GRT Records

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GRT Records was the name of both a U.S. and a Canadian record label, both created by created by General Recorded Tape, that existed from 1969 to 1979.[1] Their demise was concurrent with the bancruptcy of their owner, General Recorded Tape.[2]

U.S. label[edit]

The American branch of GRT Records was founded in 1970.[3]

Artists who released material on GRT Records in the United States included The Mojo Men, Sam Taylor, Lighthouse, Bobby Jameson, Edwards Hand, Terry Bush, Ronnie Hawkins, Colosseum, Mainline, Minnie Riperton, Flower Travellin' Band, Rastus, String Driven Thing, Lotti Golden, Van der Graaf Generator and Steve Hackett.[2] Contrary to original expectations, the label was not a major component of the operations of parent General Recorded Tape. Instead of its record releases being referenced to the GRT label, as originally announced, General Recorded Tape referred to its Chess/Janus record operations.[4] The GRT label had more success with their Nashville operations, but the Nashville office was shut down in 1978.[5]

In 1976, GRT Records established a subsidiary, Sunnyvale Records,[6] which concentrated on releases of interest to an older audience, including releases of Dixieland, organ, harmonica and accordion music.[7]

Canadian label[edit]

In contrast, to the U.S. label, the Canadian subsidiary became a major source of original releases by Canadian artists. GRT Records, legally known as GRT of Canada Ltd., was established as the Canadian subsidiary of General Recorded Tape, a California-based company. It was initially based in London, Ontario, as a Canadian distributor of 4-track and 8-track tapes produced in the United States.[1] The company was specifically established to produce records of Canadian artists.[8] Its founding president was Ross Reynolds, who later was the president of MCA Records Canada.[9]

The company was relocated to Toronto, Ontario in 1969, and commenced distributing foreign label records and tapes, as well as recording its own artists. By 1976, the foreign labels distributed by GRT in Canada included ABC Records, Dunhill Records, Island Records, Chess Records, Festival Records, Richesse Classique, Westminster Records, America Records, Impulse Records, Musidisc Records,[1] Janus Records, 20th Century Fox Records and Sire Records.[10] In addition to releasing records under the GRT label, other Canadian labels distributed included Axe Records and Daffodil Records.[1] Notable Canadian artists whose records were released by GRT included Dan Hill, Ian Thomas, Downchild Blues Band, Lighthouse, Prism[1] and FM.[11]

GRT Records went bankrupt in 1979,[11] with significant effects on the career progress of certain Canadian artists. The second album release of FM had been scheduled for release one week subsequent to the GRT Records bankruptcy.[12] The Canadian band Prism had sold in excess of 200,000 copies of their album Armageddon, which was released the same year as the GRT bankruptcy. Both 8-track tapes and records by The Ramones were remaindered as a result of the GRT bankruptcy. Paradoxically, the remaindering of Ramones music in Canada is regarded as having contributed to the band's popularity in that country,[10] since their music was discovered by persons who would not otherwise have purchased the music at full price.

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