Asylum Records is an American record label, founded in 1971 by David Geffen and partner Elliot Roberts. It was taken over by Warner Communications (now the Warner Music Group) in 1972, and later merged with Elektra Records to become Elektra/Asylum Records.
After various incarnations, it is currently geared primarily towards hip-hop, along with rock and alternative metal. It is owned by Warner Music Group, and is currently distributed through Alternative Distribution Alliance.
|Parent company||Warner Music Group|
|Country of origin||United States|
Asylum was founded in 1971 by David Geffen, and partner Elliot Roberts, both of whom had previously worked as agents at the William Morris Agency, and operated a folk/rock label. They had also previously founded their own management company. While unsuccessfully pitching a recording contract for their client Jackson Browne to Atlantic Records president Ahmet Ertegun, Geffen said, "You'll make a lot of money." Ertegun replied, "You know what, David, I have a lot of money. Why don't you start a record company and then you'll have a lot of money." A deal was then struck in which Ertegun would put up the initial funds, Atlantic Records would distribute Asylum Records, and the profits would be split 50/50.
Although they knew they would sign Browne, the first act that Geffen asked to join the label was his close friend Laura Nyro, whose career he was managing at the time. Nyro initially agreed, but without Geffen's knowledge she changed her mind and re-signed with Columbia Records. Geffen said it was the biggest betrayal of his life up to that point and that he "cried for days".
Asylum's early releases were distributed by Atlantic Records. The same year, Asylum signed Linda Ronstadt, John David Souther, Judee Sill, Joni Mitchell and Glenn Frey (whom Geffen encouraged to form the Eagles, with Don Henley, Bernie Leadon, and Randy Meisner). In 1972, then folk-based singer/songwriter Tom Waits signed with the label, releasing his debut, Closing Time, in 1973. His seventh and final album for the label, Heartattack and Vine, was released in 1980. Former Creedence Clearwater Revival frontman John Fogerty signed with the label in 1974. The biggest coup for Asylum was signing Bob Dylan, who had been with Columbia Records since the early 1960s but who, after a falling-out with the company, was shopping around for a new label. Dylan recorded two albums, Planet Waves and the live Before the Flood, for Asylum before returning to Columbia. Columbia reissued Dylan's two Asylum albums in 1981.
Asylum was taken over by Warner Communications in 1973, and merged with Elektra Records to become Elektra/Asylum Records. David Geffen and Elliot Roberts each received $2 million in cash and $5 million in Warner Communications stock, thereby becoming two of the company's largest shareholders. Geffen served as president and chairman of Elektra/Asylum Records until 1975, when he crossed over to film and was named vice-chairman of Warner Bros. One of Asylum's most prominent signings after Geffen's departure was Warren Zevon, who released a series of successful and critically acclaimed LPs for the label; his self-titled 1976 label debut has been called the best California rock album of the decade.
By the early 1980s, although the copyright lines on albums still read "Elektra/Asylum Records" or "Elektra/Asylum/Nonesuch Records", Elektra was becoming the more prominent of the two labels with Asylum turning into a secondary imprint. By the middle of the decade, the company was unofficially calling itself Elektra Records, and in 1989 it was renamed Elektra Entertainment. By this time Asylum's remaining acts had been shifted to the Elektra roster, although catalog recordings and reissues continued to be sold with the Asylum label on them.
Asylum was reformatted into a Country music label, still operated by Elektra, in 1992. Under the new format, Asylum scored successful recordings by such acts as Emmylou Harris, Brother Phelps, Thrasher Shiver, Kevin Sharp, Bryan White, and Lila McCann. They also produced many critically acclaimed albums by artists such as Mandy Barnett, Guy Clark, The Cox Family, Bob Woodruff, John Douglas Myers (JD Myers) and Jamie Hartford. By the end of the decade, however, mismanagement and a lack of promotion money led to the dissolution of the Asylum country label.
In 2003, Mike Curb, head of Curb Records, revived the Nashville division of Asylum, forming a new label known as Asylum-Curb. LeAnn Rimes, Clay Walker, Lee Brice, Rio Grand, Hank Williams, Jr. and Wynonna were among the artists on the Asylum-Curb division.
After being dormant for several years, Asylum Records was revived as an urban music-based label in 2004, with some of its releases distributed in conjunction with Warner Bros. Records and others through Atlantic Records. In 2006, WMG shifted Asylum to operate under their newly created Independent Label Group, which also comprises Cordless Recordings and East West Records. In December 2006, Asylum Records announced the signing of Atlanta, Georgia-based metal band Sevendust, the first non-hip-hop artist to be signed to the newly reconfigured label. On March 30, 2009, Asylum president and CEO Todd Moscowitz was promoted to co-president of Warner Bros. Records Inc. Subsequently, Asylum was detached from the Independent Label Group and operated under Warner Bros. from 2009 to 2013 before being moved to Atlantic. Cee Lo Green was signed to the label as well as New Boyz and Ed Sheeran. The label achieved its first number 1 hit on the UK Singles Chart with "Feel the Love" by Rudimental in May 2012. The label was relaunched in the US in 2017, operating separately from the UK label.
Anne-Marie Rose Nicholson (born 7 April 1991), better known professionally as Anne-Marie, is an English singer and songwriter. She has attained several charting singles on the UK Singles Chart, including Clean Bandit's "Rockabye", featuring Sean Paul, which peaked at number one, as well as "Alarm", "Ciao Adios", "Friends" and "2002". Her debut studio album Speak Your Mind was released on 27 April 2018, and peaked at number three on the UK Albums Chart. She has been nominated for four awards at the 2019 Brit Awards, including Best British Female Solo Artist.Before the Flood (album)
Before the Flood is a live album by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan and the Band, released on June 20, 1974, on Asylum Records in the United States and Island Records in the United Kingdom. While in later years earlier live recordings would be released, this was the first live album that Dylan released. It is the 15th album by Dylan and the seventh by the Band, and documents their joint 1974 American tour. It peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard 200, reached No. 8 on the popular album chart in the UK, and has been certified Platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.Better with the Lights Off
"Better with the Lights Off" is a song written and recorded by American hip hop duo New Boyz and R&B singer Chris Brown, taken from New Boyz' second studio album, Too Cool To Care. The song was released as a promotional single on May 3, 2011 via digital download in the United States and was released as the third single from the album on August 2, 2011.Blue Valentine (album)
Blue Valentine is the fifth studio album by the American musician Tom Waits, released in September 1978 on Asylum Records. The album was recorded over the course of six sessions from July to August 1978 with producer Bones Howe.
Rickie Lee Jones is pictured with Waits on the back cover.Bun B
Bernard Freeman (born March 19, 1973), is an American rapper better known by his stage name Bun B. He is best known as one half of the southern rap duo UGK (UnderGround Kingz), a group he formed in 1987 alongside Pimp C. Aside from his work with UGK, Bun B has released four solo albums, including 2010's Trill OG, which received the rare 5 mic rating from The Source.He is also a guest lecturer at Rice University, located in Houston, Texas.Cold Hard Truth
Cold Hard Truth is the 56th studio album by American country music singer George Jones. The album was released on June 22, 1999 on the Asylum label.Cuddy Buddy
"Cuddy Buddy" (also called "Cutty Buddy") is the second single from Mike Jones' second album The Voice. The single version features Trey Songz, Lil Wayne and Twista. The album version features T-Pain instead of Songz. It is produced by Bigg D and Jim Jonsin. The song samples Keith Sweat's "How Deep is Your Love".
It was released to radio stations on May 19, 2008.D4L
D4L was an American hip hop group, formed in 2003, composed of Atlanta-based rappers Fabo, Mook-B, Stoney, and Shawty Lo. They are best known for their hit single "Laffy Taffy", which peaked at #1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 in January 2006.David Geffen
David Lawrence Geffen (born February 21, 1943) is an American business magnate, producer, film studio executive, and philanthropist. Geffen created or co-created Asylum Records in 1970, Geffen Records in 1980, DGC Records in 1990, and DreamWorks SKG in 1994. As philanthropist he has donated to the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and other educational and research institutes.Elektra Records
Elektra Records is an American major record label owned by Warner Music Group, founded in 1950 by Jac Holzman and Paul Rickolt. It played an important role in the development of contemporary folk music and rock music between the 1950s and 1970s. In 2004, it was consolidated into WMG's Atlantic Records Group. After five years of dormancy, the label was revived as an imprint of Atlantic in 2009. As of October 2018, Elektra was detached from the Atlantic Records umbrella and reorganized into Elektra Music Group, once again operating as an independently-managed frontline label of Warner Music.Ginuwine
Elgin Baylor Lumpkin (born October 15, 1970), better known by his stage name Ginuwine, is an American singer, songwriter, dancer and actor. Ginuwine began his career as a member of Swing Mob in the early 1990s. Signing to Epic Records as a solo artist in the mid-1990s, Ginuwine has released a number of multi-platinum and platinum-selling albums and singles, becoming one of R&B's top artists during the late 1990s and early 2000s. He had significant commercial success with his first 4 albums: Ginuwine...The Bachelor (2x Platinum), 100% Ginuwine (2× Platinum), The Life (Platinum), and The Senior (Gold).Live with the Possum
Live with the Possum is a live album by American country music singer George Jones released on November 9, 1999 on the Asylum Records label. It was Jones's second and final album with Asylum Records and his second ever live album. Recorded in Knoxville on May 21, 1993 at the Knoxville Civic Center in Knoxville, Tennessee, it was the soundtrack of a previously released video of Jones in concert called Live in Tennessee. Alan Jackson introduced the set with a short tribute. Ron Gaddis, Jones' bass player and band leader, provided vocals on "No Show Jones," the concert opener that George originally recorded with Merle Haggard in 1982. In 2006 Jones commented to Billboard, "As long as the people still want to come, I'm gonna be there. I don't care if I'm 95. I'm at the point in life where I really could shut it off, but what would I do?"New Boyz
New Boyz were an American jerkin' duo that consisted of rappers Earl "Ben J" Benjamin and Dominic "Legacy" Thomas. They debuted in summer 2009 with their viral hit, "You're a Jerk", taken from their debut studio album Skinny Jeanz and a Mic, released in September 2009. The song peaked in the top thirty of the Billboard Hot 100, and it was the first song to bring the jerkin' style to the national forefront. A second single, "Tie Me Down" featuring Ray J, was also successful and peaked in the top thirty. In May 2011, their second studio album, Too Cool to Care, was released. It includes the top 40 hits "Backseat", featuring The Cataracs and Dev, and "Better with the Lights Off" featuring Chris Brown. The New Boyz have also been featured on Hot Chelle Rae's song "I Like It Like That", which peaked at #28 on the Hot 100.OJ da Juiceman
Otis Williams Jr. (born November 23, 1981), better known by his stage name OJ da Juiceman, is an American rapper, actor and songwriter. OJ da Juiceman is founder of vanity label 32 Entertainment.Ol' '55
"Ol' '55" is a song by American musician Tom Waits. It is the opening track and lead single from Waits' debut studio album, Closing Time, released in March 1973 on Asylum Records. Written by Waits and produced by Jerry Yester, "Ol' '55" was a minor hit. It has been described as more conventional than Waits' later songs.The song has been covered by numerous artists, most notably by the Eagles, produced by Glyn Johns for their 1974 album On The Border. In a 1975 interview, Waits was critical of the Eagles' cover version of his song, admitting that he was "not that particularly crazy about (their) rendition of it ... I thought their version was a little antiseptic." About one year later, while interviewed for NME, he went as far as stating that "I don’t like the Eagles. They’re about as exciting as watching paint dry. Their albums are good for keeping the dust off your turntable and that’s about all.”Planet Waves
Planet Waves is the 14th studio album by American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan, released on January 17, 1974 by Asylum Records in the United States and Island Records in the United Kingdom.
Dylan is supported on the album by longtime collaborators the Band, with whom he embarked on a major reunion tour (documented on the live album Before the Flood) following its release (the tour started a couple weeks before release—though Asylum had wanted the album out first). With a successful tour and a host of publicity, Planet Waves was a hit, enjoying a brief stay at No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard charts—a first for the artist—and No. 7 in the UK. Critics were not as negative as they had been with some then-recent Bob Dylan albums (namely Self Portrait and Dylan), but still not enthusiastic for the album's brand of laid-back roots rock.
The album was originally set to be titled Ceremonies of the Horsemen, a reference to the song "Love Minus Zero/No Limit", from the 1965 album Bringing It All Back Home; the release was delayed two weeks when Dylan decided to change the title at the last minute. Another, earlier, working title was Wedding Song.Prisoner in Disguise
Prisoner In Disguise (1975) is Linda Ronstadt's sixth solo LP release and her second for the label Asylum Records. It followed Ronstadt's Multi-Platinum breakthrough album, Heart Like a Wheel, which became her first of three #1 albums on the Billboard album chart in early 1975.Rudimental
Rudimental are an English drum and bass band, signed to Asylum Records, Atlantic Records and Black Butter Records. The band consists of Piers Aggett, Amir Amor, Kesi Dryden and DJ Locksmith.
They were nominated for a Mercury Prize in 2013, and won several awards including the Brit Award, and the MOBO Award for Best Album. Rudimental also received nominations at the MTV Europe Music Awards for Best New Act, and Best UK and Ireland act. Rudimental has achieved multiple Platinum awards for record sales in several countries including in the United Kingdom and Australia.
The band rose to prominence in 2012 when their single "Feel the Love", featuring singer John Newman, topped the UK Singles Chart, and for which they were also nominated for a BRIT Award in 2013. "Feel the Love" was also used for the opening credits of the 2013 documentary movie Spark: A Burning Man Story.
The band have released further singles, including "Not Giving In", featuring Newman and Alex Clare, "Waiting All Night", featuring Ella Eyre which also topped the chart in the UK, "Right Here", featuring Foxes, "Free", featuring Emeli Sandé, and "Powerless", featuring Becky Hill. Rudimental were named by the BBC as the festival band of the summer. In 2013, Rudimental's debut studio album Home debuted at number one in the UK Albums Chart and was also nominated for a Mercury Music Prize.Trio II
Trio II is the second collaborative studio album by American singer-songwriters Dolly Parton, Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris. It was released on February 9, 1999, by Asylum Records. At the 42nd Annual Grammy Awards, the album was nominated for Best Country Album and "After the Gold Rush" won Best Country Collaboration with Vocals.A dozen years after the release of their Platinum, Grammy-winning Trio album, the country music supergroup returned with another in the same vein. Five of the ten tracks on this album first appeared on Linda Ronstadt's 1995 album Feels Like Home: "Lover's Return", "High Sierra", a cover of Neil Young's "After the Gold Rush" (with Valerie Carter and string arrangements by David Campbell), "The Blue Train" (a top-40 solo hit for Ronstadt), and the title song to the Ronstadt album, the Randy Newman-composed "Feels Like Home". The album reached the top five on Billboard's Country Albums chart as well as number 62 on Billboard's main album listing.
The songs were recorded in 1994 by Parton, Ronstadt and Harris, but label disputes and conflicting schedules of the three women prevented their release at the time. Eventually, Ronstadt remixed the five above-mentioned tracks (sans Parton's vocals) to include in Feels Like Home. In 1999 (after Parton and Harris had parted ways with their respective labels), they decided to release the album as originally recorded. Though it yielded no hit singles (mainstream U.S. country radio had long since dropped most artists approaching or over 50 from their playlists by the late 1990s), Trio 2 was certified Gold by the RIAA, signifying U. S. sales of over 500,000 copies and won the trio another Grammy Award in 2000.
Childhood photos of Harris, Parton and Ronstadt were used for the album's cover, when a photo shoot proved impossible (due to the three artists' busy schedules), though they assembled for a short promotional tour in early 1999, and to film a music video for "After the Gold Rush" which was filmed inside a synagogue in New York City that January.
Though scheduling conflicts would not allow for an extended concert tour, the three did a short promotional tour to support the album, including performances on CBS This Morning, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Today Show, and The Late Show with David Letterman.
"Softly & Tenderly" was recorded for the album but was cut. It was included on the 2007 Emmylou Harris boxset Songbird: Rare Tracks and Forgotten Gems.