Reprise Records

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Reprise Records
Reprise Records.svg
Parent company Warner Music Group
Founded 1960
Founder Frank Sinatra
Status Active
Distributor(s) Warner Bros. Records
Genre Various
Country of origin U.S.
Official website warnerbrosrecords.com

Reprise Records /rəˈpriz/ is an American record label, founded in 1960 by Frank Sinatra. It was mostly inactive from 1976 to 1987. It is owned by Warner Music Group, and operated through Warner Bros. Records.[1]

Company history[edit]

Beginnings[edit]

"Tricolor" label, used by Reprise until 1968. (Label to The Kinks' Something Else.)

Reprise Records was formed in 1960[2] by Frank Sinatra in order to allow more artistic freedom for his own recordings. Hence, he garnered the nickname "The Chairman of the Board."[3] Having left Capitol/EMI, and after trying to buy Norman Granz's Verve Records, the first album Sinatra released on Reprise was Ring-a-Ding-Ding! As CEO of Reprise, Sinatra recruited a host of his cronies for the fledgling label, such as fellow Rat Pack members Dean Martin and Sammy Davis, Jr. The original roster from 1961 to 1963 included Bing Crosby, Jo Stafford, Rosemary Clooney, Esquivel and stand-up comedian Redd Foxx. The label still issues any Sinatra work recorded while on the label and, after his death in 1998, it had great success with his greatest hits collections.

"Two-tone orange" label used by Reprise during the Warner Bros.-Seven Arts merger from 1968 to 1969. (Label to Jimi Hendrix's Smash Hits.) After the Kinney National Company took over Warner Bros. in 1969, the orange tone at the top of the label was changed to the same tone as on the rest of the label, the W7 box logo was removed and the circled :r logo became a boxed logo without the "Reprise" designation.

One of the label's founding principles under Sinatra's leadership was that each artist would have full creative freedom, and at some point complete ownership of their work; including publishing rights. This is the reason why recordings of early Reprise artists (Dean Martin, Jimi Hendrix, The Kinks, etc.) are (in most cases) currently distributed through other labels. In Martin's case, his Reprise recordings were out of print for nearly 20 years before a deal was struck with Capitol Records.

Sold to Warner Bros.[edit]

Many of the older artists were dropped when Sinatra sold the label to Warner Bros. Records in early 1963 due to insufficient sales. Reprise president Mo Ostin was retained as the head of the label and he went on to play a very significant role in the history of the Warner group of labels over the next four decades. Warner-Reprise executives began targeting younger acts beginning by securing the American distribution rights to the Pye Records recordings by The Kinks in 1964. Reprise would later add teen-oriented pop acts like Dino, Desi & Billy and Frank's own daughter Nancy Sinatra, before moving almost exclusively to pop-oriented music in the late 1960s.

Through direct signings or distribution deals, the Reprise roster grew to include Lee Hazlewood, Jill Jackson, Jimi Hendrix, the early Joni Mitchell recordings, Neil Young, The Electric Prunes, Donna Loren, Arlo Guthrie, Norman Greenbaum, Tom Lehrer, Tiny Tim, Ry Cooder, Captain Beefheart, Family (band), the early 1970s recordings by Frank Zappa and The Mothers, Gram Parsons, Emmylou Harris, Nico's Desertshore, The Fugs, Jethro Tull, Pentangle, T. Rex, The Meters, John Cale, Van Dyke Parks, Little Feat, Gordon Lightfoot, Michael Franks, Richard Pryor, Al Jarreau, Fleetwood Mac and The Beach Boys.

Dormancy[edit]

Red label, used by Reprise throughout the late 1970s. (Label to Neil Young's Decade.)

In 1976, the Reprise label was deactivated by Warner Brothers and all of its roster (except Frank Sinatra and Neil Young) was moved to the main Warner Bros. label. An unconfirmed explanation for this move is that Sinatra wanted to be the only artist on Reprise, and Young is said to have been the only Reprise act who refused to agree to a change in labels.[citation needed]. Although older catalog albums continued to be manufactured with the Reprise logo, and albums by The Beach Boys on Brother Records were issued in the Reprise catalog numbering sequence, aside from Sinatra and Young there were no new releases on Reprise for years.

Revival and Reprise today[edit]

In late 1985 some copies of The Dream Academy's hit single Life in a Northern Town were pressed with Warner Bros. labels bearing a Reprise logo.[4] 1986 saw releases bearing Reprise labels from The Dream Academy and Dwight Yoakam.[5] In the summer of 1987 Warner Bros. Records chairman Mo Ostin and label president Lenny Waronker officially announced the reactivation of Reprise, including its own separate promotions department, and former Warner Bros. Vice President of Promotion Rich Fitzgerald was appointed as label Vice-President.[6] In the time since, Warner Bros. has often elevated the stature of Reprise to the rank of secondary parent label, as many of its subsidiary labels (such as Straight and Kinetic) have had their records released in conjunction with Reprise.

Today, in addition to Young, it is home to such artists as Devendra Banhart, Green Day, Deftones, Michael Bublé, Iyaz, Enya, Mastodon, Eric Clapton, Fleetwood Mac, Serj Tankian, Josh Groban, Charice, Cavo, Taking Back Sunday, HIM (also on Sire), My Chemical Romance and Disturbed. Reprise was also the North American label for British bands Depeche Mode and Oasis.

It was formerly home to the Jimi Hendrix and the Barenaked Ladies' catalogs in the U.S. When The Bee Gees back catalog was remastered by Rhino Records in the 2000s, their CDs were issued under the Reprise label (they appeared on sister labels Atco and Warner Bros. in the past).

Neil Young stated in a documentary about his life that Charles Manson was turned down by Reprise.

In 2010, Reprise opened a country music division, operating as part of Warner Music Group Nashville, featuring Blake Shelton, The JaneDear Girls, Michelle Branch and Frankie Ballard as part of its roster.

In September 2011, several layoffs took place at Reprise Records and other Warner labels.[7]

Reprise Records artists[edit]

Labels[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]