The label that launched U2 and Marley

Bob Marley, U2, Roxy Music and Nick Drake are among the artists who have called the Island Records label home over the last 50 years.

As the label celebrates its 50th birthday, founder Chris Blackwell reveals how he built one of music’s most celebrated and enduring stables.

The bill for a series of anniversary concerts, which start in London next week, gives an idea of the idiosyncratic and often impeccable Island line-up over the last half century.

Reggae stars Sly & Robbie will be joined by Grace Jones and recent chart-topper Tinchy Stryder. Yusuf Islam, who signed to the label as Cat Stevens, is supported by Senegalese icon Baaba Maal.

There is “Modfather” Paul Weller with ska pioneer Ernest Ranglin, a night headlined by indie floorfillers The Fratellis, and a final show that sees Amy Winehouse supported by Jamaican heroes Toots and the Maytals and one of the label’s brightest new hopes, I Blame Coco.

The Island story started in Montego Bay, Jamaica, in 1959, when 22-year-old jazz fanatic Blackwell fell in love with…

continue reading from source by Ian Youngs


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