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ABC Records

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For unofficial releases/counterfeit/bootlegs, please use ABC Records (5).
Use ABC Recording Studios for the recording location.

In 1955, American Broadcasting-Paramount Theaters, Inc. formed a subsidiary company called Am-Par Record Corp. which began to release pop, jazz, rhythm and blues, children's and spoken word records under the label name ABC-Paramount. The corporate name of Am-Par Record Corporation was changed to ABC-Paramount Records, Inc. in 1962.

ABC-Paramount became one of the major players in the North American music industry in the 1950s and 1960s, signing many early rock & roll artists including Paul Anka, Lloyd Price and the Poni-tails; it also launched and would acquire many labels including Impulse!, Apt Records, Bluesway, Audition, Command, Grand Award, Dunhill, 20th Century Fox Records, Duke, Peacock Records, and Back Beat (2) among others.

In July 1965, the label began to move away from the "ABC-Paramount" branding by adopting the logo of parent company American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. In 1966, Paramount was formally dropped from the label's name and it was officially renamed to ABC Records with the corporate name changing in 1967 again into ABC Records, Inc..

The Seventies saw ABC having success with rock bands such as The James Gang, Poco and Steely Dan, and the label also released some of the top soul recordings of the time from artists like Isaac Hayes, The Four Tops, The Dramatics, Denise LaSalle, Lamont Dozier, Lenny Williams and The Dells. It also entered the country music field in earnest after acquiring Dot Records in 1974 with Freddy Fender, Don Williams, Billy "Crash" Craddock, The Oak Ridge Boys and Barbara Mandrell leading its charge on Music Row.

In 1968, ABC created the Probe label, a progressive rock label managed by its Command division; three years later, it was shut down in the US but the label (with a slightly modified logo) was used for releasing its product outside North America via EMI.

Beginning in 1974, the British label Anchor Records took over distribution of ABC recordings in the UK and ABC likewised handled American distribution for Anchor. Just before this, ABC recordings were released on London Records and EMI's His Master's Voice and Stateside labels with the early Dunhill material released by RCA in the British market. By 1975 however, ABC ended the deal and opened its own UK branch with its own distribution.
Please note that many of the 1974 and later ABC releases in the UK are in fact reissues of albums previously issued on Stateside and/or Probe, but still show the original copyright dates on the labels. Further checks should be made to see if there are previous versions of the release.

In Canada, ABC was handled by Sparton Of Canada Ltd. until Polydor Records Canada Limited (aka Polydor Ltd. (2)) took over in November 1968. In early 1971 ABC sued Polydor for breach of contract and moved distribution to RCA Limited who handled it until the licensing agreement expired on January 1, 1976. ABC was without a Canadian distributor until March 1976 when it reached an agreement with GRT Of Canada Ltd.. GRT handled ABC until 1979 when GRT went bankrupt and MCA bought the label, thereafter its catalogue was handled in Canada by MCA Records (Canada).

On January 31, 1979, ABC Records (which by then was suffering financial problems) was sold to MCA Records and briefly operated as an MCA imprint before it ceased to exist as a record label in March 1979; a number of popular ABC catalog titles were then reissued on MCA.

The ABC Records catalog is today mostly divided among five Universal Music Group labels: Geffen Records (the ABC pop, rock and R&B catalogs excluding those of Ray Charles, Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gorme, whose ABC masters they took possession of after they left the label), Verve Records (the Impulse! label and catalog), Deutsche Grammophon (the Westminster classical catalog), Mercury Nashville (the ABC and Dot country material), and Decca Broadway (musical theater cast recordings that were released on ABC).

Parent Label:MCA Records
Sublabels:20 Greatest Performances Of, ABC Records MID, At Ease, Dunhill, Golden Record (5), Goldies 45, Konk, Oldies Treasure Chest, Rock 'N' Soul, The ABC Collection, ...
Contact Info:

[obsolete]
-7403, South Western Ave., Chicago 36, Ill. U.S.A.
-1321 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL, U.S.A.

Links:cvinyl.com , bsnpubs.com , vinylbeat.com , Wikipedia , Google

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