Mercury Records

Mercury Records is originally an American record label.

Today, Mercury Records operates in the UK as an independent operation and in the U.S. as part of Iceland Def Jam Records. Both companies are subsidiaries of Universal Music Group, which today is owned by Vivendi. The name and logo of Mercury Records are used in the U.S. only on the back of catalogs, Country CDs and reissues.


Foundation and development

Mercury Records was founded in 1945 in Chicago, Illinois by Irving Green, Berle Adams and Arthur Talmadge. Their primary focus at that time focused on the production of jazz, blues, classical, rock 'n' roll and country music, recorded mainly in the recording studios of Universal Recording Corporation.

Even in its early days, the company built on a fully automated press shop with a 24 - hour continuous operation in Chicago and St. Louis, to thereby counter the competitive pressure from Columbia, Decca Records and RCA Victor can. In addition, the pop market with artists such as Frankie Laine, Vic Damone and Patti Page was served by the hiring of Tiny Hill and Jimmy Hilliard.

The musician, manager and publicist Jack Rael persuaded Mercury in 1947, a song which was originally scheduled for Vic Damone, Patti Page ( Jack Rael was the Manager ) to be entered. However, the budget was too small to hire a second singer for the vocal counterpart of Patti Page can so that an inspiration by Jack Rael led to Patti Page should sing the counterparts themselves. This was the first documented example of overdubbing acoustic and meant that Patti Page was one of the best known artists for the use of this technique.

As a jazz label, they released in the 1940s, Erroll Garner, Albert Ammons, Gene Ammons and Dinah Washington, acquired in 1948 a catalog of Keynote Records and distributed plates of Clef Records by Norman Granz, until this 1953 collaboration ended. Mercury then founded EmArcy own jazz division.


Mercury Records released a considerable number of recordings under his own name but also under the name of the subsidiary Blue Rock Records, Cumberland Records, EmArcy Records ( responsible in the 1950s, Bob Shad ), Fontana Records, Limelight Records ( responsible Jack Tracy ) Philips Records, Smash Records and Wing Records). In addition, rented and bought them material from independent record labels to distribute this again. Mercury Records actually covered from all kinds of music from classical to psychedelic itself, the subsidiaries turned their focus, each in their own special music categories.

Linkages and sale

The Dutch company Philips in 1961 signed an exchange agreement with Mercury Records. Later bought Philips Mercury Records and its subsidiaries to expand its U.S. site. The Music Division of Philips merged in 1962 with Deutsche Grammophon. From this beginning of the 70 the record company PolyGram was born.

Under PolyGram went Casablanca Records, in which were committed, inter alia, KISS and the Village People, 1982 on Mercury Records. Mercury Records was essentially a rock / pop record company for bands like Bon Jovi, KISS, Scorpions, Tears For Fears and Def Leppard. Among the most famous German artists at Mercury included the Birds Rain or trio.

Reorganization by Universal

End of the 90s PolyGram went on in Universal Music. As part of the reorganization, Mercury Records was split. It originated Iceland Def Jam Records (a combination of the record companies Iceland Records and Def Jam ), who were responsible for the pop music, as well as a separate country album company called Mercury Nashville Records. The pop Division Mercury Records Iceland Def Jam Records and their artists were later completely on in Iceland Def Jam Records, whose logo in use today. In the UK, Mercury Records remained. Mercury Nashville Records is now part of Universal Music Group Nashville.