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Legacy Recordings

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Legacy Recordings
Parent company Sony Music Entertainment
Founded 1990 (1990)
Founder CBS Records (Sony Music)
Distributor(s) Sony Music Entertainment
Genre Various
Country of origin U.S.
Location New York City
Official website

Legacy Recordings is a record label created by CBS Records (Sony Music) in 1990 to reissue albums from the catalogs of several labels, including Columbia and Epic.[1][2]

The division now handles the archives of Sony Music-owned RCA Records, RCA Records Nashville, J Records, Windham Hill Records, Arista, LaFace, Jive, Buddah Records, and Philadelphia International Records. It also handles the catalog of recordings produced by Phil Spector.

This is not to be confused with the defunct British independent label Legacy Records.

Playlist album series[edit]

Playlist (also known as Playlist: The Very Best of [artist name]) is a series of single disc[3] compilation albums based on artists' best studio work issued by the Sony BMG labels Columbia Records and Legacy Recordings. A spinoff series, Setlist, features compilations of artists' live performances. The majority of artists are currently, or at some point in their careers, on the Legacy label. Other artists are on other Sony labels, such as Brooks & Dunn on Arista Nashville.[4] In some cases, the albums only include content from the time period when the artist was signed onto Sony. For example, Playlist: The Very Best of Mariah Carey only includes material from 1990-1999 even though by the time the album was released in 2010, Carey had released five more albums on other labels. In general, the content "focus[es] on the work the artists have done for labels that fall under the Sony/BMG umbrella".[5]

The albums come in a special Eco-packet and to save paper, a PDF file is included on the disc, containing photographs, credits, and liner notes.[6] In a review of Playlist: The Very Best of Melissa Manchester, Wesley Britton of Seattlepi said that the Playlist album "is clearly not intended to be a 'Greatest Hits' collection or a comprehensive overview of her career", and describes it as "a budget-priced assortment of 14 songs most Manchester fans likely already have [plus a] few rarities".[7] The songs are sometimes "personally selected" by the artist.[8]

DesignnTrend said that Playlist: The Very Best of Destiny's Child, the girl group's first compilation album, is "the most successful [album] in the [Legacy Record]'s popular "Playlist' series". The album, which was released in October 2012, "celebrat[ed] the 15th Anniversary of the group's #1 debut single from 1997, the 14-track career-spanning 'playlist' includ[ing] all five of the group's Billboard #1 pop and #1 R&B hits". said: "the highest ranking 'Playlist' album is Destiny's Child's Playlist: The Very Best of Destiny's Child....".[9]

In a review of Playlist: The Very Best of Lou Reed, John Metzger of The Music Box stated that "like its predecessors, the collection's hour-long running time hardly does justice to its subject". He criticized the inclusion of only 13 songs from a 12-year span of time, and the focus of those picks (for example, including no picks from The Blue Mask, which the review implies is a good album). He also criticized the Playlist series for "present[ing] its chronological order" which, due to the "limited scope" of the album, results in a weak "narrative flow". Metzger noted that "such an approach might have made sense for a comprehensive retrospective package that was designed to highlight the arc of Reed's career", something which he says the Playlist series is not. He concluded that while the album was sufficient for new listeners, it "fail[ed] to find a fresh perspective for reevaluating [Reed's] work".[10]

The Setlist series, according to Glen Boyd of Seattlepi, "includes concert compilations from a variety of top-selling artists from the Sony and RCA catalogs, ranging from classic rock and metal acts like Kansas, Quiet Riot, Judas Priest and Ted Nugent, to country artists like Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash and Alabama." He says the series "in theory at least...seemed like a pretty good idea", due to Legacy's history with repackaged releases. But based on his experience with the Cheap Trick and Jefferson Airplane Setlist albums (the only available albums in the then-"just-issued new batch of live recordings from Sony/Legacy"), he said "everything about this series seems closer to the sort of 'Special Products' offerings that wind up in cut-out and overstock bins and on late night TV commercials than the sort of consideration you normally expect from Legacy Recordings". He said he was irritated with the "cheap, non-user-friendly CD sleeves that are prone to scratches" masquerading as eco-friendly. He was disappointed that they had "minimal artwork and liner notes". He adds that "[the albums] seem to be very hastily thrown together collections with very little real care or thought behind them", and argues that if all the material has already been released on other albums (as is the case with the Cheap Trick album), he questions their existence. He finished his review by saying: "calling either release the "Very Best Of" [is] just false advertising."[11]

Writing on Allmusic about Setlist: The Very Best of New Riders of the Purple Sage Live, Al Campbell said, "New Riders of the Purple Sage collectors will be pleased with the unreleased material, but the casual listener should first check out the band's self-titled debut album on Columbia."[12]

Mission statement[edit]

The Playlist website explains that instead of just "collecting the hits" and releasing them in a greatest hits album, the series compiles "key tracks, whether a chart-topping smash or a hidden rarity" to give the listener a better understanding of the artist. By balancing "familiar favorites with deeper more revelatory selections", the series is able to cater equally to both those who are being introduced to an artist, and those who are simply being reacquainted. The albums cover a vast range of genres, including rock, pop, country, and jazz. Compact discs in the Playlist series are packaged in "100% recycled and recyclable eco-friendly no plastic digipaks".[13]

Notable artists[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "About – Legacy Recordings". Retrieved 20 July 2016. 
  2. ^ Kennedy, Gary (2002). Barry Kernfeld, ed. The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz, vol. 1 (2nd ed.). New York: Grove's Dictionaries Inc. p. 568. ISBN 1561592846. 
  3. ^ "FOXLIGHT – MUSIC RELEASES: WEEK OF 5-28-2012". Retrieved June 22, 2012. 
  4. ^ "Playlist: The Very Best Of Brooks & Dunn Music Videos". Retrieved June 23, 2012. 
  5. ^ "Playlist: The Very Best of David Allan Coe". Retrieved June 23, 2012. 
  6. ^ "Playlist: The Very Best of Rick Astley". Retrieved June 23, 2012. 
  7. ^ "Music Review: Melissa Manchester - Playlist: The Very Best of Melissa Manchester". Britton, Wesley. February 26, 2012. Retrieved January 14, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Playlist: The Very Best of Dixie Chicks". Country Weekly. May 26, 2010. Retrieved January 14, 2013. 
  9. ^ Durham, Jessica (January 10, 2013). "Destiny's Child to Release New Album 'Love Songs' Jan. 29, Justin Timberlake Says 'I'm Ready' to Another Album Coming Soon [VIDEO]". DesignnTrend. Retrieved January 14, 2013. 
  10. ^ Metzger, John (August 25, 2008). "Lou Reed Playlist: The Very Best of Lou Reed". The Music Box. Retrieved January 14, 2013. 
  11. ^ Boyd, Glen (April 26, 2011). "Music Review: Jefferson Airplane - Setlist: The Very Best of Jefferson Airplane Live; Cheap Trick - Setlist: The Very Best Of Cheap Trick Live". Seattlepi. Retrieved January 14, 2013. 
  12. ^ Campbell, Al. Setlist: The Very Best of New Riders of the Purple Sage Live at Allmusic. Retrieved July 25, 2013.
  13. ^ "Columbia/Legacy Recordings Proud to Release The Very Best of Neil Diamond - The Original Studio Recordings Available Everywhere Tuesday, December 6". Retrieved June 22, 2012. 

External links[edit]