The Story of Island Records

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Island Records is one of the most influential pop music record labels of all time. Mixing cultures and influences from reggae to pop, hip hop, and even punk, Island has shaken up ideas and introduced new genres to mainstream music, bringing cultures into the musical spotlight halfway across the world. Still alive and thriving today, Island has produced some of the music industry’s biggest names and groups including Jimmy Buffet, The B-52s, U2, and Bob Marley. But like all companies, Island too started out as a hobby before it was even a small business; and the story is incredible. Chris Salewicz, Editor of Keep of Running: The Story of Island Records wrote a beautiful narration about how Island records came to be. “Jamaicans in the mid-1950’s were familiar with who they should stay away from. Specifically that strange tribe of outcasts known as Rastafarians: even the downtown ghetto-dwellers knew that these eccentric-appearing individuals – known at the time on the island as ‘beardmen’ – carried pieces of dead bodies in the bags they all bore.” At age 19, Chris Blackwell went with a couple of friends on a motorboat ride from the former pirate haven of Port Royal along the south coast of the island. When the boat became stranded in a swamp along a completely remote part of the island, Chris set out for the shore. After about four hours of struggling, he came upon a beach. Exhausted, he collapsed, dying of thirst. He heard a voice, and looked up to see a Rastafarian standing above him, his dreadlocks tumbling about him like Iliana vines. The dread led Chris to a nearby encampment where he collapsed asleep. Upon waking, he heard voices reading from the bible and reasoning. They continued to read as he was fed ital food. This e... ... middle of paper ... ...s coming out of of the world music scene when it first was recognized, but that didn’t matter. The U.K. was immediately hooked, and let that music influence their own. Some of the more unrecognized music released from Island was heavily influenced from African beats, Yoruba traditional music and western sounds, influencing dance halls and discotheques around the world. Although not quite as cutting edge, Island Records still produces some pretty big names, thus maintaining their name, 50 years later. References "Island Records UK." Island Records UK. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Mar. 2014. . "Keep on Running: 50 Years of Island Records." BBC News. BBC, n.d. Web. 7 Mar. 2014. . Salewicz, Chris. Keep on running: the story of Island Records. New York, N.Y.: Island Trading Co., Ltd. :, 2009. Print.

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