Capitol Records (imprint of Capitol Records, Inc.)

~ Label



Capitol Records was born out of Johnny Mercer frustration not being able to obtain satisfactory recording conditions for his work, and upon a suggestion from Glenn Wallichs.

Mercer made an initial arrangement in January 1942 with Buddy DeSylva (at that time head of production at Paramount Studios), who will agree to put in a total of $25,000 to help things start.

On February 7, Liberty Records was created. Due to the failure to obtain rights on the name, though, it was changed to Capitol Records, which was effectively created on April 9.

Later in May was held the first recording session of the new label (a Paul Whiteman session), like most of the early recordings, at C.P. MacGregor's Recording Studios (729 S. Western Avenue, Hollywood, CA, USA).

On May 21, Cow-Cow Boogie (the first gold Capitol single) is recorded by Freddie Slack.

Later on, Glenn Wallichs invent the concept of giving away promotional pre-releases to disc-jockeys - soon imitated by other companies, that move was crucial in making Capitol early success - including Cow-Cow Boogie.

On June 4, Capitol officially starts activity in a new office, 1483 Vine Street, Hollywood, CA, USA. Capitol will stay there until 1946. The first batch of employees includes (besides Mercer & Wallichs) Dave Shelly, Floyd Bittaker, and Dave Dexter, Jr. (later on famous for turning off the Beatles twice).

On June 12, Billie Holiday records with Paul Whiteman (Travelin' Light).
Soon after, the first reviews of Capitol records appears in Billboard Magazine.
On July 1, Capitol finally releases a first batch of 9 singles, numbered 101 to 109, soon the be praised and a commercial success.

On July 30, the Petrillo Ban starts, helping in the end of Big Band orchestras.

By the end of the year, Capitol made $195,000, signing Tex Ritter, Martha Tilton, Johnny Mercer, Ella Mae Morse, Freddie Slack, Margaret Whiting and Johnnie Johnston, and hiring Paul Weston as musical director.



Bought by EMI.


Had subsidiaries: SBK, EMI America Records and EMI-Manhattan Records.
Distributed by: Capitol Records (US), Parlophone/EMI Records (UK)

Complicated history, with recent merges including with Priority Records in 2001.
Some of the back catalog reissued by Blue Note.
Also made a career out of messing records.

Annotation last modified on 2008-02-09 01:47 UTC.


Swing Blues No.1 / Steel Guitar RagBob Wills & His Texas PlayboysVinyl2
I've Found a New Baby / The General Jumped at DawnPaul Whiteman & His OrchestraVinyl2
  • US1942-07-01
Cow-Cow Boogie / Here You AreFreddie Slack and His Orchestra7" Vinyl2
  • US1942-07-01
Strip Polka / The Air-Minded ExecutiveJohnny MercerVinyl2