Bruce Iglauer

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Bruce Iglauer
Bruce Iglauer 31 Rawa Blues 2011 047.jpg
Born (1947-07-10) July 10, 1947 (age 75)
OccupationRecord producer
Known forFounder and CEO of Alligator Records

Bruce Iglauer (born July 10, 1947) is an American businessman and record producer who founded Alligator Records as an independent record label featuring blues music.

Early life and career[edit]

Iglauer was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan,[1] United States and grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan and Wyoming, Ohio. He became interested in the blues during the mid-1960s while attending Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin, and began hosting a college radio show, then moving on to promoting concerts at Lawrence by Howlin' Wolf and Luther Allison. He came to Chicago in 1966 as a “blues pilgrim” who wanted to check out the University of Chicago Folk Festival.[1] He came to the attention of Bob Koester, and joined the staff of Delmark Records in Chicago as a shipping clerk in 1970. He was a co-founder of Living Blues magazine in 1970. When Iglauer's advice to sign Hound Dog Taylor & The House Rockers was declined by Delmark, he recorded the group himself, and in so doing created Alligator Records in 1971.[2]

Nine months after the release of the first Alligator Records album, he left Delmark and continued at Alligator, making acclaimed recordings from Big Walter Horton, Son Seals, Fenton Robinson, Koko Taylor, Albert Collins, Lonnie Brooks and many others. A breakthrough came in 1975 with Koko Taylor's "I Got What It Takes", which earned Alligator its first Grammy Award nomination. In 1978, he signed Albert Collins, and in 1982 Clifton Chenier's "I'm Here!" won a Grammy.[3] Recordings on Alligator by Hound Dog Taylor, Fenton Robinson, Albert Collins, Johnny Winter, Roy Buchanan, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, James Cotton, Charlie Musselwhite, Luther Allison, Shemekia Copeland, Roomful of Blues, Marcia Ball, Buckwheat Zydeco and others have been Grammy nominated. Showdown! by Albert Collins, Robert Cray and Johnny Copeland won a Grammy for Best Blues Recording of 1987[4] and Buckwheat Zydeco's Lay Your Burden Down won a Grammy for Best Blues Cajun or Zydeco Recording of 2009.[5]

Iglauer has produced or co-produced over 125 albums in the Alligator Records catalog, including albums by Hound Dog Taylor, Son Seals, Koko Taylor, Fenton Robinson, Albert Collins, Johnny Winter, Roy Buchanan, Lil' Ed & The Blues Imperials, James Cotton, Kenny Neal, Saffire--The Uppity Blues Women, Jarekus Singleton, Carey Bell and Billy Boy Arnold.[6]

The Alligator catalog contains over 300 albums, ranging from electric Chicago blues and blues rock to acoustic Piedmont blues and West Coast jump blues. By the 1990s, Alligator was established as one of the largest contemporary blues labels in the world.[7] According to Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies (1981), Chicago blues saw its best documentation during the 1970s thanks in part to Iglauer and Alligator Records.[8]

Chicago magazine honored Iglauer with the 2001 Chicagoan of the Year award.[9] In addition, Iglauer was a founder of the National Association of Independent Record Distributors (NAIRD, later the Association For Independent Music (AFIM)). He has served on the boards of the Blues Foundation, the Blues Community Foundation (of which he is a founder) and the American Association of Independent Music (A2IM), which replaced AFIM as the main organization of the U.S. independent music industry. In 2014, A2IM presented Iglauer with its Lifetime Achievement Award.[10] Iglauer has also been presented with two "Keeping The Blues Alive" awards from the Blues Foundation, one as an artist manager and one for his producing. He was inducted into the Blues Foundation's Hall of Fame in 1997.[11]

In 2018, Iglauer wrote a book, Bitten by the Blues: The Alligator Records Story, published by University of Chicago Press.[1] In November 2022, Iglauer was honored by the Recording Industry Association of America at their Washington, D.C. headquarters with a concert by Shemekia Copeland for his work with Alligator Records and Chicago's Blues scene.[12]

Personal life[edit]

Iglauer is married to Jo Kolanda of Mequon, Wisconsin. They have a daughter and two grandchildren, Rachel Beaudry, Hailey Montalbano, and Gabrielle Montalbano, of Glencoe, Illinois, and he has a stepdaughter, Rebekah Beaudry of Mequon, Wisconsin.


  • Bruce Iglauer, Patrick A. Roberts Bitten by the Blues: The Alligator Records Story University of Chicago Press, 2018


  1. ^ a b c Moore, Evan F. (June 15, 2021). "Chicago's Alligator Records celebrates 50th anniversary in 'home of the blues'". Chicago Sun-Times.
  2. ^ Knopper, Steve (September 17, 2021). "For 50th anniversary of Chicago's Alligator Records, home of Lonnie Brooks, Koko Taylor and many others, a concert and a lot of memories". Entertainment. Chicago Tribune.
  3. ^ Grammy Winner: 1982 Best Ethnic or Traditional Folk Recording Retrieved 5 September 2014
  4. ^ Grammy Winner: 1985 Best Traditional Blues Recording Retrieved 5 September 2014
  5. ^ Grammy Winner: 2009 Best Zydeco or Cajun Music Album Retrieved 5 September 2014
  6. ^ Bruce Iglauer Production Credits AllMusic. Retrieved 5 September 2014
  7. ^ Alligator Records Discography Retrieved 5 September 2014
  8. ^ Christgau, Robert (1981). "The Decade". Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies. Ticknor & Fields. ISBN 0899190251. Retrieved April 6, 2019 – via
  9. ^ "Chicagoans of the Year: Past Honorees" Chicago Magazine. Retrieved 5 September 2014
  10. ^ Bruce Iglauer's 2014 A2IM Lifetime Achievement Award Speech Archived September 9, 2014, at the Wayback Machine 24 June 2014. Retrieved 5 September 2014
  11. ^ Blues Hall of Fame Induction Retrieved 5 September 2014
  12. ^ Sweet, Lynn (November 22, 2022). "Alligator Records founder Iglauer honored in D.C. for 50th anniversary of Chicago blues label". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved November 30, 2022.

External links[edit]