CURB RECORDS CELBRATES 50 YEARS
Amid a sea of industry change that has seen major creative empires and labels rise and fall, the strength of Curb Records, which was founded in 1963 by Mike Curb while attending California State University as a student, remains intact.
On the eve of a half-century of success and in the midst of a field of gold standard milestones, Curb Records is a rare and enduring independent force of influence in the land of giants.
As Curb Records celebrates its 50th anniversary in the business of making and selling music, the success of the label and its founder are inseparable.
At the half-century mark as a creative brand, Curb’s presence eclipses history as the longest operating record label with the same ownership. Accumulated accolades include:
432 #1 Records
- 323 singles
- 109 albums
1,514 Top Ten Records
- 1,102 singles
- 412 albums
4,518 Charted Records
- 3,231 singles
- 1,287 albums
Today, Mike Curb is one of the most prominent figures in the music/entertainment world and presides over his own independent record label that is recognized as one of the most successful in music industry history.
If Curb has a magic formula for success, it might be captured in the portrait of its artistic family. Throughout the early years, Curb scored success with artists as diverse as the Stone Poneys (featuring Linda Ronstadt), Eric Burdon & War, Sammy Davis Jr., the Osmond Family, (including Donny & Marie), Lou Rawls, Exile, the Righteous Brothers, Solomon Burke, Gloria Gaynor, the Hondells, the Arrows (featuring Davie Allan), Debby Boone, Shaun Cassidy, Roy Orbison, the Electric Flag (featuring Buddy Miles and Mike Bloomfield), the Sylvers and the Four Seasons.
In 1969, Curb merged his young label with MGM Records and became the President of MGM. Under his reign, he boosted MGM’s war chests with a litany of hits, some of which he produced. His signings brought a new emphasis on Nashville based artists including Kenny Rogers and the First Edition, Hank Williams Jr., Don Gibson, Mel Tillis, Ray Stevens, and Eddy Arnold. Curb also served as president of Verve Records, the historic jazz label, and scored a coup by signing superstar Tony Bennett. During the same period, Mike Curb went on to receive the Billboard Overall Producer of the Year Award, and he acquired the highly coveted BMI Award for writing Hank Williams Jr’s first #1 single, “All For The Love Of Sunshine”. He also won the BMI Award for composing the theme song to Clint Eastwood’s motion picture, Kelly’s Heroes - “Burning Bridges” which was a worldwide hit by the Mike Curb Congregation.
In the 80’s, Curb Records signed such emerging artists as Lyle Lovett, The Judds, Don & Phil Everly, Sawyer Brown, Chris Hillman’s Desert Rose Band, Jeffrey Steele’s band Boy Howdy, The Bellamy Brothers, Ronnie McDowell, Hal Ketchum and The Righteous Brothers who delivered the triple platinum selling album and single “Unchained Melody.”
Throughout the 90’s, Curb Records continued to establish ground as an independent force to be reckoned with. The label surprised many with the meteoric launch of superstar Tim McGraw, whose album Not A Moment Too Soon went on to become one of McGraw’s top selling albums to date. All told, Curb Records has sold over 40 million units and produced over ninety seven billion impressions at radio with Tim McGraw’s music. By 1997, Curb was Billboard’s #1 country label in four major categories for albums and singles and recognized as the overall #1 country label in the industry according to Nielsen SoundScan. Additional milestones for Curb in the 90’s included the signing of teenage superstar LeAnn Rimes whose single “Blue,” became an industry phenomenon who crossed multiple genres. Rimes’ “How Do I Live,’ co-produced by Mike Curb and written by Diane Warren, earned the label a Billboard Award for the longest running record of the 20th Century on Billboard’s Top Hot 100 chart. Curb also co-produced LeAnn Rimes’ “You Light Up My Life” which became the first album to debut #1 on Billboard’s pop, country, and contemporary Christian charts. Co-published by Curb’s publishing division, “You Light Up My Life” won both an Academy Award and a Grammy. This credit brought further honors to the Curb Publishing division—a side of the indie giant too often overlooked. Curb’s publishing interests have scored more than 100 ASCAP, BMI and SESAC award winning songs including the first record in Billboard history to debut at #1 on the Billboard Country Chart – Garth Brooks “More Than A Memory”. History was in the making when Curb published and released Lee Brice’s record, “Love Like Crazy” which was Billboard’s #1 record of the year in 2010 and the longest running song in the history of the Billboard chart. Curb recently co-published “Crazy Girl” by The Eli Young band which was the 2012 ACM Song Of The Year and Billboard’s most played song of 2011.
At the launch of the 21st century Curb Records had established one of the strongest country rosters in Nashville. Superstar artists such as Tim McGraw, LeAnn Rimes, Jo Dee Messina, Hank Williams Jr., Wynonna, Lyle Lovett, Clay Walker, Trick Pony, and Rodney Atkins were consistently pushing out hit product. In 2001, and for the first time in the history of music business, Curb Records became the first independent label to be named Billboard’s Country Music Label of the Year.
Building on the success of country, Curb expanded throughout the new millennium to play a major role in the contemporary Christian genre with artists such as multi-award winning “Female Artist of the Year” Natalie Grant, multi-Dove winning group Selah, Plumb, MIKESCHAIR, Michael English, and Nicol Sponberg all producing hits. Curb’s own personal involvement in contemporary Christian music began with the early signings of groundbreaking artists such as Larry Norman, 2nd Chapter of Acts, DeGarmo & Key, Debby Boone, and continued into the 80’s & 90’s to include Stryper, Whiteheart, Patti Cabrera, Jonathan Pierce, and Fernando Ortega. Curb also continues to serve as Chairman and Partner in Word Records, the oldest gospel record company in history.
In 2012, this their 50th Anniversary, label success on the scoreboard already includes:
Breaking Lee Brice as one of the most exciting new artists in country music in recent memory. His Hard 2 Love album debuted with a trifecta as the #1 Digital Country Album, #2 Billboard Country Album and Billboard’s #5 best selling album on the Top 200 Chart across all genres. The album has already scored a #1 single and a platinum certification for its lead single, “A Woman Like You”.
Rodney Atkins’ has produced his 7th number one record with the title track to his current album, Take A Back Road.
Curb’s January 2012 release of Tim McGraw’s Emotional Traffic, debuted as Billboard’s #1 Country album and the single “Better Than I Used To Be” became McGraw’s historic 100th Top 5 record on the Billboard charts.
Curb Records has achieved over 300 number one records on the Billboard chart and Mike Curb recently received a star on both the Music City Walk of Fame and the historic Hollywood Walk of Fame.
In April of this year, Natalie Grant was named Female Vocalist Of The Year in the annual Dove Awards – her 5th win in the category. Curb again took home honors with Grant’s “Your Great Name” having won Worship Song Of The Year. Curb’s Christian Division was again honored with dual wins by Selah for Inspirational Album Of The Year and Inspirational Song Of The Year (“Hope Of The Broken World”).
New projects still ahead in the coming year include new releases from LeAnn Rimes, Andy Gibson, Wynonna, Plumb, Rachel Holder, Michael English and more. Also in 2012, Curb revitalized subsidiary imprint Sidewalk Records which plans new music from Heidi Newfield, Clay Walker, Morgan Frazier, Dylan Scott, and a new duet between Tyler Dean and Ashley Gearing.
Mike Curb exclaims, “We’ve been successful in large part to our employees, our artist roster, radio and a huge passion for music that inspires people across the globe. We are forever up to the challenges of the next half century and look forward to expanding upon our success.”
Born with American ingenuity, Curb Records’ independent spirit lives on. In celebration, Curb Records is announcing its 50 albums over 50 years feature on iTunes today. To view, click here: http://bit.ly/Curb50
GEORGE STRAIT’S LOVE IS EVERYTHING DEBUTS AT NO. 1
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