Monday, January 21, 2013

Ariola Records: Before My Heart Finds Out

It’s the fourth week of the month and time for our Fourth Week Label Special. During this week, we will explore some of the lesser known artists that recorded for Ariola America Records.

Many of the hits on Ariola were in the disco vein; however, since I am not a particular fan of that genre, we will look at some of the other songs recorded for the label. Some of these you may have never heard before; therefore, it will be a learning experience for all.

Ariola Records was founded by German conglomerate Bertelsmann in 1958. During 1975, a branch of the label was formed in LA under the brand of Ariola America. By 1977, the “America” part of the name was minimized giving the impression that the label was soley named as “Ariola Records.” Bertelsmann Music Group (BMG) purchased Arista Records in 1979 and the Ariola brand was distributed and promoted by Arista staff until 1981. By that year, the Ariola brand in the US was devalued and its remaining artists were switched to the Arista brand.

BMG continued to grow with the acquisition of RCA Records in 1986 and by 1989, it took complete control over Windham Hill, a label it originally distributed and then partly owned. Sony and BMG merged in 2004 in a 50/50 arrangement; however, by 2008 Sony took complete control of the corporation.

While many of you may not remember the Ariola brand in the US, they did have some interesting artists. Today, our feature is a hit from Gene Cotton’s 1977 album, “Save the Dancer.” Cotton, who began his career as a Contemporary Christian artist, switched to secular music in 1975. “Before My Heart Finds Out” was his most popular single; however, it only peaked at #23 in 1978 on Billboard’s Hot 100. The song charted at #3 on the adult contemporary chart.

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