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Capricorn Records

Capricorn Records was an independent record label which was founded by Phil Walden and Frank Fenter in 1969 in Macon, Georgia.

Capricorn Records
Parent companyUniversal Music Group (first incarnation catalogue)
Sony Music Entertainment (second incarnation catalogue)
Founded1969 (1969)
FounderPhil Walden, Frank Fenter
Distributor(s)First Incarnation
Atlantic Records
Warner Bros
Second Incarnation
RED Distribution
The Island Def Jam Music Group
Island Records/UMe (first incarnation catalogue)
Volcano Entertainment/Legacy Recordings (second incarnation catalogue)
GenreSouthern rock, soul, jazz fusion, country, alternative rock
Country of originU.S.
LocationMacon, Georgia
Capricorn Sound Studios in 2014.


The beginnings of a planEdit

The idea for starting a record company came after Phil Walden met Otis Redding, who was a vocalist for a band called Pat Tea Cake.[1] As Redding gained more fame, he founded Redwal Music with Walden, and the company purchased property in Downtown Macon, including office space on Cotton Avenue, just a short walk away from city hall. Redwal also purchased space for a sound studio. The space consisted of four buildings located on one block.[2]

Redwal was one of the first integrated music publishing companies in the South. Redding and Walden planned to start a record label together but the plans stalled after Redding’s death in 1967.[3] In 1969, Phil Walden and Frank Fenter founded Capricorn Records with the help of Jerry Wexler of Atlantic Records. Phil Walden chose the name Capricorn because it was the zodiac sign of himself and Jerry Wexler.[1]

First incarnationEdit

Capricorn was the label for many Southern rock and soul bands in the 1970s including the Allman Brothers Band, the Marshall Tucker Band, Delbert McClinton, the Outlaws, the Dixie Dregs, the James Montgomery Band, Elvin Bishop, Wet Willie, Jonathan Edwards, Captain Beyond, White Witch, Grinderswitch, Cowboy, Hydra, Kitty Wells, Dobie Gray, Alex Taylor, Travis Wammack, Sea Level and Stillwater. A Canadian band from Ottawa The Cooper Brothers released two albums on the Capricorn Label in the late seventies. Gregg (Stony) Atwill was a recording and concert sound engineer with Capricorn through the 1970s.[4]

Initially the label was distributed by WEA (first through Atlantic Records, then later Warner Bros. Records) and later by PolyGram Records. Capricorn went bankrupt in October 1979.

Second incarnationEdit

The label was later relaunched out of Nashville, Tennessee, as a joint venture with Warner Bros. in the early-1990s. Distribution later jumped to Sony Music's independent RED Distribution network, then back to PolyGram, by way of its flagship label, Mercury Records. The first act to sign onto the resurrected label was Athens, Georgia's Widespread Panic.

Cake and 311 were the most popular artists to come out of Capricorn during this period; a then-unknown Kenny Chesney also released his debut album on the label. Other artists ranged from Rabbitt to Big Sister, the Dixie Dregs, and to the jazz/rock fusion of Col. Bruce Hampton and the Aquarium Rescue Unit. Capricorn also released a series of box sets of vintage material in the blues and rhythm and blues genres, presenting the stories of such labels as Jewel/Paula Records and Cobra Records.

After moving back to Atlanta, the second incarnation of Capricorn eventually folded. Phil Walden sold the label's assets to Zomba subsidiary Volcano Entertainment in December 2000.[5] By 2002, new releases on Capricorn ceased to appear, as remaining artists were dropped, transferred to Volcano (311), or moved to other labels (Cake).

Co-founder and partner Frank Fenter died on July 21, 1983, at the age of 47 and Phil Walden died on April 23, 2006, at the age of 66.[6]

Capricorn todayEdit

While the record label is defunct, the legacy of Capricorn lives on in its sound studio. On December 10, 2015, Mercer University announced its plan to restore the studio space originally purchased by RedWal and later became the sound studio for Capricorn Records. Sierra Development and Southern Pines purchased the property from Newtown Macon and donated it to Mercer University. The university plans to reopen the studio by the end of 2019, 50 years after the record label was founded. The plans for the studio include restoring the original recording studio and adding a large studio to accommodate the space needed for an orchestra to record. The restorations will also include a space for film scoring and an area for live performances.[7]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Staff Writer. "Capricorn's Significance". Mercer Music at Capricorn. Archived from the original on 14 July 2019. Retrieved 14 July 2019.
  2. ^ Sears, Kyle (8 April 2019). "Mercer University to Reopen Capricorn Records by End of 2019". Mercer University. Archived from the original on 14 July 2019. Retrieved 14 July 2019.
  3. ^ Huff, W.A.K. (9 September 2005). "Georgia Encyclopedia". Georgia Encyclopedia. Archived from the original on 14 July 2019. Retrieved 14 July 2019.
  4. ^ "Gregg Atwill". Doc Hollywood Media & Neon Lights Neon Lights Entertainment. Retrieved February 5, 2010.
  5. ^ "Discography". Archived from the original on 2013-03-17. Retrieved 2013-03-24.
  6. ^ "Neon Lights Entertainment: Electronic Press Kit - Gregg Atwill". Archived from the original on 2012-03-01. Retrieved 2013-03-24.
  7. ^ Sears, Kyle (8 April 2019). "Mercer University to Reopen Capricorn Records by End of 2019". Mercer University. Archived from the original on 14 July 2019. Retrieved 14 July 2019.

External linksEdit