Sunday, October 26, 2014

Elektra Records: The Circle Game

Originally focusing on folk music, Elektra Records’ first issue was released in 1951. Started in the previous year by Jac Holzman and Paul Rickolt’s who were students at Maryland’s St. John’s College, they used an altered version of name of the Greek mythological character Electra.

In 1970, the label became part of Kinney’s holdings which at the time included Warner Brothers and Atlantic Records. In 1971, Kinney changed its name to Warner Communications, Inc. With the purchase of the independent Asylum Records in 1972, Ekektra and Asylum were joined into one division of Warner Communication; however, Asylum appeared to become a subsidiary to the Elektra imprint.

In 2004, Time-Warner merged Elektra into Atlantic and was decommissioned as an active label until resurrected in 2009. Much of the golden years of Elektra were during the years 1965 to 1985 and the bulk of this week’s feature of the label will come from those years.

Our first selection is the title cut from Tom Rush’s 1968 album “The Circle Game.” I bought my copy of this LP in a used record store in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1986,  Although not released as a single from the album as was Rush’s composition “No Regrets,” “The Circle Game” is fairly well known as one of his recordings. Written by Joni Mitchell for Rush, Mitchell did not record the song until her 1970 third album, “Ladies of the Canyon.”

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