Island Records

Island Records  is a major record label that operates as a division of Universal Music Group (UMG).  It was founded by Chris Blackwell, Graeme Goodall, and Leslie Kong in Jamaica and has been based in the United Kingdom since 1962.  Blackwell sold the label to PolyGram in 1989.  Both Island, and another recent PolyGram acquisition, A&M, were at the time the largest independent record labels in history, with Island in particular having exerted a major influence on the progressive UK music scene in the early 1970s.  As of February 2014, three Island label brands exist in the world:  Island UK, Island US, and Island Australia.  Partially due to the label’s significant legacy, Island remains one of UMG’s pre-eminent record labels.  (More from Wikipedia)

Melissa Etheridge is the first successful rock musician who is well known to be a lesbian.  Melissa is from Leavenworth, Kansas and took up the guitar at age 8; she was performing in country music groups during her teenage years and later attended the Berklee College of Music.  Melissa Etheridge sent a demo recording to Olivia Records in 1985 (they turned her down), and she also performed in lesbian bars in the Boston area while she was in college.  However, Etheridge has never made an issue of her sexual orientation one way or the other, so she was not widely known to be a lesbian when she was signed by Island Records in 1986


(January 2014)


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LootersFlashpoint – My copy of this 1990 CD has a sticker on it with a list of the dates in their U.S. tour, so it might have been a promotional album of some kind.  Allmusic gives this album 4 stars and says this about their incongruous beginnings and fan base:  “Formed in San Francisco in 1982 at the peak of the city’s hardcore punk movement, Looters were embraced by the local punk rock scene even though the style of music the multi-racial, multi-ethnic band played couldn’t have had its roots further from Gilmore Street.  The Dead KennedysJello Biafra was an early fan of the band, however, which led to the release of a self-titled EP on his Alternative Tentacles label.  As legend would have it, Island Records head honcho Chris Blackwell heard the disc playing in a record store during a trip to the Bay area and subsequently signed the band to Island.”  This is their debut album on Island but actually their second album (Jericho Down came out in 1984).  The album has a host of influences and is rife with a compelling world-music vibe.  The opening track, “War Drums” naturally is drum-based but also has fine harmony vocals.  But the killer track for me is “Manzanar”, with its recurring call of “how far . . . is Manzanar”.  From Wikipedia:  “Manzanar is the site of one of ten American concentration camps, where more than 120,000 Japanese Americans were incarcerated during World War II from March 1942 to November 1945.” 
(December 2015)
Last edited: March 22, 2021