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Atlantic Records

This is a brief history of the record label Atlantic Records.
by

Kevin Snyder

on 10 June 2013

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Transcript of Atlantic Records

Atlantic Records Led Zeppelin Early Years Atlantic Records began as an American record label in 1947. Ahmet Ertegün, one of the founders, made the decision to stay in Washington after his father died in 1944 to pursue a career in the record business. He recruited Herb Abramson and appointed him the president (as he had experience with National Records) of Atlantic Records, taking the role of vice president. The company was officially incorporated in October of 1947. They hired their first employee, bookkeeper Francine Wakschal (who ended up staying with Atlantic Records for the next 49 years). In January of 1948, their first set of recordings were issued, featuring the musical talents of Tiny Grimes and Joe Morris. At first, Atlantic Records mainly focused on Jazz, sometimes releasing country and spoken word recordings. Ertegun and Abramson spent the next couple of years scouring night clubs for talent. They desperately needed musicians for the label. The BeeGees Gaining Popularity After signing artists like Big Joe Turner and Billy Eckstine, Ertegun got a call from someone attempting to purchase a song from Atlantic artist Stick McGhee, "Drinking Wine, Spo-Dee-O-Dee". McGhee's song was owned by his previous label, which had closed down. Stick re-recorded the track, releasing it in February of 1949. Quickly growing popular, McGhee's song hit number 3 on the R&B charts. Although he only earned a total of ten dollars from the single, he is credited with recording Atlantic Records' first big hit. Atlantic Records continued to sign artists such as Ruth Brown and Joe Morris. It got its first number one R&B hit in September of 1951 with the release of "Don't You Know I Love You" by the Clovers. Within weeks Ruth Brown became Atlantic's first million-selling artist. Rolling Stones Stevie Nicks Expansion Atlantic Records played a huge role in popularizing rhythm & blues, specifically in late 1953 and early 1954. Around this time they hit one million sold copies of a single record and continued to do so, beating the previous record of 250,000. After buying multiple small-time labels, Atlantic produced artists such as The Coasters and Bobby Darin, who released songs like "Splish Splash" (a million-seller) and "Dream Lover" (a multi-million-seller). By the end of 1958, Atlantic Records had multiple buildings across the US and much more staff (including people such as Gary Kramer, who would stay for years after). During the 1960's, Atlantic released selected titles recorded by independent labels. Atlantic Records' Breakthrough Artists The BeeGees was founded by the Gibb brothers in 1958. They were successful for the many decades of recording they did, especially in the pop act of the early 1960's and late 1970's and disco music era of the late 1970's. They signed with ATCO Records (an independent label owned by Atlantic Records) in 1967. Led Zeppelin was a rock band formed in 1968. Their heavy and unique guitar-driven sound was rooted in blues rock and defined what later came to be known as heavy metal. They grew more popular throughout the 1970's and are now known as a pioneer in rock-and-roll. Stevie Nicks is an American singer who has produced over forty Top 50 Hits and sold more than 140 million albums. She is sometimes called, "The Queen of Rock and Roll". She had joined Atlantic Records and stayed there until leaving in 1998, the same year she was inducted into "The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame". The Rolling Stones is a British Rock band that formed in 1962 and have been active since then. Their original goal was to play rhythm and blues, but they were received as rebellious youth. They signed with Atlantic Records and stayed there until 1983. Today, they are estimated to have sold around 200 million albums and are commonly regarded as not only one of the best rock bands, but one of the best bands in history. Atlantic Records Today Atlantic Records, now an astounding 66 years old, is still a proud and thriving label. Keeping up with the age of technology, more than half of their music is now purchased digitally. After Warner Music Group was sold for 2.6 billion dollars in 2004, Elektra Records and Atlantic combined. In 2007, they celebrated their 60th anniversary PBS documentary, "Atlantic Records: The House that Ahmet Built" and the Starbucks CD release of "Atlantic 60th Anniversary: R&B Classics Chosen By Ahmet Ertegun." Led Zeppelin recently celebrated the 25th anniversary of their reunion with Atlantic Records in 1987. Atlantic continues to produce popular artists such as B.o.B, Cody Simpson, Flo Rida, Jason Mraz, Death Cab for Cutie, Matchbox Twenty, Bruno Mars, and Skrillex. Bibliography Grendelkhan. "Atlantic Records." Wikipedia. Ed. TuneyLoon. Wikimedia Foundation, 23 Dec. 2004. Web. 24 May 2013

Atlantic Records. "Atlantic Records." Atlantic Records. Code and Theory, n.d. Web. 23 May 2013. <http://atlanticrecords.com/>.

"Ahmet Ertegun's Atlantic Records." History of Rock. N.p., n.d. Web. 23 May 2013. <http://www.history-of-rock.com/atlantic_records.htm>.
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