Warner Records

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Warner Records_table_infobox_0

Warner Records Inc.Warner Records_header_cell_0_0_0
Parent companyWarner Records_header_cell_0_1_0 Warner Music GroupWarner Records_cell_0_1_1
FoundedWarner Records_header_cell_0_2_0 March 19, 1958; 62 years ago (1958-03-19)Warner Records_cell_0_2_1
FounderWarner Records_header_cell_0_3_0 Warner Bros.Warner Records_cell_0_3_1
Distributor(s)Warner Records_header_cell_0_4_0 Warner Records_cell_0_4_1
GenreWarner Records_header_cell_0_5_0 VariousWarner Records_cell_0_5_1
Country of originWarner Records_header_cell_0_6_0 United StatesWarner Records_cell_0_6_1
LocationWarner Records_header_cell_0_7_0 Los Angeles, California, U.S.Warner Records_cell_0_7_1
Official websiteWarner Records_header_cell_0_8_0 Warner Records_cell_0_8_1

Warner Records Inc. (formerly Warner Bros. Records Inc.) is an American record label owned by Warner Music Group and headquartered in Los Angeles, California. Warner Records_sentence_0

It was founded in 1958 as the recorded music division of the American film studio Warner Bros., and was one of a group of labels owned and operated by larger parent corporations for much of its existence. Warner Records_sentence_1

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. Warner Records_sentence_2

Over this period, Warner Bros. Records grew from a struggling minor player in the music industry to one of the top record labels in the world. Warner Records_sentence_3

In 2004, these music assets were divested by then-owner Time Warner and purchased by a private equity group. Warner Records_sentence_4

This independent company traded as Warner Music Group and was the world's last publicly traded major music company before being bought and privatized by Access Industries in 2011. Warner Records_sentence_5

Warner Music Group is the smallest of the three major international music conglomerates that include Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment. Warner Records_sentence_6

Max Lousada oversees recorded music operations of the company. Warner Records_sentence_7

In 2019, the label was officially renamed Warner Records. Warner Records_sentence_8

Notable artists who have recorded for Warner Records include Madonna, Prince, Anitta, Cher, Van Halen, Alice Cooper, Kylie Minogue, Goo Goo Dolls, Sheryl Crow, Gorillaz, Adam Lambert, Bette Midler, Grateful Dead, Blur, Duran Duran, Deep Purple, Fleetwood Mac, Liam Gallagher, Fleet Foxes, James Taylor, Lily Allen, Tegan and Sara, Dua Lipa, JoJo, Linkin Park, Muse, George Benson, Nile Rodgers, Black Sabbath, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Black Keys, Mr. Warner Records_sentence_9 Bungle, Regina Spektor, Pendulum, My Chemical Romance, Tevin Campbell and Mac Miller. Warner Records_sentence_10

History Warner Records_section_0

Founding Warner Records_section_1

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. Warner Records_sentence_11

In 1928, the studio acquired several smaller music publishing firms which included M. Warner Records_sentence_12 Witmark & Sons, Harms Inc., and a partial interest in New World Music Corp., and merged them to form the Music Publishers Holding Company. Warner Records_sentence_13

This new group controlled valuable copyrights on standards by George and Ira Gershwin and Jerome Kern and the new division was soon earning solid profits of up to US$2 million every year. Warner Records_sentence_14

In 1930, MPHC paid US$28 million to acquire Brunswick Records (which included Vocalion), whose roster included Duke Ellington, Red Nichols, Nick Lucas, Al Jolson, Earl Burtnett, Ethel Waters, Abe Lyman, Leroy Carr, Tampa Red and Memphis Minnie, and soon after the sale to Warner Bros., the label signed rising radio and recording stars Bing Crosby, Mills Brothers, and Boswell Sisters. Warner Records_sentence_15

Unfortunately for Warner Bros., the dual impact of the Great Depression and the introduction of broadcast radio greatly harmed the recording industry—sales crashed, dropping by around 90% from more than 100 million records in 1927 to fewer than 10 million by 1932 and major companies were forced to halve the price of records from 75c to 35c. Warner Records_sentence_16

In December 1931, Warner Bros. offloaded Brunswick to the American Record Corporation (ARC) for a fraction of its former value, in a lease arrangement which did not include Brunswick's pressing plants. Warner Records_sentence_17

Technically, Warner maintained actual ownership of Brunswick, which with the sale of ARC to CBS in 1939 and their decision to discontinue Brunswick in favor of reviving the Columbia label, reverted to Warner Bros. Warner Bros. sold Brunswick a second time (along with Brunswick's back catalog up to 1931), this time along with the old Brunswick pressing plants Warner owned, to Decca Records (which formed its American operations in 1934) in exchange for a financial interest in Decca. Warner Records_sentence_18

The studio stayed out of the record business for more than 25 years, and during this period it licensed its film music to other companies for release as soundtrack albums. Warner Records_sentence_19

1958–1963: formation and early years Warner Records_section_2

Warner Bros. returned to the record business in 1958 with the establishment of its own recording division, Warner Bros. Records. Warner Records_sentence_20

By this time, the established Hollywood studios were reeling from multiple challenges to their former dominance—the most notable being the introduction of television in the late 1940s. Warner Records_sentence_21

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 and, beginning in 1949, anti-trust suits brought by the US government forced the five major studios to divest their cinema chains. Warner Records_sentence_22

In 1956, Harry Warner and Albert Warner sold their interest in the studio and the board was joined by new members who favored a renewed expansion into the music business—Charles Allen of the investment bank Charles Allen & Company, Serge Semenenko of the First National Bank of Boston and investor David Baird. Warner Records_sentence_23

Semenenko in particular had a strong professional interest in the entertainment business and he began to push Jack Warner on the issue of setting up an 'in-house' record label. Warner Records_sentence_24

With the record business booming – sales had topped US$500 million by 1958 – Semnenko argued that it was foolish for Warner Bros. to make deals with other companies to release its soundtracks when, for less than the cost of one motion picture, they could establish their own label, creating a new income stream that could continue indefinitely and provide an additional means of exploiting and promoting its contract actors. Warner Records_sentence_25

Another impetus for the label's creation was the brief music career of Warner Bros. actor Tab Hunter. Warner Records_sentence_26

Although Hunter was signed to an exclusive acting contract with the studio, it did not prevent him from signing a recording contract, which he did with Dot Records, owned at the time by Paramount Pictures. Warner Records_sentence_27

Hunter scored several hits for Dot, including the US #1 single, "Young Love" (1957), and to Warner Bros.' chagrin, reporters were primarily asking about the hit record, rather than Hunter's latest Warner movie. Warner Records_sentence_28

In 1958, the studio signed Hunter as its first artist to its newly formed record division, although his subsequent recordings for the label failed to duplicate his success with Dot. Warner Records_sentence_29

Warner Bros. agreed to buy Imperial Records in 1956 and, although the deal fell apart, it marked the breaking of a psychological barrier: "If the company was willing to buy another label, why not start its own?" Warner Records_sentence_30

To establish the label, the company hired former Columbia Records president James B. Conkling; its founding directors of A&R were Harris Ashburn, George Avakian and Bob Prince. Warner Records_sentence_31

Conkling was an able administrator with extensive experience in the industry—he had been instrumental in launching the LP format at Columbia and had played a key role in establishing the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences the previous year. Warner Records_sentence_32

However, Conkling had decidedly middle-of-the-road musical tastes (he was married to Donna King of vocal trio the King Sisters) and was thus rather out of step with emerging trends in the industry, especially the fast-growing market for rock'n'roll music. Warner Records_sentence_33

Warner Bros. Records opened for business on March 19, 1958; its original office was located above the film studio's machine shop at 3701 Warner Boulevard in Burbank, California. Warner Records_sentence_34

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. Warner Records_sentence_35

The catalogue in this period included: Warner Records_sentence_36

Warner Records_unordered_list_0

Some albums featured jokey or self-deprecating titles such as: Warner Records_sentence_37

Warner Records_unordered_list_1

  • Music for People with $3.98 (Plus Tax If Any),Warner Records_item_1_4
  • Terribly Sophisticated Songs: A Collection of Unpopular Songs for Popular People,Warner Records_item_1_5
  • Songs the Kids Brought Home from CampWarner Records_item_1_6
  • Please Don't Put Your Empties on the Piano andWarner Records_item_1_7
  • But You've Never Heard Gershwin With Bongos.Warner Records_item_1_8

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 No. Warner Records_sentence_38

3 in 1959. Warner Records_sentence_39

Tab Hunter's "Jealous Heart" (WB 5008), which reached No. Warner Records_sentence_40

62, was Warner Bros. only charting single during its first year. Warner Records_sentence_41

Early Warner Bros. singles had distinctive pink labels, with the WB logo at the top center and "WARNER" in white Hellenic font to the left of the WB shield and "BROS." in the same color and style font to the right. Warner Records_sentence_42

Below the shield in white Rockwell font, it read "VITAPHONIC HIGH FIDELITY;" this 45 label was used for two years, 1958 – 1960. Warner Records_sentence_43

This initial 45 label was soon replaced by a new, all-red label with the WB shield logo at 9 o'clock and a number of different-colored arrows (blue, chartreuse, and yellow) surrounding and pointing away from the center hole. Warner Records_sentence_44

The first hit was the novelty record "Kookie, Kookie (Lend Me Your Comb)", with words and music by Irving Taylor, which reached No. Warner Records_sentence_45

4 on the Billboard Hot 100. Warner Records_sentence_46

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. Warner Records_sentence_47

The story behind the recording illustrates the sharp practices often employed by major recording companies. Warner Records_sentence_48

Actress and singer 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 favor 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 Records_sentence_49

Warner Bros. also charged her for a share of the recording costs, which was to be recouped from her drastically reduced royalty. Warner Records_sentence_50

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). Warner Records_sentence_51

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. Warner Records_sentence_52

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 Records_sentence_53

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. Warner Records_sentence_54

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. Warner Records_sentence_55

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. Warner Records_sentence_56

Luckily, the Everlys' first Warner Bros. single, "Cathy's Clown" was a smash hit, going to #1 in the US and selling more than eight million copies, and their debut Warner Bros. album It's Everly Time reached No. Warner Records_sentence_57

9 on the album chart. Warner Records_sentence_58

In 1959, Warner Bros. had signed rising standup comedian Bob Newhart, marking the beginning of the label's continuing involvement with comedy. Warner Records_sentence_59

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 US, staying at the top for fourteen weeks, charting for more than two years and selling more than 600,000 copies. Warner Records_sentence_60

Capping this commercial success, Newhart scored historic wins in three major categories at the 1961 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 history that a comedy album had won 'Album of the Year', and the only time a comedian has won 'Best New Artist'. Warner Records_sentence_61

New staff joined the label in late 1961. Warner Records_sentence_62

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 Records_sentence_63

Warner Bros. made another prescient signing in folk group Peter, Paul & Mary. Warner Records_sentence_64

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. Warner Records_sentence_65

Soon after, Grossman and Mogull signed a publishing deal that gave Witmark one of its most lucrative clients – Bob Dylan. Warner Records_sentence_66

Grossman bought out Dylan's previous contract with Leeds Music and signed the then unknown singer-songwriter to Witmark for an advance of $5000. Warner Records_sentence_67

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. Warner Records_sentence_68

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. Warner Records_sentence_69

Meanwhile, the label enjoyed further success with comedy recordings. Warner Records_sentence_70

Allan Sherman's LP My Son, the Folk Singer, which satirized the folk boom, became a huge hit, selling over a million copies. Warner Records_sentence_71

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. Warner Records_sentence_72

The label's fortunes had finally turned around by 1962 thanks to the Everly Brothers, Newhart, folk stars Peter, Paul & Mary, jazz and pop crossover hit Joanie Sommers and comedian Allan Sherman, and Warner Bros. Records ended the financial year 1961–62 in the black for the first time since its foundation. Warner Records_sentence_73

Warner/Reprise 1963–1967 Warner Records_section_3

In August 1963, Warner Bros. made a "rescue takeover" of Frank Sinatra's ailing Reprise Records as part of a deal to acquire Sinatra's services as a recording artist and as an actor for Warner Bros. Pictures. Warner Records_sentence_74

The total deal was valued at around US$10 million and it gave Sinatra a one-third share in the combined record company and a seat on the Warner-Reprise board; Warner Bros. Records head Mike Maitland became the president of the new combine and Mo Ostin was retained as manager of the Reprise label. Warner Records_sentence_75

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. Warner Records_sentence_76

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. Warner Records_sentence_77

Despite these misgivings, the purchase ultimately proved very beneficial to the Warner group. Warner Records_sentence_78

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 US distribution rights to the recordings of the Kinks and Jimi Hendrix. Warner Records_sentence_79

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". Warner Records_sentence_80

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. Warner Records_sentence_81

In 1964, Warner Bros. started Loma Records which was meant to focus on R&B acts. Warner Records_sentence_82

The label, run by former King Records promotion man Bob Krasnow, would release over 100 singles and five albums, but saw only limited success and was wound down in 1968. Warner Records_sentence_83

An important addition to the Warner Bros. staff in this period was Ed Thrasher who moved from Columbia Records in 1964 to become Warner-Reprise head art director. Warner Records_sentence_84

Among his design credits for the Warner family of labels were the Jimi Hendrix Experience's Are You Experienced, Van Morrison's Astral Weeks, the Grateful Dead's Anthem of the Sun, the Doobie Brothers' Toulouse Street, Tiny Tim's God Bless Tiny Tim and Joni Mitchell's Clouds, which started a trend for musicians to create the art for their own records. Warner Records_sentence_85

In 1973, when Frank Sinatra emerged from retirement with his comeback album, Thrasher shot candid photographs for the cover and also devised the album title Ol' Blue Eyes Is Back, which was widely used to promote Sinatra's return to recording and touring. Warner Records_sentence_86

Besides his work on album covers, Thrasher art-directed many of Warner Bros.' ads and posters from 1964 to 1979. Warner Records_sentence_87

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's recordings in the US (said rights were previously held by Laurie Records). Warner Records_sentence_88

Clark soon scored a #1 US hit with "Downtown" and she enjoyed consistent chart success in the US 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 Records_sentence_89

Warner also released other Pye artists in the US market such as the Kinks. Warner Records_sentence_90

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. Warner Records_sentence_91

Waronker, the son of Liberty Records founder Simon Waronker, had previously worked as an assistant to Liberty producer Snuff Garrett. Warner Records_sentence_92

Later he worked with the small 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). Warner Records_sentence_93

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. Warner Records_sentence_94

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. Warner Records_sentence_95

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. Warner Records_sentence_96

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. Warner Records_sentence_97

In 1967, Warner Bros. took over Valiant Records, which added hit-making harmony pop group the Association to the Warner roster. Warner Records_sentence_98

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. Warner Records_sentence_99

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. Warner Records_sentence_100

Warner Bros. threw the band a release party at the Fugazi Hall in San Francisco's North Beach. Warner Records_sentence_101

During the concert, Warner A&R manager Joe Smith took the stage and announced "I just want to say what an honor it is to be able to introduce the Grateful Dead and its music to the world", which prompted a cynical Jerry Garcia to quip in reply: "I just want to say what an honor it is for the Grateful Dead to introduce Warner Bros. Records to the world." Warner Records_sentence_102

Also in 1967, Warner/Reprise established its Canadian operation Warner Reprise Canada Ltd replacing its distribution deal with the Compo Company. Warner Records_sentence_103

This was the origin of Warner Music Canada. Warner Records_sentence_104

1967–1969: Warner Bros.-Seven Arts Warner Records_section_4

In November 1966 the entire Warner group was taken over by and merged with Seven Arts Productions, a New York-based company owned by Eliot Hyman. Warner Records_sentence_105

Seven Arts specialized in syndicating old movies and cartoons to TV and had independently produced a number of significant feature films for other studios, including Stanley Kubrick's Lolita, as well as forging a successful production partnership with noted British studio Hammer Films. Warner Records_sentence_106

Hyman's purchase of Jack L. Warner's controlling share of the Warner group for US$32 million stunned the film world—Warner Records executive Joe Smith later quipped that it was Warner Records_sentence_107

The newly merged group was renamed Warner Bros.-Seven Arts (often referred to in the trade press by the abbreviation it adopted for its new logo, "W7"). Warner Records_sentence_108

Although Warner Bros. Pictures was faltering, the purchase coincided with a period of tremendous growth in the music industry and Warner-Reprise was now on its way to becoming a major player in the industry. Warner Records_sentence_109

Hyman's investment banker Alan Hirshfeld, of Charles Allen and Company, urged him to expand the company's record holdings and arranged a meeting with Jerry Wexler and Ahmet and Nesuhi Ertegun, co-owners of leading independent label Atlantic Records, which eventually resulted in the purchase of Atlantic in 1968. Warner Records_sentence_110

In June 1967, Mo Ostin attended the historic Monterey International Pop Festival, where The Association performed the opening set. Warner Records_sentence_111

Ostin had already acquired the US rights to the Jimi Hendrix Experience recordings, sight unseen, but he was reportedly unimpressed by Hendrix's now-famous performance. Warner Records_sentence_112

During his visit he met Andy Wickham, who had come to Monterey as an assistant to festival promoter Lou Adler. Warner Records_sentence_113

Wickham had worked as a commercial artist in London, followed by a stint with Andrew Loog Oldham's Immediate Records before moving to Los Angeles to work for Adler's Dunhill label. Warner Records_sentence_114

Ostin initially hired Wickham as Warner's "house hippie" on a generous retainer of $200 per week. Warner Records_sentence_115

Hanging out around Laurel Canyon, Wickham scouted for new talent and established a rapport with the young musicians WBR was seeking to sign. Warner Records_sentence_116

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'". Warner Records_sentence_117

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. Warner Records_sentence_118

Over the next thirty years, Wickham became one of WBR's most influential A&R managers, signing such notable acts as Emmylou Harris, Buck Owens and Norwegian pop trio a-ha. Warner Records_sentence_119

During this formative period, WBR made several other notable new signings including Randy Newman and Van Dyke Parks. Warner Records_sentence_120

Newman would not make his commercial breakthrough until the mid-1970s but he achieved a high profile in the industry thanks to songs he wrote that were covered by other acts like Three Dog Night and Alan Price. Warner Records_sentence_121

Although Warner Bros. spent large sums on albums that sold poorly, and there were some missteps in its promotion strategy, the presence of unorthodox acts like the Grateful Dead and critically acclaimed 'cult' performers like Newman and Parks, combined with the artistic freedom that the label afforded them, proved significant in building Warner Bros.' reputation and credibility. Warner Records_sentence_122

Bob Krasnow, who briefly headed Warner Bros.' short-lived 'black' label Loma Records later commented that the Grateful Dead " .... were really the springboard. Warner Records_sentence_123

People said 'Wow, if they'll sign the Dead, they must be going in the right direction.'" Warner Records_sentence_124

Although not widely known to the general public at that time, Van Dyke Parks was a figure of high repute on the L.A. music scene thanks to his work as a session musician and songwriter (notably with the Byrds and Harper's Bizarre) and especially because of his renowned collaboration with Brian Wilson on the legendary unreleased Beach Boys album Smile. Warner Records_sentence_125

In 1967, Lenny Waronker produced Parks' Warner debut album Song Cycle, which reportedly cost more than $35,000 to record, making it one of the most expensive 'pop' albums ever made up to that time. Warner Records_sentence_126

It sold very poorly despite rave critical reviews, so publicist Stan Cornyn (who had helped the label to sign the Grateful Dead) wrote an infamous tongue-in-cheek advertisement to promote it. Warner Records_sentence_127

The ad cheekily declared that the label had "lost $35,509 on 'the album of the year' (dammit)", suggested that those who had purchased the album had probably worn their copies out by playing it over and over, and made the offer that listeners could send these supposedly worn-out copies back to Warner Bros., who would exchange it for two new copies, including one "to educate a friend with". Warner Records_sentence_128

Incensed by the tactic, Parks accused Cornyn of trying to kill his career. Warner Records_sentence_129

Cornyn encountered similar problems with Joni Mitchell—he penned an advertisement that was meant to convey the message that Mitchell was yet to achieve significant market penetration, but the tag-line – "Joni Mitchell is 90% Virgin"—reportedly reduced Mitchell to tears and Cornyn had to withdraw it from publication. Warner Records_sentence_130

Warner Bros. also struggled with their flagship rock act, the Grateful Dead who, like Peter, Paul and Mary, had negotiated complete artistic control over the recording and packaging of their music. Warner Records_sentence_131

Their debut album had been recorded in just four days, and although it was not a major hit, it cracked the US Top 50 album chart and sold steadily, eventually going gold in 1971. Warner Records_sentence_132

For their second album, the Grateful Dead took a far more experimental approach, embarking on a marathon series of recording sessions lasting seven months, from September 1967 to March 1968. Warner Records_sentence_133

They started the album with David Hassinger, who had produced their first album, but he quit the project in frustration in December 1967 while they were recording in New York City (although he is co-credited with band on the album). Warner Records_sentence_134

The group and their concert sound engineer Dan Healy then took over production of the album themselves, taking the unusual step of intermixing studio material with multitrack recordings of their concerts. Warner Records_sentence_135

Anthem of the Sun proved to be the least successful of the Grateful Dead's 1960s albums—it sold poorly, the extended sessions put the band more than $100,000 in debt to the label, and Warner Bros. executive Joe Smith later described it as "the most unreasonable project with which we have ever involved ourselves". Warner Records_sentence_136

The Grateful Dead's relationship with Warner Bros. Records was stretched even further by the making of their third album Aoxomoxoa (1969), which also took around seven months to record and cost $180,000, almost twice as much as its predecessor. Warner Records_sentence_137

It sold poorly and took almost thirty years to be accredited with Gold Record status. Warner Records_sentence_138

There were further difficulties in 1971 when the band presented Warner Bros. with a planned live double-album that they wanted to call Skull Fuck, but Ostin handled the matter diplomatically. Warner Records_sentence_139

Rather than refusing point-blank to release it, he reminded the Grateful Dead that they were heavily in debt to WBR and would not see any royalties until this had been repaid; he also pointed out that the provocative title would inevitably hurt sales because major retailers like Sears would refuse to stock it. Warner Records_sentence_140

Realizing that this would reduce their income, the band voluntarily changed the title to Grateful Dead, known generally as Skull and Roses. Warner Records_sentence_141

Some of Warner Bros.' biggest commercial successes during this period were with "Sunshine Pop" acts. Warner Records_sentence_142

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" and they reached No. Warner Records_sentence_143

8 on the album chart with their first WBR album Insight Out. Warner Records_sentence_144

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, surpassing both "Yesterday" by the Beatles and "Stand by Me" by Ben E. King. Warner Records_sentence_145

The group's 1968 Greatest Hits album was also a major hit, reaching #4 on the US album chart. Warner Records_sentence_146

In 1968, Mason Williams' instrumental composition "Classical Gas" reached No. Warner Records_sentence_147

2 on the Billboard chart, selling more than a million copies, and Williams won three Grammys that year. Warner Records_sentence_148

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. Warner Records_sentence_149

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. Warner Records_sentence_150

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. Warner Records_sentence_151

However, the purchase again caused rancor 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. Warner Records_sentence_152

On June 1, 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. Warner Records_sentence_153

Just over one month later (July 13) Billboard reported on a major re-organization of the entire Warner-Seven Arts music division. Warner Records_sentence_154

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. Warner Records_sentence_155

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. Warner Records_sentence_156

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. Warner Records_sentence_157

1969–1972: Kinney takeover Warner Records_section_5

In 1969, Warner Bros.-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. Warner Records_sentence_158

The US$400 million deal created a new conglomerate that combined the Warner film, television, recording and music publishing divisions with Kinney's multi-faceted holdings. Warner Records_sentence_159

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 car hire operation, which he later merged with the Kinney parking garage company. Warner Records_sentence_160

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. Warner Records_sentence_161

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 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. Warner Records_sentence_162

During 1969, the rivalry between Mike Maitland and Ahmet Ertegun quickly escalated into an all-out executive battle, but Steve Ross favored Ertegun and the conflict culminated in Maitland being dismissed from his position on January 25, 1970. Warner Records_sentence_163

He declined an offer of a job with Warner Bros. Pictures and left the company, subsequently becoming president of MCA Records. Warner Records_sentence_164

Mo Ostin was appointed as president of Warner Bros. Records with Joe Smith as executive vice-president. Warner Records_sentence_165

In 1970, the 'Seven Arts' name was dropped and the WB shield became the Warner Bros. Records logo again. Warner Records_sentence_166

1970–1979: The Ostin era Warner Records_section_6

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. Warner Records_sentence_167

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, Van Morrison, America, Alice Cooper, Carly Simon, Van Halen, the Doobie Brothers, Bonnie Raitt, Chaka Khan, Ambrosia, and Rickie Lee Jones. Warner Records_sentence_168

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, Jethro Tull, Black Sabbath, Roxy Music, King Crimson and Kraftwerk. Warner Records_sentence_169

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. Warner Records_sentence_170

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&B, earned glowing critical praise and sold well—it made the Top 40 album chart in both the US and the UK, the single "Come Running" was a US Top 40 hit (#39, Billboard) and the title track became a radio perennial. Warner Records_sentence_171

British group Black Sabbath were signed to Philips Records' progressive subsidiary Vertigo in their native country. Warner Records_sentence_172

Deep Purple, who recorded for EMI's Parlophone and Harvest labels in England, were originally signed in the US to the independent Tetragrammaton Records, which was distributed by Warner Bros., who acquired the label after it folded in 1970. Warner Records_sentence_173

Black Sabbath's eponymous debut album (recorded in just two days) reached No. Warner Records_sentence_174

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. Warner Records_sentence_175

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 (BPI). Warner Records_sentence_176

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. Warner Records_sentence_177

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. Warner Records_sentence_178

By 1970, "Seven Arts" was dropped from the company name and the WB shield became the Warner Bros. Records logo again. Warner Records_sentence_179

During 1972, 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. Warner Records_sentence_180

In July 1970, the Warner recording group acquired another prestige asset with the purchase of Jac Holzman's Elektra Records for US$10 million. Warner Records_sentence_181

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. Warner Records_sentence_182

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 US Jac Holzman ran the label until 1972, when he was succeeded by David Geffen and Elektra was merged with Geffen's label Asylum Records. Warner Records_sentence_183

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. Warner Records_sentence_184

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. Warner Records_sentence_185

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 Records_sentence_186

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. Warner Records_sentence_187

Although criticized for their similarity to Neil Young (indeed, rumors circulated around 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. Warner Records_sentence_188

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. Warner Records_sentence_189

Their 1975 Greatest Hits album became a perennial seller and is now accredited at 4x platinum. Warner Records_sentence_190

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. Warner Records_sentence_191

After a slow start, the Doobie Brothers proved to be one of Warner Bros.' most successful signings. Warner Records_sentence_192

Their debut album made little impact but their second album Toulouse Street (1972) reached No. Warner Records_sentence_193

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. Warner Records_sentence_194

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. Warner Records_sentence_195

What Were Once Vices Are Now Habits (1974) reached No. Warner Records_sentence_196

4 and produced two more hits including their first US #1 single "Black Water" (1975). Warner Records_sentence_197

Stampede also reached No. Warner Records_sentence_198

4, and produced another hit single with the Motown cover "Take Me in Your Arms (Rock Me a Little While)" (US #11). Warner Records_sentence_199

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). Warner Records_sentence_200

The Alice Cooper band recorded two unsuccessful albums for Frank Zappa's Warner-distributed label Straight Records before teaming with producer Bob Ezrin, who became a longtime collaborator. Warner Records_sentence_201

Their third LP Love it to Death (originally released on Straight and later reissued on Warner Bros.) reached No. Warner Records_sentence_202

35 on the Billboard album chart and produced the hit single "I'm Eighteen", which reached No. Warner Records_sentence_203

21. Warner Records_sentence_204

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. Warner Records_sentence_205

The title song was a Top 10 hit in the US, reached No. Warner Records_sentence_206

1 in the UK and became a radio staple, and the album went to #2 in the US and sold more than a million copies. Warner Records_sentence_207

Billion Dollar Babies (1973) became their biggest success, going to #1 in both the US and the UK. Warner Records_sentence_208

The follow-up Muscle of Love (1973) was less successful, although the single "Teenage Lament '74 was a Top 20 hit in the UK. Warner Records_sentence_209

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. Warner Records_sentence_210

In 1973, 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. Warner Records_sentence_211

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. Warner Records_sentence_212

WBR introduced a new label design for its LPs and singles in mid-1973. Warner Records_sentence_213

This design, which WBR would use until mid-1978, featured a multi-colored, idealized view of a Burbank street lined by palms and eucalypts, and titled with the slogan "Burbank, Home of Warner Bros. Records". Warner Records_sentence_214

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. Warner Records_sentence_215

His controversial 1977 single "Short People" was one of the surprise hits of the year, reaching #2 on the Billboard Hot 100. Warner Records_sentence_216

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. Warner Records_sentence_217

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). Warner Records_sentence_218

In his place, Joe Smith was promoted to become President of the combined Elektra/Asylum label. Warner Records_sentence_219

At this time Warner Bros. began to wind down the Reprise label. Warner Records_sentence_220

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. Warner Records_sentence_221

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. Warner Records_sentence_222

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. Warner Records_sentence_223

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. Warner Records_sentence_224

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. Warner Records_sentence_225

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. Warner Records_sentence_226

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. Warner Records_sentence_227

After a string of albums with the Faces and as a solo artist for Mercury Records in the early 1970s, British singer Rod Stewart signed with Warner Bros. in 1974, applied for American citizenship and moved to the US. Warner Records_sentence_228

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, with the single "I Don't Want to Talk About It" going to #1 in the UK. Warner Records_sentence_229

His second WBR album A Night on the Town (1976) went to #2 in the US and #1 in Australia and produced three US Top 40 singles, including his first US #1 "Tonight's the Night". Warner Records_sentence_230

Foot Loose & Fancy Free (1977) reached No. Warner Records_sentence_231

2 on the Billboard Pop Albums chart and #1 in Australia and again produced three US Top 40 singles, including "You're in My Heart (The Final Acclaim)", which reached No. Warner Records_sentence_232

4. Warner Records_sentence_233

Blondes Have More Fun (1978) went to #1 in the US 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 Mahall" by Brazilian songwriter Jorge Ben). Warner Records_sentence_234

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 Records_sentence_235

Warner Bros. Records also had unexpected success in the mid-1970s with another 'heritage' act, veteran vocal group the Four Seasons. Warner Records_sentence_236

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". Warner Records_sentence_237

Soon after, Valli and The Four Seasons burst back onto the charts with the disco-styled "Who Loves You", which reached No. Warner Records_sentence_238

3 in the US and sold more than a million copies, and the album Who Loves You sold more than 1 million copies. Warner Records_sentence_239

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. Warner Records_sentence_240

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. Warner Records_sentence_241

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. Warner Records_sentence_242

The new album sold strongly, reaching #8 in the US, and the title track reached No. Warner Records_sentence_243

13 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming a perennial on radio playlists. Warner Records_sentence_244

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. Warner Records_sentence_245

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 long-serving guitarist Jeff "Skunk" Baxter. Warner Records_sentence_246

During the late 1970s, Warner Bros.' reputation as an "artists first" label was challenged by a bitter and long-running dispute with Frank Zappa. Warner Records_sentence_247

In 1976, Zappa's relationship with manager Herb Cohen ended in litigation. Warner Records_sentence_248

For Zoot Allures, Zappa took his own copy of the master directly to Warner Bros. Records, who agreed to release the album, therefore bypassing Cohen and DiscReet. Warner Records_sentence_249

However, Warner Bros. changed their position following legal action from Cohen. Warner Records_sentence_250

Zappa was then obligated to deliver four more albums to Warner Bros. for release on DiscReet. Warner Records_sentence_251

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. Warner Records_sentence_252

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 1977. Warner Records_sentence_253

However, Warner Bros. threatened legal action, forcing Zappa to shelve the release. Warner Records_sentence_254

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 Records_sentence_255

Warner Bros. took further legal action against Zappa, which prevented him from issuing any material for over a year. Warner Records_sentence_256

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. Warner Records_sentence_257

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. Warner Records_sentence_258

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. Warner Records_sentence_259

Ry Cooder was another Reprise act who was transferred to Warner Bros. in 1977. Warner Records_sentence_260

His first Warner release was the 1977 live album Showtime and he remained with the label until his contract expired in the late 1980s. Warner Records_sentence_261

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. Warner Records_sentence_262

Thanks to its distribution deal with Curb Records, WBR scored the biggest hit single in the company's history in 1977. Warner Records_sentence_263

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. Warner Records_sentence_264

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. Warner Records_sentence_265

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". Warner Records_sentence_266

Boone's success also earned her Grammy nominations for "Best Female Pop Vocal Performance " and "Record of the Year" and won her the 1977 Grammy for "Best New Artist" and the 1977 American Music Award for "Favorite Pop Single". Warner Records_sentence_267

The song also earned Joe Brooks the 1977 "Song of the Year" 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. Warner Records_sentence_268

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). Warner Records_sentence_269

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. Warner Records_sentence_270

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). Warner Records_sentence_271

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. Warner Records_sentence_272

Benson had risen to prominence in jazz in the 1960s but was still relatively little-known by the general public. Warner Records_sentence_273

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. Warner Records_sentence_274

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 standard and a radio favorite) and "This Masquerade", which was a Top 10 pop and R&B hit. Warner Records_sentence_275

Benson enjoyed enormous success with his subsequent Warner albums. Warner Records_sentence_276

All of his Warner LPs made the Top 20 on the US jazz album chart and beginning with Breezin', he scored seven consecutive US #1 jazz albums; the first five of these were also Top 20 hits on both the Pop and R&B charts. Warner Records_sentence_277

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. Warner Records_sentence_278

Benson's most successful single "Give Me the Night" (1980) became his first US #1 R&B hit, reached No. Warner Records_sentence_279

4 on the Pop chart and also reached No. Warner Records_sentence_280

2 on the Hot Disco Singles chart. Warner Records_sentence_281

Prince signed to Warner Bros. in 1977. Warner Records_sentence_282

His first album For You made little impact, although the single "Soft and Wet" reached No. Warner Records_sentence_283

12 on the Billboard R&B chart. Warner Records_sentence_284

However, his second self-titled album (1979) fared considerably better, reaching #3 on the R&B album chart and earning a gold record award; 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?" Warner Records_sentence_285

reached No. Warner Records_sentence_286

13 on the R&B chart. Warner Records_sentence_287

Although he was still little known outside the US at this stage, this early success set the stage for his major commercial breakthrough in the 1980s. Warner Records_sentence_288

Another valuable late 1970s discovery was metal-pop band Van Halen, who were spotted at a Hollywood club by Mo Ostin and Ted Templeman in 1977. Warner Records_sentence_289

Their self-titled debut album was a notable success, reaching #19 on the Billboard album chart, and their second album Van Halen II (1979) reached No. Warner Records_sentence_290

6 and produced their first hit single "Dance the Night Away" (#19). Warner Records_sentence_291

Warner Bros. also began to tentatively embrace the burgeoning new wave movement in the late 1970s, signing cult bands Devo and the B-52s. Warner Records_sentence_292

A crucial acquisition in this field—and one which would soon prove to be of enormous importance to the company—was the New York-based Sire Records, founded in 1966 by Seymour Stein and Richard Gottehrer. Warner Records_sentence_293

Warner Bros. took over Sire's distribution from ABC Records in 1977 and bought the label in 1978, retaining Stein as its president. Warner Records_sentence_294

The addition of the Sire roster gave Warner Bros. an important foothold in this area (indeed, Stein is often credited with naming the genre to replace the term "punk", which he disliked); 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. Warner Records_sentence_295

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 & the Bunnymen, and the Cure. Warner Records_sentence_296

Into the 1990s, the label had continued success with Seal, k.d. Warner Records_sentence_297 lang, Tommy Page, Ice-T, and Ministry. Warner Records_sentence_298

In the late 1970s, Warner Bros. also scored mainstream pop hits with singer/actor Shaun Cassidy—his version of "Da Doo Ron Ron" went to #1 in the US in 1977, his next two singles (both penned by Eric Carmen) were US Top 10 hits and Cassidy was nominated for a Grammy award. Warner Records_sentence_299

As the decade drew to a close, there were more breakthroughs with new acts. Warner Records_sentence_300

Rickie Lee Jones' self-titled debut album went to #3 in the US, #1 in Australia and #18 in the UK and produced two hit singles, "Chuck E.'s In Love" (US #4) and "Young Blood" (US #40). Warner Records_sentence_301

Thanks to its American distribution deal with Vertigo, British group Dire Straits provided another sustained run of hit albums and singles in the late 1970s and 1980s. Warner Records_sentence_302

Their eponymous debut album (1978) was a surprise international hit, going to #2 in the US and earning a gold record award from the RIAA, while the single "Sultans of Swing" went to #4 in the US. Warner Records_sentence_303

Their second album Communiqué (1979) made the Top 20 in many countries and earned another gold record award in the US WBR also enjoyed renewed success with comedy recordings in this period, transferring Richard Pryor from Reprise and signing rising star Steve Martin, whose second Warner album A Wild and Crazy Guy (1978) became one of the label's biggest comedy hits—it reached No. Warner Records_sentence_304

2 on the pop album chart, won the 1979 Grammy for 'Best Comedy Album', and Martin's novelty single, "King Tut" was a US Top 20 hit. Warner Records_sentence_305

In the 1970s there were different systems for four-channel stereo. Warner Records_sentence_306

Warner Records and the whole WEA group chose JVC's and RCA's discrete system called CD-4 or Quadradisc. Warner Records_sentence_307

That was the system with the highest separation between the four channel, but the system needed a special stylus that could read frequences up to 48 000 Hz. Warner Records_sentence_308

1980–1988 Warner Records_section_7

The 1980s was a period of unprecedented success for Warner Bros. Records. Warner Records_sentence_309

The golden decade began with the success of singer-songwriter Christopher Cross, whose self-titled debut album went to #6 in the US and produced four charting singles, including the #1 hit "Sailing". Warner Records_sentence_310

He also won five major categories at the 1981 Grammy Awards, becoming the only solo artist to date to win the "Big Four" awards in one year (Record, Song and Album of the Year, and Best New Artist) while his performance of "Arthur's Theme" from the Dudley Moore film Arthur, which also went to #1, won both the Oscar and the Golden Globe award for Best Original Song. Warner Records_sentence_311

Warner Bros. scored an apparent coup in 1980 by luring Paul Simon away from Columbia Records. Warner Records_sentence_312

His first Warner album was One Trick Pony (1980), which accompanied the movie of the same name, which Simon wrote and starred in. Warner Records_sentence_313

The single "Late in the Evening" was a major hit (#6) but the album was not a big seller. Warner Records_sentence_314

His next album, Hearts and Bones (1983) was well received by critics but neither it nor the lead single "Allergies" made the chart and Simon's career took a nosedive and it was several more years before the label's patience eventually paid off. Warner Records_sentence_315

After two moderate-selling albums that established them as one of the most original American new wave bands of the period, DEVO broke through to mainstream success in 1980 with their third album Freedom of Choice which reached No. Warner Records_sentence_316

22 in the US. Warner Records_sentence_317

Thanks to its quirky music video, which was put on high rotation on MTV, the single "Whip It" reached No. Warner Records_sentence_318

14 on the Billboard pop chart, becoming the group's biggest American hit. Warner Records_sentence_319

Their follow-up EP DEV-O Live (1981) was a surprise hit in Australia, topping the singles chart there for three weeks, but their subsequent albums and singles suffered from declining sales and the group was eventually dropped by the label after their 1984 album Shout. Warner Records_sentence_320

Prince's 1980 album Dirty Mind was widely praised by critics, earning a gold record award, but his 1982 double-LP 1999 (1982) became his first major hit album, selling over four million copies and spawning three hit singles. Warner Records_sentence_321

The title track reached No. Warner Records_sentence_322

12 in the US and provided his first international hit (#25 UK) and his next two singles, "Little Red Corvette" and "Delirious", were both US Top 10 hits. Warner Records_sentence_323

Chicago was picked up by Warner Bros. in 1981 after being dropped by its former label Columbia, which believed that the band was no longer commercially viable. Warner Records_sentence_324

After teaming with producer David Foster, the band shot back into the charts in 1982 with the album Chicago 16, which reached No. Warner Records_sentence_325

9 and produced two hit singles including the US #1 hit "Hard To Say I'm Sorry". Warner Records_sentence_326

The group's second Warner album, Chicago 17, became the biggest seller of its career—it reached No. Warner Records_sentence_327

4 in the US and produced four US Top-20 singles including the Top-5 hits "Hard Habit to Break" (#3) and "You're the Inspiration" (#3) and is currently accredited at 6× Platinum. Warner Records_sentence_328

Lead singer Peter Cetera left the group after this album but had continued success as a solo artist for Warner, scoring a #1 hit in 1986 with "Glory of Love" (from the movie The Karate Kid Part II), which was also nominated for a Grammy Award, a Golden Globe Award, and an Academy Award. Warner Records_sentence_329

His second solo album sold more than a million copies and produced another #1 hit, "The Next Time I Fall". Warner Records_sentence_330

His third solo album produced the Top 5 hit "One Good Woman" (1988) and "After All" reached No. Warner Records_sentence_331

6. Warner Records_sentence_332

Lenny Waronker took over as President of WBR in 1982, and his first act was to sign Elvis Costello. Warner Records_sentence_333

Costello's first Warner album Spike featured his biggest American single, the Paul McCartney collaboration "Veronica", which was a US Top 20 hit. Warner Records_sentence_334

He recorded three more critically praised albums for Warner Bros., Mighty Like A Rose, Brutal Youth, and All This Useless Beauty, but he was dropped from the label after the major corporate shakeup in the mid-1990s. Warner Records_sentence_335

After the end of his contract with RSO Records and Polydor, Eric Clapton signed with Warner Bros. in 1982. Warner Records_sentence_336

His first WBR album, Money and Cigarettes (1983), reached No. Warner Records_sentence_337

16 on the Billboard album chart, and the single "I've Got a Rock 'n' Roll Heart" reached No. Warner Records_sentence_338

18 on the Billboard Hot 100. Warner Records_sentence_339

His next album Behind the Sun also fared well, reaching #34 and the hit single "Forever Man" went to #26, but he transferred to Reprise for his next release. Warner Records_sentence_340

Another resurgent 1970s act who scored major success with Warner Bros. in this period was ZZ Top, which had previously been signed to London Records. Warner Records_sentence_341

During an extended break in the late 1970s the group gained ownership of its London recordings and signed with Warner Bros., which also re-issued the band's back-catalogue. Warner Records_sentence_342

The group's first two Warner albums Deguello (1979) and El Loco (1981) were moderately successful, but Eliminator (1983) became a major hit thanks to strong support for its music videos on MTV. Warner Records_sentence_343

The band scored three US hit singles including "Legs" (US #8), while the album reached No. Warner Records_sentence_344

9 on the Billboard 200 and sold in huge numbers, earning a Diamond record award in 1996. Warner Records_sentence_345

Afterburner (1985) went to #4 and produced seven hit singles, including "Sleeping Bag" (#8). Warner Records_sentence_346

Sire artist Madonna shot to international prominence with her 1983 self-titled debut album and her first mainstream hit single "Holiday", which reached No. Warner Records_sentence_347

16 in the US and became a hit in many other countries, including Australia and the UK, where it was Top 5. Warner Records_sentence_348

The album made the Top 20 in more than a dozen countries including the US, where it has been certified at 5× Platinum status. Warner Records_sentence_349

It was quickly followed by Like a Virgin, which became her first US #1 album and has sold more than 21 million copies worldwide. Warner Records_sentence_350

The title track was also a huge international hit, going to #1 in Australia, Canada, Japan and the US. Warner Records_sentence_351

Boosted by her well-received role in the film Desperately Seeking Susan, "Crazy For You" (1985) became her second US #1 hit, and the follow-up "Material Girl" reached No. Warner Records_sentence_352

2 in the US and was Top 5 in many other countries. Warner Records_sentence_353

Prince's hugely successful 1984 film and album Purple Rain cemented his stardom, selling more than eighteen million copies in the US (25 million worldwide) and spending twenty-four consecutive weeks at #1 on the Billboard 200 chart, while the Purple Rain film won the Academy Award for "Best Original Song Score" and grossed more than $80 million in the US. Warner Records_sentence_354

Singles from the album became hits on pop charts around the world; "When Doves Cry" and "Let's Go Crazy" both reached No. Warner Records_sentence_355

1 and the title track reached No. Warner Records_sentence_356

2 on the Billboard Hot 100. Warner Records_sentence_357

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. Warner Records_sentence_358

Their stance was vehemently opposed by former Warner Bros. artist 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. Warner Records_sentence_359

1984 also saw 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 No. Warner Records_sentence_360

2 in the US, producing two more Top 20 hits. Warner Records_sentence_361

However, escalating friction between guitarist Eddie 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, 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. Warner Records_sentence_362

In 1985, Dire Straits' single "Money for Nothing" gained massive exposure on MTV thanks to its innovative computer-animated music video, propelling the single to #1 in the US. Warner Records_sentence_363

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 US, Australia and most European countries and sold in colossal numbers—by 1996 it had been certified at 9× platinum in the US 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. Warner Records_sentence_364

The new incarnation of 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). Warner Records_sentence_365

Their three subsequent studio albums (OU812, For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge, and Balance) all reached No. Warner Records_sentence_366

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. Warner Records_sentence_367

The same was true of Prince. Warner Records_sentence_368

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. Warner Records_sentence_369

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. Warner Records_sentence_370

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. Warner Records_sentence_371

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&B album charts and his classic single "Kiss" was another big international hit, going to #1 in the US and becoming a radio staple. Warner Records_sentence_372

Prince's next project had a long and complex evolution, beginning as a proposed concept double-album called Dream Factory; 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. Warner Records_sentence_373

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. Warner Records_sentence_374

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". Warner Records_sentence_375

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 No. Warner Records_sentence_376

3 on the Hot 100. Warner Records_sentence_377

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&B). Warner Records_sentence_378

1986–87 took Warner Bros. to even greater heights. Warner Records_sentence_379

Madonna's landmark album True Blue produced three US #1s and two Top 5 singles and the LP was an unprecedented success, topping the charts in more than 28 countries (a feat that earned her a place in the Guinness Book of Records), and to date it has sold 24 million copies. Warner Records_sentence_380

After several years in the doldrums, a reinvigorated Paul Simon burst back onto the music scene in late 1986 with Graceland. Warner Records_sentence_381

Warner Bros. were initially anxious about the commercial appeal of Simon's innovative fusion of rock with African styles but the album was a resounding success, topping the charts in many countries, reaching #3 in the US and producing two US Top 20 singles. Warner Records_sentence_382

It became the best-selling American album of 1987 and the most successful of Simon's solo career, selling more than 5 million copies, and winning the 1986 Grammy for 'Album of the Year'; the title track also won 'Song of the Year' in 1987. Warner Records_sentence_383

In jazz, Warner Bros. scored another artistic coup by signing jazz legend Miles Davis after his break with longtime label Columbia. Warner Records_sentence_384

His comeback album Tutu (1986) was a major crossover hit, gaining rave reviews and winning a Grammy in 1987. Warner Records_sentence_385

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. Warner Records_sentence_386

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). Warner Records_sentence_387

Its hastily recorded replacement Lovesexy (1988) was a moderate success, reaching #11 on the Billboard album chart although it reached No. Warner Records_sentence_388

1 in the UK. Warner Records_sentence_389

However, he rebounded in 1989 with the soundtrack for the hugely successful Batman film, which sold more than eleven million copies, reached No. Warner Records_sentence_390

1 on the Billboard album chart and produced four hit singles including "Batdance", which topped both the Hot 100 and R&B charts. Warner Records_sentence_391

Like fellow Athens, Georgia natives the B-52s, R.E.M. Warner Records_sentence_392

was a 'cult' band that gradually built up a strong following in the US and internationally during the 1980s (thanks in part to their innovative music videos). Warner Records_sentence_393

For most of the 1980s they were signed to the independent label IRS Records and in 1987, they broke out to mainstream success with the album Document, their first to sell more than one million copies. Warner Records_sentence_394

However, they were frustrated by IRS's poor international distribution and when their IRS contract expired in 1988 they signed with Warner Bros. Their Warner debut Green established them as a major force, earning a platinum album and selling more than 4 million copies worldwide, and "Stand" became their first US hit single. Warner Records_sentence_395

In 1989, after an extended period of inactivity following the death of guitarist and main writer Ricky Wilson, the B-52s shot back to prominence with the album Cosmic Thing. Warner Records_sentence_396

It was a Top 5 hit in the US (#4) and the UK (#2) and went to #1 in Australia, where the group had enjoyed a strong following since their debut single "Rock Lobster"; they also scored three consecutive hit singles with "Love Shack" (#3 US, #1 Australia), "Roam" (US #3) and "Deadbeat Club" (US #30). Warner Records_sentence_397

Warner Bros.' most successful decade yet closed in sensational fashion. Warner Records_sentence_398

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. Warner Records_sentence_399

However Pepsi had no control over Madonna's own "Like a Prayer" music video, which debuted exclusively on MTV soon after—it generated heated criticism due to its provocative use of religious imagery and was condemned by the Vatican. Warner Records_sentence_400

As a result, 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). Warner Records_sentence_401

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. Warner Records_sentence_402

1989–2004: The Time Warner era Warner Records_section_8

In 1989 Time Inc. acquired Warner Communications and merged the two enterprises to create Time Warner in a deal valued at US$14 billion. Warner Records_sentence_403

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. Warner Records_sentence_404

R.E.M. Warner Records_sentence_405

'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" 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. Warner Records_sentence_406

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. Warner Records_sentence_407

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 No. Warner Records_sentence_408

6 on both the Billboard Hot 200 and R&B album chart and produced two US Top 20 singles. Warner Records_sentence_409

Diamonds and Pearls (1991) became one of the biggest albums of his career, selling 9 million records, reaching #3 in the US, #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. Warner Records_sentence_410

Prince was appointed a vice-president of Warner Bros. Records when he re-signed with them in 1992, but soon regretted his decision. Warner Records_sentence_411

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 Records_sentence_412

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&B); 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. Warner Records_sentence_413

When eventually released, "7" became the only major US hit lifted from the album, peaking (appropriately) at #7. Warner Records_sentence_414

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. Warner Records_sentence_415

Because this sign has no verbal equivalent, he was often derisively referred to as "The Artist Formerly Known as Prince". Warner Records_sentence_416

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. Warner Records_sentence_417

Although released by an independent distributor, his next single "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World" (1994) reached No. Warner Records_sentence_418

3 in the US and topped the singles charts throughout Europe, becoming the biggest hit single of his career. Warner Records_sentence_419

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. Warner Records_sentence_420

By this time Prince had launched a legal action to terminate his contract and gain ownership of his master recordings, and he publicized his views by appearing in public with the word written across his right cheek. Warner Records_sentence_421

Come (1994) was moderately successful in the US (#15, gold record) and the single "Letitgo" reached No. Warner Records_sentence_422

10 on the R&B chart, although the album was a major hit in the UK, debuting at #1. Warner Records_sentence_423

In November Warner released a limited edition of The Black Album, but it was already widely bootlegged, sold poorly and was soon deleted. Warner Records_sentence_424

The Gold Experience (1995) was hailed by some reviewers as Prince's best effort since Sign o' the Times; it included "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World" and produced two other charting singles, "I Hate U" (US #11 and "Gold" UK #10). Warner Records_sentence_425

Prince's remarkable career with Warner Bros. ended with Chaos and Disorder (1996), compiled expressly to end his contract. Warner Records_sentence_426

It was one of his least successful releases but still managed to reach #26 in the US and #14 in the UK and produced one minor hit, "Dinner With Delores" (#36 UK). Warner Records_sentence_427

Prince subsequently released recordings on his own NPG label (via EMI) before eventually signing with Universal Music in 2005. Warner Records_sentence_428

R.E.M. Warner Records_sentence_429

'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". Warner Records_sentence_430

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. Warner Records_sentence_431

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. Warner Records_sentence_432

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. Warner Records_sentence_433

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. Warner Records_sentence_434

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. Warner Records_sentence_435

Iovine and Field quickly aligned Interscope with the Universal Music Group; the label, now known as Interscope-Geffen-A&M following the merger of several Universal imprints, is still run by Iovine today. Warner Records_sentence_436

Some relief came later that year when comedian Jeff Foxworthy revived Warner Bros.' success with comedy recordings; 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. Warner Records_sentence_437

End of an era: Ostin and Waronker depart Warner Records_section_9

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. Warner Records_sentence_438

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. Warner Records_sentence_439

This triggered a series of damaging corporate conflicts and in particular created a fatal rift between Morgado and Ostin. Warner Records_sentence_440

The first major casualty was Elektra chairman Bob Krasnow, who resigned abruptly in July 1994. Warner Records_sentence_441

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. Warner Records_sentence_442

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. Warner Records_sentence_443

Ostin officially stepped down from Warner Bros. when his contract expired on December 31, 1994, although he stayed on as a senior consultant to Time Warner's chairman until August 1995. Warner Records_sentence_444

He later commented: Warner Records_sentence_445

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. Warner Records_sentence_446

It also triggered an exodus of Warner executives who had joined the company primarily because of Ostin. Warner Records_sentence_447

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. Warner Records_sentence_448

Following a period of uncertainty and speculation, the two joined forces to establish a new label, DreamWorks Records. Warner Records_sentence_449

Waronker was replaced by ex Atlantic Records president Danny Goldberg, but his tenure proved short. Warner Records_sentence_450

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. Warner Records_sentence_451

Gerald Levin forced Morgado to resign in May 1995 and he was replaced by HBO chairman Michael J. Fuchs. Warner Records_sentence_452

Fuchs sacked Morris a month later (sparking a US$50m breach of contract suit) and Warner Music US was dissolved. Warner Records_sentence_453

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. Warner Records_sentence_454

Morris moved to MCA Records. Warner Records_sentence_455

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. Warner Records_sentence_456

He was subsequently appointed president of PolyGram subsidiary Mercury Records in October. Warner Records_sentence_457

Following Goldberg's departure Russ Thyret was promoted to Chairman, CEO and label president. Warner Records_sentence_458

Fuchs himself was forced out of Time Warner on November 1995. Warner Records_sentence_459

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. Warner Records_sentence_460

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. Warner Records_sentence_461

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. Warner Records_sentence_462

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.: Warner Records_sentence_463

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 collaboration Orange Crate Art (1995) and the live album Moonlighting: Live at the Ash Grove (1998). Warner Records_sentence_464

In 2004 Parks reunited with Brian Wilson to complete their long-shelved collaboration, Smile, which was released on the Nonesuch label to universal critical praise, winning a Grammy award, and making the Top 20 in the US and Top 10 in the UK, where it earned a gold record award. Warner Records_sentence_465

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. Warner Records_sentence_466

In August Whalley appointed Jeff Ayeroff as Creative Director of Warner Bros. Records and Creative Consultant to Warner Music Group. Warner Records_sentence_467

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. Warner Records_sentence_468

In 2002, Linkin Park won the Grammy Award for Best Hard Rock Performance for their single Crawling released under Warner Bros. Warner Records_sentence_469

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. Warner Records_sentence_470

In 2004, the band was nominated for their song Session for Best Rock Instrumental Performance. Warner Records_sentence_471

In 2006 the band won Best Rap/Sung Collaboration for the song Numb/Encore released under Warner Bros./Roc-A-Fella/Machine Shop. Warner Records_sentence_472

2004–2019: Warner Music Group Warner Records_section_10

In 2003, amid management disputes, sagging share prices and rising alarm about the impact of digital , Time Warner decided to unload its music operations. Warner Records_sentence_473

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. Warner Records_sentence_474

The deal included an option that would allow Time Warner to buy back in if conditions proved favorable. Warner Records_sentence_475

Bronfman, Lee, Bain and Providence had reportedly recouped their investment by May 2006 through dividends, refinancing and a share offer floated in May 2005. Warner Records_sentence_476

Following the divestiture, WMG licensed the Warner Bros. trademarks, although this license could have been revoked if WMG came under control of a major motion picture studio. Warner Records_sentence_477

In 2013, WMG acquired Parlophone Records from EMI as part of its sale to Universal Music Group. Warner Records_sentence_478

Most Parlophone artists (excluding Coldplay and Tinie Tempah, who were placed under Atlantic) were placed under Warner Bros. Records for US distribution. Warner Records_sentence_479

Dan McCarroll was named president. Warner Records_sentence_480

He held the position until July, 2017. Warner Records_sentence_481

In October 2017, Aaron Bay-Schuck and Tom Corson were named co-chairmen of Warner Bros. Records, with Bay-Schuck serving as CEO and Corson COO. Warner Records_sentence_482

Corson joined the company in January 2018; Bay-Schuck began in the fall of that year. Warner Records_sentence_483

The Warner Bros. headquarters moved from Burbank to downtown Los Angeles in March 2019. Warner Records_sentence_484

2019–present: Warner Records Warner Records_section_11

On May 28, 2019, the label announced that it had changed its name to Warner Records, and unveiled a new logo—replacing the Warner Bros. shield with a wordmark and black circle (both partially cut off at the bottom). Warner Records_sentence_485

WMG explained that the new logo was meant to resemble the Earth, a record, and the Sun, and had "artful simplicity and impactful typography that are ideally suited to the digital world". Warner Records_sentence_486

The change was necessitated by the upcoming expiration of WMG's license to the Warner Bros. trademarks; after the sale of Warner Music Group in 2004 by Time Warner (now WarnerMedia since 2018), the company had been granted a 15-year license to use the Warner Bros. name and shield logo. Warner Records_sentence_487

The new logo received mixed reviews, with marketing critics and former WMG employees lamenting the replacement of the historic Warner Bros. emblem (used by the label for 61 years) with a comparatively simplistic mark. Warner Records_sentence_488

Affiliated labels Warner Records_section_12

Current Warner Records_section_13

Warner Records_unordered_list_2

  • A&E Records (formerly Mushroom Records UK) (2003–present)Warner Records_item_2_9
  • Helium 3 (2006–present)Warner Records_item_2_10
  • Beluga Heights (2008–present)Warner Records_item_2_11
  • Curb Records (1974-1982, 2000-present)Warner Records_item_2_12
  • Facultad de Némea (2017–present)Warner Records_item_2_14
  • Festival Mushroom Records (2005–present)Warner Records_item_2_15
  • Hotwire Unlimited (2010–present)Warner Records_item_2_16
  • Machine Shop Recordings (2001–present)Warner Records_item_2_17
  • Loveway Records (2009–present)Warner Records_item_2_18
  • Mind of a Genius (2016–present)Warner Records_item_2_19
  • Arkade Records (2016–present)Warner Records_item_2_20
  • Nonesuch Records (2004–present)Warner Records_item_2_21
  • OVO Sound (2012–present)Warner Records_item_2_22
  • Parlophone (2014–present)Warner Records_item_2_23
  • Reprise Records (1963–present)Warner Records_item_2_24
  • REMember Music (2014–present)Warner Records_item_2_25
  • Sire Records (1978–1995, 2003–present)Warner Records_item_2_26
  • Artery Recordings (2017–present)Warner Records_item_2_27
  • The Benton Music Records (2018–present)Warner Records_item_2_28
  • Clover Music (2018–present)Warner Records_item_2_29
  • Masked Records (2018–present)Warner Records_item_2_30

Former Warner Records_section_14

Warner Records_unordered_list_3

Artists Warner Records_section_15

Main articles: List of current Warner Records artists and List of former Warner Records artists Warner Records_sentence_489

See also Warner Records_section_16

Warner Records_unordered_list_4


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warner Records.