Robert Palmer

Island Records 50th anniversary book

chris-blackwell2009 is the 50th anniversary of the founding of Island Records, arguably the most prestigious record label in the history of British music. To mark this milestone the label is entering into the world of book publishing.  May 21st ’09 will see the publication of ‘KEEP ON RUNNING – THE STORY OF ISLAND RECORDS’ edited by Chris Salewicz (acclaimed author of recent best-selling Joe Strummer biog ‘Redemption Song’ as well as books on The Rolling Stones, Bob Marley, Jimi Hendrix and many others) and produced by Universal Island Ltd. and The Island Trading Company Ltd.

‘KEEP ON RUNNING’ is a 226-page full-colour hard-cover commemoration of Island Records, started by Jamaican Chris Blackwell in 1959, the most illustrious record label that the British music business has ever known. Illustrated by copious rare images, including original artwork and photographs from the Island Records archives, ‘KEEP ON RUNNING’ will tell the story of this extraordinary label, its art and its artists, in a series of twelve essays by celebrated writers such as Paul Morley, Jon Savage, Sean O’Hagan, Vivien Goldman, Lloyd Bradley, David Katz, Robin Denselow, Sylvia Patterson, Richard Williams and Joe Boyd. Chapter headings include Out of Jamaica, The Pink Label, Season of the Witch, Glitterball, Roots-Rock Reggae, Singular Voices, The Tuff Gong, Globalisation, From Africa & Beyond, Re-birth Of The Cool and The New Millennium. Photographers include Anton Corbijn, Adrian Boot, Gered Mankowitz, Keith Morris, Andy Earl, Lawrence Watson, Maria Mochnacz, Jean-Paul Goude and Neville Garrick.

The book will be published to coincide with the 50th anniversary celebrations of Island Records in May ’09: these include a large-scale, month-long exhibition of Island artwork and memorabilia in London’s Soho; a week of concerts by key artists at Shepherds Bush Empire; a 90 minute TV documentary about the label; a Radio 2 documentary; and deluxe re-releases of many iconic Island albums, which will continue throughout 2009.

Chris Blackwell founded the Island label in Kingston, Jamaica in 1959 with capital of just £1000. Relocating to London in the early 60s Blackwell built the most diverse and enviable back catalogue of any independent record label in history. From Island’s early Jamaican roots in ska and rock-steady, through the label’s expansion to become the cutting edge of progressive rock in the late 60s, and then on to the signing of such international superstars as Bob Marley and U2, Blackwell brought to Island a unique vision and passion which still informs the label’s approach to this day.

The Island label has been responsible for the careers of some of the biggest stars in music including U2, Bob Marley, Cat Stevens, Traffic, Free, Fairport Convention, Nick Drake, Sandy Denny, Toots & The Maytals, John Martyn, Marianne Faithfull, Aswad, Tom Waits, King Sunny Ade, Third World, Roxy Music, Robert Palmer, the B52s, Sly & Robbie, Melissa Etheridge, The Slits, Steel Pulse, Grace Jones, Tom Tom Club, Pulp, Baaba Maal, Tricky, Talvin Singh, and latterly Amy Winehouse, PJ Harvey, DJ Shadow, Sugababes, Keane, The Fratellis, Scott Matthews, Paul Weller, The Feeling, Portishead and Florence & The Machine.

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