Creation Records was a British independent record label headed by Scottish music executive Alan McGee. Along with Dick Green and Joe Foster, McGee founded Creation in 1983. The name came from the 1960s band The Creation, whom McGee greatly admired. McGee, Green and Foster were also in the band Biff Bang Pow!, which was also the title of a Creation song. The label ceased operations in 1999, although it was revived at one point in 2011 for the release of a compilation album, Upside Down, spanning songs from the label.
|Founded||1983–1999 , 2011|
|Genre||Alternative rock, rock, indie pop, post-punk|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
The label focused on alternative rock, releasing many indie rock, shoegazing and Britpop records, but also featured bands performing various other styles of rock, including indie pop and post-punk, as well as some electronic, folk and experimental artists.
McGee formed Creation Records following the culmination of various projects including fanzine Communication Blur, his own rock outfit The Laughing Apple (with future Primal Scream guitarist and long-time friend Andrew Innes) and his running of the venue The Communication Club. Initially, McGee wished to provide an outlet for like minded musicians and an opportunity for young bands to see their work on vinyl; primarily the label was in opposition to the "manufactured" synth pop of the era that bore little resemblance to the work of his favourite acts including Public Image Ltd and the Sex Pistols.
McGee started the label by putting out the "'73 in '83" single by The Legend! after taking out a £1,000 bank loan. Around the same time he started a club called The Living Room in Tottenham Court Road, through which he met several people who would go on to record for Creation, including Peter Astor and Lawrence. Distributor Rough Trade soon began funding releases.
Creation was among the key labels in the mid-1980s indie movement, with early artists such as The Jesus and Mary Chain and Primal Scream. The Jesus and Mary Chain went to record for Warner Brothers in 1985, yet McGee remained as their manager. With the profits he had made from the band, he was able to release singles by label acts such as Primal Scream, Felt, and The Weather Prophets.
McGee had enthusiasm and an uncanny ability to attract the weekly music media, and he was able to get a growing underground following. In their early days, he was able to project a notorious image of The Jesus and Mary Chain, which had often courted violence and loutish behaviour.
Following an unsuccessful attempt to run an offshoot label for Warner Brothers (Elevation Records), McGee regrouped Creation and immersed himself in the burgeoning dance and acid house scene starting in the late 1980s. Those scenes had influenced Creation mainstays such as Primal Scream and Ed Ball, as well as newer arrivals such as My Bloody Valentine.
Creation Records' releases at this time tended to be critically acclaimed without being major commercial hits. Creation had run up considerable debt that was only held off until McGee sold half the company to Sony Music in 1992. There were reports of McGee's escalating drug use, as well as numerous and conflicting reports of the label being nearly bankrupted after funding the two-year-long recording of My Bloody Valentine's 1991 Loveless LP.
After selling to Sony, Creation had signed Oasis, whose debut album Definitely Maybe became a huge critical and commercial success. The band went on to epitomize the cultural Britpop movement of the mid-90s. The success of Oasis was unprecedented for an act on an independent label. Their second album, (What's the Story) Morning Glory? became the biggest selling British album of the decade.
In the 1990s, Creation launched the subsidiary, Rev-Ola Records, which was formed by Joe Foster. Rev-Ola is now a part of the PoppyDisc group of labels.
The revitalised Labour Party took note of McGee's accomplishments with Creation. They got McGee to spearhead a media campaign prior to the 1997 General Election in order to appeal to Britain's youth culture. He was largely responsible for changing government legislation in relation to musicians being able to go on the New Deal which gave musicians three years to develop and be funded by the government instead of having to take other jobs to survive.
Omnibus went on to make a documentary on McGee and Creation in 1998 for BBC One. Creation Records was awarded 'Independent Label of the Year' every year between 1995 and 1998 by Music Week, and McGee was awarded the NME 'Godlike Genius' award in February 1995.
According to the documentary Upside Down, McGee and Foster opted to shutter Creation in December 1999 after McGee began to suffer burnout and disillusionment with the label. The label's final release was XTRMNTR by Primal Scream, issued in January 2000, shortly after the label ceased functioning.
The dissolution of Creation Records in 1999 led to McGee and Foster forming Poptones. The label saw a return to the staunchly independent roots of Creation, and had most notably launched the career of The Hives in the UK.
In May 2007, McGee told The Independent newspaper that he was winding down Poptones for financial reasons.
Upside Down, a film on Creation Records premiered at the BFI in London on 23 and 24 October 2010. It was released on DVD in the UK on 9 May 2011. Additionally, a soundtrack album compiled by Joe Foster featuring 34 tracks which covered the entire career of Creation Records was released. This album was released on Creation Records, which was revived for the release of the album only.
In numerous interviews in 2012 McGee said he was "seriously considering" resurrecting Creation Records.
- Principal bands or musicians
- Eddie Philips Interview. "Creation Records,". The Creation Interview.
- Yates, Brendan "Out of the Void; The Primal Scream Story" (2003), p. 21
- Dee, Johnny (1988) "It's Different For Domeheads: Alan McGee recalls the most memeorable Creation creations", Underground, April 1988 - Issue 13, p. 28
- Alan McGee: "Why I'm giving up my label" at The Independent
- NME London Film Festival announces screening of Creation Records film
- Topping, Alexandra. Film to Immortalise Lords of Creation Records. "The Guardian, 8 January 2010"
- NME: Alan McGee set to bring back Creation Records