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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.


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 Chrysalis catalogue (minus Robbie Williams) 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]



  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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Tue, 08 Apr 2014 16:55:36 -0700

“We have a label imprint which is a profit sharing enterprise with a rather specialist record company in the UK which employs about fifteen people. It's kind of reminiscent to Chrysalis Records in the early days, and kind of a homely place where you ...
Wall Street Journal
Mon, 07 Apr 2014 07:48:45 -0700

During the height of the 80s, Jerry headed the west coast office of Chrysalis Records working with leading artists such as Huey Lewis, Pat Benatar, Billy Idol, Jethro Tull and Blondie. He went on to spend the next 11 years at Columbia Records Group ...

Washington Post

Washington Post
Thu, 20 Mar 2014 17:00:16 -0700

Itching for a hit to make good on a million-dollar record deal, Chrysalis Records and Blondie brought in a meticulously pop-minded producer, Mike Chapman, who gives delightful interviews here about the recording process. Woven into this is some ...

Blogcritics.org (blog)

Blogcritics.org (blog)
Fri, 21 Mar 2014 06:55:05 -0700

Chrysalis records executive Terry Ellis, after catching one of Blondie's downtown gigs, bought out their their current recording contract and paired them with producer Mike Chapman, whose attention to detail and relentless perfectionism helped craft ...

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