company sleeves from the 50's to the 80's
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Page 9 (TK to Warner)
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TK was more of a name in the US: the Miami-based label was started in 1974 and was instrumental in the early years of disco music. Distribution of TK product in the UK originally sat with Jay Boy Records, so it wasn't until 1977 that TK releases made it to their own label (through CBS). KC & The Sunshine Band, George McCrae and Anita Ward's "Ring My Bell" are the famous names.
| ||The TK palm-tree logo and a contemporary label design make up this standard sleeve design.|
Founded in 1968 by Lee Gopthal, Trojan existed to serve the rapidly-growing market for reggae and Jamaican music in the UK. Initially it was a sister label to Island, and found success with releases from Desmond Dekker, Bob & Marcia and Nicky Thomas - all at the popular end of the reggae scale. The Island deal ended in 1972, but Trojan carried on for a few more years, before being bought by Saga and sliding into inactivity. The label was revived in the late 80s as a mark of quality reggae reissues and compilations (some from the original Trojan archives, others licenced from elsewhere).
| ||Here's a fantastic example of combining the sleeve and label into one design: the Trojan warrior with the record as his shield. Earlier Trojan releases had plain sleeves; it wasn't until the early 70s when this design was first seen.|
The whole 2 Tone identity - the label, the artwork, the concept - was largely due to Jerry Dammers of The Specials. The music grew from a ska revival movement at the end of the 1970s, led by The Specials, Madness, The Beat, The Selecter and others. Dammers started 2 Tone in 1979 as a home for this music, with distribution in the UK being handled by Chrysalis. Although the label only saw around 30 single releases (through to 1985, when The Specials split), the strong visual and musical identity of 2 Tone made its mark, and is an essential part in the history of UK ska and beat.
| ||The work of Jerry Dammers and Specials' bassist Horace Panter, this is the iconic 2 Tone design (shown here on the very first single release on the label). The character of Walt Jabsco was based on former Wailer Peter Tosh; the black and white checks were a homage to the pattern on Dammers' scooter.|
Film makers Warner Bros started their own record label in 1957 (supposedly when they noticed that musical numbers from their films were doing rather well in the charts). Their releases arrived under their own identity here from 1960, when the Everly Brothers' "Cathy's Clown" became the first UK Warner-branded record. With the acquisition of Reprise in 1963, Warner gradually built a strong base, and further developments saw releases from Fleetwood Mac, A-Ha, Rod Stewart and Prince, who famously changed his name to a symbol to escape his Warners' contract. The name continues to this day: note that Warner is the second-longest record label that's still its own parent company (one of the Big Four), after EMI.
| ||For the period that Warner was owned by the Kinney Corporation, its releases carried a K-prefix catalogue number, and variants of this standard design (solid colour, one small logo top middle) were used for all the Warner labels (including Elektra and Reprise). The centre label remained distinct, though: here showing Warner's home of Burbank.|
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