Challenge Records (1950s)

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Challenge Records
Founded 1957
Founder Gene Autry, Joe Johnson
Status Defunct
Country of origin US
Location Los Angeles, California

Challenge Records was founded in Los Angeles in 1957 by cowboy singer Gene Autry and former Columbia Records A&R representative Joe Johnson. Autry's involvement with the label was short lived as he sold his interest to the remaining partners in October 1958. The label's first success came with instrumental group the Champs, who had their biggest hit in 1958 with "Tequila". They also had a series of hits with pop singer Jerry Wallace ("Primrose Lane") and country singer Wynn Stewart ("Wishful Thinking"). Other recording artists with the label included Jan and Dean, Gary Usher, the Knickerbockers, and singer-songwriter Jerry Fuller. The first Challenge label was blue with silver print, followed after the first half dozen releases by a short-lived light blue label with red print, then a maroon colored label with silver print. Finally around late 1959, the company issued their singles on a green label with silver print. Early Challenge Records releases contained a crest above the Challenge logo with the letters "G A" symbolizing Gene Autry's ownership interest.

The company went out of business in the late 1960s. Sony/ATV Music Publishing owns the catalog today.

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