Sometimes it’s easy to overlook the bigger dogs when talking about influential record labels. Sure, Sub Pop, Stiff, Slash, Factory, Creation and the like defined their time and place in cult music history, but look through any indie rocker’s record collection and you’ll see just as many logos from integral heavies like Polydor, Sire, Atlantic…and probably at least a handful of LPs from Reprise’s great mid 60s to mid 70s run.
Founded by Frank Sinatra in 1960, the label first served as an outlet for Sinatra’s Rat Pack cronies and other showbiz heavy hitters like Bing Crosby and Esquivel. In 1963, the label was acquired by Warner Brothers and began a trajectory towards emerging sounds, beginning with acquiring the American distribution rights to The Kinks.
By the late 60s, the Reprise roster included a slew of Pop artists and had for the most part left it’s Jazz roots behind. The label released music from icons like Neil Young, Nico, Captain Beefheart, Nancy Sinatra, Lee Hazlewood, and Joni Mitchell by the end of the decade. In the early 70s Reprise signed Country Rock pioneer, Gram Parsons, along with The Beach Boys and T. Rex.
In 1976, the label essentially went into dormancy. Only Sinatra and Neil Young recordings were released as Reprise records and the other artists were moved to the WB label. Reprise eventually became active again in the late 80s, first releasing an album from Prince protege Taja Sevelle. Since then, the label has been an active part of the Warner Brothers family.
– Submitted by Justin Main, Music Design