Sunday, June 05, 2005

Atlantic is the Cream

Atlantic Records has a rich history in the recording of Black music giants. From Ray Charles to The Coasters, LaVern Baker to Aretha Franklin, Ahmet Ertegun's label has been a pioneer of the marketing of Soul and Jazz music since the beginning of dirt. Ertegun along with his partners Jerry Wexler and brother Nesuhi, together they were industry leaders and always pushed the ticket. However the marketplace was fickle and only the strong survived. But through the resilience of Atlantic's accurate signing combined with strong promotion and marketing, they remained an industry leader.

An enormous break-through came when Atlantic signed a white blues band from England. Former Yardbird guitarist Eric Clapton formed a power trio called Cream and linked the R&B and Jazz label into the era of the psychedelic movement. It appeared for a blues and R&B aficionado like Eric Clapton to join forces with a label rich with tradition, this was a perfect match. And indeed it was. Creams' four dynamic albums released on Atlantic were artistically creative, technically unique and excellently produced. It also brought into the forefront producers Felix Pappalardi and engineering by Tom Dowd.

Photos by Robert Whittaker and Carol Friedman.


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