Reprise Records  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Reprise Records is an American record label, founded in 1960 by Frank Sinatra, which is owned by Warner Music Group, and operated through Warner Bros. Records.

Company history

Reprise was formed in 1960 by Frank Sinatra in order to allow more artistic freedom for his own recordings. Hence, he garnered the nickname "The Chairman of the Board." Having left Capitol/EMI and, after trying to buy Norman Granz's Verve Records, the first album Sinatra released on Reprise was Ring-A-Ding-Ding. Fellow Rat Pack members Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. also moved to the label. Stand-up comedian Redd Foxx also recorded for the label during its fledgling years. As CEO of Reprise, Frank Sinatra recruited a host of his cronies for the fledgling label. The original roster from 1961 to 63 included such names as Bing Crosby, Jo Stafford, Rosemary Clooney and Esquivel. The label still issues any Sinatra work recorded while on the label and, after his death in 1998, it had great success with his greatest hits collections.

One of the label's founding principles under Sinatra's leadership was that each artist would have full creative freedom, and at some point complete ownership of their work; including publishing rights. This is the reason why recordings of early Reprise artists (Dean Martin, Jimi Hendrix, The Kinks, etc.) are (in most cases) currently distributed through other labels. In Martin's case, his Reprise recordings were out of print for nearly 20 years before a deal was struck with Capitol Records.

Reprise was sold to Warner Bros. Records in early 1963. Many of the older artists were dropped when Sinatra sold control of the label to Warner Bros. in 1963. At that point, label executives began targeting younger acts beginning with the Kinks in 1964. Reprise would later add teen-oriented pop acts like Dino, Desi, & Billy and Nancy Sinatra, before moving almost exclusively to pop-oriented music in the late 1960s. In the late 1970s, as Joni Mitchell and Captain Beefheart had left the label, Sinatra expressed a wish to be the sole artist on Reprise, but Neil Young refused to leave. Mitchell returned to the label in the late 1980s after a stint on Geffen Records but now records for Hear Music. Young remains on Reprise to this day, though he also recorded for Geffen in the 1980s.

In 1977, Warner Bros. hibernated Reprise, reassigning all of its retained acts to the main Warner Bros. label. Although older catalog albums continued to be reissued with the Reprise logo, there were no new releases on the Reprise imprint until the label was reactivated in 1988—with several successful Warner Bros. artists, including: the B-52s and Randy Travis, being transferred to the label. In the time since, Warner Bros. has often elevated the stature of Reprise to the rank of secondary parent label, as many of its subsidiary labels (such as Straight and Kinetic) have had their records released in conjunction with Reprise.

Today, in addition to Young, it is home to such artists as The Secret Machines, Oasis, Michael Bublé, Avenged Sevenfold, The Used, Mastodon, Eric Clapton, Green Day, Fleetwood Mac, Serj Tankian, Josh Groban, My Chemical Romance and Disturbed. Reprise is also the North American label for British band Depeche Mode.

It was formerly home to the Jimi Hendrix and the Barenaked Ladies' catalogs in the U.S.


Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Reprise 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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