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Chrysalis Records
Chrysalis records.png
Founded 1969
Defunct 2005
Status Defunct; artists catalog split between Capitol and Warner Bros.
Distributor(s) Capitol Records (American catalog)
Warner Bros. Records (British catalog)
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, 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. In July 2013, Warner Music Group completed acquisition of Parlophone Label Group, which includes the British Chrysalis catalogue, for £487 million ($765 million USD).[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. ^ Jason Nisse (1993-02-07). "Profile: A truly passionate sport: Chris Wright of Chrysalis outplayed BSkyB in football with his Italian job and is now revving up a car racing deal. Jason Nisse on a music man with perfect pitch". The Independent. Retrieved 2014-12-22. 
  2. ^ Ben Sisario (2010-11-27). "Music Publisher BMG Buying Chrysalis in $168 Million Deal". New York Times. Retrieved 2014-12-22. 
  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. ^ "Warner Music Group Completes Acquisition of Parlophone Label Group" (Press release). Warner Music Group. 1 July 2013. Retrieved 2014-12-22. 

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chrysalis_Records — Please support Wikipedia.
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838 news items

Las Vegas Review-Journal (blog)

Las Vegas Review-Journal (blog)
Sat, 03 Oct 2015 14:33:45 -0700

Even within Chrysalis Records, "you could feel the waning start" after the band's second album, says Dana Strum, Slaughter's Las Vegas-based member and chief spokesman. "They were always on the lookout: 'What's the next new trend?' And we were like, ...

Music Business Worldwide

Music Business Worldwide
Mon, 28 Sep 2015 13:02:45 -0700

The company, founded by Chris Wright and Terry Ellis in the late 1960s, became a fabled player in both the label (Chrysalis Records) and music publishing (Chrysalis Music) arenas, developing and breaking acts including Blondie, Ten Years After, Jethro ...

Hollywood Reporter

Hollywood Reporter
Thu, 24 Sep 2015 07:05:50 -0700

Fair 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. Popmania: Life Under the Mic, comprising 10 half-hours, will follow ...


Fri, 03 Apr 2015 13:46:43 -0700

By 1980, Licata had become president of Chrysalis Records, heading it up during the time when the label had acts like Blondie, Pat Benatar and Billy Idol. In 1984-85 he was executive vp and gm of for Clive Davis' Arista Records, before moving over to ...
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 BoomBox

The BoomBox
Mon, 20 Jul 2015 12:50:25 -0700

While the album was a marginal success, their switch to Chrysalis Records proved to be a fruitful one as their 1991 sophomore album, Step in the Arena, would be the beginning of one of the best streaks of rap releases in hip-hop history. Guru was ...

Ultimate Classic Rock

Ultimate Classic Rock
Mon, 27 Jul 2015 06:41:15 -0700

Part of that focus came from touring with rock heroes Jethro Tull and signing with their label, Chrysalis Records. “We really liked [Tull] as a band”, keyboardist Kerry Minnear noted in Free Hand's reissue liner notes, “and basically they were about ...
Fri, 26 Nov 2010 16:24:54 -0800

Chrysalis – which began life as the Chrysalis Records label, which was later sold to EMI – controls the publishing rights to songs by artists such as David Bowie and Michael Jackson and has written hits for Cheryl Cole and Kylie Minogue. BMG owns the ...

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