The company's roots started in west London in 1967 when Chris Wright and Terry Ellis formed the Ellis-Wright Agency. It was formed to manage and book the bands Ten Years After, and Clouds, as well as other blues groups. Ten Years After was managed by Wright, while Clouds was managed by Ellis. In 1968, they made a deal with Island Records and very soon Chrysalis Records, an amalgam of Wright's first name and Ellis' last name, was founded.
In the early 1970s the label had hits with rock groups such as Jethro Tull, Ten Years After, Procol Harum, etc. Later the label signed up new wave and punk acts including Generation X and Blondie. During the 1980s successful bands such as Huey Lewis and the News also were signed up.
After buying out Terry Ellis in 1985, Chris Wright sold Chrysalis Records to EMI in 1991. He retained the music publishing business Chrysalis Music Ltd until 2010, when it was sold to BMG Rights Management.
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