56 Facts About Columbia Records


Columbia Records is an American record label owned by Sony Music Entertainment, a subsidiary of Sony Corporation of America, the North American division of Japanese conglomerate Sony.

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In 1902, Columbia Records introduced the "XP" record, a molded brown wax record, to use up old stock.

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In July 1912, Columbia decided to concentrate exclusively on disc records and stopped manufacturing cylinder phonographs, although they continued selling Indestructible's cylinders under the Columbia name for a year or two more.

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Columbia Records Phonograph was moved to Connecticut, and Ed Easton went with it.

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In 1926, Columbia acquired Okeh Records and its growing stable of jazz and blues artists, including Louis Armstrong and Clarence Williams.

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Columbia Records had already built a catalog of blues and jazz artists, including Bessie Smith in their 14000-D Race series.

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Columbia Records followed that with a return to Tennessee the next year, as well as recording sessions in other cities of the South.

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Since the Gramophone Company was a wholly owned subsidiary of Victor, and Columbia Records in America was a subsidiary of UK Columbia Records, Victor now technically owned its largest rival in the US.

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Columbia Records was added in mid-1932, relegated to slower sellers such as the Hawaiian music of Andy Iona, the Irving Mills stable of artists and songs, and the still unknown Benny Goodman.

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Columbia Records hired talent scout, music writer, producer, and impresario John Hammond in 1937.

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The blue Columbia label was kept for its classical music Columbia Masterworks Records line until it was later changed to a green label before switching to a gray label in the late 1950s, and then to the bronze that is familiar to owners of its classical and Broadway albums.

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Sinatra recorded over 200 songs with Columbia Records which include his most popular songs from his early years.

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Columbia Records set his talents to his goal of hearing an entire movement of a symphony on one side of an album.

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Columbia Records's LPs were particularly well-suited to classical music's longer pieces, so some of the early albums featured such artists as Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra, Bruno Walter and the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, and Sir Thomas Beecham and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

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Columbia Records discovered that printing two front cover slicks, one for mono and one for stereo, was inefficient and therefore needlessly costly.

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In 1951, Columbia US began issuing records in the 45 rpm format RCA Victor had introduced two years earlier.

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American Columbia was not happy with EMI's reluctance to introduce long playing records.

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Columbia Records became the most successful non-rock record company in the 1950s after it lured producer and bandleader Mitch Miller away from the Mercury label in 1950.

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Columbia Records oversaw many of the early singles by the label's top female recording star of the decade, Doris Day.

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However, Columbia Records did sign two Sun artists in 1958: Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins.

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Columbia Records continued to use the "notes and mike" logo on record labels and even used a promo label showing both logos until the "notes and mike" was phased out in 1958.

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In Canada, Columbia Records 78s were pressed with the "Walking Eye" logo in 1958.

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Under new head producer George Avakian, Columbia Records became the most vital label to the general public's appreciation and understanding of jazz, releasing a series of LP's by Louis Armstrong, but signing to long-term contracts Dave Brubeck and Miles Davis, the two modern jazz artists who would in 1959 record albums that remain—more than sixty years later—among the best-selling jazz albums by any label—viz.

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In 1954, Columbia Records embraced small-group modern jazz by signing of the Dave Brubeck Quartet, which resulted in the release of the on-location, best-selling jazz album, Jazz Goes to College.

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Contemporaneously with Columbia Records's first release of modern jazz by a small group, which was the Brubeck Quartet's debut on the label, was a Time magazine cover story on the phenomenon of Brubeck's success on college campuses.

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Ellington at Newport, recorded on Columbia Records, was the bandleader-composer-pianist's best-selling album.

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However, the compilations were so successful that they led to Columbia Records doing such packages on a widespread basis, usually when an artist's career was in decline.

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One of Columbia Records's first stereo releases was an abridged and re-structured performance of Handel's Messiah by the New York Philharmonic and the Westminster Choir conducted by Leonard Bernstein .

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Columbia Records released its first pop stereo albums in the summer of 1958.

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Pop stereo LPs got into the high 9000s by 1970, when CBS Columbia Records revamped and unified its catalog numbering system across all its labels.

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In 1961, CBS ended its arrangement with Philips Columbia Records and formed its own international organization, CBS Columbia Records International, in 1962.

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Some executives in Columbia Records dubbed Dylan "Hammond's folly" and suggest that Dylan be dropped from the label.

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Columbia Records saw the two recordings as a start to getting into rock and roll.

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Columbia Records's released her first solo album on Columbia in 1963 and remains with the label to this day.

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Columbia Records decided to start issuing albums at CS-1000 instead, preserving the four-digit catalog number.

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Columbia Records even released a soundtrack album of the movie version of Funny Girl in quadraphonic.

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The Columbia Records label continued to be used by CBS Canada, but the CBS label was introduced for French-language recordings.

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Columbia Records was worried that Yetnikoff would resent his promotion.

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Columbia Records cut back on expenses and on perks like limousines and restaurants.

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In 1988, the CBS Records Group, including the Columbia Records unit, was acquired by Sony, which re-christened the parent division Sony Music Entertainment in 1991.

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Columbia Records remains a premier subsidiary label of Sony Music Entertainment.

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For much of the 1990s, Columbia Records released its albums without a logo, just the "COLUMBIA" word mark in the Bodoni Classic Bold typeface.

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Columbia Records experimented with bringing back the "Notes and Mic" logo but without the CBS mark on the microphone.

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Since the 1940s, Columbia has re-issued thousands of 1930s records issued on ARC labels.

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In 1997, Columbia made an affiliation with unsigned artist promotion label Aware Records to distribute Aware's artists' music.

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In 2007, Columbia Records formed Columbia Records Nashville, which is part of Sony Music Nashville.

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In 2009, Columbia Records Nashville became part of Sony Music Nashville under the Sony Group Corporation umbrella through Sony Music Group.

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Columbia Records operated recording studios, the most notable of which were in New York City, Nashville, Hollywood and San Francisco.

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Columbia Records's first recording studio was established in 1913, after the company moved into the Woolworth Building in Manhattan, the tallest building in the world at the time.

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In 1917, Columbia used this studio to make one of the earliest jazz records, by the Original Dixieland Jass Band.

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In 1939, Columbia Records established Studio A at 799 Seventh Avenue in New York City.

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In 1961, Columbia Records renovated and repurposed CBS Radio Studio A at the company's Columbia Square complex at 6121 Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, California.

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Columbia Records utilized the studio for recording and mastering services until its closure in 1972.

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Columbia Records operated the studio from 1962 through 1982, when it was converted into office space.

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Columbia Records recorded in the highly respected Liederkranz Hall, at 111 East 58th Street between Park and Lexington Avenues, in New York City, it was built by and formerly belonged to a German cultural and musical society, The Liederkranz Society, and used as a recording studio .

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The producer Morty Palitz had been instrumental in convincing Columbia Records to begin to use the Liederkranz Hall studio for recording music, additionally convincing the conductor Andre Kostelanetz to make some of the first recordings in Liederkranz Hall which until then had only been used for CBS Symphony radio shows.

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