- In 1942, lyricist, John Herndon Mercer (known as Johnny Mercer), partnered with Buddy DeSylva (songwriter, filmmaker, and record executive) and Glenn E. Wallichs (businessman and store owner of, Wallichs Music City record store) to establish the first West Coast label.
When Mercer decided to partner with these men, he was inspired to start his own label due to the success of Savoy Records (Newark, NJ), Decca Records (NYC), RCA (NY), and Columbia Records (NYC).
- “there wasn’t a label of note on the West Coast. One day, Johnny Mercer and the owner of Glenn Wallichs’ Music City store were discussing their displeasure with the current state of the recording industry. Johnny felt that recording artists were seldom presented at their best, and Glenn voiced his frustration with the out-dated distribution methods,” (The John Mercer Foundation, 2022).
Capitol Records is located in Hollywood, CA; close to where Wallichs was still able to run Wallichs Music City and contribute to the label’s successes.
The Beginning of the Legacy
Capitol Records Impact on Diversity within the Music Industry
Genres of Music:
Nat King Cole
In, 1942 Nat King Cole and his trio recorded:
- “Straight Up and Fly Right”
- “Sweet Lorraine”
- “Embraceable You”
During his time with Capitol Records, he recorded about 700 songs and 150 singles that charted on Billboard’s Pop, R&B, and Country charts. He went on to record with the label for 25 years.
The King Cole Trio
Ella and Louis (Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong)
Ella and Louis, the second album of the duo’s trilogy was recorded at Capitol Records in October of 1956. With help of the Oscar Peterson Quartet, they created an 11-track album that brought a major buzz to the label. The duo was known for being the “perfect partnership” during the jazz era.
- Nancy Wilson was an American jazz singer. After connecting with John Levy through “Cannonball” Adderly (jazz saxaphonist), she landed a record deal at Capitol Records. She then went on to record and release:
- “Guess Who I Saw”
- “Sometimes I’m Happy”
In 1963, she went on to release her first album, Tell Me The Truth. In 1963. The following year she released her sophomore album, How Glad I Am, and won her first Grammy under the label.
Capitol Records Today and Yesterday