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Chrysalis Records
Chrysalis records.png
Parent company Warner Music Group
Founded 1969
Status Defunct
Distributor(s) Rhino Entertainment
Genre Various
Country of origin UK

Chrysalis Records /ˈkrɪsəlɪs/ was a British record label that was created in 1969. The name was both a reference to the pupal stage of a butterfly and a combination of its founders names, Chris Wright and Terry Ellis.[1] It started as the Ellis-Wright Agency.[2]


Early years[edit]

In an interview for Jethro Tull's video 20 Years of Jethro Tull, released in 1988, Wright states "Chrysalis Records might have come into being anyway, you never know what might have happened, but Chrysalis Records really came into being because Jethro Tull couldn't get a record deal and MGM couldn't even get their name right on the record". This was after the single Sunshine Day/Aeroplane was incorrectly credited to Jethro Toe.

Chrysalis entered into a licensing deal with Chris Blackwell's Island Records for distribution,[2] based on the success of bands like Jethro Tull, Ten Years After and Procol Harum, which were promoted by the label. Jethro Tull signed with Reprise Records in the United States, which led Chrysalis to an American distribution deal with Reprise's parent company, Warner Bros. Records. This lasted from 1972 until U.S. Chrysalis switched to independent distribution in 1976. PolyGram handled international distribution and Festival Records covered Australia and New Zealand. Towards the end of the 1970s, Chrysalis offshoot 2 Tone Records brought in bands such as The Specials and The Selecter.[3]

In 1979 Chrysalis bought and distributed U.S. folk label Takoma Records, naming manager/producer Denny Bruce as president, who signed The Fabulous Thunderbirds and T-Bone Burnett. Jon Monday who was Vice President of Takoma Records prior to the acquisition continued as General Manager,[4] later becoming Director of Marketing of Chrysalis Records.

Chrysalis made history in 1979 by creating the first "music video album", a videocassette featuring a corresponding music video for each song on Blondie's Eat to the Beat album (released at the same time as the LP).

In the 1980s, Chrysalis was at the forefront of the British New Romantic movement with bands such as Ultravox, and Spandau Ballet. The 1980s proved to be the most successful time for the label, whose roster then included Billy Idol, Pat Benatar, Blondie and Huey Lewis and the News. Chrysalis also distributed Animal Records, the short-lived label founded by Blondie guitarist Chris Stein. In 1983 Daniel Glass moved to Chrysalis as Director of New Music Marketing, advancing later to Senior Vice President.


Main article: Chrysalis Group

The Chrysalis Records label was sold 50% in 1990, then the remaining half in 1991 to EMI with catalogue and artists such as Starsailor being shifted to the main EMI imprints. Chrysalis Records folded into EMI subsidiary and flagship label EMI Records in 2005.

The British Chrysalis catalogue (minus Robbie Williams, whose catalogue is currently distributed by Island Records) was put up for sale by Universal Music Group after its acquisition of EMI. Warner Music Group acquired the catalogue, as well as other EMI labels led by Parlophone, for US$765 million.[5]

The American Chrysalis catalogue, including artists such as Blondie, Huey Lewis and The News, and Pat Benatar, was merged into EMI Records Group America, which was then merged into former sister label Capitol Records, and is currently distributed by that label.



  1. ^ "Chrysalis PLC: Information from". Answers.com. Retrieved 2013-03-01. 
  2. ^ a b "Chrysalis - CDs and Vinyl at Discogs". Discogs.com. Retrieved 2013-03-01. 
  3. ^ "History of Chrysalis Group plc – FundingUniverse". Fundinguniverse.com. Retrieved 2013-03-01. 
  4. ^ Billboard - Google Books. Books.google.com. 1979-06-02. Retrieved 2013-03-01. 
  5. ^ "Breaking: Universal agrees to sell EMI Classics + Parlophone to Warner Music Group". Artsjournal.com. 2013-02-07. Retrieved 2013-03-01. 

External links[edit]

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223 news items

Huntington Herald Dispatch

Huntington Herald Dispatch
Tue, 09 Dec 2014 19:22:30 -0800

Like Prine, Leo Kottke has been on the scene since the 1970s, when he was on Capital and then Chrysalis Records. In the past decade, Kottke has collaborated on two different occasions with Phish bassist Mike Gordon. In 2002, Kottke and Gordon ...
Huntington Herald Dispatch
Mon, 08 Dec 2014 11:18:45 -0800

Like Prine, Leo Kottke has been on the scene since the 1970s when he was on Capital and then Chrysalis Records. In the past decade, Kottke has collaborated on two different occasions with Phish bassist Mike Gordon. In 2002, Kottke and Mike Gordon (the ...
OC Weekly (blog)
Tue, 11 Mar 2014 04:48:57 -0700

And though Chris Wright's name probably doesn't ring a bell to you, acts like Jethro Tull, Ten Years After, The Specials and Billy Idol, who owe much of their careers to his label Chrysalis Records, probably do. Wright started the label in 1969 with ...

The Unionville Times

The Unionville Times
Thu, 27 Nov 2014 07:22:30 -0800

It's been almost a quarter of a century since Jeffrey Gaines signed his first recording deal with a major label. It's been 22 years since his debut album “Jeffrey Gaines” was released on Chrysalis Records. It's been 11 years since “Toward the Sun” on ...


Fri, 19 Dec 2014 23:30:00 -0800

Πράγμα που μάλλον καλό του έκανε, αφού έναν χρόνο αργότερα υπέγραψε συμβόλαιο με την Chrysalis Records. Τον ίδιο χρόνο κυκλοφόρησε και το πρώτο του άλμπουμ με τίτλο Life Thru a Lens, αλλά η επιτυχία ήρθε το 1998 με το Angels. Το 2010 επέστρεψε ...


Mon, 20 Oct 2014 17:56:15 -0700

He had previously served in senior executive roles at Geffen Records, A&M Records, RCA Records, EMI Records, Island Records and Chrysalis Records as well as his own Faircraft Records. A formal announcement by CMG is not expected. Print ...


Ultimate Classic Rock
Sun, 26 Oct 2014 07:31:24 -0700

So the talented mezzo-soprano spent the bulk of the '70s making up for lost time in a succession of club gigs, cabaret sets, and musical theater parts before finally signing with Chrysalis Records, by which time she was also divorcing her husband and ...

Grimsby Telegraph

Grimsby Telegraph
Fri, 03 Jan 2014 00:51:26 -0800

And after his business partner Terry Ellis labelled the singer's Hunky Dory album as "disappointing", the pair decided not to sign him to Chrysalis Records. The businessman, who now lives in Gloucestershire and London but travels back to Lincolnshire ...

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