June 23, 2009

Island 50” Campaign Celebrates 50 Years Of Incredible Artistry and Music


New albums, CD and vinyl reissues, digital compilations, product positioning at retail, iTunes downloads of Top 50 Island Albums and Top 50 Island Tracks – and more!

    (June 4, 2009 – New York, NY)  Island Records, the groundbreaking company founded in 1959 by Chris Blackwell –celebrates a half-century of incredible artistry and recorded music in 2009.  Island Records, along with Def Jam Recordings (which simultaneously celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2009) are the corner¬stones of the Island Def Jam Music Group in the U.S., helmed by Chairman Antonio “L.A.” Reid.

    In celebration, the multi-level “Island 50” campaign is being launched in the physical and digital marketplaces.  There will be CD and vinyl reissues, digital compilations, highlight¬ing and front-positioning of stickered product at retail, special iTunes Top 50 Island album downloads and Top 50 Island track downloads – and more.  

    The “Island 50” campaign will kick off with two newly produced album projects set for summer release:

•    B IS FOR BOB, a collection of Bob Marley’s most beloved songs re-imagined for children, many with new instrumentation and mixes, including transformed versions of “Redemption Song,” “Jamming,” “Stir It Up” and more, plus original versions of “Could You Be Loved” and others; with bonus online content for kids and parents, executive produced by Ziggy Marley, packaged in a recyclable and biodegradable Eco-Pak, available June 23.
•    WORLD OF ISLAND REGGAE, a collection that underscores Island’s introduction of reggae to pop music worldwide, with essential tracks by Bob Marley & the Wailers, Jimmy Cliff, Third World, Toots & the Maytals, Black Uhuru, Sly & Robbie, Burning Spear, Steel Pulse, Gregory Isaacs, Lee “Scratch” Perry, and others, available this summer.

    A treasury of 12-inch vinyl releases representing Island album classics of the 1970s and ’80s is also planned (in-store date to be announced in the weeks ahead), included are:

•    CATCH A FIRE by Bob Marley & the Wailers (1973);
•    EXODUS by Bob Marley & the Wailers (1977);
•    LEGEND by Bob Marley & the Wailers (1984);
•    FIRE & WATER by FREE (1970);
•    KIMONO MY HOUSE by Sparks (1974);
•    ARC OF A DIVER by Steve Winwood (1980);
•    NIGHTCLUBBING by Grace Jones (1981);
•    NIGHT NURSE by Gregory Isaacs (1982);
•    SWORDFISHTROMBONES by Tom Waits (1983).

    The “Island 50” campaign not only acknowledges the sales power of the label’s vast catalog holdings but also intends to expand consumer awareness of the Island brand and its key position in the industry’s hierarchy.  A cross-section of strategic marketing, sales, promotion, media, and publicity efforts will take the campaign through 2009 – starting with the special section devoted to Island in this week’s Billboard magazine (issued dated June 6).

    A key component of the “Island 50” campaign will include highlighted visibility of stickered Island product at retail, focusing on a core list of 50 “desert island discs” spanning every decade from the 1960s to the ’00s.  The well-chosen list is lengthy and includes multiple titles by Traffic, Bob Marley & the Wailers, U2, Robert Palmer, Steve Winwood, Tom Waits, Melissa Etheridge, PJ Harvey, Cranberries, Bon Jovi, the Killers, Mariah Carey, Fall Out Boy, and others – plus individual titles by Nick Drake, Toots & the Maytals, Marianne Faithful, Stereo MCs, Eric B. & Rakim, Sum 41, Saliva, Hoobastank, and many others.

    Along with these album titles also available for download at iTunes, there will be a list of Top 50 Island tracks specially chosen for iTunes.  These “Island 50” song hits range in time from Millie Small’s “My Boy Lollipop” (the very first Island hit single, produced by Blackwell at the dawn of the British Invasion in 1964) and Traffic’s “Dear Mr. Fantasy” (1968) – all the way up to the Killers’ “When You Were Young” (2006), the Bravery’s “Believe” (2007), Mariah Carey’s “Touch My Body” (2008), and Kristinia DeBarge’s “Goodbye” (2009).

    The dazzling array of Island hits at iTunes tells the label’s eclectic story, among them: Jimmy Cliff’s “The Harder They Come” (1971), Nick Drake’s “Pink Moon” (1972), Bob Marley & The Wailers’ “No Woman No Cry” (live, 1974), the Buggles’ “Video Killed the Radio Star” (1979), Joe Cocker & Jennifer Warnes’ “Up Where We Belong” (1982), U2’s “With Or Without You” (1983), “Pride (In The Name Of Love)” (1984), “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” (1987), and “Sunday Bloody Sunday” (1991), Melissa Etheridge’s “Come To My Window” (1993), PJ Harvey’s “Down By The Water” (1995), Bon Jovi’s “It’s My Life” (2000), Hoobastank’s “The Reason” (2003), the Killers’ “Somebody Told Me” and “Mr. Brightside” (2004), Fall Out Boy’s “Dance Dance” and “Sugar, We’re Going Down” (2005), and Mariah Carey’s “We Belong Together” (2005).

    With its rich history and deep archive, Island has been home to more than its fair share of music’s most important artists for a half-century – introducing (among many others): Traffic, Nick Drake, Steve Winwood, Marianne Faithfull, Bob Marley & the Wailers, Jimmy Cliff, Third World, Robert Palmer, Black Uhuru, U2, Melissa Etheridge, Grace Jones, Anthrax PJ Harvey, Tricky, Dru Hill, and The Cranberries through the ’90s.

    Today, at the end of the first decade of the new millennium, Island Records is home to a stellar artist roster of new and established award-winning gold, platinum and multi-platinum acts – including Bon Jovi, the Bravery, Mariah Carey, Melissa Etheridge, Fall Out Boy, PJ Harvey, The Killers, Lionel Richie, Saliva, Sum 41, Portishead and newcomers such as The Airborne Toxic Event and Kristinia DeBarge.

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