Capitol Records

Capitol Records  is a major American record label that is part of the Capitol Music Group and is a wholly owned division of Universal Music Group.  Founded as the first West Coast-based label in the U.S. in 1942 by three industry insiders, it has recorded and released material by artists such as Dean Martin, Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, The Kingston Trio, The Beach Boys, The Beatles, Glen Campbell, Kraftwerk, Frank Zappa, Megadeth, Merle Haggard, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Coldplay, Sam Smith, and Katy Perry, among many others.  Its circular Los Angeles headquarters building Capitol Records Tower is a recognized landmark.   (More from Wikipedia)
Tom King and his brother-in-law Chet Kelley came up with a gem called “Time Won’t Let Me”, a near-perfect amalgam of Motown and Merseybeat that even 45 years later is one of those songs that I never get tired of hearing.  Under pressure from Capitol Recordsthe Starfires changed their name to the Outsiders.
(February 2010)
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Bang was proud to have released a total of three albums on the Beatles’ label, Capitol Records (a fourth, previously unreleased album that predated their first album was later released when “two-fer” CD’s came out in 2004); and the first album had some charting success.
(March 2010)
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The family set out for L.A. in 1968, when son Chris Sullivan was 7.  Barbara Sullivan landed a job in the storied Capitol Records tower, while Jim Sullivan gradually became known in the show biz scene and was constantly writing songs and fiddling with his guitar.
Barbara Sullivan’s connections at Capitol Records didn't pan out either.  Nik Venet was the point man at Capitol for folk-rock music and would have been a natural to work with Jim Sullivan.  He had produced albums for Fred Neil – to whom Sullivan is often compared – Lothar and the Hand People, and Linda Ronstadt’s first band the Stone Poneysplus more mainstream acts like the Kingston Trio and the Beach Boys.  But Venet turned him down. 
  (October 2011)
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After struggling for a couple of years, Capitol Records offered the Motels a recording contract in 1977; instead, the band broke up, citing creative differences.   
The hidden history of the Motels includes a total of eight albums; I have half of them and enjoy them all, with their second album Careful being my most recent purchase.  What would have been their third studio album, Apocalypso was rejected by the suits at Capitol Records and wasn’t released in its original form until 2011.  Apocalypso was reworked in 1982 and became their first hit album, All Four One.   
(September 2012)
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Capitol Records was slow to lock up the Beatles recordings in this country – apparently learning nothing from Decca Records’ disastrous decision in 1962 not to give the band a recording contract in the UK, giving as their reason the boneheaded prediction that “guitar bands were on their way out”.  
This allowed small American labels to release many of the band’s early singles, notably “She Loves You” b/w “I’ll Get You” on Swan Records, but also including Please Please Me b/w “From Me to You” and “Do You Want to Know a Secret” b/w “Thank You Girl” on Vee Jay Records, plus “Love Me Do” b/w “P.S. I Love You” and “Twist and Shout” b/w “There’s a Place” on Vee-Jay’s subsidiary Tollie Records.  In fact, during that remarkable week in April 1964 when all of the top 5 songs on the Billboard singles chart were Beatles songs – in order, they were “Can’t Buy Me Love”, “Twist and Shout”, “She Loves You”, “I Want to Hold Your Hand”, and Please Please Me – just 2 were Capitol releases (#1 and #4).  Vee-Jay was even able to get their million-selling Introducing . . . the Beatles album released 10 days before Capitol’s Meet the Beatles (though it was originally scheduled for a July 1963 release).  Needless to say, considerable lawsuits were both brought and threatened over that period. 
Over the ensuing years, the Beatles financial entanglements only worsened.  This occurred, in part, because of the somewhat bitter and highly public break-up of the band; but for the most part, it was simply ill-advised business practices as I understand it.  Continued standoffs by the band and the other representatives in charge of their recordings – whose owners by then included Michael Jackson – kept thBeatles canon from being available via online sales until 2010.  With the acquisition of EMI by Universal Music Group in 2012 and the subsequent creation of a new Capitol Records subsidiary to oversee the Beatles catalogue, perhaps the matter is finally settled. 
(January 2013)
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For the most part, the bands on the Pebbles albums were completely unknown to practically everyone when they came out, but a few were virtually unknown songs by better known bands.  Pebbles, Volume 9 features a track by the Outsiders, to my mind a first-rate American band that had a big hit with “Time Won’t Let Me” and released several more singles, along with four albums.  If memory serves, Greg Shaw oversaw a Collector’s Choice compilation (or something like that) of the Outsiders’ music – I assume for Capitol Records, since that is the label that originally released their music.  I have all of their albums except Album #2; despite the boring album names, their stuff is really good.  


(July 2013)


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Silverbird is a Native American musical ensemble consisting mainly of members of the Ortiz / Silverbird family that has been around for more than 40 years.  The above album, Broken Treaties was released in 1972 or 1973 on Capitol Records and is (according to Gil Silverbird) the first album by a Native American band to be released on a major record label.  A more obscure album by the same band called Getting Together could have been their first (it was released in 1972) on CBS Records and Columbia Records, though this album might have been released mainly in Europe.  A third album, Silverbird was released in 1973, on Bravo Records


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This photograph of the Coronados with Jack Spector, a prominent New York City disc jockey on WMCA, was published in Billboard Magazine in 1965.  (Spector is notable for having been the first DJ in New York to play the Beatles’ initial Capitol Records single, “I Want to Hold Your Hand” in late December 1963).  Their music is described in the Daily Herald article mentioned previously in this way:  “The mode became eclectic – show tunes, popular numbers – with a professional gloss appropriate to the Borscht Belt and other resort circuits.” 


Meanwhile, the four teenaged children of the bandmembers in the Coronados – who sometimes appeared with their parents on stage – were being attracted to rock music and began singing and performing together as the Real Americans.

(August 2013)


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By the time their third album came out, Kenny Edwards had left the band; and in spite of pressure on Ronstadt from Capitol Records to become a solo act, the Stone Poneys managed to score another fine album, Linda Ronstadt, Stone Poneys and Friends, Volume III.  


(October 2013)
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Name changes are sometimes not up to you.  As I wrote many years ago, when the Starfires came up with their signature song Time Won’t Let MeCapitol Records told them to pick a new name, so they came up with the Outsiders.  


(June 2014)


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Mike Curb became a major recording industry professional that can be dated to his founding of Sidewalk Records in 1964 (a subsidiary of Capitol Records).  Among other achievements, in this period he recorded the very first tracks by Linda Ronstadt, specifically her first band, the Stone Poneys.  Mike Curb was even Lt. Governor of California in 1979-1983 under Governor Jerry Brown – the ageless Brown is also the current Governor of California.  


(December 2014)


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Kim Fowley’s first producer credit was on the song Chargeby the Renegades, a band that was composed of Bruce JohnstonSandy NelsonNick Venet – yet another future record producer, specifically at Capitol Records – and Richard Podolor, whose later credits as a record producer include “Joy to the World” by Three Dog Night.  


(January 2015/1)


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Capitol Records did release Yesterday b/w “Act Naturally” as a 45 in the U.S. on September 13, 1965, and it was a major hit.  Yesterday topped the Billboard Music Charts for 4 weeks – with one million sold within 5 weeks of its release – and was the fifth Number One single among six in a row for the Beatles – a record at that time.  Still, in the Capitol Records files, Act Naturally was always considered to be the “A” side of this single. 
(June 2015)
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The genesis of Crystal Mansion was in an R&B covers band called the Secrets from Mount Laurel, NJ that was active from 1962 to 1968 – they had the same name as the girl group called the Secrets that David White and John Madara had worked with in 1963, though there was apparently no other relation between the two groups. Early bandmembers in the Secrets included guitarist Ronnie Gentile and drummer Rickey Morley; lead vocalist Johnny Caswell and keyboardist Sal Rota were added by 1968. The band came up with a 45 for Capitol Records, “The Thought of Loving You” b/w “Hallelujah”; at that point, the band changed its name to Crystal Mansion. Several Internet sources speak glowingly of Crystal Mansion, particularly with respect to New Jersey music clubs where they often appeared. The success of the single, which reached #1 on the local Los Angeles charts, led to an album for the label in 1969 called Crystal Mansion.
In his Allmusic review of Crystal Mansion’s 1971 album, The Crystal Mansion (though granting that album only two stars), Joe Viglione calls their 1968 single The Thought of Loving You “a little mini-pop masterpiece” and “a timeless pop song”.  This song, “The Thought of Loving You” was released by Cher in 1968 (as a single only) and was later recorded by the Jimmy Castor Bunch, the Manhattan Transfer, Spiral Starecase, Lou Christie, Astrud Gilberto, and Wayne Newton.  Unfortunately, the earlier Capitol album Crystal Mansion (1969) sold poorly – Allmusic describes it as “an album that turned out a disappointment for all involved” – and information on the Internet about this album is hard to come by.
After being dropped by Capitol Records, Crystal Mansion released a single in 1970 for Colossus Records.
(August 2015)
Last edited: April 3, 2021