I like many record companies from over the years, as I do studios.
Special moments in entertainment and pop culture.
I’m not sure where I would be if not for the great music and movies throughout my life. As a real young kid in the 70’s, it always interested me as to who was where. Rosters intrigued me. Growing up in and the 90’s, I studied it. The business side was interesting to me, but the quality of the art and performances made an impact. I’m still interested in much of this, although the landscape is quite different. I follow more indie labels now. It’s almost like a game to see who goes where and makes the jump to a major label. I’ve predicted and guessed many correctly. Sometimes I think it’s best for an artist to stick with an indie and grow yourself and keep more of your money.
Looking through history, a few of my favorite labels and studios:
First, let’s discuss music…
Geffen gave us Nirvana, Guns N’ Roses, Aerosmith during some of their comeback years, Peter Gabriel, Beck, Weezer, Garbage etc.
Columbia and their family of labels with Bruce Springsteen, Michael Jackson, Mariah Carey, Alice In Chains, Fiona Apple, Beastie Boys (via Def Jam/American), Jeff Buckley etc.
Look at the legends…
Sun Records with Elvis, early Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Car Perkins etc. Sam Phillips had a special thing with Sun. Great story.
Chess with Chuck Berry.
I’ve had the privilege of talking with Chuck Berry and Jerry Lee Lewis. They are so forever hip, they are not human. Great people.
Atlantic with Led Zeppelin, Capitol with The Beatles, Elektra gave us The Doors.
Motown… I loved everything there. Such a rich history.
Now, the studios with excellent movies…
Paramount had the greatest ever film with The Godfather starring Marlon Brando.
Universal with Scarface starring Al Pacino. I will watch, listen and read anything on Al Pacino. To me, he is the actor’s actor. Not many, if any, better.
United Artists had something that really became a phenomenon and that is Rocky starring Sly Stallone.
20th Century Fox had Star Wars and now Disney has that franchise. I hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. I hope it’s all done well. Later, 20th got another great franchise started with Die Hard starring Bruce Willis.
Orion Pictures had a monster in The Terminator starring Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Columbia with Stripes starring Bill Murray. Bill Murray is the man. I met him in the Twin Cities and he’s like the neighbor everybody wants. Such a nice guy.
This all leads me to my favorite company ever, because I think they have always assembled the greatest talent, stories etc. ever. I’m talking about Warner Bros. When it comes to both music and movies.
Let’s look at Warner Bros. Records back in the day…As a Music Director, I’d get excited when something arrived from Warner Bros. because I knew it would usually be fantastic. This is not in any order, but here is some of their artist roster at the time…Van Halen, Madonna, Prince, REM, Talking Heads, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jane’s Addiction, Seal (who I still dig a lot…very underrated…Crazy and Killer…great songs), ZZ Top, Green Day (Reprise, but in the family), Faith No More (also Reprise) Dire Straits, Elvis Costello, etc. THAT is a roster.
This helps make my point.
The movies through Warner Bros. Pictures are some of my all time favorites, especially Goodfellas starring Ray Liotta, Robert DeNiro and Joe Pesci. The true story of Henry Hill is and forever will be a classic to me. It may be my #1 ever. It usually is between three with the other two being The Godfather and Scarface.
Other Warner work…
The Matrix series of films I enjoyed. Keanu Reeves finest work. He’s come a long way since Bill & Ted.
Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut starring Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. It is a weird film, but we’ll done and accurate. I think some people didn’t like it because they didn’t get it. I think if people went into it knowing that this really happens, they may look at it and open their mind to some truth. The whole secret society thing is not bullshit. If you only knew. I dig all of Stanley Kubrick’s films. ALL. Just remember, Mr. Kubrick is trying tell you something and share knowledge with you.
The Green Mile with Tom Hanks May be my favorite work of his and Michael Clarke Duncan was mindblowing.
Warner Bros. Pictures logos through history.
Another look at Warner Bros. through history.
Warner Bros. still does well on both fronts now. I’m still a fan.
Warner Bros. Records still has a few of the artists I mentioned earlier, plus the excellent Muse, Damon Albarn, Gerard Way, Linkin Park, Paramore, The Flaming Lips, Disturbed, Echosmith, Royal Blood, Atlas Genius and they just signed The Prodigy for their upcoming albums. An act to keep an eye and ear on is Helena.
Warner Bros. Pictures has had a major cash machine for many years called Harry Potter. Soon, Mad Max: Fury Road with Tom Hardy. Batman vs. Superman starring Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill in 2015, plus Focus from Will Smith is still on the way in 2015 too.
That’s all folks!