Blue Thumb Records  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Blue Thumb Records was an American record label founded in 1968 by Bob Krasnow, along with former A&M Records executives Tommy LiPuma and Don Graham. Krasnow had been in the record business for a number of years, working as a promotion man for King Records and also working for Buddah/Kama Sutra Records. Blue Thumb was originally intended to be the name of Captain Beefheart's band, but Bob didn't think the name was right for the group. However, he chose the name for his label.

Acts that appeared on the label include Beefheart, The Crusaders, Hugh Masakela, Sam Lay, Robbie Basho, Tom Rapp, Aynsley Dunbar's Retaliation (licensed from UK Liberty Records), Modereko, Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks, Jimmy Smith, Dave Mason, The Pointer Sisters, T-Rex (in its earlier incarnation as Tyrannosaurus Rex) (licensed from UK Regal Zonophone Records), Ike & Tina Turner, Love, Gábor Szabó, Mark-Almond, and National Lampoon (on the Banana label imprint).

Blue Thumb started out using independent distribution, but went to Capitol/EMI for distribution during late 1970 until mid 1971. Gulf and Western's Famous Music Group took over distribution in mid-1971, and then they bought the label outright in 1972. Late in 1974, the Famous Music record labels were sold to ABC Records; ABC kept the Blue Thumb imprint active (mostly for albums by the Pointer Sisters and the Crusaders, and it was also used for reissues too) until ABC sold its labels to MCA Records in 1979. MCA then discontinued the Blue Thumb imprint altogether.

In England and Europe, Blue Thumb releases were licensed to Harvest Records (also owned by EMI) from 1969 to 1971, and to Island Records thereafter.

The label was revived in 1995 for blues and adult contemporary releases. This remained so, even after the 1998 mega-merger with parent Universal Music Group and PolyGram (which incidentally was Island's parent by that time) and being put under the fold of the Verve Music Group, continuing to be Verve's imprint for non-jazz releases. In early 2005, the Blue Thumb imprint was deactivated and was replaced with Verve Forecast to handle such releases. UMG's reissue arm Hip-O Records has reissued several Blue Thumb recordings including such acts as the Crusaders, Dan Hicks & his Hot Licks and the Pointer Sisters.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Blue Thumb Records" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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