Columbia / CBSColumbia came into existence in 1887 as a branch of the American Graphophone Company. The Columbia name derives from District of Columbia, an area for which the branch company owned a franchise. The company was a major influence in the standardisation of 7 inch and 10 inch flat discs early in the century when a wide range of possible formats were considered. Columbia bought the Okeh company in the mid-1920's with it's wide range of blues and jazz recordings.
Financial difficulties in the early 1930's led to the company changing hands a number of times. It was eventually purchased by the Columbia Broadcasting System. The CBS name was subsequently adopted for the whole company and the Columbia name re-established as a subsidiary. Big band success assisted the re-establishment with releases by Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Benny Goodman and during the early 1940's Frank Sinatra. The company maintained it's success in the 1950's and 1960's with a primarily 'easy listening' roster that included Frankie Laine, Johnny Ray, Johnny Mathis, Doris Day and Andy Williams. The company also recognised the impact of the folk revival and in the early sixties signed Bob Dylan and Simon & Garfunkel.
The impact of such new signings and the influence of new company president, Clive Davis, led to a move away from the easy listening formula during the sixties. The Byrds, Janis Joplin and Santana all signed to the company. There was also a successful country music roster that included Johnny Cash and Marty Robbins. More recently the label has released albums by Bruce Springsteen, Billy Joel, Meat Loaf, The Clash, Mariah Carey, Will Smith and Ricky Martin. CBS became part of Sony at the end of the 19080's.
All New Riders Of The Purple Sage albums up to 1975 were released on Columbia.
All Big Brother & The Holding Company and Janis Joplin albums were released on Columbia.
Nearly all Bob Dylan albums were released on Columbia.
All Santana albums between 1969 and 1990 were released on Columbia.
Other relevant releases on Columbia include;