Artists that went to shit when they changed record labels

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Count Machuki
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Re: Artists that went to shit when they changed record labels

Postby Count Machuki » 16 May 2018, 17:57

Bent Fabric wrote:Certainly David Geffen must have felt that Elton John, Donna Summer, Neil Young and Joni Mitchell were all suddenly laying nothing but rotten eggs especially for him and his new label in the early 1980s.


Well, there's your problem right there.
Hard to separate a label switch and your garden-variety "victim of the 80s" syndrome.
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Re: Artists that went to shit when they changed record labels

Postby LeBaron » 16 May 2018, 18:23

sloopjohnc wrote:
LeBaron wrote:
Count Machuki wrote:It happens, right?

Honestly, the inspiration behind the thread was Ray Charles. His Atlantic stuff is smokin' hot, then suddenly he signs to ABC, goes all uptown, and everything falls off (I'm being a bit harsh here, but whatever).

I had a bunch of examples last night but they've all flown out of my mind.

Little help?


Ray Charles on ABC is actually on my to buy list. I’m interested. I recall Matt Wilson recommending a double or triple cd. One of these days!


Remember the source.

;)


Yes, well, we don’t agree on everything, but I absolutely trust Matt to recommend the most exhaustive/necessary compilation covering a specific era for a canonical artist.
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Re: Artists that went to shit when they changed record labels

Postby zoomboogity » 16 May 2018, 19:08

When Sparks left Island for Columbia.
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Re: Artists that went to shit when they changed record labels

Postby Snarfyguy » 16 May 2018, 20:54

Count Machuki wrote:
gash on ignore wrote:The Kinks AKA The Kinks all grown up and shit.


Of course! I keep trying to give those Arista albums a chance (they're in dollar bins) but I'm invariably very underwhelmed.

See also Iggy Pop. I enjoy New Values, and Soldier to some extent, but he certainly never re-scaled his RCA heights, to say nothing of his work with The Stooges, after leaving that label.
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Re: Artists that went to shit when they changed record labels

Postby pcqgod » 16 May 2018, 20:59

Count Machuki wrote:
gash on ignore wrote:The Kinks AKA The Kinks all grown up and shit.


Of course! I keep trying to give those Arista albums a chance (they're in dollar bins) but I'm invariably very underwhelmed.


Except they had already gone to shit after the move to RCA.
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Re: Artists that went to shit when they changed record labels

Postby pcqgod » 16 May 2018, 21:08

Thelonious Monk lost his edge after signing with Columbia, I think. I thought that most of the major "alternative" groups that jumped to majors between '85 and '92 or so managed to record one or two good albums for their new labels, actually.
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Re: Artists that went to shit when they changed record labels

Postby Davey the Fat Boy » 16 May 2018, 21:12

LeBaron wrote:
Count Machuki wrote:It happens, right?

Honestly, the inspiration behind the thread was Ray Charles. His Atlantic stuff is smokin' hot, then suddenly he signs to ABC, goes all uptown, and everything falls off (I'm being a bit harsh here, but whatever).

I had a bunch of examples last night but they've all flown out of my mind.

Little help?


Ray Charles on ABC is actually on my to buy list. I’m interested. I recall Matt Wilson recommending a double or triple cd. One of these days!


Charles was on a pretty high perch when he left Atlantic. He “fell” far enough to look down on all the other mortals from a moderately lower height.
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Re: Artists that went to shit when they changed record labels

Postby Davey the Fat Boy » 16 May 2018, 21:13

How about Neil Young at Geffen?
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Re: Artists that went to shit when they changed record labels

Postby gash on ignore » 16 May 2018, 21:24

Hawks and Doves? Re-ac-tor? Nah, Geffen knew what he was getting which made the lawsuit even sillier.
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Re: Artists that went to shit when they changed record labels

Postby Muskrat » 16 May 2018, 21:24

LeBaron wrote:Yes, well, we don’t agree on everything, but I absolutely trust Matt to recommend the most exhaustive/necessary compilation covering a specific era for a canonical artist.


In the meantime, keep this in mind: when Charles signed with ABC, part of the deal was complete artistic control and ownership of his masters. That means whatever one thinks of his albums for the label, it's his doing. Also, he and/or his manager were pretty sharp businessmen.

After ABC, he put some albums out on his own Tangerine label, and leased the ABC catalog to Concord, which had a pretty strong, though not complete, reissue program several years ago. The deal ran out; and, to the best of my knowledge, nobody has picked up the catalog, which has largely gone out of print.

Except: the UK companies who issue out of copyright stuff. There's loads of stuff out there. I won't recommend any, because Amazon US says they have small quantities of most of them, and God knows what's available (or what shape it's in) in other markets. But if you're going to spend relatively little money for five, or ten, or twenty albums -- what the hell?

And for God's sake, stay clear of the posthumous duet albums, and the one with the Basie band underdubbed. The only duet album he recorded under his own control was the one with Betty Carter, and it's terrific. (There's also a Porgy and Bess album with Cleo Laine, if you must).
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Re: Artists that went to shit when they changed record labels

Postby sloopjohnc » 16 May 2018, 21:39

bobzilla77 wrote:
Bent Fabric wrote:
Count Machuki wrote:
Replacements in a similar situation?

I'm basing this on music nerd chatter...I don't know them well enough to have a firm opinion.


I would argue that their sweet spot straddles the label change - so many other factors to consider...Bob Stinson being THEIR Cliff Burton is one...Westerberg possibly having an extremely brief peak as a songwriter/record maker.


Yeah I regard Replacements' Let It Be, Tim and Pleased to Meet Me as being of a piece - their "adult but not yet old" period, and I love that stuff.


That's a good way to put it. I really enjoy those three too.
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Re: Artists that went to shit when they changed record labels

Postby bobzilla77 » 16 May 2018, 22:58

Davey the Fat Boy wrote:How about Neil Young at Geffen?


I just listened to the live album by Neil's country band the other day! It was good - better than the Old Ways album for sure.

And I rate Trans as one of his most interesting records ever. It's a whiff in some ways, he didn't stick to the concept and watered it down, but it's not shit. And Life is a half decent Crazy Horse album.

He is generally better on Warners, I wouldn't argue that point.
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Re: Artists that went to shit when they changed record labels

Postby bobzilla77 » 16 May 2018, 23:00

First thing that came to mind when I saw the title was, Beefheart on Mercury.

I know those albums have been recommended for re-consideration, said to be "nowhere near as bad as people think they are", but I haven't managed to find their charms.
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Re: Artists that went to shit when they changed record labels

Postby Davey the Fat Boy » 17 May 2018, 01:28

bobzilla77 wrote:
Davey the Fat Boy wrote:How about Neil Young at Geffen?


I just listened to the live album by Neil's country band the other day! It was good - better than the Old Ways album for sure.

And I rate Trans as one of his most interesting records ever. It's a whiff in some ways, he didn't stick to the concept and watered it down, but it's not shit. And Life is a half decent Crazy Horse album.

He is generally better on Warners, I wouldn't argue that point.


I don’t disagree. But it’s a MUCH steeper fall than Ray Charles’ post Atlantic records.
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Re: Artists that went to shit when they changed record labels

Postby Nervous Ned » 17 May 2018, 07:26

The obvious example is Bowie when he left RCA.
Now I have a lot of sympathy with his desire to make some big bucks after being ripped off by various managers in the 70’s. I can also see why he would present commercial material to EMI America in order to secure the deal. Let’s face it, presenting an album like Low to them would have seriously dented his bargaining power.
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Re: Artists that went to shit when they changed record labels

Postby Osgood » 17 May 2018, 10:46

pcqgod wrote:
Count Machuki wrote:
gash on ignore wrote:The Kinks AKA The Kinks all grown up and shit.


Of course! I keep trying to give those Arista albums a chance (they're in dollar bins) but I'm invariably very underwhelmed.


Except they had already gone to shit after the move to RCA.

As soon as I saw The Kinks mentioned on this thread I was sure this comment was bound to happen. I disagree, though. Their first album on RCA, Muswell Hillbillies is definitely one of their best IMO. And the studio record on Everybody's in Showbiz is pretty decent too. Then I know I'm alone in defending their theatrical period, so I won't argue any further.

Truth is that, much as I hate to admit it, their history after their 66-68 peak is one of ever diminishing returns, Pye > RCA > Arista >> MCA. Although I think that their last proper album was much better than those preceding it, albeit suffering from the 90s overlength syndrome.
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Re: Artists that went to shit when they changed record labels

Postby Bent Fabric » 17 May 2018, 12:40

Nervous Ned wrote:The obvious example is Bowie when he left RCA.


Yeah, very much so. Whatever one makes of his trajectory at RCA (for me, there's generally magic throughout), the distance between "Ashes to Ashes" and the remainder of his 1980s is considerable.

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Re: Artists that went to shit when they changed record labels

Postby George P. Smackers » 17 May 2018, 13:51

For me, the Replacements' excellence is spread all across the career. The only bad one is Don't Tell a Soul, but that's Westerberg's fault, not Sire's, and even that has some great songs on it. The last one, All Shook Down, is great, in a bummer sort of way.

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Re: Artists that went to shit when they changed record labels

Postby pcqgod » 17 May 2018, 16:46

Osgood wrote:As soon as I saw The Kinks mentioned on this thread I was sure this comment was bound to happen. I disagree, though. Their first album on RCA, Muswell Hillbillies is definitely one of their best IMO. And the studio record on Everybody's in Showbiz is pretty decent too. Then I know I'm alone in defending their theatrical period, so I won't argue any further.

Truth is that, much as I hate to admit it, their history after their 66-68 peak is one of ever diminishing returns, Pye > RCA > Arista >> MCA. Although I think that their last proper album was much better than those preceding it, albeit suffering from the 90s overlength syndrome.


Well, yeah 'Hillbillies' is great.
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Re: Artists that went to shit when they changed record labels

Postby Rayge » 17 May 2018, 16:52

Beefheart on Virgin for me too, although he was on his way down before then, but the two that came to my mind were Chuck Berry to Mercury (although his real nadir was back on Chess) and Little Richard leaving Specialty. Jerry Lee leaving Sun was a big step down too, although not exactly shit.
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