugural artist on a new label established by American concert promoter Live Nation . Under the terms of the new US$120 million, 10-year contract, which Warner was unable to match, Madonna reportedly received a signing bonus of about US$18 million and an approximate US$17 million advance for each of three albums, with Live Nation also agreeing to pay US$50 million in cash and stock to promote each Madonna tour. Madonna concluded her career with Warner Bros. through her last studio album _Hard Candy _ (2008) and the greatest hits retrospective _Celebration _ (2009). Even though the latter was to be the final release, she released her live album of the first concert tour through her Live Nation deal, _Sticky & Sweet Tour _ (2010) on the former record label.

In 2008, Metallica 's contract with Warner Bros. had expired and they were hoping to get another contract agreement due to their current one expiring with the release of _Death Magnetic_, but ultimately it ended in Metallica forming their own label called Blackened Recordings , while future releases would be distributed via Rhino Records .

In February 2010, Madonna's long-serving publicist Liz Rosenberg, a 39-year veteran of WBR, left the label to start her own firm.

In 2013, WMG acquired Parlophone Records from EMI
EMI
as part of its sale to Universal Music Group . Most Parlophone artists (excluding Coldplay and Tinie Tempah
Tinie Tempah
, who were placed under Atlantic) were placed under Warner Bros. Records for U.S. distribution. In December 2013, Dan McCarroll joined the company as President.

In June 2014, Warner Bros. announced Prince had re-joined the company after nearly twenty years and was to release a deluxe remaster of the _Purple Rain_ album.

AFFILIATED LABELS

CURRENT

* A dormant) * Maybach Music Group
Maybach Music Group
(2011–2012) * Metal Blade Records (1988–1993) * Music for Little People (1990–1995) * Opal Records (1987–1993) * Paisley Park Records (1985–1994) * Perezcious Music * Playmaker Music * Premeditated Records (middle 1990s) * Public Broadcasting Service * Qwest Records (1980–2000) * Raybaw Records (2005–2008) * RuffNation Records * Slash Records (1982–1996) * Teleprompt Records * Tommy Boy Records (1985–2002) * Valiant Records (1960–1966) * Warner Alliance (1986–1998) * Funk Volume (2015–2016)

ARTISTS

Main articles: List of current Warner Bros. Records artists and List of former Warner Bros. Records artists

SEE ALSO

* List of record labels * List of Warner Bros. Records artists * Reprise Records

REFERENCES

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EXTERNAL LINKS

* Official website * Edward West Vice President of Warner Bros. Records Inc 1973 * Video Interview with Bill Bennett – CEO

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