Sunday, December 23, 2012

Island Records: Travellin In Style

I was quite busy this past week and therefore skipped several days of posting; however, my time has been freed up and I can resume with our fourth week of the month record label special. Today, we will begin a series of posts dealing with the American arm of Island Records. Founded in Jamaica in 1959 by Chris Blackwell and Graeme Goodall, the label moved its operations to London in 1962.

While its artists were funneled through a variety of labels in the US, its American presence began in December 1971 with the release of the single “Woman” by Bronco. The label was originally distributed by Capitol Records. In 1989, Blackwell sold his interests in Island Records to Polygram, which was later absorbed by Universal Music in 1998. The label is still operational today.

The first record on Island that I purchased was the single “Wishing Well” by Free. Since, I have already featured that number, I decided on the second single, “Travellin in Style” from their final LP “Heartbreaker.”

Guitarist Paul Kossoff helped write this song and plays guitar on it; however, he left the band in the midst of recording the album and is only credited as an “additional musician” and not as a member of the band. The other guitar parts are played by lead vocalist Paul Rodgers. The song also features new band members, keyboardist Rabbit Bundrick and bassist Tetsu Yamauchi. Both played in the short lived band of Kossoff, Kirke, Tetsu & Rabbit.

Besides Rodgers, drummer Simon Kirke was the only other original member of Free in the band at the completion of the album. Both would later form Bad Company in 1973. The rest they say is history.

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