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Justin A. Williams

Record label. Interscope was founded in 1990 in Los Angeles by producer Jimmy Iovine and Ted Field. Warner Music Group initially purchased 50% of the label and distributed material through Atlantic Records; albums by Gerardo, Primus, and Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch were among the first releases. Its first large scale success came from promoting “gangsta rap” in the early 1990s, largely through a partnership with Death Row Records, founded by former football player Marion “Suge” Knight and rapper/producer Dr. Dre (Andre Young). Dr. Dre’s debut album, The Chronic (1992), would be a huge success for the label, as would the Dr. Dre-produced Snoop Doggy Dogg debut Doggystyle (1993). In 1996, Universal Music Group purchased Interscope and in 1999, the label merged with Geffen and A&M records.

Interscope has worked with a number of rap subsidiary labels, including Dr. Dre’s Aftermath Entertainment (founded in 1996...


Andrew Flory

Record company. Based in Detroit, Invictus was an independent record company that specialized in dance-based rhythm-and-blues and psychedelic soul. Invictus was founded by the songwriter-producer team of Edward Holland, Jr., Lamont Dozier, and Brian Holland, after the trio left Motown, where they had produced dozens of chart-topping hits during the 1960s. Holland, Dozier, and Holland, also founded the Hot Wax label and wrote, produced, and owned much of the music on both labels. New York-based Buddah Records distributed Hot Wax. Invictus releases were distributed by Capitol from 1969 to 1972 and Columbia from 1972 to 1978, at which point Invictus and Hot Wax reformed into H-D-H records. The most popular singles released on Invictus and Hot Wax were by Freda Payne (“Band of Gold,” 1970), Chairmen of the Board (“Give Me Just a Little More Time,” 1970), and Honey Cone (“Want Ads,” 1971). Invictus also released the first single and album recorded by the Detroit-based psychedelic soul group Parliament....


Francis Kayali


Radio show and cybercast devoted to new music. Hosted by composers Dennis Báthory-Kitsz (“Kalvos”) and David Gunn (“Damian”), the show aired weekly from 1995 to 2005 on the WGDR-FM 91.1 station at Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont. Since 2005, new K&D shows have been made available online, albeit on an occasional and irregular basis. Kalvos & Damian’s New Music Sesquihour started on 27 May 1995 as a 90-minute weekly summer radio show. That September they expanded to a permanent two-hour slot, retitled Kalvos & Damian’s New Music Bazaar, and introduced a website (www.kalvos.org) that offered live online streaming and, eventually, archived broadcasts, which reached a much wider audience. In 2000 K&D was recognized as “a music website of singular excellence” and its hosts were awarded an ASCAP-Deems Taylor Internet Award.

K&D shows are characterized by a humorous, quirky, playful, and unpretentious tone. Their opening segment consists of a ten-minute “introductory essay,” an often zany, Dadaist narrative written and read by Damian, accompanied by sound effects and banter from Kalvos. The main portion of the show is devoted to interviews and recordings of new music. Over the years, K&D has interviewed a vast range of contemporary composers: experimental and mainstream, symphonic and electronic, prominent and emerging, Vermont natives and overseas figures. K&D also ran online mentoring programs for junior high and high school students and organized the Ought-One Festival of Non-Pop in Montpelier, Vermont. After Báthory-Kitsz and Gunn decided to pursue new projects, the final radio broadcast of K&D aired on ...



Andrew Flory

Record company. Based in Los Angeles, Keen was an independent record company that specialized in popular music performed by African American artists. It was formed in 1957 by artist and producer Bob Keane, businessman John Siamas, producer and songwriter Robert “Bumps” Blackwell, along with performer and songwriter Sam Cooke. Keen is perhaps best known as the record company that released Cooke’s first mainstream hit, “You Send Me” in ...


Mark Anthony Neal

(b Chicago, IL, Jan 8, 1967). American R&B singer, writer, producer, and arranger. Kelly was born on the South side of Chicago. Raised, with his three siblings, by a single mother, he was encouraged to pursue a musical career by his high school music teacher and mentor, Lena McLin, who was the chair of the music department at the Kenwood Academy and the niece of the legendary gospel music composer Thomas Dorsey. In high school Kelly formed the group MGM (Musically Gifted Men), which won a $100,000 grand prize on the television talent show Big Break, hosted by Natalie Cole. The group eventually signed with Jive Records, though after creative and financial tensions, three of the members were replaced and the group renamed R. Kelly and Public Announcement. After a moderately successful debut that produced the hit singles “She’s Got That Vibe” and “Honey Love,” Kelly left the group in early ...


Brooke Bryant

Record company. Based in Portland, Oregon, and Olympia, Washington, Kill Rock Stars (KRS) was started by Slim Moon in 1991. Moon ran the label until 2006, when his wife, Portia Sabin, took over as president. KRS primarily promotes music by local artists and has remained unaffiliated with a major label. The label describes itself as “queer-positive, feminist and artist friendly.” KRS and many of its artists have been closely associated with Riot grrrl, an underground feminist punk movement.

KRS’s first release was a spoken word split single entitled KRS-101 (1991), featuring Moon and Kathleen Hanna, lead vocalist of the band Bikini Kill. Later that year, KRS released a compilation album featuring Olympia-area bands including Bikini Kill, Bratmobile, and The Melvins. Singles, compilations, and LPs by riot grrrl bands such as Bikini Kill, Huggy Bear, and Team Dresch were released by KRS throughout the early 1990s. Subsequent artists of note included Sleater-Kinney and The Gossip. In ...


Michael Ann Williams

(b Livingston, KY, July 1, 1894, d Lexington, KY, Nov 12, 1985). American country music entrepreneur. He grew up in Rockcastle County, Kentucky, near the Renfro Creek, which gave its name to the mythical community which Lair would make famous. Lair pursued a career in insurance in Chicago, where he became familiar with radio station WLS and its pioneering National barn dance. By the late 1920s, Lair began seeking out talent for WLS. His first success came with the Cumberland Ridge Runners, a group that eventually included Red Foley, who went on to country music stardom. During his WLS years, Lair also created acts for three of the most popular female country music radio stars of the era: Linda Parker, LuLu Belle, and Lily May Ledford. As music librarian for WLS, Lair was instrumental in helping to promote barn dance entertainment as “folk” rather than “hillbilly” music. An avid collector of music, Lair copyrighted a number of variants of traditional pieces, but also composed original music, including his best known “Take me back to Renfro Valley.”...


John Rockwell

revised by Andrea F. Bohlman

(b Brooklyn, NY, May 14, 1947). American rock critic, record producer, and manager. While a history student at Brandeis University (BA 1969) he was the main critic for Crawdaddy! (1966–7) and contributed a regular full-page column to Rolling Stone (1967–9). After graduating, he made his first attempts at record production with the MC5 and Livingston Taylor. In 1970 he returned to criticism, first for the Boston Phoenix (1970–2) and then the Real Paper (1972–5). From 1971 he was recordings editor for Rolling Stone, leaving rock criticism in 1975. In 1972 he had already published a collection of his writings. Landau’s authoritative style is direct in its assessment. His knowledge of rock history and his penchant for technical explanation contributed to his tremendous influence on rock’s development. Landau’s longtime association with Bruce Springsteen began in 1974 when he notably described the artist’s “rock and roll future” in the ...


Barbara Turchin

Firm of music publishers. It was established in Philadelphia in 1848 by George W. Lee (d 1875) and Julius Walker (d 1857), and in 1856 absorbed the business of George Willig (both men had worked as clerks in Willig’s music store). The firm published early editions of such patriotic songs as “Dixie” (...


Daniele Buccio

(Henry )

(b Canton, OH, Aug 18, 1905; d West Redding, CT, July 31, 1978). American composer, violinist, bandleader, recording engineer, and producer. After graduating from Johns Hopkins University, he performed as a light classical violinist in the United States and Europe. During the 1930s he studied conducting with Maurice Frigara in Paris. After a near-fatal car accident in 1940, he organized his own dance band, the Light Brigade, which recorded for RCA and Columbia. After he disbanded it at the turn of the decade, Light devoted himself to management, working for several record companies before becoming president of Waldorf Music Hall Records in 1954. He founded his own label, Grand Award, in 1956 and had success with Dixieland and honky-tonk piano albums. In 1959, he founded Command Records on which he released Persuasive Percussion, the first in a successful series of high-fidelity albums that used stereo technology to great advantage. Over the next two decades, he continued to produce hit albums drawing on the latest technological savvy and packaged with covers usually designed by Josef Albers. Musicians who appeared on Light’s albums include the Free Design, Doc Severinsen, Dick Hyman, Bobby Byrne, and Bobby Hackett. In ...


Ryan R. McNutt

[Gottwald, Lukasz ]

(b Westerly, RI, Sept 26, 1973). American songwriter and record producer. One of the most sought-after collaborators for popular singers in the 2000s, he helped reshape the sound of radio pop for the MP3 age. His hits include Kelly Clarkson’s “Since U been Gone,” Katy Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl,” and Ke$ha’s “Tik Tok.” As of January 2011, he had collaborated on 21 Top 40 Billboard Hot 100 singles.

Following two years at the Manhattan School of Music, he was hired as the lead guitarist for the Saturday Night Live house band in 1997. While working with the show, he began DJing throughout New York, producing or remixing tracks for artists including Mos Def and Black Star. After he met Swedish producer Max Martin at a house party, the duo collaborated on two songs for American Idol winner Kelly Clarkson’s second album, after which Dr. Luke soon wrote hits for Pink, Avril Lavigne, Britney Spears, Katy Perry, and others. Noted for his loud, polished sound and the adoption of electronic and indie rock tropes in his work, he claimed credits on nine separate top ten singles in ...


A lyricist writes the text for a song; the term is also applied to those who supply the text to certain other forms of vocal music. As part of the production and performance of a song, the lyricist participates as part of a larger process involving songwriters, arrangers, producers, publishers, and performers. Many notable lyrics worked in fruitful collaboration with a specific ...


Gary W. Kennedy

Member of Marsalis family

(b New Orleans, July 28, 1965). Trombonist and record producer, son of Ellis Marsalis. He played electric bass guitar and took up trombone at the age of 12, and later studied record production and trombone at the Berklee College of Music. After graduating (spring 1989) he performed around New Orleans, and at some point he read English at the University of New Orleans. Having worked with Ray Charles, Fats Domino, Abdullah Ibrahim’s septet Ekaya, and Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, around spring 1991 Marsalis began leading his own quintet, which has included Mark Turner, the pianist Victor “Red” Atkins, the double bass player Greg Williams, Brian Blade, and his brother Jason Marsalis; in September 1992 he led the group at the reopening of Kimball’s in San Francisco. Between 1993 and 1998 he was a member of Elvin Jones’s Jazz Machine. He moved to New York in ...


Jesse Jarnow

(b New Orleans, LA, April 13, 1926). American label owner, producer, and engineer. The owner of Cosimo Recording Studios and Rex Records, he was one of the most important recording producers in the fertile New Orleans scene between 1945 and 1972. Matassa’s family, Sicilian immigrants, owned grocery and appliance stores in New Orleans, the latter of which sold radios as well as jukeboxes. As a teenager, Matassa was a field service representative for the family business, J & M Amusement Services. After Matassa began making money selling used records from the jukeboxes, he purchased a Duo Press disc cutter, installed it in the rear of the family store, hired out the space to outside producers, and began recording exclusive sides for the company to distribute. One such artist was Fats Domino, who cut his first single there in 1949. Relocating to a larger space in the French Quarter in ...


Marisol Negrón

(b Brooklyn, NY, Sept 29, 1941; d Hackensack, NJ, March 10, 2009). American promoter, manager, and record label owner. The premiere promoter of “tropical” Latin music, Mercado was a teenager when he began organizing “waistline parties” that admitted women free of charge while men paid according to the size of their date’s waist. These parties soon led to the 3 & 1 club in Brooklyn, where he featured established and up-and-coming Latin music musicians. Mercado established himself in the Manhattan music scene by promoting live performances, such as the Latin jazz series at the Red Garter; dances at the Cheetah Lounge, including the legendary Fania All-Stars concert in 1971; and, in the early 1980s, the Salsa Meets Jazz series at the Village Gate with promoter Jack Hooke.

Mercado created RMM Management in 1972, eventually signing most of the artists under Fania Records. In 1987 he launched RMM Records, filling the void left by the demise of Fania in the early 1980s. Mercado quickly emerged as a leader in the industry and the shift toward ...


Roben Jones

[Lincoln Wayne ]

(b LaGrange, GA, June 12, 1936). American guitarist, songwriter, producer, and entrepreneur. At age 14 he arrived in Memphis and soon worked with Johnny and Dorsey Burnette. His song “This Time” became a hit for Troy Shondell (1961, Liberty). He then worked for Stax Records, overseeing their first three hits. Ousted in 1962, he founded American Studios and assembled a house band, the Memphis Boys. With Dan Penn, he wrote “Dark End of The Street” for James Carr (1966, Goldwax) and “Do Right Woman” for Aretha Franklin (1967, Atl.). He produced works by Elvis Presley, the Gentrys, Dionne Warwick, B.J. Thomas, and many others. In 1972 he moved to Atlanta and then Nashville, where he became prominent in the Outlaw movement, producing Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson and cowriting “Lukenbach, Texas (Back to the Basics of Love)” (1977, RCA) with Bobby Emmons. In 1982...



Nick Rubin

[Music Television]

Cable TV channel launched on 1 August 1981 as a joint venture between Warner Bros and American Express. It was originally conceived as a television analog to mainstream rock radio. However, a limited supply of video clips from mainstream rock artists led the channel to include new wave artists, who had been producing videos for urban “rock discos” as well as for British television. Often these bands were particularly telegenic, displaying dramatic fashion sensibilities and sleek, modern instruments like synthesizers and electronic drums. Although mainstream artists still constituted the majority of MTV programming, the channel became strongly identified with this so-called new music, partially because it had hitherto received scant radio airplay in the United States. When such artists as the Human League, Soft Cell, and Duran Duran exploded in popularity after receiving MTV airplay, the channel pushed commercial radio into the same territory, helping to drive a mainstream New British Invasion in the United States from ...


David Sanjek

(b Caledonia, MN, Jan 19, 1911; d Somis, CA, Jan 6, 2008). American country music record producer. One of the most prolific, influential, and successful record producers in the country arena, Ken Nelson was raised in a Chicago orphanage and struck out on his own at the age of 14. He had a brief performing career as a member of the Campus Kids but soon thereafter achieved more success on Chicago radio. His promotion of country music received the attention of Los Angeles-based Capitol Records, which hired him as producer in 1947. Nelson was appointed head of the country division in 1951 and remained in the post until 1971. Over that period he produced thousands of sessions and achieved more than 100 number-one hits. The roster of artists with whom he was associated is astounding: Ferlin Husky, Red Simpson, Faron Young, Jean Shepard, Tommy Collins, Merle Travis, Wynn Stewart, Rose Maddox, the Farmer Boys, Hank Thompson, and Sonny James. Nelson also helped establish the commercial and aesthetic preeminence of the Bakersfield Sound by producing the career-establishing recordings of Merle Haggard and Buck Owens. He made his mark in other genres as well by signing humorist Stan Freberg to the label, recording rock and roll pioneers Wanda Jackson and Gene Vincent, promoting session musician Glen Campbell into a pop star, and bringing the Beach Boys to the attention of the company. Nelson retired from Capitol in ...


Don Cusic

(b Fort Myers, FL, Oct 16, 1948). American Producer, arranger, and record executive. Norman met Don Henley when both were students at North Texas State University and formed the group Shiloh, which recorded a self-titled album (Amos, 1970), produced by Kenny Rogers, before disbanding in 1971. Norman, a keyboard player, began arranging for Henley’s new group, the Eagles, as well as Linda Ronstadt, Kim Carnes, Bob Seger, and America. Between 1977 and 1983 he achieved great success as a record producer, working with Crystal Gayle, Hank Williams, Jr., Johnny Lee, Mickey Gilley, and Anne Murray, with whom he produced nine albums, received four Grammy Awards, and earned the Country Music Association’s Single and Album of the Year awards for “A Little Good News” (Capitol, 1983).

In 1983 Norman joined Warner/Reprise as Vice-President of Artists & Repertoire, was named as Executive Vice President in 1984, and became President in ...


David Fuller

[op.](Lat.: ‘work’; Fr. oeuvre; Ger. Opus; It. opera)

The Latin plural, opera, has become singular in Italian, and its plural is opere. To avoid confusion with the usual English or Italian meaning of ‘opera’, the English plural, ‘opuses’, may be preferred. First used for a musical composition in the Renaissance (Tinctoris, prologue to Liber de arte contrapuncti, 1477; Listenius, Musica, 1537), ‘opus’ was applied by early German publishers to whole collections: Novum et insigne opus musicum (1537–8) and Magnum opus musicum (1604). One of the earliest instances of a single-composer publication with opus number was Viadana’s Motecta festorum op.10 (Venice, 1597). Biagio Marini published 22 numbered sets in Venice and other cities from 1617 to 1655. Until 1800 opus numbers were more common in instrumental than in vocal music, and they have rarely been applied to stage compositions at any period.

In the absence of corroborating information, opus numbers can never be relied upon to establish the chronology of a composer’s works. Generally, numbers were not applied until publication, and then often by the publisher, not the composer. Where the same work appears with two publishers, it may have different numbers assigned to it (as with Haydn, or with Boccherini, who assigned further numbers in his own catalogue). Sometimes, as in the case of Schütz, the numbers were added later. Before about ...