The name Warner Bros. Records is no more. Warner Bros. is now just Warner Records.
In a statement this week, the newly named Warner Records announced, We are a record label of iconic, culture-shaping music and entertainment.
Built on irreverent ideas, creative risks, and life-changing hits.
Created as a home for artists – established and emerging, mainstream and maverick, legends and legends-to-be.
Run by a fearless team of music obsessives.
Born in the California sun, at home everywhere on Earth.
Warner Bros. Records was founded in Los Angeles in 1958 as the music division of the film studio. The music business in 1958 was a $500 million a year industry. Warner Bros. studios created the music division to release its own soundtracks instead of licensing them to third party record labels.
At the time Warner’s biggest movie star Tab Hunter was also a pop star with his records making millions for Dot Records, owned by their opposition Paramount Pictures. This vehicle allowed them to grab back their star.
Warner Bros. Records opened on 18 March, 1958 and until recently was housed in Burbank.
The label had an uneasy start. Its only hit in the first two years was the soundtrack to ’77 Sunset Strip’. It’s highest charting single was Tab Hunter’s ‘Jealous Heart’ which reached no 62.
Warner Bros. Records delivered its first hit single with Edd Byrnes ‘Kookie, Kookie (Lend Me Your Comb).
The label tried to get into the Rock and Roll market signing Bill Haley but that failed. They succeeded with The Everly Brothers who have them a number one hit with Cathy’s Clown.
The success continued with the signing of Peter, Paul & Mary. In 1963 the company then took over Frank Sinatra’s Reprise Records for $10 million and gave Sinatra one-third of new company Warner-Reprise and a seat on the board.
Warner Bros. artists over the years include Rod Stewart, America, George Benson, Ray Charles, Chicago, Eric Clapton, The Cure, Elvis Costello, Miles Davis, Devo, Dire Straits, Doobie Brothers, Fleetwood Mac kd lang and Little Feat.