Mercury Records

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Lester Young , Charlie Parker, and Coleman Hawkins, et al. a. on the Mercury 78er "I Got Rhythm" from the JATP concert in April 1946

Mercury Records is originally an American independent label .

Now works Mercury Records in the UK as an independent company and in the USA as part of Iceland Def Jam Records . Both companies are subsidiaries of the Universal Music Group , which is now part of Vivendi . The name and logo of Mercury Records are only used in the USA on the back of catalogs, on country CDs and on re-releases .


Foundation and development

Mercury Records was founded in Chicago , Illinois in 1945 by Irving Green , Berle Adams and Arthur Talmadge . Her main focus at the time was concentrated on the production of jazz , blues , classical , rock 'n' roll and country music , mostly recorded in the recording studios of the Universal Recording Corporation .

Even in its early days, the company built a fully automatic pressing plant with 24-hour continuous operation in Chicago and St. Louis in order to be able to counter the pressure of competition from Columbia , Decca Records and RCA Victor . In addition, by hiring Tiny Hill and Jimmy Hilliard, the pop market was served with artists such as Frankie Laine , Vic Damone and Patti Page .

The musician, manager and publicist Jack Rael persuaded Mercury in 1947 to let Patti Page (whose manager Jack Rael was) record a song originally planned for Vic Damone. However, the budget was too small to hire a second singer for the vocal counterpart of Patti Page, so that an inspiration from Jack Rael led to Patti Page singing the counterpart himself. This became the first acoustically documented example of overdubbing and resulted in Patti Page becoming one of the best known artists for using this technique.

As a jazz label they released Erroll Garner , Albert Ammons , Gene Ammons and Dinah Washington in the 1940s , acquired the catalog from Keynote Records in 1948 and distributed records from Clef Records by Norman Granz , until the collaboration ended in 1953. Mercury then founded their own jazz division EmArcy.


Mercury Records released a considerable number of recordings under their own name, but also under the name of the subsidiaries Blue Rock Records , Cumberland Records , EmArcy Records (in the 1950s Bob Shad ), Fontana Records , Limelight Records (responsible Jack Tracy ), Philips Records , Smash Records and Wing Records . In addition, they rented and bought material from independent record companies in order to sell it again. Mercury Records actually covered all types of music from classical to psychedelic itself, with the subsidiaries each focusing on their own special music categories.

Entanglements and sales

The Dutch company Philips signed an exchange agreement with Mercury Records in 1961. Philips later bought Mercury Records and its subsidiaries to expand their US location. The music division of Philips merged with Deutsche Grammophon in 1962 . This resulted in the Polygram record company in the early 1970s .

Under PolyGram, Casablanca Records , to which KISS and Village People were committed, was merged into Mercury Records in 1982. Mercury Records essentially became a rock / pop record company for bands like Bon Jovi , KISS, Scorpions , Tears for Fears, and Def Leppard . The Rainbirds or Trio were among the most famous German artists at Mercury .

Reorganization by Universal

In the late 1990s , PolyGram was merged into Universal Music . As part of the reorganization, Mercury Records was split. Island Def Jam Records (a combination of the record companies Island Records and Def Jam ) were created, which were responsible for the pop area, and a separate country record company called Mercury Nashville Records . The pop division Mercury Records under Island Def Jam Records and their artists were later completely absorbed into Island Def Jam Records, whose logo is used today. Mercury Records remained in the UK. Mercury Nashville Records is now part of the Universal Music Group Nashville .

Jazz & Blues Collection

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, Article Mercury Records