Paramount Pictures (1957-72)
Famous Music Group (1972-74)
ABC Records (1974-78)
MCA Records (1985-86)
Big Machine Label Group (2014-present)
Famous Music Group (1968-74)
ABC Records (1974-78)
MCA Records (1985-86)
Universal Music Group (2014-2017)
|Country of origin||U.S.|
Dot Records is an American record label founded by Randy Wood that was active between 1950 and 1979. The label was reactivated in 2014 through a joint venture between Big Machine Label Group and the Republic Records unit of Universal Music Group (which owns the original Dot Records catalogue). Based in Nashville, Tennessee, the label was discontinued in 2017.
The original headquarters of Dot Records was in Gallatin, Tennessee. Many of the earliest recordings were in the on-air production studios of WHIN, which Wood owned. Since WHIN was a daytime-only radio station, recording sessions were at night when the station was off the air. In 1956, the company moved to Hollywood, California.
In its early years, Dot specialized in artists from Tennessee. Then it branched out to include musicians from across the U.S. It recorded country music, rhythm & blues, polkas, waltzes, gospel, rockabilly, pop, and early rock and roll. After moving to Hollywood, Dot Records bought many recordings by small local independent labels and issued them nationally.
In 1957, Wood sold the label to Paramount Pictures, but he remained president for another decade. Dot (and Wood) then moved to Hollywood, where the label began to release soundtrack albums, including Elmer Bernstein's score for The Ten Commandments (1956), a 2-LP set that played longer than the usual record album.
Hamilton Records, a subsidiary, was founded in 1958 for rockabilly and rhythm & blues. It distributed Steed Records and the only two records from Carnival, owned by Herb Alpert and Jerry Moss. Two other subsidiary labels were created: Crystalette Records and Acta Records. In 1967, Dot picked up distribution of DynoVoice, owned by Bob Crewe, from Bell Records. Later that year, Randy Wood left to found Ranwood Records with Lawrence Welk.
Pat Boone and Eddie Fisher recorded successful singles and albums for Dot. Of these, Eddie Fisher Today was the most popular and included popular standards of the day, but Fisher had no substantial hit singles during his Dot contract.
Two years after Paramount was purchased by Gulf and Western in 1968, Dot was rebranded as a country music label under the umbrella of the Famous Music Group, which took over management at the end of 1971. This included Paramount Records, Stax (until 1970), and Blue Thumb, with distribution of Sire (now owned by Warner Music Group) and Neighborhood, originally owned by Melanie Safka. By 1968, Lawrence Welk had acquired his Dot back catalogue and subsequently reissued the material on his own Ranwood label.
With the rest of the Famous Music Group, in 1974, Dot was bought by ABC, which had tried to purchase the label years before, and discontinued the label at the start of 1978. The ABC/Dot headquarters became the Nashville office of ABC Records, a division of the American Broadcasting Company.
ABC Records was then sold to MCA Records in 1979. MCA's Nashville division briefly revived the Dot label in 1985-86 for a series of one-off albums by country music artists such as Jan Howard, Jeanne Pruett, Jim Ed Brown and the Browns, Carl Perkins, Billie Jo Spears, Porter Wagoner, and Tompall Glaser.
The merger of the MCA Records and PolyGram Records families became the foundation for Universal Music Group in 1999. Currently, the Dot pop music catalogue is managed by Universal Music's Geffen Records. The country back catalogue is managed by the former Decca and Coral unit, which was rebranded as MCA Nashville.
Randy Wood died at age 94 in his La Jolla, California, home on April 9, 2011, from complications after a fall.
Big Machine Records revived the Dot Records name for a new label in March 2014. The label's first signees include Maddie and Tae,Drake White, and Steven Tyler. Big Machine discontinued the label in 2017.
(** indicates a master purchase/lease from another record company)
Charles R. Ashman
The ultimate Beat Generation collectible on vinyl might be Jack Kerouac's Poetry of the Beat Generation on Dot Records.