ELEKTRA

 

American, out of New York City.  The Elektra label was started by Jac Holzman in 1950.  At first it concentrated upon the fields of Folk, Ethnic music, Jazz and Gospel; later on it expanded into Blues. Pop and Rock.   Judy Collins was an important signing for Elektra, in 1961); other notable signings followed: the mid '60s saw the advent of Love, and the Doors, while Carly Simon arrived in 1970.  The Nonesuch offshoot was launched in 1963 as a budget-priced outlet for classical music; it proved surprisingly successful.  Elektra was sold to the Kinney Corporation in 1970 and became the 'E' of the big WEA group when Kinney was renamed Warner Communications in 1971.  Holzman retired in 1973, but despite the loss of its founder, the label continued to flourish, and artists such as Bread, Television and the Cars kept it in the charts throughout the '70s and early 80s.  Elektra was combined with Asylum in August 1973; it is still going today, as part of Time-Warner.  In Britain, the Elektra label came in the scene in 1965.   Its first single had a striking red and white label (1) and was pressed by Record Imports Ltd; for the second release, Phil Ochs's, 'I Ain't Marching Any More', the design was changed completely for the second single,and the colours were altered to yellow and black, though numbering remained in the EKSN45-000s (2) - thanks to Robert Bowes for that scan.  For the third and fourth releases the red-and-white label returned.  From May 1967 a new, plainer, design was adopted; these labels were either orange with black lettering (3) or green label with silver lettering (4); the numbers dropped the hyphen at this point and became just EKSN-45000.  In August of that year Polydor took over manufacture and distribution, and that company's name appeared at the bottom of the label.  In November 1968 the black printing became silver (5).  Around October 1969 the design altered slightly and the colours changed again, this time to red with black and white printing (6).  Partway through the '70s Polydor changed to an all-numerical numbering system, and Elektras's EKSN-45000s became 2102-000s (7).  Some later pressings of Judy Collins', 'Amazing Grace' (2101-010) were injection-moulded (8); for some reason, presumably contractual, they seem to have been issued after the company had switched the distribution of its new products to CBS, which happened in January 1971.   After the move Elektra singles were given a new 'caterpillar' label and an EK-45700 numerical series (9) - this scan appears by courtesy of Julian Hardstone.  Promos from this period resemble the Pye style promos of that time, apart from the absence of the 'ADVANCE PROMOTION COPY' lettering above the 'A' (13).  The EK-45700 numbering was soon replaced by the familiar K-12000 one, though the design remained the same (10) the change of numbering brought Elektra into line with the other members of the Kinney group, which all had numbers in various K-00000 series.  EMI took over the manufacture and distribution of Elektra records in the Autumn of 1973, when the label was merged with Asylum; Asylum was with EMI at the time.  The label gained a reference to EMI Records at the left-hand side of the outer circle of declarations, and perforated copies have the narrower perforations typical of EMI at this time (11).  Promos from this period have the usual EMI-style promo appearance (14).  WEA started its own distribution network early in 1976, and both Elektra and Asylum moved across to join their stable-mates there.  A small 'W' and the equally miniscule legend 'A Warner Communications Company' appeared on the right hand side of the label (12) at the time of the changeover.  From that point the label design, numbering and distribution seem to have settled down for the rest of the '70s, though at the end of the decade, Asylum records started sharing Elektra's K-12000 numerical series.  As far as company sleeves are concerned, Elektra had its own orange one for most of the Seventies (15), but c.1978 WEA adopted a common sleeve for all its labels and Elektra singles began to appear in those (16).  The design of the common sleeve changed c.1979 (17).  A 'Treasured Tracks' series of Elektra and Asylum singles was issued in the Autumn of 1976, in a special sleeve (18).   The discography below only covers the 1970s, and, as usual, it is peppered with holes.   Quite a number of these holes are caused by the records with those numbers only being issued overseas.

('Both Sides Now'; www.bsnpubs.com)





Copyright 2006 Robert Lyons.