Jac Holzman's Elektra Story

Paul Gambaccini presents a series charting the history of Elektra Records, from when it was founded by Jac Holzman in 1950 until he sold his company in 1973.

Primarily a New York folk label in the 1950s and early 1960s with influential singers Judy Collins, Phil Ochs and Tom Paxton, the label explored new avenues from the mid-sixties when Jac signed West Coast artists Love, Tim Buckley and the Doors. Further chart success came from the development of artists such as Bread, Carly Simon and Harry Chapin.

show more detailshow less detail

Episodes

EpisodeFirst
Broadcast
Comments
0120080407

Paul Gambaccini presents a series charting the history of Elektra Records, from when it was founded by Jac Holzman in 1950 until he sold his company in 1973.

Primarily a New York folk label in the 1950s and early 1960s with influential singers Judy Collins, Phil Ochs and Tom Paxton, the label explored new avenues from the mid-sixties when Jac signed West Coast artists Love, Tim Buckley and the Doors. Further chart success came from the development of artists such as Bread, Carly Simon and Harry Chapin. Jac Holzman recalls the early years of his label, with interviews from artists of that era.

0120101005

Paul Gambaccini presents a three-part series charting the history of Elektra Records, 60 years after it was founded by Jac Holzman (10 October 1950).

Primarily a New York folk label, with influential singers Judy Collins, Phil Ochs and Tom Paxton, the company explored new avenues from the mid-60s when Jac signed West Coast artists Love, Tim Buckley and the Doors.

Further chart success came from the development of artists such as Bread, Carly Simon and Harry Chapin.

The series features interviews with Jac Holzman and many of his artists: Theodore Bikel, Oscar Brand, Judy Collins, Ray Manzarek and John Densmore (The Doors), David Gates (Bread), Tom Paxton, Joshua Rifkin, Jean Ritchie, Tom Rush and Carly Simon; plus Elektra executives Danny Fields and Clive Selwood, engineer/producer Bruce Botnick and sessionman at the time John Sebastian.

In part one, Jac Holzman and Elektra artists recall the early years of his label.

Canadian Oscar Brand remembers his boisterous albums of songs associated with the armed services; Kentucky singer Jean Ritchie recalls her earliest recordings released by the label; and Theodore Bikel talks about his many Elektra concept albums devoted to songs from a variety of different countries and cultures.

Carly Simon remembers Theo's albums with affection and sings snippets from his multi-lingual repertoire.

After ten years of modest success, in the first half of the 60s Elektra found itself well-placed in New York's Greenwich Village to record singers emerging in a period of unprecedented enthusiasm for folk music.

Jac discovered his first star of the decade when he signed Judy Collins in 1962.

Judy was joined on Elektra by many of the new generation of young folk singers - the prolific writer Tom Paxton, protest singer Phil Ochs and, from the Cambridge scene, Tom Rush.

Hanging out in Greenwich Village and playing mouth organ on many Elektra record sessions was future Lovin' Spoonful member John Sebastian.

And Jac Holzman found an ally in his quest for quality artists when he employed Paul Rothchild as talent scout and record producer.

This series first broadcast in six parts, back in 2008.

Jac Holzman recalls the early years of his label, with interviews from artists of that era

0220080414

Holzman recalls the development of Elektra during the first half of the Sixties. Holzman discovered his first star of the decade when he signed Judy Collins in 1962.

0220101012

Paul Gambaccini continues to chart the history of Elektra Records, 60 years after it was founded by Jac Holzman (10 October 1950).

The series features interviews with Jac Holzman and many of his artists: Theodore Bikel, Oscar Brand, Judy Collins, Ray Manzarek and John Densmore (The Doors), David Gates (Bread), Tom Paxton, Joshua Rifkin, Jean Ritchie, Tom Rush and Carly Simon; plus Elektra executives Danny Fields and Clive Selwood, engineer/producer Bruce Botnick and sessionman at the time John Sebastian.

In part two, Jac Holzman recalls the new direction his label took from the mid-60s.

Elektra had gained a reputation as the home of acoustic folk singers but, from 1965, they were joined by new artists creating a rockier sound with electric instruments and the programme features music by Koerner, Ray and Glover, Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Love and the Doors.

Catering for two gaps in the market, the successful Elektra series of stereo sound effects records and the company's budget classical label Nonesuch provided the seed money to develop this new direction.

The surprise novelty hit for Nonesuch was the Baroque Beatles Book - a selection of Lennon-McCartney songs arranged by Joshua Rifkin in the Baroque style.

Jac Holzman and his artists also discuss the orchestral experiments heard on the landmark albums produced during the years 1966 to 1968: In My Life and Wildflowers by Judy Collins, Forever Changes by Love, Goodbye and Hello by Tim Buckley and The Circle Game by Tom Rush.

Jac Holzman recalls the new direction his label took from the mid-60s.

0320080421

Elektra had gained a reputation as the home of acoustic folk singers but from 1965, they were joined by new artists creating a rockier sound with electric instruments. Featuring music by the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Love and The Doors.
Holzman also remembers how two major groups slipped through his fingers - The Byrds and The Lovin' Spoonful.

03 LAST20101019

Paul Gambaccini continues to chart the history of Elektra Records, 60 years after it was founded by Jac Holzman (10 October 1950).

The series features interviews with Jac Holzman and many of his artists: Theodore Bikel, Oscar Brand, Judy Collins, Ray Manzarek and John Densmore (The Doors), David Gates (Bread), Tom Paxton, Joshua Rifkin, Jean Ritchie, Tom Rush and Carly Simon; plus Elektra executives Danny Fields and Clive Selwood, engineer/producer Bruce Botnick and sessionman at the time John Sebastian.

In the final part of the series, Jac Holzman recalls the music released on Elektra from 1968 to 1973.

Following the number 1 success of the third Doors album, Waiting for the Sun, and its single Hello, I Love You, the group experienced difficulties recording their next album The Soft Parade.

Lead singer Jim Morrison died after completing the Doors' sixth studio LP, LA Woman, in 1971.

Elektra also experienced troubles following the release of Kick Out the Jams by radical Detroit rockers the MC5.

In contrast, the company struck gold with the meticulous and melodic music of Bread and the surprise hit by Judy Collins - Amazing Grace.

In Jac Holzman's last years with his company - 1970 to 1973 - the label enjoyed more success with Bread and a new star - Carly Simon.

Her career was launched with the American Top Ten single That's The Way I Always Heard It Should Be and less than two years later, in January 1973, she was enjoying both a number one single with You're So Vain and a chart-topping album with No Secrets.

Jac Holzman's last production for his label was with singer-songwriter Harry Chapin.

Paul Gambaccini concludes his history of Elektra Records.

0420080428

Holzman recalls the orchestral experiments heard on landmark albums made in 1967 and 1968 - Wildflowers, by Judy Collins; Forever Changes, by Love; Goodbye and Hello, by Tim Buckley; and The Circle Game, by Tom Rush.

0520080505

Paul Gambaccini presents a series charting the history of Elektra Records, from when it was founded by Jac Holzman in 1950 until he sold his company in 1973.

Primarily a New York folk label in the 1950s and early 1960s with influential singers Judy Collins, Phil Ochs and Tom Paxton, the label explored new avenues from the mid-sixties when Jac signed West Coast artists Love, Tim Buckley and the Doors. Further chart success came from the development of artists such as Bread, Carly Simon and Harry Chapin.

5/6. Jac Holzman recalls the music released on Elektra from 1968 to 1970, with artists featured including The Doors, Bread and Judy Collins.

06 LAST20080512

Holzman recalls the music released on Elektra during his final years with the company. The label enjoyed more success with Bread and found a new star - Carly Simon.