American, initially out of San Francisco.  Fantasy was launched in 1949 by brothers Max and Sol Weiss, who named their new label after a Sci-Fi magazine.  One of their earliest signings was Jazz-legend-to-be Dave Brubeck; other prominent Jazz musicians to appear on the label in its early days were Gerry Mulligan and Chet Baker.  A group of investors led by Saul Zaentz bought the company in 1967; in 1968 Fantasy signed what was to become its best-known and most successful act, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and expanded its musical interests to include Rock music.  Under Zaentz, Fantasy acquired the catalogues of a number of other labels, including Prestige, Riverside, Milestone, and (in 1977) Soul giant Stax.  The second half of the '70s found the company hitting a vein of success in the Disco field, on both sides of the Atlantic; most notably with Sylvester.  The '80s saw them continuing to accumulate the back-catalogues of other companies - Contemporary / Good Time Jazz, and Pablo - while in the '90s Specialty, Takoma and Kicking Mule came on board.  Not surprisingly, Fantasy is still active today, both in the field of reissues and of new music.  As far as Britain is concerned, the Fantasy label as such only came on the scene in 1972; over here Creedence Clearwater Revival's hit records had been licensed to Liberty, as had some other of the company's products.  It signed a deal with RCA in April 1972 and in addition to a number of albums issued two singles, Creedence's, 'Someday Never Comes' (F-676; 6/72) and 'Cast The First Stone' by Tom Fogerty (F-860; 7/72), using an 'F' prefix followed by their American catalogue numbers (1, 5).  The arrangement with RCA turned out to be short lived.  In November of that year Fantasy moved to EMI and adopted an FTC-100 numerical series for its singles; the label design remained basically the same, although the perimeter text altered (2, 6).  There was a change in that text in March 1975 from FTC-114 onwards, when the reference to 'The Gramophone Co' at 9 o'clock was replaced by one to EMI Records and the 'Made in Great Britain' at the bottom migrated to 2 o'clock (3).  A similar change took place on most of the other labels in the EMI family, but Fantasy's happened some eighteen months or so after the others - perhaps stock of the old labels was being used up.  Fantasy led an uneventful life as part of the EMI family until May 1978 and FTC-157, when the old brown label was replaced by a more zingy multicoloured one (4) and the Disco hits started coming.  The blue-and-white demo label (7) is an accurate facsimile, included merely for the purposes of illustration.  The company sleeve dates from the brown-label EMI years.   The discography below only covers the 1970s; the 'EMI-LRD' refers to EMI's Licensed Repertoire Division, which existed as a separate entity for a couple of years and handled all of EMI's licensed product during that time.


Copyright 2006 Robert Lyons.