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20th Century Records
Founded 1958
Status defunct since 1981 (fate: sold to PolyGram and absorbed into Casablanca Records)
Distributing label self-distributed
Genre various
Country of origin USA

20th Century Records, also known as 20th Fox Records and 20th Century-Fox Records, was a subsidiary of film studio 20th Century Fox.

Contents

History

It began in 1958. In 1963 20th Fox Records became 20th Century-Fox Records. It was hardly one of the major labels like others. It had many soundtracks that charted at that time. Comedian Dickie Goodman was president of the label in the early 1960s.

The first three acts signed to the 20th Century label were The DeFranco Family, Maureen McGovern, and Barry White; however, the Brighter Side of Darkness gave the newly renamed label their first hit record in 1973 with "Love Jones". The label also had major hits with Carl Douglas (best known for the song "Kung Fu Fighting"), Edwin Starr, Stephanie Mills and the Star Wars soundtrack in 1977.

The company also released the Harry Simeone Chorale's recording of "Little Drummer Boy" and the album on which it was first featured, Sing We Now of Christmas, later reissued as The Little Drummer Boy. It became the best selling Christmas album ever. The rights were later acquired by PolyGram, which released it on CD in 1988, on the Casablanca Records label.

Among the movie soundtrack albums released by 20th Century Fox Records were those of Zorba the Greek, The Bible: In the Beginning and Doctor Dolittle. However, the label did not issue the soundtrack albums of any of the Rodgers and Hammerstein films released by the studio. Instead, the albums made from five of these films were released by Capitol Records (Oklahoma!, Carousel and The King and I) and by RCA Victor (South Pacific and The Sound of Music). Years later, the Capitol albums reappeared on CD in expanded versions issued by Angel Records. (The film versions of Oklahoma! (1955) and South Pacific (1958), although released in roadshow format by the Magna Corporation, were given general release by 20th Century Fox.)

Later Years

In 1966, Fox had a deal with ABC Records for distribution since it cannot distribute releases itself. Record jackets added a small ABC logo under the 20th Century Fox logo, and labels added the words "Distributed by ABC Records, Inc." near the bottom.

By 1970, with the parent 20th Century Fox in financial trouble (that eventually led to discontent that resulted in the ouster of Darryl Zanuck), the new output of the record company dropped to exactly zero. Although albums that had been selling were supplied to distributers, no new product was forthcoming. So, they decided to shut it down.

It re-activated in 1972 as 20th Century Records and designed a smart new blue label with a new logo. Russ Regan, a veteran "record man", bacame the new head until 1976, a move that increased their credibility in the business by a few orders of magnitude. Promotion seemed better, too, as the first two singles issued by the new incarnation both charted.

In 1976, Russ Regan left to form his own Millennium label. Barry White made his own label, Unlimited Gold, under Fox after his contract with Fox expired. It reverted to "20th Century Fox Records," with a new label design featuring the movie company logo.

The label launched a new distribution deal for Carl Davis' Chi Sound Records in 1978 after leaving their deal with United Artists Records.

Closure

The label was active until 1981, being sold to PolyGram in early 1982. All of its catalog and contracts for then-current artists including Stephanie Mills and Carl Carlton had folded into and became part of the Casablanca label, which PolyGram had purchased in 1980.

Revival

It was relaunched in 1991 under 2 labels. 20th Century Fox Film Scores, which was mainly soundtracks, and Fox Records as a standard label with artists such as Jamie Foxx. The labels folded several years later.

In 2000, it became Fox Music under 20th Century Fox.

20th Century Records/20th Century Fox Records artists

See also

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