Elektra (record company)
- Thane Tierney
Record company. It was established in Annapolis, Maryland, in 1950 by student entrepreneur Jac Holzman. With $300 of his own money and $300 borrowed from classmate Paul Rickolt, the St. John’s College junior launched his label with EKLP-1, New Songs by John Gruen, recorded in a single three-hour session. Holzman subsequently dropped out of college, moved back to his native New York City, and relocated Elektra’s headquarters to Greenwich Village. Early successes included blues albums by Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee and folk albums by Jean Ritchie and Theodore Bikel, the latter of whom bought a 5% share of the fledgling company. In the early 1960s the label continued to work mainly in the blues and folk arenas; notable signings included Judy Collins, Phil Ochs, Tom Paxton, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, and Koerner, Ray & Glover.
In 1964 the label expanded into classical music with the launch of the Nonesuch imprint, and by the mid-to-late 1960s Elektra moved aggressively into rock, signing Love, the Doors, and the Stooges, among others, while still keeping its folk roots nourished with new artists, including the Incredible String Band and Tim Buckley. In ...