Chrysalis, Home to Tull, Benatar, Blondie Sold to Founder

Share This:
The familiar butterfly label on an iconic album from its initial act

The familiar butterfly logo on an iconic album from its initial act

Pioneering independent label Chrysalis Records, once home to such classic rock hitmakers as Blondie, Billy Idol, Pat Benatar and Huey Lewis and the News, has been sold by Warner Music Group to a group that includes its founder and former co-owner, Chris Wright. He started the London-based record company with partner Terry Ellis (who he later bought out) in 1968 to release music by Jethro Tull. The label’s enviable roster in the U.S. and U.K. also included Ultravox, Procol Harum, UFOSpandau Ballet, Sinead O’Connor and The Specials, among many others.

Plans call for the label to be reactivated by the partners that have bought it, which include Blue Raincoat Music (in which former Chrysalis Music CEO Jeremy Lascelles is a partner) and former Virgin Entertainment Chairman Robert Devereux. Among the label’s current acts are The Specials, O’Connor, The Waterboys, Ten Years After, Debbie Harry, Fun Boy Three, Ultravox and Generation X (a number of which are obviously not particularly active at present).

Don’t miss a post! Sign up for Best Classic Bands‘ Newsletter; form is on every page.

Chrysalis was distributed in America by Warner Bros. Records from 1972 to ’76, and then was independently distributed. The label had its most successful years in the 1980s when Blondie, Benatar, Lewis and O’Connor all enjoyed huge pop chart hits and album sales. The label and its catalog was sold to EMI in 1991, and the Chrysalis imprint retired soon after. Its assets became part of Universal Music when it bought EMI in 2011. Universal subsequently sold Chrysalis to Warner Music.

“Now that we got the label it’s a diamond that needs re-polishing, which will be back to what it used to be: a label with a fantastic identity dealing with cutting-edge music,” says Wright, who does confess that getting back the company he sold is a “surprise. It’s not something I dreamed about. I sold the label in 1991 and I never expected to see it again. That’s for sure. It’s a really poignant, emotional day.”

He’s hoping to again make the label’s name synonymous with cutting-edge artists by signing new acts. “We will have the necessary infrastructure whereby if we spot somebody who we think has got the kind of potential that we want to work with, we will be able to do the job for them,” Wright says. “I’m hugely excited about what this new partnership can do. I think there is no end to what we can achieve.”

Best Classic Bands Staff

No Comments so far

Jump into a conversation

No Comments Yet!

You can be the one to start a conversation.

Your data will be safe!Your e-mail address will not be published. Also other data will not be shared with third person.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.